two new things but no new recipes or, time

the first tomato

There are two things on my mind this morning, seemingly unrelated, and I am sorry to say that while they will involve food, they won’t come with a new recipe, just one that’s been posted here before. You could say they’re two culminations, the kind that build for months and months, the kind that reached fruition this week, like recipes that rumble around in your head until you make them or tastes that stay with you until one day, you’re at a party and someone hands you a cracker with an interesting spread, and you say, aha! this is what I been wanting! That’s what they’re like.

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from up above

from up above

I have been wanting to write something about food here—since, you know, this is a food blog or, it’s supposed to be. I have been wanting to cook something and take pictures and tell you about it, I really have.

And I’ve tried. I mean, Monday, after being out of town for the weekend, I barely unpacked before I roasted broccoli in coconut oil, which is a new way of making it for me. Tuesday, I ate grilled tilapia and grilled asparagus with my family. Each morning this week, I’ve made eggs, first over easy, then sunnyside up for breakfast, usually with a smoothie on the side. And last night, using the same method I blogged about here, I roasted golden beets to put in a salad with greens and goat cheese and red onions.

But every time I think about blogging one of these things, I come back to that picture up there, the one taken from my airplane window Saturday, bound for Cincinnati. It’s crazy how different everything looks from up above, you know? On the ground, I can tell you about the scratch on a bumper, but from the air, I can’t even single out a car. Trees become parts of forests. Fields become parts of huge sections of land.

Perspective changes everything.

golden beets

I like that. And it’s just as true with blogging as with anything else. In a ground-level way, this post is about beets, yes, about how to roast them the same way I have done before, with a few pictures sprinkled through of beets on blue plates. But from up above, it’s about something greater, about the kind of cooking that doesn’t always try new recipes but that remembers routines, feels what is familiar, is more everyday. I like finding more of that type of cooking in my life lately. I like that very much, indeed.

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Review: Grow Great Grub

grow great grub

Like I said last month, book reviews aren’t really the emphasis of this site, but we’ll make exceptions. Since Grow Great Grub has inspired me to launch past my existing gardening attempts (i.e., beautiful summer tomatoes and a sad Meyer lemon tree) into the world of potted herbs (stay tuned!), I thought you might like to hear about it, too.

I was so excited to get a review copy of this book because the whole point of it is that not only can you garden anywhere, but also you can grow food anywhere —even in the city, even in a small space. Rather than fancy pots or planters, you’ll see gorgeous photos of seeds sprouting in repurposed tins, wooden crates, trash cans, even toilet paper rolls in this book. There’s attention given to making these creative gardens aesthetically pleasing as well as practical, which anyone in a small space would recognize as important and which I think makes the process seem much more approachable and worth trying.

grow great grub inside

The Author:
I love reading about bloggers who became authors, particularly ones who were blogging when I was in high school, which was a time when, let’s be honest, I didn’t know what a blog was. That’s exactly the story of Gayla Trail, who has grown her site (launched February 2000) into a community of modern gardeners filled with forums and articles, as well as written two books: You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening and now Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces.

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Review: Best Food Writing 2009

best food writing 2009

I don’t usually dedicate entire posts to books I’ve read, but in this case the book is about the very things this site is, food and writing, so that warrants an exception, I say.

Best Food Writing 2009 is exactly what the title suggests: a compilation of last year’s best food-centric stories, as published in magazines like Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, The New Yorker and Saveur; as well as Web sites like and I finished my review copy last weekend, in the air somewhere between Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina, and I have to tell you: I was sad it had to end.

See, what’s so great about collections like this one, which was edited by Holly Hughes and features work by big-name authors like Calvin Trillin, Ruth Reichl and Frank Bruni alongside essays from new-to-me-but-no-less-gifted writers like Jason Sheehan (newly of Seattle Weekly and formerly of Denver’s Westword), Francine Prose (a celebrated novelist) and Todd Kliman (a James Beard award-winning restaurant critic and Dining Editor of The Washingtonian), is it gives you tastes of so many different writing styles (journalistic, personal, probing, funny) that all have one chief thing in common: a skilled command of language and information that makes you think, whether about the ethics of meat or the community of sitting around the table.

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Good Writes/Reads 2009

christmas 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone! We had a nice, quiet day here at my parents’, but that’s not to say it was without its crises. For example: Have you ever roasted a stewing chicken? Well, don’t—just get yourself some rough cardboard to gnaw on for the same effect and less struggle. Annyywayy…

We did manage to eat well (another of this month’s many smoothies included), and I even found a new! camera! under the tree with my name on it, something sure to get a lot of use in months to come.

Speaking of the months to come, here we are a week from 2010, and you know how end-of-the-year things go: reflecting, looking back, remembering. So in proper form, here are 24 of my favorites posts and articles from 2009, 12 from Food Loves Writing and 12 from all over the Web. Enjoy!

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