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And so it ends

victoria  —  October 29, 2010 — 2 Comments

Fall. Usually by now I have posted a long, contemplative post about my favorite season of cooking and well, just being. This fall has been different.

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This is one of those no photos, no fancy, no nothing posts. I’d love to say I patented the idea, but well we all know that’s not true. See many examples of frill-less bloggery about the internet.

I tried to log in to my online Hospitality Management class this morning and the system is down. At least I know my students are most likely having the same issue. I should next turn to finishing my lesson plan and lecture for my Wednesday Nutrition and Menu Planning class but I am sitting in the library in an attempt to not be distracted by the laundry and thirty thousand other things I need to do at home. Some people slack off with facebook, I clean out cabinets and alphabetize the refrigerator. So I am here in a laundry-free zone and I am monumentally distracted by the sound of thirty people banging away on clackety-clack keyboards and the low hum of the library punctuated by teeny voices and then moms shushing them. So much for getting on with my actual paying work. Funny how one can write for free when distracted but not for money. Okay, funny how I can write for free when distracted.

On more food related notes, the supper club is lumbering to a real start. We have some folks reserved for the September dinner but I would love to see it full and people disappointed that there were no spots left. I am unsure how to let people I know socially from previous work situations and through church know about the salon without feeling like a nasty spammer or a vinyl siding robo call. I know there are people who would be interested but if I haven’t spoken to them face to face about it I feel weird about contacting them electronically. This, my friends, is why yours truly is not in advertising or sales. I suck at it. No point in mincing words. If I’m bad at selling myself, whom despite my penchant for amusing self-deprecation I do believe in, imagine me trying to get you to buy a widget washer. However, if you are here reading this, I will let you know that the link for the supper salon is here. You can email, DM on twitter or face book or even call me for the password to view the menu.

We are still getting a half ton truck of veg a week from Avalon Acres. Okay, not a half ton. But this week we got two quarts of raw peanuts and about 8 pounds of sweet potatoes. I am now craving fall food and it is still 90 degrees outside. So, unfair. My latest discovery though is freezing okra and the joys of caponata bruschetta. I found a great recipe in this amazing book I discovered at McKay called Earth to Table for caponata. It has a lot of frou frou things that we are not getting in our farm box like capers and olives and fennel but I have made several tasty variations. It is heavy on the eggplant which ain’t doing it for the menfolk at my house. But really how can you go wrong with sauteed summer veg on grilled artisan bread? I have taken to having it for breakfast on occasion. As, for the book, it is fabulous for anyone trying to eat healthier, closer to home, at home, from their garden, simply… it’s just really good. I have made half the spring recipes and all of the summer ones. Granted I can never leave well enough alone so they are almost always the Victoria version of the printed recipe. But it’s good just for ideas, too. I don’t think I would’ve thought to make a blueberry upside down cake on my own (I loathe, and I do mean loathe, pineapple upside down cake). It was a revelation and went down a storm at the Wednesday night dinner. Jules made it by his lonesome and found it pretty easy unless you try to double it in bigger skillet (sugar doesn’t brown evenly).

All in all things are busy but mostly pleasantly so. I do wish I had been able to procure a full time gig of some sort before we rushed headlong into the madness of fall but apparently it was not meant to be. I am still looking but I get that companies don’t like to hire peeps in Q4 and have resolved to be open to what’s out there but giving it a little more time before I look at seriously drastic measures. Wish me luck.

Local is about who we are in this place at this time, the things that make us Nashville, or Chattanooga, or Omaha, or Seattle or Timbuktu. And, in a very organic way, it helps all those others places, too, because we aren’t pumping the atmosphere full of more carbon.

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Get out there and vote today. Obama, McCain… doesn’t matter who for, just go to the polls and voice your opinion.

It’s another post that finds me mourning. This is something I feel I have had to do too much of this year. Family members have died. Friends have died. Today my grief comes in the wake of a violent act that has shaken me to the foundations of my faith. The shooting yesterday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was a transgression of the highest order. A man walked into a building with the intent to kill all those present because of their beliefs. Obviously, mental illness must play a part in this. I can’t believe that anyone in their right mind could be capable of levelling a shotgun at men, women and children in the sanctuary, sanctuary, of a church.

I know this is supposed to be a blog about food and cooking and culinary school. All those things are big part of my life. But at the center of that is my desire to feed and care for people and at the center of that need is my faith and what I feel called to do in this world. I am a Unitarian Universalist. I have been for more than fourteen years. I started going to a UU church in college and then when I moved home when I was pregnant with Julian, the women’s group at the UU church in Oak Ridge embraced me and my new baby when he arrived. When Julian and I moved to Knoxville we joined Tennessee Valley UU and found a safe place there after the events of September 11, 2001. When we moved to Nashville we, now as a family with Keifel, found a new spiritual home at First UU. My UU family has been there for me through some remarkably rocky times and I have always felt a sense of connection and peace at the heart of this loving, progressive faith. Yesterday, someone did what I could never imagine happening. I am sick at heart and grieving for those who died. Greg McKendry died shielding children and other church members from a shotgun blast. I believe that is an act of heroism. Other church members rushed to tackle the shooter and saved more lives. These men are to be commended as are the men and women who acted quickly and calmly to get others to safety.

In the aftermath of all of this, people of many faiths and denominations have sent messages of love, hope and healing to TVUUC and to Unitarian Universalists as a group. Knowing that has given me hope that all peoples of all faiths can stand together against bigotry and violence. On the flip side of this coin, there have been those who have said that it isn’t a “real” church and, in so many words, those liberal heathens got what they deserved. These words are another act of violence and can only serve to foster more acts violence. Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, yes, even the man who came into the church to kill and, yes, even those who would use careless or pointed words to do further damage. My prayers are with the families of those murdered yesterday and those who were injured physically, mentally and spiritually. I am also praying that my church family at TVUUC can return to their sanctuary again very soon and feel safe there once more. I am also praying for the perpetrator of this crime and for those who can’t see past a difference in beliefs to the human being on the receiving end of those words of hate.

If you came looking for a recipe or a foodie witticism, thank you for reading this far. And whatever you might believe, or not believe, please hold these people, this church, this community of faith in your thoughts and prayers.

I am still cooking and eating and travelling. I am also just really, really busy. ‘Tis the time of year and all that. As soon as I get a moment, I’ll post our pictures from New York. We dined well, if fairly cheaply.