Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew

If it's true, as the fashion designer Givenchy once said, that hair style is the final tip-off as to whether a woman really knows herself, them I'm one mixed up lady. Though, if my confused and confusing hair style is due to the work of a stylist, am I to be held responsible for my lack of self-awareness?

Ever since my pigtails got chopped off when was five years old, I've had short hair. I was a gangly girl with a honey blond pixie back in the mid 1960s, and in the 1970's eschewed the flowing hippie tresses of the day for hair more like the Bee Gees brother Barry in the Jive Talking disco heyday. Ever since then, I've opted for hair that could be described as sharp, professional, stylish. Long and silky? Never.

A year ago, when My Baby and I decided to have an autumn wedding, I got the wild notion that I'd wear my hair in a romantic French twist for the occasion. Awkward grow-out be damned; I achieved my goal.

In the months that have followed, I've continue to let my hair grow. It was a completely new me I was coming to know, the me who enjoys feeling pretty rather than precise. Throwing it back into twists or tossled updos was fun for my farm life days, a few curls put into it worked well for my city life days. And it did feel like me.

And I felt like this...

Until Saturday. All I wanted was a little shaping and the ends refreshed for spring. I walked out with short layers everywhere on what had become my shoulder-length 'do. It'll be months before it's back to where it was. Uuuugh.

Hair being the crowning glory of a woman and all, I was pretty bummed. But you know, now that I'm a little more mature, a bad haircut really can be overcome with a great meal and bottle of great wine.

This recipe comes from Food and Wine magazine, which is a terrific source for delicious, interesting meals, many of which are quick and easy. Jamie Oliver's Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew is a good example. This quick stew has a slightly creamy, mustardy, thyme-scented sauce that drapes lightly over meaty mushrooms, lilting leeks and chunks of white chicken.

Food and Wine recommended pairing the Chicken-Leek Stew with a big, buttery California Chardonnay. We carried it in that direction, but instead used a barrel-aged Pinot Gris from one of our favorite local Oregon wineries.

Sarver Winery makes so many delightful wines, but I've grown really attached to their Pinot Gris line-up, especially their 2009 Estate Grown Barrel-aged Pinot Gris. The acidic, fruity Pinot Gris grape, when made in the Chardonnay style (aged in oak), adds up to a lovely balance of texture and flavor, and was just a joy with this dish.

With my chin up, my hair in a state of flux, my belly full and my heart warmed, I leave you with this final quote:

Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like. ~ Author Unknown


  1. Aw, I'm sure your hair isn't as bad as you think it is. You're still pretty and talented, just as before :-) I've always had long hair (my round face can't support any short lengths) so, I wonder what it's like to have short pixie-like hair! Hair aside (no pun intended), I am loving this dish like no other! Cheer up... it's going to be a great week! Oh, and that picture of you and your hubby is absolutely adorable!

  2. Oh no! I hate when "take a little off" becomes a free for all of hacking. Bless your heart. I'm sure it is still gorgeous. And what a lovely dish. Beautiful plating.

  3. I still remember when I was about five and the "stylist" cut my bangs on an angle. Oh, how I cried! This meal, though, would take the sting out of about anything!

  4. love this post, Pam! You are so adorable. I love the french twist. I too, was always a short-haired girl. My mom insisted that my hair was too fine to be long. Ugh. SO MANY bad haircuts growing up. I cringe.

    So I became a hairstylist! Oh how I loved my clients...well, most of them. After about 10 years in the business I was burnt-out, but I still sling the shears around for some cash on the side.

    That looks delish. I get so bored with chicken, yet it's all I really buy, so having a refreshing new recipe is very exciting! Thanks Dahhhling.

  5. Gosh, I love the way you write. I've had long hair my whole adult life and one of the few dreams that will wake me up sobbing is a recurring one where my hair is cut very, very short. Quite the nightmare.

    That being said, your dinner is definitely enough to cure any hair woes. Wow, it looks delicious. I admit that I'm as much enchanted by that delicious artichoke as by the chicken, leek and mushrooms. Yum.

  6. It always seems a nightmare when our haircuts don't go as planned!! Ack!! A bottle or two of wine does indeed help, so does this amazing looking meal!

  7. I'm sure your beautiful locks will grow back to norm.

    This dinner looks fantastic!

  8. Your post made me smile so much! That stew looks beautiful. Bookmarked!

  9. I'm a dude and keep my hair short so I can only say that I'm sad that you got a bad cut. I know (from Margot) that it can be a real downer.

    As for the food though, the thing that caught my attention was the barrel aged Pinot Gris. I haven't had it in that style before and it indeed sounds worthy of a taste. Good thing I'll be out that way in a few months!


  10. I had many bad hair cuts in my youth, and Mom would always tell me that "Your Hair will grow out", and she was right. However the trauma you go through until it does, can only be soothed by wine and Chicken Leek Stew. great post!

  11. Adorable post!

    This dish is divine!

  12. I have dreams about having hair long enough to put in a ponytail. I've always had short hair. My current woe is this time she put some violet in the color and I'm pretty sure in a couple weeks when it fades, I'm going to have pink hair. The stew looks great!

  13. That looks just wonderful. You also reminded me of how my Food & Wine magazines just stack up - there are so many recipes in the world, it would take me a year to go through all the recipes contained in just one issue, it seems.

  14. The Food & Wine Magazines now have a special place in our recipe library, there is no way we can cook or create all the recipes we just don't dare throw one out just in case.
    Love the Sesame Street video, very cute, I am going to play it for my grand daughter, she will love it.

  15. I have finally found the hair stylist that I like!! It took about 42 years, but I love her, and it only costs $16! I've spent up to $100 on a hair cut and never have really been happy. Jenny, though, has been the first person to help me grow my hair. Right now it's the longest it's been in my life and my mother, who insisted on the pixie cut in the 60's for me, doesn't like it. I also grew mine out for my wedding and did a french twist! Just before my daughter was born I explained to the stylist I wanted something a little shorter and easier. OMG< it was as short as my husband's military cut! The photos of me in the hospital are pudgy faced and miliartyish. Not really attractive.... the kids have flat out laughed.
    Hang in there... It will get better.

  16. Sorry to hear you didn't like your haircut! But, you'll see -- before your know it, your hair will have grown again :)

  17. Ohhhhh, I despise the trim-turned-hair-all-gone situation! I'm glad you drowned your sorrows with good food and wine. This stew looks amazing. Well done (as always).


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