Tag Archives: food culture

mid-week round-up

back alley

What are you up to this week? Our wedding invitations are starting to show up in folk’s mailboxes and I’ve been giddily checking our online RSVP’s with WAY too much frequency. We also booked our tickets to Lexington last night. I’m really excited that I’ll be in Kentucky so soon! I opted to fly in earlier then Chet (he has to teach a summer class) so I can take care of all the last minute planning…as well as drink daily Ale-8’s and buy copious amounts of my favorite treats from Good Foods Co-op. Hope you’re all doing well and have some fun plans for this week. In the mean time, here are a dozen links for you to peruse…

Surviving for a week on gifted gift cards.

I’m learning that swivel seats are a must for luxurious van dwelling. (I have weird interests.)

How freaking cute are these watermelon coasters?

Students learn about Julia Child’s impact on American culture.

Comedian replies to email scammers and here’s what happens.

Thoughts on heels.

A notorious prison escape artist discovers a new (legal) way to lift life sentences.

Don’t judge a house by its exterior.

A great dinner to cook up when you’re feeling lazy.

Dreamy family camping trip.

I heart Amy Poehler.

Ikea tips and must-buys.

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mid-week round-up

open shutters

How’s your week going? Enjoying this hump day? Yesterday I received a very exciting package in the mail…my wedding dress! I’m giving it a few more days to make sure I’m absolutely certain but I think this one is the one. Eeeee! Speaking of exciting–isn’t this week the best? Star Wars Day today, Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, and then Derby Day followed by Mother’s Day! Let’s celebrate ’em all! Now for some links…

How did a small Midwest town end up with America’s worst HIV problem?

Stories of childbirth are absent from literary fiction.

Coffee maker cooking.

I’m guilty of using this qualifier. Are you?

America’s most popular recipe site reveals a gap between foodie culture and what people actually cook.

This history of birthing babies in Appalachia.

4 men open up about the lives they can afford.

Made me laugh.

Kids try 100 years of brown bag lunches.

A $1,000 day in Paris for $100.

Wedding photographers reveal their most memorable shots.

I NEED a pair of these genius shoes!

mid-week round-up

rusty storage wall

What’s everyone up to this week? I’ve gotten back on the wedding planning wagon and am looking forward to a few purchases that should be arriving in the mail soon, including another wedding dress and 18 feet of bunting. We also scored a guestbook and a whole bunch of chalkboard signs for SUPER cheap at an office supply store that’s going out of business. Now I’ve just gotta get the invitations printed and I’ll feel proper on top of things. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and here are some little internet gems that I thought you might like…

Healers who prioritize compassion face challenges in our medical culture.

Yoga for wine lovers.

People in Shakespeare’s England were also obsessed with food.

An exploration of syndromes that are unique to particular cultures…like magical penis theft.

The relics lingering inside America’s great national treasures.

10 Trader Joe’s beauty products you have to try.

A tiny detail lost since hunter-gatherer times and how to rediscover it.

This looks like one of those rare cases of movie better than the book. (I can’t wait to see it!)

The Arctic suicides.

Ugh, too relatable.

Has the internet changed everything?

Decorating a rental on a budget.

mid-week round-up

mountain view

Hi friends! What’s been happening? Chet and I went furniture shopping on Saturday. We got a new couch and a futon for his office (among a myriad of other things…it was Ikea after all!). I’d say it was a success and I’m LOVING the total transformation our living room has undergone with the furniture update and just a little bit of re-arranging. Oh, and thank you so much for all your sweet input on this big decision! I was so flattered by your thoughtful consideration of the options. I’m definitely learning that planning a wedding takes a village! Haha! Big love to all of you on this Wednesday and here’s to a great rest of your week. Here’s the round-up…

How to keep your brain in tip-top shape.

Peter Rabbit gets his own 50p coin.

My sister was interviewed on a recent episode of Real Recovery Radio.

A weekly habit to help you read more.

Changes to America’s morning meal.

The sexist history of…pockets?

What if America looked like Dearborn, Michigan? 

Simply chucking things out won’t solve our over-consumption woes.

An awesome subscription service for the outdoor enthusiast.

Weeknight dinner: tandoori chicken recipe.

Doctors agree with John Muir’s statement that, “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Catfish’s Max Joseph explains how his life has changed as a minor celebrity.

P.S. Like mysteries? Check out the book “Live and Let Bee” by author D.S. Nelson. Available on Kindle from Amazon TODAY!

Cooking up a taste of home.

cooking up a taste of home

The emotional power of food has long been of interest to me. You can learn so much about a person by seeing what comes out of their home kitchens. And even more watching what meals they turn to time and time again, what they cook to celebrate moments of triumph, the dishes they serve to ease a loved one’s heart break, food that feels comforting and comfortable. Certain tastes can cultivate memories, happy AND sad, traveling you through time and feelings and emotions until you reach home. Whatever home may mean to you.

Today, I’ve asked four ladies I admire to tell us about the meals they make to connect with their own feelings of home. Here’s what they had to say…

sheryl ravioli

“My dish is a Shiitake Marscapone Ravioli served with a savory sweet potato mash with pesto drizzle.  Raviolis really take me to my happy place.  Early on my Mom, Nana and Aunts would slave over making traditional raviolis for family gatherings.  I remember how labor intensive they were and coming from a large Italian American family there was no such thing as a small batch.  In an effort to get the same home made feeling without spending an entire day in the kitchen I discovered this fabulous recipe and tweaked it to suit my needs and level of laziness:).  My grandmother has influenced me as a home cook in so many ways, she has taught me to be innovative and versatile in the kitchen.  She has also ingrained a zero waste mentality (long before it was trendy) as she survived the great depression, among other hardships.  Growing up in the greater Boston area my heritage is considered a badge of honor, however I’ve come to love my life here in Lexington, KY and would wholeheartedly claim Kentucky as my home.” – Sheryl H.L.  (If you’re in the area, I HIGHLY recommend you visit Sheryl at Broomwagon, a bike and coffee shop in Lexington that frequently offers dishes with unique tastes of home.)

ashley sausage and cabbage

“Cabbage and smoked sausage, cooked with bacon grease and (hopefully) some sweet cornbread on the side. It reminds me of home; I remember my mom whipping up this quick, tasty, filling meal many a night throughout my childhood and even today when I cook it I think of her. This meal brings back memories of my dad too–it was the last meal I saw him eat before he passed away 15 years ago. Every time I eat it, I think of my family, my childhood…my home. I now live in Madison, Wisconsin, but am a Kentucky girl born and bred! I’m from Hodgenville–LaRue County for all my fellow Kentuckians.” Ashley L.

Katie buttermilk chicken

You would never know it from looking at me now, but growing up I played A LOT of sports. Swimming, tennis, cross county- you name it and I did it. I was always on the go and I was always STARVING. This unfortunately left my mother with the ridiculously extensive task of feeding me… as well as my three brothers. Needless to say, things had to get creative and foods had to be heavy. Growing up in Kentucky it wasn’t hard to find those “heavy” recipes, the recipes that contained more calories than most people eat in an entire week. Now that all of my brothers and myself are adults (ish) my mother wouldn’t go within 10 feet of these recipes but, these were the jackpot back in the day. The dish I have picked to share is Buttermilk Chicken. This particular food gives me the weirdest mix of “yum” and “ugh” feelings. My mom would make this for me after a long day of swim practices and I would come home, reeking of chlorine, and MOW DOWN at the kitchen table. So, “Yum” because it is delicious but “ugh” because I only remember getting it after several hours of exercise. Regardless of the “yum” and “ugh”, this meal brings back some great memories for me of home. When I was 15, going to bed with a full belly was pretty much all I needed. I currently live in Indianapolis, but this dish in particular reminds me that I will always consider Kentucky my home.” – Katie N. 

carrie spaghetti

When I search my feelings for the food that stirs up a sense of “home” the most, it’s definitely your standard, common spaghetti. Nothing exotic or elaborate– just the typical combination of tomato sauce and noodles. (My ideal bowl comes with a bit more sauce than noodle and plenty of toppings.) Growing up, my idea of “home” was ever-changing. Moves, divorces, remarriages, and more divorces made it difficult for me to tie the emotion of home to any specific place. Instead, it’s the people in my life that have created home for me. For some years I lived with my dad in my late grandfather’s home. He worked incredibly hard as a concrete finisher and sometimes throwing Ragu onto some al dente noodles was the best he could do for dinner. Spaghetti was our favorite meal and now when I visit CA to see him and my younger siblings, it’s the only meal we can agree on. I offer to cook so that I can make it a bit more nutritious and fun. It makes me think of gathering around my grandfather’s dining table that likely hasn’t been cleared off for a meal since I last visited. I think of laughing with them and the pleasure of seeing everyone’s plate totally clean within 5 minutes and full again with a second serving in 6. In my current home it is also an almost weekly choice for a meal. This photo is of a bowl we made last night to bring us comfort after a long weekend of wedding photography. It’s delicious, nostalgic, and you really can’t do it wrong. That’s my favorite kind of comfort food!” Carrie G. 

Thank you SO MUCH to these four wonderful women for sharing! I think you’re all fantastic and your meals sound like perfection on a plate (and give me ALL the feels). 

Now I’d love to know, what foods connect YOU to a feeling of home? Is it a dish passed down through the generations? A simple meal that tastes remarkably like childhood summer vacations? Share below!

P.S. If you haven’t done so already, please consider answering a few questions over on my 2015 Reader Survey. Thanks!

Restaurants are not Food Culture.

grandmother by kitchen cabinet

In the hours after attending an event sponsored by the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center, “From Plows to Plates: A Journey Through Kentucky Foodways,” I did a lot of pondering. Not just about the local food movement and what we, in Kentucky, eat and why. These things are, of course, of interest to me professionally. I work in retail marketing and promote food for a living. But I also pondered the women speaking on the panel. How each seemed to have an overwhelming and innate need to feed others. Both literally and figuratively-through their teaching. This inclusion of women at the table, as it were, as farmer and chef and businesswoman, struck me as an inspiring shift from the men who’ve run the conversation about food, from plow to plate, for so long. An important re-framing of the conversation in my eyes, and perhaps an obvious one. And finally, I pondered Chef Ouita Michel’s words when she noted, “Restaurants are not Food Culture.” A strong assertion from someone who has built her career in that particular world. But it’s true. Food Culture HAS to be more than a burgeoning row of restaurants in Downtown, U.S.A. It HAS to be more if we plan on creating and maintaining sustainable agricultural landscapes and foodways. If we plan on cleaning up our act both in terms of lifestyle and environmentally.

So, if casual family dining is NOT Food Culture, I decided to reflect on what, for me, it IS…

It’s teaching your children how to crack eggs and roll out dough as they stand, tip-toe, on a step-stool.

It’s putting seeds in the ground and having faith that they will grow.

It’s hefting a bag, busting at the seams with ingredients, over your shoulder and wandering home, cooking the next week’s meals in your head the whole way.

It’s Farmer’s Market Saturdays and biting into a piece of fruit so juicy you idiotically attempt to lick your elbow.

It’s sitting down to share a table with the man you will marry, the grandmother you will someday lose, the unsung hero of your day-to-day.

It’s the parent who wonders how they’ll feed the family this month, the sacrifices they make to do so.

It’s the meals that got you through the day you got the job, the day you moved away, the day your heart was broken.

It’s the familiar handwriting in the long forgotten cookbook.

It’s chickens in your backyard and herbs on your windowsill.

It’s the struggle of the first year farmer.

It’s spaghetti once a week and oatmeal every morning because you spent your paycheck on textbooks and dreams.

It’s the kid at the grocery store who your sons know by name, arguing over who gets first fist-bump.

It’s the casserole dish dropped off for bleary-eyed parents and black-clad mourners.

It’s the baker who, chocolate and flour covered at days end, sings “Happy Birthday” while putting the finishing touches on each cake, hoping you can taste her well-intentioned off-key notes in that coveted corner piece.

It’s the line cook from a small town in the mountain’s no one’s heard of who speaks perfect Spanish.

It’s the farmer’s son, who everyone said “grew like a bean pole” and was the “spitting image of his daddy,” bringing in the harvest on his own.

It’s the chefs who come home to cook the meals they spent a lifetime trying to stop tasting, turns out their palate never was quite cleansed.

It’s eating what makes YOU feel good.

It’s policies that help put an end to food deserts and monoculture agriculture.

It’s a Wendell Berry poem.

It’s history and past and nostalgia — every food you ever ate that’s tied to a memory you love.

It’s knowing that eating is one of our most basic needs as humans. How things are grown and cooked, the community that comes from breaking bread with others, THAT is all just a beautiful extra.

Now I’d love to turn the tables and find out – What does Food Culture mean in the context of YOUR life? If you’d like to read more about the local food movement and sustainable foodways–Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan, and Wendell Berry are great places to start. 

(Photo: Grandmother by kitchen cabinet; table with dishes in foreground.)