Out and About with Alyssa Shelasky

March 22, 2012

We're celebrating the artisans, writers, makers, and more who make up the diverse and inspiring world of food.

Today: Supply Chain peeks into a day in the life of Alyssa Shelasky, writer at Grub Street and author of the forthcoming memoir Apron Anxiety.

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Alyssa Shelasky is a busy woman -- between writing scores of posts every week for Grub Street and prepping for the release of her book, Apron Anxiety: My Messy Life In and Out of the Kitchen, a food memoir out this May, she keeps her weekends open for personal time (for now). To debut our new Supply Chain column, here's a peek into her life on a recent Sunday: Greek yogurt, The Meatball Shop, and cupcakes all make appearances! We can't wait to see more of Alyssa's writing in her forthcoming memoir.

- Alyssa Shelasky

Socializing on the weekends isn't even an option. I do all that during the week. On Saturdays and Sundays, I spend as much time as possible alone, doing my thing, listening to music, walking everywhere, exploring new things... With the book coming out in May, I also need the weekend to focus on marketing, PR, promotions, and more, since it's hard to find a spare second during the week. Believe me, I don't like being this busy. I'm not the type of person who feels cool by being "so swamped." I happen to enjoy my freedom, and can't wait until the day I have absolutely nothing to do. That's just not this Sunday. Here's the start of my day in Union Square at the Mud coffee truck getting a coffee with milk.

I just moved into a new, empty apartment in Dumbo and I need to get some homewares as soon as possible because my sister and my boyfriend (the only people I will happily see on the weekends) are coming over for dinner. Luckily I prepared a beef stew on Saturday night, so that part is done. In any case, my second job out of college was at ABC Carpet & Home, and even though it was over ten years ago, they still treat me like family there. It's pure bliss whenever I go -- the staff is so good to me. They really make me smile! And sometimes I still get my employee's discount.

Shopped until 2-ish and was starving, since all I had put in my body so far was MUD coffee and a yogurt from when I first woke up. As much as I love Greek yogurt (I grew up with it!), it just feels so trendy and almost embarrasses me to eat it anymore. Plus, I use most of my Greek yogurt as face masks now. But that's the other thing about doing Grub Street all week: I'm pretty food'ed out by the weekend. I hate being hungry -- who doesn't? -- but because I go to so many "dinners," I need really clean and easy food when I'm on my own. So I walked over to Num Pang just for the watermelon juice, which I dream about, and ordered the most basic sandwich on the menu. Besides liking the food there, I really enjoy hiding out in the little grimy nook upstairs. It's perfectly antisocial. I never tweet about my food if it's not work-related. Even the thought of that makes me tense -- those are my moments and no one else's.

Stopped by City Bakery while I was in the area because one of my Apron Anxiety parties is at French Connection in Soho (May 22 -- come!) and I'm working on food and drink for it. City Bakery's little sister Birdbath is right down the street, so I thought I'd charm Maury Rubin into providing some food for the party. Unfortunately, because I am a horrible business woman, I spend an hour catching up with him and totally forget to ask about anything involving the event. Oh well! Later he emailed me saying that we both have Pop Tarts in the first paragraphs of our books -- even with that perfect segue, I still missed the beat.

Since I totally blanked out at City Bakery, I text Dan Holzman from The Meatball Shop about having a quick "meeting" before I head home to Dumbo for dinner. This is no news to anybody, but the guys from The Meatball Shop are insanely good people. Dan immediately agrees to help me out with anything Apron Anxiety-related and my love for him soars. Of course, the first page he flips to in my book has me getting naked in a Jacuzzi overlooking Hollywood Hills. He did a very nice dramatic reading of that one.

Back in Dumbo, I stop by powerHouse Arena (my favorite!) because I have an Apron Anxiety event there on May 23 and I want to soak it all in a little bit. I've never been a shy person, but I have a horrible fear of public speaking. When I first got a book deal, I actually asked my agent if we could put it in the contract that I'd never have to do readings. That was about the hundredth psychotic thing I had said that day, so she knew to ignore me by then ... but I'm still scared. So thankful ... but a little scared.

Last stop before home! I get a fresh baguette at Almondine to go with my beef stew. It's always my mission to get the French baker/owner there to crack a smile -- never happens. I've told him a million times that I'm a food writer and he sooo doesn't care -- it's amazing, I love him. Honestly, I've been at so many fancy, expensive dinners where my mind drifts ... and all I can think of is how much happier I'd be eating a slice of cheese on an Almondine baguette. That's all I need.


Beef stew with a crunchy salad and a fresh baguette -- dinner is done! I think I'm better at baking than cooking, but the Georgetown Cupcake girls (who I've been friends with for years and who are extraordinarily kind and generous) sent over a dozen cupcakes, and I wanted to serve those just to infuse my apartment with their happy energy. Nothing I could bake would compare, anyway. When my two hungry guests arrived, we sat on my three new stools from ABC Carpet & Home, ate, talked, laughed, and wished for a million more Sundays.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Miafoodie
  • Truly Scrumptious
    Truly Scrumptious
  • ATG117
  • boulangere
  • NutellaElla
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Miafoodie March 25, 2012
I have to agree with Truly Scumptious - - Alyssa needs to find a new line of work!
Truly S. March 23, 2012
I am glad home chefs and other professional chefs do not feel the way Alyssa does when she writes..."I never tweet about my food if it's not work-related. Even the thought of that makes me tense -- those are my moments and no one else's." If all of us felt the way Alyssa does, their would be no network.

When she writes, "I've been at so many fancy, expensive dinners where my mind drifts ... and all I can think of is how much happier I'd be eating a slice of cheese on an Almondine baguette. That's all I need." It sure makes me think she should find a new job if it makes it her unhappy to the point of daydreaming to be home with a slice of bread and piece of cheese. Is she vying for symapthy here?
NutellaElla March 24, 2012
oh i found it so refreshing that that she knows how to relax and detatch. the nonstop sharing isn't for everyone and I include myself in that. Also, I think most foodies would indeed say nothing is better than a fresh, French baguette with butter or cheese; they're just not honest enough to admit it. to each his own.
ATG117 March 22, 2012
Love this idea. Love all the new content. No longer need to year for the return of News.
boulangere March 22, 2012
How lovely.
NutellaElla March 22, 2012
She's very cool. Nice to see someone with a sweet, light-hearted perspective on everything, yet clearly a hard worker. Good find food52.
Panfusine March 22, 2012
ooh, So LOVE this idea.. Its like the food Informants series on Huffington post!
nzle.. Your posts & ideas simply ROCK!