It’s been quiet over here as I’ve been working on an updated website and porting this ole blog over there. The focus from here on out will be Our Bookshelves, Ourselves but let’s face it, that allows me to write about whatever I want. If you’d like to continue to get updates when I post (I swear once a month from here on out), you’ll need to subscribe to receive them over here. Hope to see you on the other side!

Delaware is the First State, which you know if you’ve driven I-95 in those parts, but it might be one of the last states you think to visit though its image has been burnished by the Bidens of late. This old travel piece from 2007 has some delightful Delaware (and nearby PA) doings for you.

Thanks Wilderness Canoe Company!

Been volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps in Virginia for a month or so and I have developed a specialty in parking lot management. Until I’m fully vaccinated I’m happier working outside anyway and it has been an upper seeing happy and relieved folks getting to this momentous moment. I chastised one of my least favorite state senators for his misbehavior on my asphalt (oh it was his ass’s fault!), so that was a worthy cause, too. Might as well fiddle with language in between cars and clipboards. Herewith, a few haiku that have zilch to do with nature, so don’t @ me bout that!

I’M IN CHARGE HERE

Symphony of cars

without the crashing cymbals

if I am lucky

TITLE TYPES

No need to be called

Clipboard Technician–I wipe

lots of stupid things

ADULTS ASK THE DARNEDEST THINGS WHEN YOU WEAR A YELLOW JACKET

So many questions–

I’m the parking lot guru

not Dr. Fauci

I used to do a December holiday gift guide back when I was doing Real Richmond Food Tours, focused on Richmond, not surprisingly. Now that I’m a free agent, I still want to plug local, well-loved businesses, and now that my daughter’s Richmond, VA-based business, Pencraft + Post is a going concern, I’m going to share the love a little less equally. Ten gift ideas– half from her biz, half from other local solid citizens. (Ok, Autumn Olive Farms is in Waynesboro, but their meats are so good!) I usually stay pretty mum about my children on social media–and they are always grateful for that. Pencraft + Post just happens to have a bunch of sweet gifts, many of which my daughter can personalize for the recipient. The other businesses are all ones I heartily support as well. Herewith ten suggestions for your gifting pleasure:

  • Real proud of real estate?
  • Pencraft + Post will get you a customized miniature home.
  • Feeling nutty?
  • Reginald’s Homemade nut butters will tickle your tongue. Huge fan of Coconut Sour Cherry.
  • Want homemade cookies without messing with the mixer?
  • Favour Cookie Company has delectable flavors in Richmond stores or online. They’re vegan, but you would never guess cause they taste like buttah!
  • Know some good dogs?
  • Dog bone ornaments + “Hope you like dogs” doormats from Pencraft + Post.
  • Desirous of damned good pork or beef?
  • Autumn Olive Farms is THE BEST and you can pick it up in Richmond and elsewhere in VA.
  • Want to celebrate Christmas Eve like Icelanders?
  • Order books from Book People, Fountain Bookstore, Chop Suey Books and/or BBGB in Richmond or Bookshop if you’re not in Richmond and support something other than Amazon, please! Something tells me cozying up with Honey Haberno Spiced Cider and a good book on Christmas Eve might be just what’s wanted round here.

The firefighter oath my son swore several years ago said all sorts of things I expected it to say and several I didn’t. Didn’t expect them to uphold the constitution of the U.S. but glad they won’t turn fire hoses on us. Did not expect that they are promising to protect only Henrico County citizens. Sure it’s not how it works, but a by-product of our not so regional cooperation.

 

During many of our food tour routes I often pointed out the famed Triple Crossing

Use your imagination

Use your imagination

and I often added that at the start of the Civil War,  five railway lines converged in Richmond, but none of them were the same gauge, so not exactly the most efficient system. Echoes of how regional cooperation in these parts too often doesn’t connect and go much of anywhere and how the sort of beltway around the city includes 64, 295, 288, 95 and 895 and no one in her right mind would want to experience it.

So it’s been a while. And the alliteration keeps coming. Even when actual thoughts do not.

But I have been thinking about you, blog, just haven’t had any thoughts that aren’t Fire, Flour & Fork-related, coming up Oct. 30th-Nov. 2nd, 2014, so I spared you until now. 

Four years ago my partner in dine, SJW, and I started our Real Richmond Food Tours biz and now we’re putting on a 4-day gathering for the food curious with acclaimed Richmond chefs and purveyors like Dale Reitzer, Lee Gregory, Tanya Cauthen and Travis Milton sharing the stage with lauded chefs and authors from all over the country, such as Sean Brock, Christina Tosi, Dave DeWitt, Ronni LundyAlice Medrich and Jehangir Mehta. And that’s just the icing on the cake. 13 dinners, 7 lunches, including a Sunday one that starts with tours of Monumental Church and its crypt, 1 Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, 1 Tasting Tent, 1 Urban State Fair, 18 book signings and 2 receptions in rarely visited cool spots–C. F. Sauers and Electric Eclectic Appliance Museum.

The crypt at Monumental Church. Tour it during Queen Molly's Monumental Moveable Feast, Sunday, Nov. 2nd.

The crypt at Monumental Church. Tour it during Queen Molly’s Monumental Moveable Feast, Sunday, Nov. 2nd.

IMG_4656

Toasters are tame compared to what appliances are in the bathroom!

I think somehow we are putting on year 3 of this first time event, so my head is spinning. Or maybe it’s just that when David Guas of Bayou Bakery and Travel Channel’s American Grilled looks at me that way, I think I might overdose on sugar and gluten.

He’s cooking with Jason Alley of Pasture and Comfort Saturday, Nov. 1st and sorry, it’s full, but both Jason and David are doing talks during our Culinary Tracks Speaker Series October 31st and Nov. 1st at the Library of Virginia and FFF’s host hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. David will be demo-ing Not Your Mama’s B & G and signing his cookbook, DamGoodSweet.

Yes, David Guas is looking at you, too!

Yes, David Guas is looking at you, too!

Damn. Good. Sweet.

I don’t pretend to be a food writer though I have tweeted more than 12,000 times and most have involved either putting food or my foot in my mouth or putting words together halfway wittily which is different from half-witted. Then there’s my children’s writing that I haven’t done in a while–all those damned tweets and the business of Real Richmond Food Tours has something to do with that. One of two filing cabinets in my desk is jammed with children’s picture book manuscripts and poetry and food comes into play more than I’d realized. I’m a bit of a food poet, so for April here’s a snippet from Want a Cookie?:

I started gnawing zwiebacks/back when these were almost new./Gluey, tasteless sawdust;/what’s the point of teeth?/ Then I spied my mother/with something on her face./A smile, a smudge,/a glimmer, a gulp./Want a cookie.

One bite/one taste/one swallow/one nice big cup of milk,/one lick of my lips/and I knew what to do–/try, taste, chomp!/From a package or a pan/I don’t need to waste a plate;/crumbs in teeth, on shirt, in hair./Where’s my cookie?

And on it goes…. So autobiographical, I know.

Now that I’ve established my gravitas, it makes perfect sense to say that I’m one of the gang of three that’s putting on the Mid-Atlantic Food Writers Symposium in Richmond this June. We’ve assembled a remarkable collection of talented writers, editors, chefs, agents and food stylists that includes Kat Kinsman of Eatocracy, Todd Kliman of The Washingtonian, Lisa Fain of The Homesick Texan, Josh Ozersky of Esquire, Monica Bhide, Matt Gross of Bon Appetit, Ramin Ganeshram, Bonnie Benwick of the Washington Post, Kendra Bailey Morris, John Shields, Denise Vivaldo, Judy Pray of Artisan and Michael Psaltis of CEA. How many James Beard Foundation winners/finalists do you count?

Fresh-picked this June!

Fresh-picked this June!

That’s a line-up that ought to get lips smacking, hearts racing and fingers flying on the keyboards for food bloggers, recipe-collectors, cookbook-lovers and those who dream of cooking up a book or a blog. Hope to see you in Richmond June 20th-22nd!

 

I’m not sure if I will rate more or less of that once this gets posted. In my refrigerator when I first wrote this were way too many house made Sour Watermelon  Gummy Bears. I had very little to do with the making of them and even less to do with the eating of them, but apparently I was the inspiration for them. My husband swore (well after Valentine’s Day had come and gone) that the ingredients for them (including the romantic container of grass-fed gelatin) and the gummy bear mold were purchased as my Valentine’s present. The fact that I eat gummy bears only at miles 16-26 of a marathon run (and I’ve run only one marathon and will likely leave it at that) didn’t come into play in his present planning.

Appetizing

Appetizing

My participation included buying a small watermelon and laughing at his time-consuming preparations. Also tweeting about it. And now this.

Gum yum?

Gum yum?

There’s something wrong about using my baking mold that spells out chocolate for the overflow of this abomination. They actually had very little taste–probably due to the out-of-season tasteless watermelon we employed. Luckily our daughter was in mile 9 of her student teaching marathon so she actually appreciated the gummy delivery and the knowledge that her father is still sweet–in a sour watermelon, grass-fed gelatin sort of way.

One of the perks of having one’s mother move in with one is to have it confirmed–by the movers at least–that though my birth order makes me the third, in fact, I’m #1.

I didn't put it there, but I'm not taking it off either.

I didn’t put it there, but I’m not taking it off either.

Swear on my mother’s storage unit that this is what came out of the well-wrapped box among many boxes that arrived at my house last week. Jean Reasoner Plunket painted this oil pastel of most of my siblings over the course of months in 1968. I can still remember coming home from school and sitting in my sister’s room none too happy about having to sit still. How I hated that hairstyle but loved the blue plaid dress that I can easily conjure up beneath that white collar. So now this portrait hangs in my house near the dart board, which seems appropriate. Of course, since I have another sister not pictured here, we hung her much larger portrait nearby as well. She came into the picture a few years after this one was done so her reward was more glory than the rest of us. Funnily enough, the painting of her wound up across from a movie poster of her that already hung downstairs. I will spare her and you that ironic photo gallery.

Having been an operating system for the benefit of others for many years now,  it took me less time than it takes Siri to botch my latest phone call to need a system reset after watching a preview of Her, the new Joaquin Phoenix/Spike Jonze movie about the former falling in love with his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

I am a different version from the SJ edition: Do this. Don’t do that. You need to keep these receipts for tax purposes. You don’t need to keep receipts for your $3.29 purchase at CVS. You do need to keep those receipts for all the things you buy that should be immediately returned. You really need to return those. Yes, you have to go to the post office.

An interesting male fantasy, for sure, where she loves him for exactly who he is and isn’t bothered by his inability to clean the toilet. No matter that some reviews hint at an intellectually interesting film, the preview and the ads are cringe-inducing. Does her overabundance of empathy and understanding make her the embodiment of everything he needs in a woman except the body? Ethereal is interesting and god knows I’m not a fan of the fascination with body parts and adornment and fashion, so living out-of-body has its virtues. But chocolate has no place in a virtual life, so I think I’ll go with my gut and all the other parts. And see the movie with a box of chocolates handy.

Tasteful

Tasteful

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