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Butternut squash gnocchi with sausage and sage

A familiar comfort dish in a new place to call home.

By We Are Never Full / December 28, 2012

Handmade butternut squash gnocchi seasoned with sweet Italian sausage, sage, and goat cheese.

We Are Never Full

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We have a confession to make. After eight enjoyable but increasingly long years in Brooklyn we jumped ship over the summer to the suburbs. We didn’t deliberately hide it, we just didn’t make a big deal of it on our blog. Okay, so there is definitely some weird foodie cachet to living in a big city known for its culinary diversity that we may have been slightly concerned about losing by moving to the “food desert” of the suburbs, if for nothing else than invites to foodie parties we never attended and offerings of freebie samples we rarely covered. And, given that a good proportion of our content focuses on some of the incredible diversity of the New York dining scene, it’s only reasonable for us to have been a little apprehensive about finding that elsewhere.  

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We Are Never Full

Amy and Jonny Seponara-Sills (Amy’s American, Jonny’s English) run the food blog We Are Never Full. Through recipes, anecdotes and podcasts, it chronicles their borderline obsession with food from meals made at home to travels studiously built around the search for authentic regional and national dishes from all over the world.

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The saying goes that “there is no zealot like the former addict”, and while we can freely admit that we once subscribed to the belief that Brooklyn is one of the greatest places for food in the country and that, by comparison, there was very little of gastronomic interest in that strange netherworld of highways and sub-divisions between the farm and the city, we now believe this to have been the result of Stockholm syndrome. A peculiar phenomenon of prisoners in long term captivity under which they not only begin to sympathize with their captors but often seek to convince themselves that they deserve nothing better than their current lot, for us, the mantra of “this place is awesome!”, became inverted into the question “if this place is so awesome, why aren’t we happier here?”

It took us a couple of years of drudgery, but since resolving that city life wasn’t feasible in the long term, we found ourselves accidentally stumbling across enough great Mexican grocers and terrific Indian supermarkets in the most unlikely of strip-malls to know that the terrifying tales of sneering urban hipsters, aghast at the prospect of people being forced to shop in supermarkets and suffer the ignominy of having to, gasp!, drive there and back, neither phased us anymore nor accurately portrayed suburban reality.

It’s tempting to say that for all our snobbery about unfettered access to the newest and hippest restaurants and the freshest and most diverse markets, like most city folk, even those who consider themselves into food, in the latter two years we, principally due to the rigors of carting an unwilling child around, rarely left our neighborhood in search of new victuals. Prior to that, perhaps because we always knew that we weren’t going to be staying in New York forever, we did our very best to absorb as much of it as we could – enjoying some wonderful and fascinating meals over the years – but when the advantages of Brooklyn life became inaccessible, the disadvantages of it became impossible to ignore.

Interestingly, and to throw out another old chestnut, a change really is as good as a rest, because while there is certainly rather less diversity on one’s doorstep in suburbia, recent trips to a local Persian restaurant, Carl Venezia’s pork store and a pub serving real cask conditioned, hand-pulled ales have renewed our ardor for seeking out the good stuff. And while we still have only limited time to explore our new area’s gastronomic offerings, in all honesty, outings of that variety are far more enjoyable in the company of a toddler than schlepping out to Jackson Heights, Queens, on the subway for Colombian or Egyptian food, even if they don’t have quite the same exotic ring.

Above all, we can say that we are deliriously happy with our new status as home owners. We would never have imagined we could buy anything half as beautiful or historic, and given the absurd real estate prices, it’s a stone-cold certainty that we never would have afforded even half as much in Brooklyn. Now that we’re settling in to our new home and new environment, and our son has got used to fresh air, and is becoming less agoraphobic at the sight of open spaces featuring tall trees, we’re starting to get back to some sort of cooking schedule in our new kitchen.

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