Posts Tagged With: food

this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I amuse myself

Thing 1 and I created a way for anyone who’s curious to know at a glance what’s for dinner.
A damn cool magnetic whiteboard slapped right on the front of the fridge.

Last week it had things like:
shakshuka
and
lemon garlic shrimp with pasta
and
breakfast
Oh! And macaroni and cheese because Thing 2 requested it when she was here.

This week our menu looks like this.

I didn’t feel like giving any fucks when it came to food.

The only reason Monday and Tuesday have real things is because the menu gets written on Wednesdays after grocery shopping.
We have food in the house.
Frozen veggies and meats. Pantry staples. Some fresh produce.
Enough to last nearly two full weeks.
I just didn’t have any real interest in planning meals.
Gonna be flying by the seat of my pants.
While that would normally freak me right out, I’m embracing it this week…

More than anything, I amused myself.
It was worth it.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

what’s your favorite

Time for another round of faves.
I’m hungry this morning so I’m going to do food and drinks.

Y’all ready to play?

What’s your:

favorite breakfast food
french toast with butter and powered sugar

favorite Thanksgiving food
stuffing (not cornbread and no oysters)

favorite cereal
Life (but I only eat it dry)

favorite Asian dish
tom kha soup and khao pad bai kraprow

favorite way to eat bacon
I will eat it on a train
I will eat it in the rain
I will eat it in the house
I will eat it (but not share it with) a mouse
I will eat it here or there
I will eat it anywhere
(Props to Dr Seuss)

favorite comfort food
my grandma’s macaroni and cheese (mine is *almost* as good as hers was)

favorite alcoholic drink
(currently) this delicious concoction of cranberry vodka, dry apple cider, vanilla and spices, garnished with sliced apples, dried cranberries and a cinnamon stick

favorite thing to cook
breakfast
(and I mean a big ass farmer’s breakfast for a house full of folks)

favorite cake
angel food garnished with mixed berries and sometimes (homemade) whipped cream

favorite fast food restaurant
Nando’s or Chipotle

What are your favorites?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

learning to love New Orleans

New Orleans.
We were there for six days over the beginning of August.

You may find yourself asking: The bayou in August?
Yep.
And to be quite honest, it was actually hotter in VA while we were there, and the humidity was similar enough that we almost didn’t notice.

New Orleans seemed a magical place, and I was curious.
I’ve read loads of stories set in this city. I’ve heard loads of stories from travelers to this city. Seen many a film set in this city.
What was lovely about going at this time is that the city is celebrating it’s 300th anniversary!

Not to mention the first week of August is their jazz festival.
And the first Saturday of August is their annual white linen art walk.

Here’s what I discovered about New Orleans, it’s pretty much like Charleston, or Savannah.
Only dirtier. And louder.
Initially I was a bit turned off.
But, I came away with a genuine affection for New Orleans.
I would honestly like to visit again, and even stay in the French Quarter, just not half a block off Bourbon Street.
Who knows, perhaps with more time spent, I’ll love it the way I do Savannah and Charleston!

Beautiful courtyard breakfast each morning at Hotel Mazarin.

Fascinating people watching on Bourbon Street.
This was more a YBW thing than a Robynbird thing. My senses were a bit overwhelmed with the noise and scents. But once I adjusted to the chaos, I was able to find entertainment in it. YBW took loads of photos on Bourbon Street, even had beads thrown at him for his efforts! I spent most of my ‘behind the lens time’ in other places.

Wandering the Garden District in the rain. (was super-New-Orleans-gothic-romantic)

Riding the streetcar was actually one of my favorite things we did.

We rode the St. Charles Ave and Canal lines.
A delightful mix of tourists and locals all trying to get from one place to another. I honestly loved everything about the streetcar experience. Even the slightly-mad-completely-drunk-probably-homeless man who chatted us up on the way to the White Linen Walk. The smell coming off him was honestly something I have not the language to describe. He was ‘in your face’ but not disrespectful or belligerent, but I was relieved when he exited the car only two stops after we got on. YBW said, “That’s why this seat was empty when we got on.” Y’all, he ain’t lying!

Jazz at Satchmo Summer Fest

and with Second Hand Street Band at 21st Amendment Bar

The cemeteries. (My GOD, y’all! The cemeteries!)

White Linen Walk in the Arts/Warehouse District. I have no photos of this because it was more tightly packed than I expected. It was fun, but a bit of a let down. Though I do love wandering through galleries, and there was some unbelievably beautiful art to be seen. We drank a bit and walked along Julia Street before we zipped past the Central Business District and through Lafayette Square to our next destination.

A funky-fun and beautifully entertaining burlesque show.

Bella chatted us up before the show and was absolutely lovely! Though at the time, I didn’t’ realize who she was. Later on when I was a bit tipsy, I leaned into YBW and said, “How precious is she? When we were talking about how her gloves were missing rhinestones I didn’t realize she was the Queen of us!”
Y’all, she may be the Queen of that show, that venue, those folks, but she was a lovely girl and I enjoyed the time we spent with her!

We ate so much ridiculously delicious food. (from classic fried shrimp po boys, to the finest Creole cuisine, from dive diners, to the place that invented bananas foster)
If I thought it would make the trip, I’d mail-order a Parasol’s po boy once a week!
What’s lovely about well prepared food is the serving sizes. So you can more frequently eat smaller, rich, delicious meals. This is guiding me to rethink the way we eat ’round here.

Cocktails. (French 75 is to die for!)

I will never turn down a delicious cocktail!

We even joined a Second Line on the way to dinner one night!

When we went out the Canal streetcar line, we discovered the Katrina Memorial.
This is a damn resilient city filled with some damn resilient folks!

We shopped.
We drank.
We ate.
We walked and walked and walked.
We laughed.
We kissed and held hands in the street.
We got sunburned.
I got bit by fire ants.
I’m so pleased I got to spend time in “America’s Most Interesting City” with my beloved.

New Orleans is brash and loud. It’s a bit trashy.
New Orleans is beautiful and romantic. It’s filled with hidden delights.
New Orleans has a great big beating heart. It is tenacious af!
Writing this post made me love it even more.
I’m looking forward to when I’ll return.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

pajama day of deliciousness

DSCN1180

My little friends celebrated a month of hard work studying families and food with “pajama day of deliciousness”.
We all came to school in our jammies, even the two teachers.
We read Cupcake before we iced and decorated (then ate) cupcakes. We read The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres before we made soupe au fromage. (That we will eat when it’s time for our snack this afternoon.) We popped corn and watched Ratatouille (a movie about both food and families) while lying around on the floor on pillows from our Tree House Library.

I’m sick…a cold that has taken up residence in my chest…and left the movie at home this morning when I came to school. (Many thanks to YBW who brought it to school on his way to work!)
Even though I’m feeling puny I’ve had such a wonderfully fun day and couldn’t wait to share!

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

kiss your brain

I don’t normally love Thanksgiving. I mean the actual ‘holiday’, not the concept. To me it’s just an inconvenient stop between Halloween and Christmas. I am thankful all my days…I don’t need a specific day to celebrate my gratitude. I have an issue with the conspicuous consumption of food on Thanksgiving Day. Now, I absolutely love food, but it seems to me that Thanksgiving is more about celebrating gluttony than giving thanks.

All of that said, I have to admit I’m actually feeling enthusiastic about Thanksgiving this year. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is even though my child won’t be living in it, the basement is finally finished and we are beginning to put our home and our lives back together.
The second is because I ordered all my food from Wegmans this year.
The entire meal, from turkey to cranberries, completely cooked, packaged up and ready for me to heat and serve. This feels equally wrong and right. I’m perfectly capable of making Thanksgiving dinner for eight, but I don’t really want to. Wegmans has everything I need for a price I couldn’t argue. I’d have spent just as much gathering all the ingredients.
I’m a teeny bit ashamed of myself…but I’m so relieved I’m not going to be stuck in the kitchen all damn day and missing the thing I love about Thanksgiving…the Macy’s Parade. Won’t be stuck in the kitchen all damn day while people lounge on the giant sofa in front of football games.
I’ll heat that food, serve it up pretty, have other people clear and clean up and enjoy my day.
There will be a teeny bit of me that is ashamed for not cooking…I’ll just pour her another glass of wine and she’ll shut up quickly enough.

I’m thankful for the people in my life, my family and friends and the love we share. For my home where I feel safe and loved.
I’m especially thankful for a man who loves me because I’m me and not for what he’d like me to be.
I’m thankful I am so close with my co-teacher, that she and I were meant to be in a classroom together, that we make each other better teachers.
I’m thankful for words. Word that have been written, words not yet written.
I’m thankful for art, all kinds of visual art, but mostly books and music.
I’m thankful for Macy’s and their parade because it really does bring me joy even though I cry every year when Santa arrives.
I’m thankful for Wegmans and their delicious food and reasonable pricing.
And wine! I’m SO thankful for wine!

There is a wonderful teacher in my school who has the most precious habit of encouraging her students to “kiss their brains”. They do this by kissing their hands and placing them on their heads. She encourages them to do this when the are attempting to learn, when they have learned or when they just need a bit of reassurance.
I love this practice!
I’m thankful for my brain, for everything it helps me do.
I kiss my brain.
And I encourage you to do the same.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

Stories I've Never Told...

(...and some I have)

R. Eric Thomas

writer. person on the internet.

James Proclaims!

The wit and wisdom of a man who has neither...

Social artist

A Blog here to Serve

Faith + Gratitude = Peace + Hope

When I was young my dad would always say, "Crystal, you can choose your attitude." One day I chose to believe him.

Debs Despatches

Writer, Reader, Photographer & Random Scribbler

Snippets of SnapDragon

Welcome to my cauldron of creative musings.

Encouragement for you!!

Need some encouragement--read this!!

To Write or not to Write and What to Write

#shortstories #thoughts #reflections

Thinker Boy: Blog & Art

by Troy Headrick

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Life and Random Thinking

An old dog CAN blog

charles french words reading and writing

An exploration of writing and reading

I am Kat...

My Journey...

Self Love Coffee

read. sip. heal.

Young Lion

Life Is All About The View

A Question of Lust

"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Sawblades In Your Walkman

effervescing with muchness

History Tech

History, technology, and probably some other stuff

Tales from the mind of Kristian

Visit the darkest crevices of my mind, dare to tread where many fear to go. You may find something interesting or you may find a mirror to your soul.

walkingtheclouds

where the clouds may lead

Meditations in Motion

Running and life: thoughts from a runner who has been around the block

Bitchin’ in the Kitchen

..because the thoughts that fall, kicking and screaming from my head need a safe place to land..

Finding French Charming

Finding True Love.. Even After Forty

%d bloggers like this: