To the asshole on the bike

victoria  —  October 14, 2014

I really do try to be positive, but sometimes you have to call an asshole an asshole. I was walking back into the old town when I got buzzed by a guy on bike, laughing and shouting something about fat Americans. I do understand more Slovene than I can speak. Yes, I know it says way more about him than me and, yes, I know people can sometimes be awful. Here’s the thing – still hurts, still makes hot tears well up in your embarrassed face. Thank the gods for giant sunglasses and being close enough to my flat I could escape the world for a bit.

It may come as a surprise to Captain Obvious that I do, in fact, know that I am fat, American or otherwise. I’ve known it my whole life, even when I wasn’t actually fat. I am not the person in need of information in this transaction. There’s quite a lot said asshole doesn’t know about me but here are the pertinent facts:

1. I was super sickly and skinny as a child, until puberty hit at 11. From that point on I was informed by my mother and others that a woman’s life’s work is to fight against, punish, and despise the vessel she lives in. Not with a sit down talk but with every hint that I might be getting heavy (even when that “heavy” was hips and breasts that come with the territory). And with her, and by extension myself, always being on some kind of crackpot diet.

2. I stopped eating for a year in high school. I got skinny. I mean really skinny. Skeletor in a bathing suit, rib counting, ass too bony to sit on anything but a cushion for more than five minutes skinny. I also started blacking out when I stood up. My fear of being locked up in the mental ward was stronger than my fear of being fat so I started eating again.

3. When I came to Slovenia to live, I had a roommate who in many ways finished the work my mother started. She thought she was trying to help by pushing me to get in shape (be thinner) and commenting on how I dressed (too slutty), ate (too slowly), and existed (too cluelessly and naively). I spent the entire year feeling inadequate and undeserving. And confused. I didn’t have any trouble getting dates and I had friends, etc.

4. Much angst ensued for nearly twenty more years. The number on the scale went up and down. The pant sizes went up and down. I made a career where I was around food all the time to the point of not really wanting to eat it. I woke up every morning, not grateful to be alive another day or realizing how amazing my life was, but promising myself that day was the day I would get skinny again so I could do all the things I wanted to do.

5. Maybe two or three years ago, I had an epiphany of sorts. My life really was pretty good. Good job, amazing kids, smart and sexy husband. I was writing again, more seriously. I had a long chat with my NP about my weight and she said that all my numbers are good, I get exercise and eat well, and I don’t smoke (except occasionally on vacation). She wasn’t worried. I decided I did still need to change something. And that was this conversation I’d been having with myself for as long as I could remember. There was no point in waiting for some miraculous new body to show up so I could do the things I wanted to do. There was no point in hating the body that worked and carried me and had carried and fed a child. So I basically said, fuck it. This is me. No amount of someone else reassuring me was going to ever be enough (though it is so very nice when your husband looks at you and smiles like that). I had to accept me and think I was deserving of my own respect.

So, I’m here. In a place I have dreamed of returning to for twenty years. I walked eight miles yesterday total, including a trip around a gorgeous alpine lake. I’m older, I’m fat, and I am happier in me and in my life than I have ever been. Did it still really hurt when that asshole got his rocks off by being a complete jerk? Yes. I haven’t gotten this being cool with myself thing down 100% all the time. I probably never will. But I do bounce back much faster than I used to.

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And then there was a coffee

victoria  —  October 8, 2014

Twenty two years ago when I was 19, I packed a backpack and took off for a year in Slovenia. Croatia to the immediate south and the rest of former Yugoslavia were still at war. I do think everyone, especially my parents, thought I was crazy. I was a little. I mean, I was 19. I’d fallen in love with Slovenian poetry and this tiny little jewel box of a country I had visited the year before. I wanted to dive in. I had great plans to master Slovenian and become a translator and a poet and teach and travel the world. This year in Slovenia was meant to push the boat out into those particular seas.

So much happened that year. Hence the reason I decided to write a book about it, even if it never sees the light of day. I fell in love with Slovenia, hard, but initially it didn’t seem to care much for me. I constantly felt out of place. I felt so American, so foreign and the language was so difficult, I thought perhaps I had made a big, and expensive, mistake. But then, near the time I was to leave, I suddenly seemed to have enough Slovenian to get by. I knew my way around on my bike. I had a job. And, most surprising to me, I fell in love with a Slovene.

And then I left because I had to go home. I had to finish school. I thought I had to do the expected thing, try to be the good girl. And my heart broke. No one told me that coming home would be its own culture shock. I dreamed in Slovenian. And I missed Ljubljana and the friends I had made and Saša (as he is called in the book). And school was miserable. I had fallen from grace for things too complicated to explain here. And I did stupid and slightly destructive things to self-medicate my heartbreak.

In the midst of all of that, I became a mom. Grad school happened, but not as planned. Returning to Slovenia as a translator definitely didn’t happen. I was too broke to travel. I stopped writing after grad school because, again with the self-flagellation, I thought I had screwed that up so badly I didn’t deserve it and I needed to find something that paid the bills. I met Keifel. I became a chef. Julian grew up. And we moved again and here was this stack of letters and notebooks and a postcard from Saša and now there is a book and this trip.

And last night there was kava s smetana. Coffee with solidly whipped unsweetened cream. I was sitting at a cafe yards from the bar I’d spent most of my evenings drinking back then. I was surrounded by the sounds of people speaking Slovenian and the soft chink of wine and beer glasses and the smell of cigarette smoke. And there was a flood inside me as if the Ljubljanica had jumped its banks to run down Stari trg through 41 year old me and 19 year old me sitting at a table feeling completely exposed and completely invisible, stunned that so much time could pass.

I came home from work early because I was coughing and sneezing and have a headache in my face. Keifel picked this particular ick up somewhere and passed it along to Julian and me. Julian has a brand new job at POP and he’s working on the Biscuit Love food truck, so he can’t really afford to be sick. I have a stack of work as we get ready for our national conference, so it’s particularly inconvenient to be sick. Alas, it is what it is. I’m eating oranges and drinking gallons of water. And going to bed at 9 p.m. And Julian has a day or so to recuperate (I’m too much of a ServSafe stickler to let him go to work sick).

I had great plans to clean out the fridge (it’s my chore of the day in the cleaning rotation I put together in my attempts to do less housework and more writing), make a big salad for dinner, and get some editing/writing done on the Slovenia project. My focus isn’t very good. Instead, I found myself perusing Pinterest while watching Midsomer Murders (I’d say it’s a guilty pleasure but I don’t feel particularly guilty about it). Dinner reverted to leftover homemade mac and cheese.

Pinterest is full of recipes to make ersatz things out of cauliflower. Pizza crust. Mashed “potatoes.” Couscous. Even “mac” and cheese (can food be blasphemous?). Also, roasted, baked whole like a great white brain, sautéed, and available in gold, green, and purple like a cauliflower mardi gras.

I’ve tried to love cauliflower. I’ve tried it roasted and pureed and in soup and raw and steamed and covered in cheese. I’ve tried its particolored cousins.

I have given up.

My last, best attempt to kill it with curry.

My last, best attempt to kill it with curry.

I can eat broccoli until the cows come home but I’ll be leaving the cauliflower for others. For the life of me I can’t get past the fact that it smells of wet socks and tastes of creeping damp.

castiron

One of the biggest non-emotional adjustments in the empty-nesting phase is learning to cook for fewer people. Cooking for three when one of those is a growing, teenaged boy is more like cooking for four, and a half. In addition to the challenge of avoiding a week’s worth of leftovers, I’ve had to learn the balancing act of often cooking for one as my schedule more closely resembles 9-5 whereas Keifel is on the seven days a week, nearly round the clock schedule of retail. I’m not adverse to cooking for one but I often don’t feel like making a big production out of it. One of my favorite dinners for one is spinach or arugula (depending on mood and availability), half a small avocado, maybe a little crumbled bacon, and a fried egg all drizzled with a mustardy vinaigrette kissed with a little honey. If left to my own devices for an extended period of time, I would probably eat it almost every night occasionally throwing in some roasted asparagus or some warmed butter beans or chickpeas.

When I’m not in a salad mood or want to putt around the kitchen a little more (cooking is most often my Zen-like state), I’ll make an oven pancake. They go by several monikers: Dutch babies, German pancake, souffléd pancake… We’ve always called them Dutch babies despite the potentially disturbing visual. If I’m dining alone, I generally make an unsweetened or barely sweetened one with a mix of whole grain and white flour. I like mine with tart lingonberry jam, but they are equally good with a dusting of powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon. They can also be a vehicle for something a little less like an American breakfast option. Just add a pinch of sugar in the recipe given below and then top your oven pancake with sautéed vegetables, a bit of leftover beef stew, wilted greens with a bit of feta or other crumbly cheese, or even a barely warmed lentil salad. May sound odd but it’s very satisfying. If you wanted to do something like it for more people and fancy it up a bit, you could make the pancakes in individual pans or baking dishes.

Victoria’s Dutch Baby

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk (just about any kind will work, I’m partial to local, whole, non-homogenized)

2 large eggs (local are best, if you are using particularly small eggs you might want three)

1/2 cup flour (all purpose or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat or spelt, or all whole-grain – though it will be heavier)

a large pinch to a 1/4 cup of sugar (depending on desired level of sweetness)

a pinch of salt

 

Melt the butter in a 8″ cast-iron skillet or something similar over medium heat while you mix up the batter.

Keeping an eye on the butter, add 1/2 cup milk to a two-cup glass measuring cup. Crack in two eggs. The amount of total liquid should be about a cup. If it’s much less than that, add a third egg. Beat the eggs and milk together. Add the flour(s), the sugar, and salt and beat together (I have a small French whisk, the long skinny kind, that works with my wide-mouthed measure cup. You may have to use a fork in a smaller measuring cup) until only small lumps remain and the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream.

The butter should have melted and may be bubbling in the pan. If it isn’t bubbling, turn up the heat to medium-high and swirl the butter in the pan to coat the bottom and about an inch or so up the sides. Once the bubbles have started to die down, pour the batter into the pan and let it cook on the stovetop for about a minute. Transfer the pan to your hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until puffed and golden.

If you’ve got a well-seasoned cast-iron pan, there should be no sticking if you swirled the butter around well. In other pans, your mileage may vary. Top with your heart’s desire. Will feed 1-4 depending on the topping and how hungry everyone is.

the girl in the sub shop

victoria  —  March 12, 2014

She is sitting across from him, a tray of uneaten food in front of her. His folded hands are on the table in front of him.

First there is the declaration.

“I don’t want this. I’m not ready for this. I can’t have a career with a baby and a wife hanging around my neck like an albatross.”

Then there is the reasoning.

“What about grad school? How are you going to go off to Montana or Vermont with a newborn?”

Then there is the meanness that comes of what can only be imagined as desperation.

“Who is going to possibly want you with some other man’s kid?”

Finally, there is the leaving.

He gives her $400 and tells her that she nor the baby will ever want for anything but that he is not going to be a father. She drove them to the restaurant, so had to drive him back to his brother’s shop and as he crossed in front of her, she briefly entertained the thought of running him over, believing no jury in the world would convict a distraught pregnant woman.

And then I drove off. I went back to the basement I was living in as a stopgap while I waited to hear from grad schools. I threw every piece of soft furnishing I could find followed by all of the folders I’d organized my grad school applications into. Then I sat on the patio overlooking the cold, February Tennessee River and cried.

My son was born in September. His father called me at the hospital and told me he was proud of me because I didn’t take any drugs. I was ashamed that a tiny light flickered inside me that maybe he would change his mind.

He came to see the baby at one month and seemed more than a little anxious around my seething family.

He came to see the baby at three months and said that he was too little to need a father, that boys didn’t really need one until they were, like, fourteen. He gave me some money and kissed me goodbye. And though I wouldn’t admit it, a tiny little torch continued to burn.

There wasn’t another visit, or any more money, and the torch burnt itself out.

I was disappointed and angry for my son. Disappointed that there wasn’t another person in the world who was as invested in or loved him as much as I did. I was angry for all the things my son missed. I was violently, retchingly angry the day my father died and my five year old crawled in my lap and put his hand on my face and said it was okay because now neither one of us had a daddy. I was angry for all the nights of naked spaghetti noodles because that was all I had in the house for us to eat. It was okay to be angry for him. It was my job to be angry for him.

It was also my job to protect him from my anger. I had to be strong enough for two parents. I made it my job not to speak ill of the absent in front of him. I doubt I was a hundred percent successful because children instinctively know all the things we don’t say. When he asked me if his father loved him, I said, if he knew you he would love you. And I believed it. Despite my well-kept, furry little ball of anger, I knew two things. My son’s father was not evil because I had loved him once and my son’s DNA was half his. I also knew that young, scared people do stupid things. Admittedly, I wasn’t always as forgiving on the second point.

When my son was seven, I met and married someone who not only wanted me but fell in love with my son, too. He was a father. He wanted to be a father to my child and his. He adopted my son and put his name on the birth certificate where there had always been a blank.

My son is now eighteen and recently had his first college spring break. He was with his father, the one who didn’t want the job initially. I was anxious and worried and relieved, and even happy that they finally might get to know each other.

The thing I didn’t expect to be was sad. Sad for all the might have beens and should have dones. Sad for the nervous father in the delivery room. Sad for every day at the park. Sad for every dad with a toddler on his shoulders. Sad for the first tooth, first day at school, first bicycle, first soccer game, first girlfriend. Sad for birthday parties and making dinner together and skinned knees and a broken arm. Sad for late night talks philosophizing or planning for college. Sad for prom night and graduation. And, after years of keeping it at a distance, so very sad for that girl in the sub shop with her broken heart and all the years she carried its heavy pieces. I can finally let the last one go because the hope it held, that his father would have the opportunity to see what an incredible person our son is, came to be.

Now they have to figure out what happens next and I can just keep on being grateful for every moment I’ve gotten, every moment I get.

 

The inaugural Tea @ Victoria’s filled in a little less than four days. I am excited that folks are so excited.

I’ve got dates for the next few months and a menu for April below. I’m introducing a twist for April, a bit of a thé salon. We’ll discuss our most hated books, those that you read all the way to end. No mud slinging on the tastes of others, just impassioned vitriol for those hours we’ll never get back. If you still have a copy of the detested tome, bring it with you and we’ll swap. One person’s circle of hell might be someone else’s awaited paradise.

I’ll let you in on a secret. One of mine is Anna Karenina. By the end of the book, I wanted to throw them all under a train.

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Upcoming Dates

June 14, 2014

Story in tea

Story in teaStory in tea

Menu: What Not to Read

Savory

Smoked trout and endive salad

Sandwiches

Shaved radish with herbed butter

Egg salad with pickles

Scone

Cream scones with rhubarb curd and whipped vanilla butter

Sweets

Honey pots de crème

Bara brith (Welsh speckled cake)

Peppercorn shortbread

Teas

Darjeeling

Masala chai

Email if you’d like to attend in either June. Please pass along to friends who would enjoy an afternoon of tea and repartee.

The inaugural tea was Saturday, February 22, 2014 from 4 to 6 p.m.

 

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Menu

Savory

Local cheese and oatcakes

Tea Sandwiches

Walnut Cream Cheese

Roast Beef

Scones

Plain or fruited with spiced plum jam and clotted cream

Sweets

Mulled wine panna cotta

Dark chocolate tea bread

Teas

Single estate Assam

Sencha with toasted rice

Email if you’d like to attend a future tea.

 

Of tomatoes and love

victoria  —  August 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

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The cliché phrase “Life is funny” is, as it happens, overused for a reason. Life is funny and more often than not, not exactly what one expected. While we are piling on with the stock lines let’s also use “nothing is wasted on a writer.” The last week and change has been an exercise in observation of things I didn’t really expect.

Let’s begin with the tomato.

I would really like to be a gardener. When I have gardened, it’s gone rather well and I could pick things for eating with regularity. I’ve also moved house (a lot) and putting in a garden is always something I want to do but we move in at the wrong time of year and I never quite get to it. There are always excuses. The thing is, I know if it were important enough to me, I would do it come rain, shine or another house move. Clearly, I am either too lazy or it just isn’t important enough to me to overcome the admittedly low hurdles to make it happen.

So, I buy tomatoes in the summer (fresh tomatoes in the winter are wet, cottony wastes of money and time and not the subject of this post). I buy them at the farmer’s market most usually on Saturday morning. When my schedule precludes the farmer’s market, I go instead to Whole Foods and pay the convenience fee for my local tomatoes, organic pasta, and other pantry staples all being in one place.

Yesterday, when I wanted a tomato that I did not buy at the farmer’s market, I knew I would pay a premium. But it’s August and hot and now is the time to eat a tomato. I thought the sign said $5.99/each, so being slightly greedy in my tomato choosing, I chose the biggest, heaviest, orangest tomato on the pile. At the register, I learned it was $5.99 a pound and, well, not being keen on sheepishly taking the platinum-valued, $10 tomato back to the table with its brethren, I swiped my card and went about my business.

Now, how to honor this very dear tomato? I’m a firm believer in buying the best ingredients you can afford (or, in this case, splurge on) and doing as little as possible to them to honor their essence. I cut the core out of this giant tomato and then into three portions following its natural lobes, sliced one lobe into manageable slices and laid it out on a serving platter. I drizzled some California olive oil over it and scattered the slices with some crushed white pepper corns and black Hawaiian sea salt. I also dug out the beautiful, horn tomato fork my sister bought me for my birthday a few years ago. That was the salad to go with our pasta dish composed of orecchietti, sliced leftover brats, caramelized onions, a red pepper, and a glug of cream. Not too shabby for 20 minutes from walking in the door to sitting down at the table together. The tomato was perfect.

After dinner, I sliced the remaining tomato lobes, covered them in more of the olive oil and set them in a low oven for an hour to poach. We’ll have those tonight or tomorrow night as bruschetta with some local goat feta. I feel I will have honored my platinum tomato to the best of my ability.

All this cooking and thinking about food doesn’t happen in the vacuum of the Internet, of course. I have a job and a family, friends and two feline rulers. It’s a pretty good life all told. There’s a lot going on in it right now. My boychick, who is now a young man, leaves for college on Thursday. Keifel and I both have elderly parents in declining health. We have jobs that for the most part leave us fulfilled but are by no means perfect. We have friends who are experiencing their own griefs and transitions. Life is funny and messy sometimes. And then just when you think you’ve got a purchase to ride the wave you’re currently on, Poseidon, or Ursula the Sea Witch or whatever you believe controls the universe or leaves it to chaos, ramps up the machine and sends a rogue wave right at you.

My rogue wave brought a surprise invitation for the boychick to meet his birth father. I can speculate all afternoon and into the wee hours of tomorrow about why it finally happened, but I have no idea what the catalyst really was. It’s something I’ve always hoped would happen because I think knowing where you came from can be important to knowing who you are. It went well, as best as reported to me by Keifel and Jules. My son is the glassy surface of a pond when it comes to these things and he’s of the let’s-wait-and-see-where-this-goes mentality.

I do wish I had that seemingly magic ability to be unruffled by the unexpected. Okay, sometimes I do and I have learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s all unexpected. But being in my own transition with Jules’ departure for college, that rogue wave smacked me right in the face. There’s nothing like a mouthful of metaphoric seawater to startle you.

It stirred up some of the emotions that wisp around old wounds, wounds from which I fully believe I have long healed. I guess the scar still itches and maybe that never quite goes away. I’ve talked it out and gazed at my belly button and even had a couple new epiphanies about things I thought I’d finished thinking about. I’m fine as it turns out and the water is definitely calmer now.

You might be asking yourself what the hell tomatoes have to do with personal history and the turns life can take. I thought I knew what I was doing both in buying that tomato and in a long ago relationship. The costs were higher than I imagined but I regret nothing; the tomato was and life is delicious (even when messy). Also, if something is really important to you, apparently you will do it, eventually.

[edited because I always find mistakes after I hit publish]

Very small batch canning

victoria  —  July 13, 2013 — 1 Comment
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A very small batch

I haven’t had many Saturdays lately that were just Saturdays – days without real plans, made for puttering and experimenting and maybe daydreaming. Today, this Saturday, is pretty much all mine. I drove Keifel to work very early for a weekend, dropping him about 7:45am. It was too early to go to the market but silly to drive all the home so I popped into Provence on 21st. I’ve been disappointed the last few times I’ve been there, the service has been off or the floors have been really dirty. Things seem a little improved today and I got an almond croissant, my favorite, and a latte and scrolled through some social media while the other early birds flocked in.

By the time I got to the market, the day was in full swing. I got milk and fruit. There were some gorgeous eggplant but no one at my house will eat them but me and as much as I love it, I don’t want to eat leftover eggplant for three days. The Peach Truck is still going strong so I picked up a bag of peaches and traded dollars with a couple other farmers for some huge blackberries and some tiny red plums I had never seen before (I wish I had thought to take a picture…).

The house was still quiet when I got home, so I dragged out the laundry baskets and made some coffee and set about making a batch of plum jam. I bought Food in Jars last spring with grand dreams of making Christmas presents of jeweled summer fruit in jars after a Saturday spent making some iffy strawberry jam with Andrea. Since purchasing the book I have perused its pages many times and made exactly zero things from it. I have actually made (so much better) strawberry jam a couple times and some devilishly good pickled onions but nothing from the book. I even bought a Kuhn Rikon pan with a rack insert big enough for exactly one pint jar… still nothing from the book. With my bounty from the market laid before me on the counter, I was determined to make something. I settled on the recipe for Small Batch Mixed Stone Fruit Jam thinking the plums wouldn’t equal the three cups of chopped fruit required and I would need to throw in at least one of the peaches.

The plums were exactly three cups. I grated in the zest of one lemon, pouring its juice in after and sifted the desiccated vanilla bean pods out of my jar of vanilla sugar (Ms McClellan had suggested adding a vanilla bean) and topping it up to two cups from the sugar canister. The sugared, lemoned plums hung out in the fridge while I started laundry, put the dishes away and had lunch with Julian (his breakfast). Then, on to serious jam making.

The recipe says the batch should be enough to fill three half-pint jars. Apparently I don’t have any half-pint jars. Apparently I have a whole box of wide-mouth pint jars (no idea), a couple small-mouth pints and two 1/4 pints. I set everything up best I could as I have not invested in a canning pot proper but use my pasta pot with a steamer in the bottom. This is not ideal as the pint jars are actually a little tall on the rack. The directions in the book are pretty spot on though it took a lot longer than I thought it would to reach the temperature suggested for a good set since there’s no added pectin. My batch made one full pint and one 1/4 pint of deeply purple jam. Of course I tasted the slick of jam left in the pan. I am always amazed at the natural spiciness of cooked plums. If it sets it’ll be wonderful.

As I typed the last line I heard the favorite sound of all home canners: the ping of a sealing jar.

Cherries in the sun

Cherries in the sun

It’s not every day that I get to wallow in what is now my avocation (vs. when it was my vocation – however poorly paid), but I have done so today. Thoroughly. And now I feel compelled to share.

I dropped Keifel at work this morning early and then wended my way over to Crema on Hermitage Avenue to have breakfast solo. A small group of travelling friends was ordering in front of me telling their story of being directed to Crema for latte art. Crema’s lattes are art but I would say more in the drinking than the deftly done heart in the silky foam. I got a latte, too, and a tasty lemon-raisin scone from Dozen Bakery, found a sunny window and enjoyed my quiet breakfast looking out over one of Nashville’s newest “it” neighborhoods. I ordered a coffee soda to go and bought a half pound of Yemeni coffee that smells like perfume in the bag and headed out the door to my next foodie adventure for the day. By the way, if you haven’t been to Crema and haven’t had the, seasonal, coffee soda – go now. It’s worth the drive over. I promise.

My next stop for the day was a class on food styling for food bloggers. I think calling myself a food blogger is slightly aggrandizing considering the (in)frequency of my posts, but we’ll roll with it for our purposes. Teresa Blackburn, food stylist and food blogger, taught the class assisted by Lindsay Landis.

Teresa had laid out several different table top looks for staging a picture and then mixed and matched a new one to put together a beautiful salad with figs, blackberries and preserved lemons. The new wrinkle in my brain on that score was using cold, pre-made mashed potatoes as “ice” under the leaves to keep them cold and act kind of like a flower frog to support the leaves. Some strategically placed figs, a couple blackberries on toothpicks and some pipette-drizzled dressing later, the salad was ready for its closeup.

The class was great but by far the best part was chatting with other local food bloggers, including Teresa, and meeting some incredibly talented, passionate women and men. Hence, part of the reason I felt compelled to step it up for the day, at least, and post. I’ve been chatting with Keifel about reskinning the blog. The purchased “harvest” theme is wearing thin on me and I’d like to clear up the clutter and pull in some of the info from the currently on extended hiatus supper club site, arsculinaria.net. I’d like to hope the fire will burn for a bit but it’s summer and there’s a lot going on, including but not limited to Nashville’s growing number of farmers’ markets and the abundance of beautiful local produce to enjoy.

As it’s the weekend and there are two young adults in the house with hearty appetites burning through the contents of the cupboards and fridge, a shopping trip was due. I missed out on my usual Saturday morning downtown farmers’ market run so had to hit Whole Foods a little harder than I usually do. There was a sale on cherries prompting clafouti (recipe from the Joy of Cooking with a slash of Trinidadian rum) for tonight’s dessert after a dinner of baby potato, leek and ham hash.

So wrapping up my foodie porn kind of day will be dinner surrounded by the lovely faces of my family, preceded by this blog post and some summery baking. I snuck in a photo, though I don’t think it stands up to the photos out of today’s class. I’ll get there, maybe. As much as I love playing with my food and taking pictures, I really prefer writing and that’s why there’s this giant block of text then my sunny picture of cherries at the top.