Southern Green Beans in Appalacia

Late-summer cicadas craft the music of Kentucky with long rattling notes. My borrowed tee shirt has familiar Ashland Tomcats on the front. I don't remember ever having such a shirt yet it feels like mine. How did I conjure teenage dreams that led me up and out of this mountain town? How did I crawl ...

Tomato Pie in the Hudson Valley

Ruth Reichl's emotion-filled cookbook My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life includes a recipe inspired by James Beard's Tomato Pie.  She developed it and many others in the farm-to-table communities of The Berkshires and The Hudson Valley, havens for markets, farmstands and neighbors who drop by to share the riches of their gardens.  ...

Love & Lox in Norway

I don't fall in love easily beyond an occasional cashmere sweater at an end-of-season sale.  When I go someplace new and beautiful and hear my vagabond voice say "maybe you should quit your job and live here instead?",  I can usually shut that bratty inner child right up.  What about your family? Your friends? ...

Brexit & an English Breakfast

You don't always have to drown your sorrows. Sometimes you can just eat them. english breakfast with eggs, tomatoes, bacon, beans, sausage and optional mushrooms In a rare moment, politics upstaged football's Euro 2016 on BBC World News this summer as results of the Brexit referendum swept the world. Markets crashed in India, China and New ...

S’mores in the USA

In Jackie's new book Our Great Big Backyard about childhood adventures in America's national parks (writers Laura Bush & Jenna Bush Hager), s'mores figure as one of the great rewards of camping and getting into the wilderness.  No argument from me, or from one of the nation's top chocolatiers, Michael Recchiuti of Recchiuti Confections in San ...

Something Fishy in Finland

Because it was selected as one of the top ten food markets ever by Food Lover's Guide to the World from Lonely Planet, my expectations for the Helsinki fish market were running high and the rest of me was running late. Finland was my first pass at discovering Nordic cuisine and its current incarnations, but the ...

Gypsy Cuisine on the Road

Mamaliga, a cornbread served with melted cheese and sour cream, is part of a nomadic gypsy culture through which we might see ourselves. Wood fires, communal cooking...not so far from the alfresco dining that you and I covet when we invite friends over for a BBQ.  Like polenta in Italy or southern cornbread in the ...

Fiestas in Chicago, LA & upstate New York

Sometimes women cannot live by dessert alone.  We need tequila. As Cinco de Mayo dovetails so nicely with Mother's Day this year, ladies, let's get served. This wall of tequila is the artistic centerpiece of Frontera, Rick Bayless's flagship restaurant in Chicago.  Perfect bar food (mini-enchiladas with guacamole and spicy red sauce by the hearty spoonful, ...

Confections En Terrace in Brussels

The tragedy in Brussels hit me hard. Just as Parisians insist "Je suis en Terrasse" to assert the cultural values of their county, in Brussels, I am in the chocolate shop. Belgium's strength at colonial extractions in the 18th & 19th centuries produced a pipeline of cacao from Africa, and soon a gourmet chocolate industry ...

Champagne Taste in Champagne

This blog, this eclectic little creature who keeps me company, has now given me a reason to celebrate.  I grab a bottle of champagne (yep, always got one) and chill it.  I do not worry about which champagne to choose.  In the only growing region in the world, Champagne, France, my quest was to determine ...