Food

Greece is the Word

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I have just returned from two weeks touring the Greek islands with my mother and sister celebrating my mother’s seventieth birthday. Admittedly, I had very little interest in going to Greece on my own. Yes, somewhere deep inside I held a Homeric fascination with sailing “the winedark sea,” but I neither speak Greek nor is anyone in my family Greek, so I had very low expectations of easy communication or paradigm-shifting culinary surprises. I was wrong.

The original article was published by Connotation Press in July 2011. Read it in full here.

Behold, the Microwave

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Until fall 2005, I was a regular visitor at Wendy’s. My usual order: a single with cheese, fries, and a Coke. When my local window operator knew my face so well that she once said to me, “See you tomorrow,” I knew I was in serious nutritional trouble. Within weeks, I saw Morgan Spurlock’s visionary experiment Supersize Me and have avoided fast food, and meat, ever since. I hate fast food.

However, that didn’t keep me away from the drive-thru. Several years earlier, Bruegger’s Bagels had moved into our abandoned Arthur Treacher’s restaurant filling orders through the fast food window as well as at the counter. If I didn’t have time to pack my lunch, I stopped on my way to work so I could have an Herby Turkey for lunch. When I became a vegetarian, I discovered the glories of the Leonardo da Veggie: “light herb garlic cream cheese, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato & red onion.” A combination of flavors so yummy, I can taste them even now. I love fast food.

The original article was published by Connotation Press in February 2011. Read it in full here.

Feliz Navidad

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“What I learned from the experience is that I can never stray too far from the expected, the traditional, especially with family at holiday time. For years, if the can-shaped cranberry sauce wasn’t on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas, something was wrong. It didn’t matter that hardly anyone ate it, or that we children used to sculpt things out of it when no one was looking. It had to be on the table or the meal was lacking.”

The original article was published by Connotation Press in December 2010. Read the full version here.

Cherry Valley Organics: A Healthier CSA

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“Cherry Valley Organics makes me feel like family. Located in Washington County south of Pittsburgh, the farm is only a short drive from my home. Approximately 40 acres total, but with less than 10 acres in production, the property has five paid staff members and caters to the customer not the farmer. Unlike more traditional CSAs, Cherry Valley lets subscribers order from a menu rather than just receive an unpredictable amount of produce every week. Such a business model is much better suited to the home kitchen in terms of selection, flexibility, less waste, lower overall cost, etc. Similarly, because I agreed to be the drop-off point for my local area, three or four large white coolers appear on my front porch every week–sometimes late at night, sometimes early in the morning. When people walk up the street to share in the spring harvests, I see neighbors I might not have seen since the previous fall. Because of Cherry Valley, I feel more connected to my community.”

The original article was published by Connotation Press in June 2010. Read the full version here.

Healthy Dog Muffins

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“For over five years, I have been preparing an organic, human-grade, (mostly) wheat-free diet for my dog, Radar. In February 2003, I adopted him from a no-kill shelter for dogs, cats, and horses. He was different from my first beagle, Cookie, who was quiet and aloof; after several harrowing days of panic and exhaustion, I began in earnest to train him: sit, shake, lie down, roll over, the usual commands. He responded with devoted attention and his destructive behavior changed significantly within days.”

The original article was published by Connotation Press in March 2010. Read the full version here.