Curried Kabocha Squash Soup & "No Time" Bread "No Time" Bread in an hour Curried Kabocha Squash Soup & "No Time" Bread
The rain finally stopped, just when it had seemed like it had been raining my whole life. The days have been monochromatic and sodden, and then, all of the sudden just electric blue and unseasonably warm. People walk in droves on the bridge. It’s beautiful out. You can hardly remember the rain if you try. I mean this weekend. But really I mean a year and a half ago.

Life can seem all right in a gray soft box, in perpetual rain. Though you’ll forever long for a real soft box, a shoe box for a house mouse lined in quilting squares and wood shavings with little holes poked in the top for breathing, for particulate shafts of light. A warm place for resting and being fed. I still long for such a box sometimes because for me being an adult can feel like running. Like something with fangs from a Grimm brother’s yarn is forever breathing down my neck just a few paces behind.

Maybe I only feel that way because of what I came from. There are things about me, things I don’t wear on my sleeve. But I don’t try to hide them either. And I’m going to talk about it now. Maybe for me, maybe for other people. I don’t know. Not but a year and a half ago I was sitting in the common room in a treatment facility feebly, frantically attempting to “cook” with a single serving packet of cheerios, an orange, a mini carton of milk, and some cheese & peanut butter crackers. I remember thinking “creamy, salty, sweet, acid”. I did understand something about food, even then. Even addled as I was, just a few days in. I remember thinking it was okay, whatever it was I made. I think I thought it was soup.

In short, I’m an addict in recovery. Tonight, I just learned that my roommate from treatment passed away on Monday. She and I, our lives were parallel lines. Same elementary school, same high school, same drug of choice. She was beautiful, perfect really. Impossibly blond. Three years younger than me. She ran. Her face-wash smelled like grapefruits. Everyone loved her. If you’d asked anyone back then which of us would be dead come a year and a half’s time, most people would have put their money on me. I would have put my money on me. Yet here I stand, so very happy with more amazing and exciting things happening in my life than I would have ever allowed myself to imagine possible. I will never pretend that I’m the reason for any of these things. Yes, I make choices. I work hard and make choices for life daily. But I don’t know why I got well. To be honest, I didn’t even want to. I ended up in treatment because I had no choice. I was railroaded into it. No one would have ever thought I would stay clean in a million years. There wasn’t a lot of hope still being held out for me, least of all by myself.

I’m forever grateful to have been given a second chance, but I’ll never understand it. First of all, it wasn’t a second chance. A fiftieth? Who’s counting. But I do know without any doubt that the life I have today is nothing short of a miracle. I don’t use language like that lightly. And her passing only amplifies that fact. I will never understand why she and countless others cannot and do not make it out alive. I assure you all, it wasn’t for her lack of trying. We sit in these trenches as our fellows fall around us, and when the dust settles and we’re left standing, we can never know why them and not us. And God save us if we ever think it’s because we’re somehow better than those that didn’t make it out alive. Because I know I’m not. Survivor’s guilt is real, and I wrestle with it often, tonight very much so.  I don’t know why her story was written like that. But I’m not the author of that book and there is nothing I can do to change it.

A lot of people like to talk about how living well is the best revenge. Well, I’m not interested in revenge. I’m interested in gratitude and amends. And sometimes the best amends a person such as myself can make to the countless people hurt over the years, myself included, is to live well now. I can’t change the way I lived for those fifteen years in the rain, but I can live well to the best of my ability now, each moment, one day at a time. I can be honest. I can suffer when it hurts instead of running from the pain. It’s always in our attempts to escape suffering that we suffer the most, I have found. So to show my gratitude for a chance at life and to make amends for the years I wrought destruction, all I know to do is live well.

Living well is no grand gesture. It is waking up. Trying to be reasonable and kind. It is making a phone call, a loaf of bread, a visit, a bowl of soup. It’s going easy on yourself so you can go easy on everyone else. It’s having faith because really we have no other option in this life. There is little we can control, and so we must let go and live with faith that somehow, come what may, we’ll make it.

The vertigo I felt when I heard was terrifying. I was standing in my kitchen, no I was sitting at the counter. My father was washing dishes as my mother wiped down my cooktop. My brother & sister-in-law had just left. I was cooking for them, for my family, getting their opinion on some recipes I’ve been working on. Patrick was standing behind me. My mother looked up and said “I don’t know if I should tell you this.” And then she told me that my sister-in-law had read in the obituaries that my roommate had passed away on Monday. I broke down instantly, burying my face in Patrick’s coat. My father muttered about why did she tell me. I kept trying to say it was ok, that I wanted to know. And I did. It’s easy to forget where you came from, forget the gravity, and how cold and wet and dark it is out there. How the end is always the same. And to forget what a gift life is, especially for me. Sitting there, hearing that news, all I could imagine was a parallel universe where our lines were switched, imagined her standing there, clean & sober with her love and her family around her in a warm kitchen. I imagined her mother furrowing her brow and telling her “I don’t know if I should tell you this, but Beth Kirby died on Monday.” All I know, all I can say, is this: There but for the grace of God, go I.

I can’t give her that kitchen in a parallel universe. And I’m so sorry for that. But what I can do is never once take what I have for granted. And I can help anyone who finds themselves where both she and I did. That is all I can do. Tell people you love them, listen if someone needs to talk. I know this has all been cliché, earnest things tend to be that way, but do. And don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Some people need a lot more help than they look like they need, and some people are a lot stronger than they look. You just never know about people. Don’t forget that.

I apologize for the heart pouring. My life at the moment is filled with wonderful opportunities, rain, stress, love, and this painful reminder of what could have become of me and what does become of so many amazing men and women. I am so grateful to be alive, I have no words. The countless mornings I shouldn’t have woken up haunt me. Addiction is an awful disease, and each person that makes it out alive is something to be in awe of. Not of that person, but of the inscrutable miracle that is a clean addict. And that’s any addict, be it sex, gambling, booze, drugs, you name it. We’re complex creatures and a fascinating, terrifying array of things can bedevil us. I know countless people suffer from this or have loved ones who do, and all I want to say is that addicts can and do recover. Never give up.

"No Time" Bread in an hour

Curried Kabocha Squash Soup & "No Time" Bread

So here is soup and bread, comfort. For the rain. For you. For your family. For her. It’s nothing fancy or special, and to be honest, I didn’t really write down the soup exactly, so make it to suit what you have and your tastes. I was just becoming a bit depressed at all the rain this past week so I made it. The bread is easy, it literally took me one hour start to finish. I’d give it an hour and a half if you don’t run around like a mad woman. I don’t think it could be easier to put fresh bread on the table than this. So if you’re like me and soup and bread are part of your peace and joy and living well, then I hope you enjoy it. I might be temporarily a little less present on this space due to a heavy work schedule, but just know, I’m still very well & happy indeed. & shall always return.

Curried Kabocha Squash Soup & "No Time" BreadCurried Kabocha Squash Soup & "No Time" Bread

Curried Kabocha Squash Soup

serves 2

I made this with a mix of stock and water because I just had a bit of stock. It could easily be made with just water or all stock. I made it to taste with stuff I had on hand. It turned out amazing, with so much flavor. This was a very Michael Ruhlman inspired cooking moment, being ever mindful of the balance of flavors, of salt, acid, fat. What can I say, it works. Building flavors works.


1 kabocha squash peeled, deseeded, and cubed
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
2 generous pinches of good curry powder
pinch of cumin
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of garlic powder (or a clove of fresh minced if you like, add it with the shallot)
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
juice of one lemon wedge
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4-1/2 tsp fish sauce
1-2 Tbsp sugar, to taste
dollop (about 1/2 tsp) of sambal oelek (chili paste)
parsley or cilantro (optional)

Cooking Directions

Heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shallot & pinch of salt and sweat for a few minutes until translucent and fragrant. Add the squash another pinch of salt, the curry, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, and red pepper. Stir and cook for a minute or two. Add the stock, water, lemon, and cider vinegar. If it looks like it needs more liquid, add more. It will depend on the size of your squash. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is completely soft.

Puree with an immersion blender or in a stand blender. Once completely smooth, add the cream according to your taste. Season to taste with the fish sauce, 1-2 Tbsp sugar, and finish by stirring in a dollop of sambal oelek & garnish with fresh parsley (or cilantro if you swing that way). [note on seasoning to taste with sugar: you don't want it to be sweet per se, you just want to bring out the sweetness of the squash and balance the salt and acid...start slowly & add until it tastes right and delicious]

"No Time" Bread in an hour

“No Time” Bread

from The Kitchn
yields 1 loaf

Notes: I made this in an hour flat. But I was trying to do so. I reduced the rise time and cooking time because I was in a hurry & it still turned out just fine. I probably let it rise about 10-15 min total, and only baked it for about 25-30 minutes. I didn’t make it into much of a ball and it “plopped in” and kind of flattened out a little which probably accounts for the cooking time. I also only had about 1 cup of bread flour and used AP for the rest, which was also fine. I also failed to divide the flour and added it all at once, also, obviously, fine. In short, if you do a better job than I, it will probably be even better. It’s not going to be slow bread, obviously, but hey, it’s fresh bread without forethought. Not bad at all, quite good. I’ve already made it once again.


4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packets)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Cooking Direction

In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer put the yeast, sugar, and water and let it sit.

Heat the oven to 450°F. Put a Dutch oven in to warm as the oven heats. Get out your flour, salt, vinegar, spray oil, and anything else you need.

Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to bubble up, add 3 cups of the flour as well as the salt and vinegar and beat for several minutes with the paddle.

Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and switch to the dough hook and beat for seven minutes. Alternately, knead vigorously for five minutes, or until the dough becomes extremely elastic. This will still be a wet dough, but not goopy (it was pretty dang sticky, but no, not goopy). The dough will clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom.

Lightly grease a microwave-safe bowl with vegetable oil and transfer the bread dough to it, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and put in the microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds. Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes. Microwave on HIGH for another 25 seconds, then remove. Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.

Shape into a ball and plop into the preheated pan. Quickly slash the top with a knife. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature hits 210.

Curried Kabocha Squash Soup & "No Time" Bread
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115 Responses to curried kabocha squash soup & "no time" bread, for rain & for her

  1. Your story is very moving… so much pain and suffering… but also “hope”, really.
    (an I can’t wait to try the “no time” bread.
    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice and sweet sunday.

  2. Imen says:

    Beth, vividly emotional post…your honesty and grief comes across with pure and utter dignity. I’m sorry for your loss and wish you all the life that being alive has to offer….xx

  3. tara says:

    Stunning lessons here, Beth. Thank you for sharing. xo

  4. I received this post in my inbox this the morning of what would have been my sister’s 39 birthday. The drugs may not have been the official cause of her death but they did not make her body strong enough to keep going. I appreciate this post and will make your bread today with my sister and your friend in mind. I will also send up an extra prayer of thanksgiving that you made it out and that others will too. PS I feel that there is somehow a connection to this post and the fact that I made your buttermilk pie for my sister’s oldest son on Thanksgiving. Your food always inspires me to step out of my traditional little comfort zone and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. Thanks for everything. Corrie

    • Local Milk says:

      I’m very sorry about your sister…but it is good to know that this did in fact reach the ears of people who know what I’m talking about. Some of the brightest lights I’ve ever known have been addicts, and they can be so terribly misunderstood. With those we’ve lost forever in our thoughts, I hope that by speaking honestly and freely about addiction perhaps other lives can be saved and other tragedies arrested. Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot to me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Beth, I am so sorry for your loss and am thankful that it has brought you to a place of gratefulness and hope. I am, as always blown away by your poignant words and honesty. Truly as I read you I stop often to ponder what you have just said, to let it wash over me. I close my eyes and say aloud to my empty room, ” My God this woman is a writer.” I made a decision just this week to stop my nightly glass(es)of wine. I found that I was looking all too forward to starting my dinner preparations so that I may open that bottle. Your words encourage me that I can succeed in abstinence. I am so very grateful.
    On a cooking note, I made that winter salad just this week and it was incredibly delicious. I will make this soup and bread so very soon. Thank you for posting it. KDiann

    • Local Milk says:

      Thank you, very much. And best of luck with your endeavor. I think your honesty with yourself is commendable, and I give you great credit for not beating that “hey…wait a minute” voice into submission. We’re crafty creatures and it’s all to easy for us to rationalize ourselves into the gutter or grave. Good for you for not doing that!

    • Anonymous,
      I love how you expressed your feeling when you read beth’s word. I have to do the same thing. I agrre with you that Beth is a writer and hopes she purses this venue of art. I am proud of your commintment to stop a habit that is not having a positive affect on you. I will pray for your success and encourage you follow your dreams with love around you.

  6. london bakes says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and for all her family and friends. Addiction, of any sort, is a truly terrible disease and it claims so many lives. Your strength and your honesty here are so impressive.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have recently discovered your blog. Despite studying literature for three years at university, your writing captures life with all its overwhelming glorious richness and crumbling disappointments in a more poignant, real way than any other writer I’ve come across.
    Please keep doing what you are doing. It is wonderful.

    • Local Milk says:

      I just wanted to say thank you. I can’t say enough times how weird, surreal, and lovely it is to hear that people appreciate my written work. It’s by far the hardest thing I do and is fraught with so much doubt & loathing. This piece was a little different…feeling strongly about something certainly makes me forget my silly concerns about whether or not it’s good enough. But the encouragement is so very appreciate, albeit oft received with a measure of incredulity.

  8. Sigrun says:

    Very beautiful and yet sad, thank you for sharing your story.

    Photos are superb as well!!!

  9. Suzanne says:

    There is hope and beauty in your story. First of all, I am so sorry about the loss of your friend and roommate. Your post comes just a few short weeks after I found out about the death of my cousins son, he was an addict and took his own life. You are strong and immensely talented. I follow your blog and am in awe of how accomplished you are. Stay strong, you are amazing!

    • Local Milk says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin’s son, for her & for him. If there’s two things I would want people to know about addiction it’s that a)it’s life and death and b)don’t give up, we can recover. As I said, I’ll never know why some and not others. Never. I just know that the suffering and loss will always keep me fighting. I have been very tentative about being forthcoming about that for obvious professional reasons, but I think the good it can do far out weighs the risk of revealing that. It seems grandiose to hope to be an inspiration or to ease anyone’s pain, but I do hope that in some small way just being open and letting people know it’s ok to be open will help.

  10. Laura says:

    Beth, I’m glad that you’re here. You give us so much in this space. Thank you, thank you xo

  11. phi says:

    O Dear… I am in a painful situation with a friend of mine who has lapsed into drugs after a long hard year. Try as we might we are unable to get her into rehab. Do you have any advice on how to approach a loved one in order to help them? We tried to purchase her plane tickets home to her father but she refuses to board on the day of the flight… I fear she is withering away. So many of our talented friends suffer and it’s impossible to stand by when empathy alone does not help.

    • Local Milk says:

      Apart from saying how you feel, what you see, and suggesting that she try a 12 step meeting, suggesting that she not make up her mind about it before she gives it a couple of chances (i.e. more than just one), that she doesn’t reject it prior to investigation (an approach we can all agree is intelligent)…there isn’t much else you can do. I know that any addict in recovery in any program would be willing to talk to your friend if she was willing to talk to them. I will say that I know that 12 step programs work, but no one can make anyone do that. That’s a choice she would have to make on her own. I’ve seen them save countless lives for those that choose that. But again, that’s work only she can do. In short, a 12 step book, the phone number of an addict in recovery, a meeting schedule, a suggestion, and your honest feelings are about all that you can give her.

      I’m so sorry that I haven’t got more, but I’m afraid there’s no one size fits all advice because no two people are the same and no one can recover until they’re ready. There aren’t magic words. What worked for me is the very same thing that failed the girl that passed away this week. I was forced into rehab by an intervention, but that isn’t why I got well. Something happened to me in there, I changed, and I don’t know why or how. But I did have a sense that I was going to lose everything if I didn’t try my very hardest to find a way out. That certainly was my initial motivation.

    • phi says:

      Thank you so much for your input. .. I am going to pass your advise to my friends when I meet to tak to them about this situation. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy as much of her while she is here with me. Probably over food. I wish you the best.

  12. Amy says:

    This was so powerful and so beautiful. Just like I’m sure your friend was. “And God save us if we ever think it’s because we’re somehow better than those that didn’t make it out alive.” Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you for the reminder to always be grateful, show amends, and to never forget where one came from.

  13. Ann says:

    This post moved me near to tears. I lost my brother to “long term effects of alcoholism.” He was a good man, not a drunk. He worked; he loved his daughter; he helped his neighbors; he never hurt anyone but himself as far as I know. I never judged him because I believed it was just the breaks that he got that demon to battle while I did not. As you quoted, “But for the grace of God….” There is no logic or perfect solution. We all should absolutely rejoice for and with anyone who fights free.

    I’m so glad that you are one of those survivors. Living well is indeed the best amends and grateful gift back to the grace that saved you, whatever you choose to call it. Keep showing up as just you, which is always enough.

    • Local Milk says:

      I’m so sorry about your brother. And about the belated reply, I’ve been very away all winter. So many people don’t understand that alcoholism isn’t a moral deficiency, it’s an illness. I have no doubt your brother was a great man. I’ve known so many brilliant kind people that suffer from this. Thank you for sharing that with me. Every reminder about how great a gift recovery is and how real the consequences of using are is a blessing to me.

  14. This is an incredibly moving post, and I’m so glad I came across your blog. My best friend (who was also my ex-husband/partner) committed suicide in 2010 after years of battling emotional issues and addiction. I am very sorry for your loss and I commend you for your strength. It is a long, difficult road, and many people don’t understand. You are an inspiration.

  15. Lathelize says:

    You wrote a very moving post full of humanity. You’re very talented and your blog is brigt and inspirationnal. “haut les coeurs”,we say in France to say keep forward…

  16. Chelo says:

    This is so moving. Thank you.

  17. Ginger says:

    To a fellow mate in living life well, thank you for reminding me that we’re in this together, one day at a time – sometimes one hour at a time – and there is always hope for the one who is still entangled.

  18. Kate says:

    I first read this on my phone when you posted about it on Twitter, and it so moved me that I couldn’t even begin to form a response. I had to read it again, one more time and then allow my thoughts to flow. You see, I’m a recovering drug addict myself, this year will be #16 that I’ve managed to keep those demons at bay and while it’s so much easier now, it never leaves you. The scars are a constant, even when the black world lifts from around you and the light is able to pour in. What I’ve discovered after nearly 16 years is that the scars can be a source of strength or they can pull you back under, if you allow. It becomes, once again, your choice, like everything else in our day to day living. I’ve lost so much through that darkness that I can’t even begin to describe it, but in the living days over 16 years of fight and victory, I’ve gained so, so, so much more. I love the honesty in this post, and the hope. Thank you so much for the bravery to share your story.

  19. Sanda says:

    Such a sad post..but in the same time I could feel hope. I am so sad for your friend.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, as always. I have read your post three times so far and can pull something different every time. Will miss you while your away with your other endevours. Please come back.
    p.s. Just added the bread recipe to my dinner ideas; can’t wait to try it.

  21. Kimberly says:

    This is my first visit.
    I came because the beauty of your pictures on pinterest.
    But it’s your words that fed my soul.
    Thank you.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Your words are so moving and your talent so greatly appreciated. <3

  23. Nikki says:

    I don’t often comment on blog posts, but I knew I had to on this one. My father fought similar battles and lost his six years ago. His battle was with alcohol and he was in and out of rehab, counseling, hospitals, AA, etc. He was one of the ones who could not stand and it wasn’t for lack of trying. He got to the point where he was knew he was going to lose everything so he chose to take his own life rather than watch that happen. I have always questioned why some are able to stand and some are not. Your words meant a lot… not being better, not being worse, just knowing that with the gift you’ve been given, you will continue to strive. That’s what matters. It is a battle that I cannot even begin to understand, but I am thankful for people like you, who are able to be so open and speak so eloquently and beautifully, so that we have even the tiniest glimpse of what the struggle is like and what it can do to you. I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend, but glad that you are surviving… thriving.

    • Local Milk says:

      I’m so sorry about your father. I have been wanting to reply to these comments for a while but have been away all winter… and I just wanted to let you know how much it means to me for you to share that with me. Addiction afflicts so many people and families and it’s not always out in the open like I think it should be. It thrives on secrecy and silence. I really don’t know why some get out and some don’t. I have no idea, and as I still do for my roommate I mourn for every loss. As an addict I think you have to live, as they say, one day at a time because recovery isn’t something you magically get and get to keep forever. You have to do it every day. I always live with the knowledge that if I don’t remember it’s no virtue of mine and that I am what I am, that could be me one day. And it’s always sad but good to remember what it does. Thank you.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I know you haven’t replied to every post and I know you would like to but I also know you’re headed for a big adventure that is now taking all your time (Since I’ve known you all your life I have this inside information you see). I just want to say I cannot read either your post or any of the replies that are longer than two sentences without tears. One evokes the other and your candid ‘soul bearing’ literally burst a dam of emotional release in others, myself included, as the person you remind me of is you. Much love. The mutterer.

  25. This is hitting close to home and your words give me hope. Powerless bittersweet hope, but hope nevertheless. How brave and beautiful of you to write this. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  26. rgcblackie says:

    Sometimes a moment of darkness is needed to see the stars. May God bless you…the roads you have taken…the road you are on…the roads still left to travel. And I hope that your friend has found peace.

  27. Madonna says:

    This was very painful to read. You are so talented in both your writing and your culinary skills. I am so happy that you made it through the rain. I was struck in awe this week when I watched James Taylor sing America The Beautiful at the inauguration. He said his drug of choice was heroin. The chances of him making it was pretty slim yet somehow he did. We are grateful for it. I have heard about living well is the best revenge; I am not interested in revenge either, but I want you to be good to yourself for all of us, and that means living well.

    Beth, check out A Food Centric Life. It is a dot com site. She makes vegetable broth in a pressure cooker in seven minutes.

    Stay well.

  28. I feel the same about that statement that best revenge is success. To me, that statement pretty much means that they really haven’t succeeded at all. Revenge has no place in that statement whatsoever. It is about love and kindness and being happy – that is success. So glad that you have gotten to that place. I just love your blog :)

  29. Karen says:

    I followed the crumbs from a gorgeous photo of yours on Pinterest and instead found not only that photo, but your very stirring post here. Thanks for sharing what is so deeply personal; it takes courage to expose the painful bits. All the best to you…

  30. Anni says:

    This is lovely, exactly what I needed on a cold winter’s day.

  31. Amy Johnson says:

    Wow. I just read what you wrote, and it was really beautifully written and heart felt. Having had a similar background, it really was moving. Keep up the great work. I love reading your blog.

  32. Anonymous says:


    Been a reader for a while, but have never commented before. This post really resonated with me in a way blogs never do. My brother has been in recovery for almost 10 years now, and for the first time since we he left treatment, he is relapsing. I know hes going through a hard time personally (a horrible break up with his gf of 4 years), and a desperate desire to make friends (among people that probably aren’t the best for him). But I still don’t know what I can do. How do you try to help someone you love while maintaining the emotional distance that everyone in recovery (or supporting those in recovery) is supposed to cultivate? How can you? I can’t sleep at night worrying about him.

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Beth. I also want to commend you for your openness about your recovery (something I wish more people could do, as I think it would help so many more people). You should know that anyone who has ever been touched by that disease has you in a special place in their hearts.


    • Local Milk says:

      I am sorry for the late reply. This comment struck me especially hard. Because no matter how much time you have, one year to twenty, it can always happen. It’s easy to stay clean when everything’s all sunshine but having faith and holding on to some…thread… I don’t even know what it is when things fall dark. I don’t know. It’s a scary prospect. And many addicts have trouble then. I think we all struggle with feeling pain immensely and also not knowing what the hell to do about it.

      I don’t know what you can do for your brother. I would be supportive, loving. I would make suggestions, obviously. That he go to meetings, they’re always the baseline. Talking to addicts in recovery too. For me, essentially an intervention, ultimatums from my family worked. The hard part is standing by those if he says “no”. I hope that maybe by now he’s gotten better, back into recovery. But maybe not. I know a lot of addicts go back out & relive every bit of pain and suffering and then return to sobriety. And sometimes it takes that, but I pray not for him. The good news is, he knows recovery and that will make using really, really shitty for him. It’s never the same when you go back out. And that means the chances are very good he’ll reach his bottom quickly and look for another way again. I know that may sounds awful, but it’s actually good.

  33. Kris says:

    “It’s always in our attempts to escape suffering that we suffer the most” – This is a real truth. You are so courageous to be learning to be with the suffering. Thank you for sharing this story with us

  34. Eliza says:

    I just came across your blog, i love your writing, very beautiful post. Your recipes are so lovely as well.

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  36. I’m sorry about your friend. I’m dealing with a loved one right now on a spiraling out of control. thank you. your blog is beautiful.

  37. Mary Claire says:

    thank you so much for writing this. I know so many people can relate on some level to your words & I feel so touched & uplifted by your positive experience & your poetic writing style. I also love your pictures, I need some advice on taking indoor food photos, those are incredible!

  38. Dawn M says:

    Dear Beth,
    So sorry to read about your loss. May your friend’s family find comfort and peace at such a heartbreaking time.
    Beth, stay brave, you are so talented. A Grateful reader, Dawn x

  39. CP and KW says:

    beautiful stories and beautiful photos. a perfect combination. thank you for sharing both. i am sorry for your loss.
    kw Ladies in Navy

  40. thyme Sarah says:

    I read your story just now. First time visiting you here. My heart goes out to you because I can share some of the levels of pain you have been through. I was raised by a parent addicted to violence and so I know how difficult it is to be in life and understand what is the “normal” of it all. You can do this…you can move forward…don’t look back…just keep on keep’in on.

  41. Micheline says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing this, so heartfelt and beautiful. I read your blog often, enjoying your way with words, lovely photography and inventive recipes. You obviously have come so far and have gifts to share with the world. Thank you, again, for letting your light shine on the rest of us. Take care.

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  43. beautiful. you write and create with the purest of beauties. To be honest, I stumbled here following bread crumbs (I´m a sucker for homemade bread), but have been SO pleasantly surprised. I am a mama, a proud homemaker, a creater, a pretty sensitive soul, a survivor in many ways. And I have also been clean for 13 years. I find the way you write about surviving, passing, guilt and the simplicity of how complex this all is, basically just sums it all up, but in a painfully beautiful way. Thank you for reminding me. Clau

  44. Kathryne says:

    Beth, I’m so glad you made it out of the rain, and I’m terribly sorry about your friend. Thank you for sharing your honest, true feelings and talents with the rest of us.

  45. KG says:

    Former/recovered/recovering addict or no, this is a tough one for anyone to accept (myself included): “But I’m not the author of that book and there is nothing I can do to change it.” Well said. Thank you for sharing and for what it’s worth, thank you for reminding us how precious life is. Bread too. And soup.

  46. Mrunmayee says:

    Firstly, I am so glad I found your blog and that too on a post like the one I just read, so full of Heart and Light and all things Life. I know, it can be so difficult to put words to feelings, to goings on of life and I love how you have done that with so much Love and Truth… I do not relate with your experience, simply beacuse I have never known anyone in that postition, but I relate to the emotion with which you have expressed…
    Will surely visit again.
    RIP for your freind and love from India.

  47. pia says:

    I would like to show some gratitude to these great recipe ingredients. I recently achieved it plus it attained excellent: -)
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  48. *michelle says:

    hello beth…

    i came here looking for you because i realized i hadn’t seen your beauty on pinterest…to find you haven’t been there for weeks…and here to read of your loss. as one who had a recovery road of my own, i so appreciate the idea that the best way to say thank you is to live a beautiful life. i am grateful every day…sending you a little warmth as you heal and process the loss of your friend and a reminder that you touch so many with the gorgeous way you live your best life. xo*m

  49. Beth – I am so making this tonight! For whatever reason, the hubby and I are addicted to curry lately, and I am always up to try a new “fast bread” recipe. I’ll make the soup vegetarian – easily done, using veggie stock instead of chicken.

  50. Dawn M says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thought while you are not so present online, I will drop you a line via pinterest or here to let you know that your creative eye inspires. Thank you, D x

  51. Eva Kosmas says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Beth. Your openness and honesty is helpful to many, and the way you express it is poetic.

    “Living well is no grand gesture. It is waking up. Trying to be reasonable and kind. It is making a phone call, a loaf of bread, a visit, a bowl of soup. It’s going easy on yourself so you can go easy on everyone else. It’s having faith because really we have no other option in this life. There is little we can control, and so we must let go and live with faith that somehow, come what may, we’ll make it.”

    I lost my job recently, and have been feeling pretty down lately about it, but reading that helps me let go of the anxiety. Thank you for this post. It is beautiful in so many ways.

  52. I made a post on my blog inspired by this. I hope it is ok to post the link in this comment. Your post meant a lot to me and I hope it is okay that I quoted you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and such beautiful creations. <3

  53. Joyti says:

    I just discovered your blog (and I added it to my blogroll, hope you don’t mind)…and I’ve read this post twice already. It is incredibly brave, beautiful really.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  54. alix says:

    Wow. I just found you via your Pinterest boards (not sure if you care…but I’m always curious how people find me….) and this was such a heart felt lovely post. I wasn’t expecting such beautiful honestly when I clicked over. Your writing and images are both wonderful. I can’t believe I’m only stumbling upon you now (apparently I’ve been under a rock). xo

  55. Anonymous says:

    truly beautiful entry. thank you for giving me much needed perspective in my own life. today i’m going to feel overflowing gratitude for this life.

  56. Senka I says:

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  57. Zoe says:

    Wow. Amazing. I want to write this totally long-winded comment about how I never read blog posts all the way through but this one I did and was totally blown away + that my heart and prayers go out to you and your room mate’s family + about how I don’t know whether to share it on twitter and facebook and everywhere because it was so incredibly written and heartfelt and somehow I feel like doing so would make something so beautiful seem so ‘every day’. But…it looks like I have just written that long-winded comment and it looks like I will share it because if I can be so touched by it (me in my totally sheltered little world) then maybe it will make a real difference in someone’s life. Well done. I really mean it. Zoe.

  58. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled on this accidentally via Pinterest, where I follow you loyally, and was so grateful for the unexpected sobriety disclosure, and your poignant view of its mysteries. Four months in, and loving my new (and also apparently miraculous) life, and finding a new camrade makes my day.

    All best thoughts…


  59. Mrs BC says:

    Such a beautifully written perspective, thank you for sharing.

  60. What a beautiful, brave post. So many wrestle with addiction on a daily basis, and congrats for the strength to rise above it. Your photos are really stunning, so expressive, just like your writing. I’m so sorry about your friend, but so grateful to have found your blog. I found it through Food52, BTW. Oh, and the soup looks warm and comforting!

  61. Sajid Khan says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  62. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled upon your blog last night and was immediately captured. I spent long hours reading all of your past posts and already can’t wait for your next one. As a self-proclaimed “food blog addict,” (I spend way more time on them than I would like to admit,) your blog may be the best. Not only are your recipes unexpected and interesting, your writing is truly sensational. Please don’t stop writing, you really have a gift.

  63. Dear Beth,
    Through facebook i just found your blog! I am so impressed with your honest writing and amazing cooking (and pictures!!). You have gone through a lot, and it makes me very happy to hear where you are today. I am very sorry to hear about your friend. It is hard to understand. You are right about the grace of God… I remember you fondly, even in the state you were in back then. Wish we could meet again some day! For now i wish you much love, amazing cooking, even on MasterChef and days with sunshine!
    Love, Christa Ludwick from l’Abri Holland!! xx

  64. A sad but beautiful post. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey with us. Addiction of any sort is the worst disease, so glad you you are on a different path now.

  65. [email protected] says:

    You have written so much here that is so beautiful and insightful. Specifically-

    “Living well is no grand gesture. It is waking up. Trying to be reasonable and kind. It is making a phone call, a loaf of bread, a visit, a bowl of soup. It’s going easy on yourself so you can go easy on everyone else.”

    I am recovering as well and I wish someone had said this to me, exactly this way, 20 years ago. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently. God Bless You.

  66. I came here from your waffle cake post (beautiful cake, by the way!), and I want to thank you for your post and your honesty. I have a friend who is just on the edge of starting this path, of leaping off the cliff into the life you left behind. She’s so young, and she’s at the stage where it’s still so exciting and the consequences seem so distant and impossible. I don’t know what to do for her, or even if there’s anything I can do at all, but it gives me hope to know that people can come out ok on the other side.

  67. I stumbled into you through Pinterest a couple weeks ago and I’ve been pinning almost everything you’ve ever pinned. It’s all so soulful and speaks to MY soul. Especially your “photons” board. So now I’m pouring over your food blog. I was home ec teacher who’s never really been much of a cook. Now a photographer in search of my self. I’m terrible with words, but even before this touching post I’ve had a lump in my throat. Something about your photos and your words and all of it….I’m feeling like I’m discovering myself again. And now I’m crying and I’m going to go cook. Soup and bread.

    • Thank you for your heartfelt response. I’m so terrible at time management I almost never respond to comments because I get overwhelmed a bit. But I just want to say thank you. There’s nothing I want to do more than make people feel like people, like it’s okay to be a person. Because I’m such a person. And I need it to be okay too. Take pictures. It makes you excited about the world, at least it does for me. It gives a sense of purpose to everything sometimes. You start to see beauty in corners.

  68. Luana says:

    I was sick once too. One day when I was on the ground my husband said “baby we need help but first, I’m going to make you something to eat’ …… This reminded me of that moment

  69. […] bread. I’d never made any sort of produce-based bread before (although I have made this amazing bread recipe from Local Milk), so I was pretty excited. After looking all over town for some loaf pans and not […]

  70. […] my kitchen fairly busy this week. It started on Sunday, when I made both Bisquick Coffee Cake and No Time Bread in one afternoon. And my poor oven still didn’t get a break, because shortly after I baked […]

  71. Rikki says:

    So Beth, I’ve made your honey wheat bread recently – simply divine daily bread! Then tonight, I was yearning for a winter meal, my bet was on soup, and if I could use up the squash on hand, all the better – I instantly thought of your seasonal recipes and came across this one. I consider myself a pretty good cook (especially soups and breads), but this one. This is the most amazing soup ever! I’ve honestly been a tad intimidated by your recipes, they all seem so exquisite! I am more excited than ever to try more of your recipes, and if / when you ever have a cook book, consider me first in line!! Thanks Beth!

  72. anonymous says:

    Thank you for your post, it touched me. Those gifts moments of understanding, empathy and connection from one recovering addict to another are true gifts. So much of what you said hit home. What keeps me going every day – good, bad and inbetween – has everythig to do with gratitude, acceptance and the attempt to stay right sized. My life radically changed when i relapsed 14 years ago, and it took me more years than i had had clean & sober to hit bottom, and it wasn’t pretty…it never is. I could never have predicted that i would be, literally, where I am today, and that has to be ok. I am not 27 and in recovery with years potentially ahead of me as i once was, but the simple gifts my new way of living has afforded me pale in comparison to any fleeting misgivings. There aren’t as many ‘shoulds’ or ‘i deserve to be’s’…i try to remain grateful that i AM. And the love and passion i have found for food and cooking have opened up new creative possibilities. One thing that struck me most in what you wrote was when we must learn to be gentle with ourselves. One of thecmost importnt lessons of the past year or so has been to accept that i m ‘having a bad day’…that i’m not functioning anyway near 100%, and it’s ok. Slow down, eat soup, take a nap, rub my cats belly…breathe. As my sponsor says – ‘aren’t you sometimes glad it’s only one day at a time?’ Peace…

  73. […] like the last big snowstorm that cancelled school, when I made ramen vegetable soup and bread for my roommates while we hunkered down in our […]

  74. Kimberly says:

    Oh Beth… How I love thee! I’m sitting here this Sunday morning listening to my three little ones laugh and play and I am browsing the web here in bed. Hungover again, after two failed attempts I awoke this morning eager to get sober agian! Then I stumbled across your beautifully written entry about the loss of your beautiful friend…. I am so sorry and I am reminded to never give up, thank you. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time for me, it is time to start feeling and dealing with the pains of life. I’ve always thought that addicts are such poetically beautiful people that love so deep, breath s heavy and feel the weight of the world! I, too have so many amazing things in my life and am eager to see them without foggy eyes! Your such an inspiration, thank you.

  75. Your post is beyond touching. It is heart wrenching, tear jerking, stomach turning all while evoking feelings of hope, anxiety, desire for will power. It, by FAR is the most inspirational, honest, well written, soul searching piece of work I have read in a long time… perhaps ever.

  76. Heather says:

    This is beautiful. It’s filled with so much truth and positivity about going forward no matter the struggle. You are a strong woman and not many would share their story or be honest with the outside world about past (and possibly present) struggles but it’s good. It’s good to read. This post is quite a bit old, so perhaps you have found your peace with the passing of your friend, and I do hope so. Also, the recipe looks divine.

  77. I came here for the bread recipe that I spotted on Pinterest. ‘There must have been something wonderful on Local Milk that I’ve missed’, I thought. Little did I know that I would find myself reading this strong and honest piece of writing at half past midnight.
    Beth, I say this from the bottom of my heart: you are one of the most amazing women out there. I look up to you in so many ways. Not because you’re some hero who has walked through the rain or risen from the ashes but because you’re real; because you’re strong, even in your weakest moments. Just wanted to say this out loud. Thinking of you. xo

  78. Dusty says:


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  79. Lili says:

    Dear Beth, I recently discovered your blog and started following mostly because of your beautiful photography. Little did I know that I will find myself sitting here in my living room, reading over and over again your words, with a lump in my throat, million thoughts going through my mind about courage, strength and weakness, dark places that are sometimes calling and the will to resist them, a way to find that light and beauty and warmth in ordinary simple things,.. just like your bread and soup. Beth, you are a writer, a poet, a photographer, a stylist, an artist and an inspiration. You can and should be proud of yourself. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Lili

  80. Kaitlin says:

    Your post brought me to tears this morning. Thank you for sharing your words, your story, your pain, and your beauty.

  81. Kimberly says:

    What if I do not have a microwave? How long for the rise? Thank you

  82. aanrechtblad says:

    I found this post very exciting. I think you will have any other post on this topic? I am also sending it to my friend to enjoy your working style. Cheers!

  83. E. David says:

    Very moving, very poignant. If I could voice to what you’ve written, I would, but can’t. Suffered a left-brained stroke a little over a year ago; left me totally without speech, and partial use of my right-hand which is my writing hand. My addictions have been, still are, photography and baking. I can no longer wield the heft of my DSLR, and now trust a feather-light cell phone to do my bidding; and, I find flour between my fingers both soothing and therapeutic. I bake mainly for my wife who is in her third week of a six-month journey thru chemo therapy. Makes the bi-weekly trek to “The Chemo Cafe”–as infusion patients have dubbed it–a little more bearable.

  84. […] a quick recipe for crusty, ‘No Time Bread’. Both recipes can be found here…. at Beth’s blog, ‘Local Milk‘. In New Zealand we may not be familiar with the name ‘squash’ but it is the same […]

  85. Eva Luna says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and your recipes. I can relate to what you so eloquently wrote. I too, shouldn’t be here. And I’ve learned “clean” is a journey, where you fall and less and less and one day, you haven’t done it in forever and you don’t want to, either.
    I’m on that journey.
    I understand the connection between your story and your food. Bread and soup is so comforting. Sometimes I like to create beautiful things in the kitchen to counteract what I’m feeling inside. I wish you the very best in the valleys that this year will bring. I hope that you will always, always, always find your way out.

  86. […] Other recipes used: For the cake (marzipan inspiration here)/  For the hot chocolate mix /  For the marshmallows / For the bread. […]

  87. Nina says:

    Thank you from the very bottom of my aching heart – I just sent this post to my sisters, one of whom can’t seem to beat her addiction and may not see tomorrow, and to the other who did and is thriving. Keep doing what you do love, for it is clearly a gift to us all.

  88. Suzanne says:

    Loved reading your words of experience and wisdom. I am the remaining guilty survivor left to ponder and wonder….why? My twin’s death (from alcohol) follows me everywhere and every day.

  89. Coby says:

    Thank you. I’ve learned compassion through reading and writing. It makes me feel enriched to read this. Thank you.

  90. Suzan says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I have a friend that is jail because of his addiction. I never know the “right” thing to say. Perhaps just being loving and supportive?
    Thank you again.

  91. emily grace says:

    Thank you for life story and bread and soup. :)
    Emily Grace

  92. Michelle says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I’m here exploring for the first time today, You are quite a remarkable woman. Happened upon your blog in the middle of yet another sleepless night. I frankly can’t even recall how I arrived here now that I’ve been transported back to my childhood. Thirty years ago on 1 August, my father died at the age of 37 from complications resulting from his addiction to both drugs and alcohol. Decades of abuse destroyed him — and nearly destroyed everyone around him. My most vivid memories are of the horrors of being forced to grow up way too fast witnessing his anger and self destruction. It is all I knew.
    I applaud and admire you for making the difficult decision to change your life (and subsequently the lives of those who love you.) My father never did – often forgoing food for our family so he could feed his addiction.
    I inherited his tendencies — found myself on a dangerous path in high school. A car accident (I was a passenger) inadvertently changed the direction I took. Now, the choices my 13 year old son will be making in the upcoming years are what keeps me up at night. Did he also inherit this? Have I taught him well? Time will tell I suppose.
    To all who are struggling with overcoming addiction – thank you for taking those steps and PLEASE keep going. You are SO worth it.

  93. Sandra says:

    You are a very sensitive person and have the right attitude. For you:
    When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.
    (Thomas Edison)
    Keep on the beautiful things that you are doing.

  94. […] On addiction, try here. […]

  95. Anna says:

    Thank you for this piece, this peace. I too hope to one day find myself out of this rain. It’s a different rain, but it feels so much the same. I too want to beat what feel like impossible odds and be able to one look back and find the sentiments you so beautifully put down. Onward warriors are we all.

  96. Ratika says:

    Beautiful writing, I just can’t get enough of it. And I’m sorry for your loss; I too miss my be friend a lot since we moved elsewhere. It’s hard when you’re not able to be with the person who you spent half your days with, giving them a huge part of yourself.

  97. Andrew says:

    Beth, wow I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this today as I sit in the dreary rain I ponder.
    I myself am an addict out of recovery for 4 months changing everything about me. Your encouraging, honest words bring me life and hope. One addict can best understand another addict. I appreciate you giving back and for that I’m grateful.
    As for your friend I can relate I’ve lost multiple maybe not nearly as close as you two were but I try to understand what you feel to lose someone to this disease. As you said it wasn’t her lack of was the disease and I’m sorry for her and the many others that won’t make it to the other side.
    The recipes sound amazing keep up the good work..remember one day at a time.
    Much love,


  98. Steve Smith says:

    How creative!. It is so delicious. Thank for sharing. I love soup. I’m going to try it now

  99. I don’t know why her story was written like that. But I’m not the author of that book and there is nothing I can do to change it.

  100. jenny says:

    Thanks to supposed a great idea to make my day fantastic.Thanks for share this with us.I just amaze to be here and to discover this awesome post.

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