I’ve never really been in shape. To be honest, I really can’t complain because I’ve inherited very good skinny genes. But the sad truth is I’ve always kind of known I’m a mess ever since 7th grade when I joined the swim team and was limited to 25 yard sprints because of my pathetic stamina.
Every now and then, I go through a phase of deciding to be fit. I start by buying some snazzy workout clothes (obviously the key step). I maybe go to a Pilates class or two. And then I give up with as much resolve as I started.
There have been a few times I decided I would be a runner. They’re always so long and lean, and they claim to get a euphoria along with the physical benefits. There was one time where, after a few days of committing to running for 10 minutes, I made it up to 0.8 miles. To you, that may not seem impressive, but that is still my lifelong best. More recently, Boyfriend and I tried to get into the habit of running up some hills in San Francisco. I mostly walked up, very, very slowly and then ran down screaming, “MY LUNGS ARE BURNING! I CAN’T FEEL MY LEGS! I’M DYING! I’M DYYYYING!!!” to the bewilderment and worry of passersby. Euphoria my ass. And when walking up the enormous hill to get to our favorite brunch spot, I routinely relied on Boyfriend to push me up the hill (literally). One might say I was weak, one might say I was lazy, but I prefer to think of myself as a genius.
So now you know my longstanding history of being a pathetic lump. When I decided to move back to New York, where life is good, things are easy, and you can do anything imaginable, I decided I need to pick up an exercise routine. I kept setting a new deadline - when I get to New York, when I start work, when I move into an apartment - only to have each pass without so much as a single crunch to show for it.
But when I went bowling a few days ago and ended up inexplicably sore in strange places, I knew I hit a new low. Okay, sore in the thumb, sure. Sore in the forearm, that makes sense. But sore in the INNER THIGH? HOW CAN THAT BE? Seriously, if you have an explanation, I would LOVE to hear it. I was also sore in my calves (?!!) and abs and even my side. I try to imagine what on earth I must have been doing while bowling, and I can only think that I must have completely tensed up my ENTIRE body while throwing the ball. A SPASMIC EXPLOSION OF… a wee bit of force. Welcome to my life.
Anyhow, I’ve decided it’s time to start swimming so I’m going to go buy myself a fabulous bathing suit. And then, I’ll go for a swim… once. Maybe twice.
Orange Blossom Madeleines
Makes 12-15 madeleines
Recipe greatly adapted from
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom extract (or vanilla extract, if you can’t find orange blossom extract)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled plus more for the pan
- Confectioners sugar, for dusting
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a mixer bowl using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and the sugar on medium high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the orange blossom extract.
- With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days. (You can also spoon the batter into the greased and floured madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the madeleines directly from the fridge.)
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Butter and flour the madeleine mold and place the pan on a baking sheet. If you have 15 minutes to spare, put the prepared mold into the fridge to cool it down.
- Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don’t worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven’s heat will take care of that. Bake the madeleines for until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the mold by rapping the edge of the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the madeleines to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.
- Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top and voila!