Doughnuts. The mere mention of doughnuts and my knees grow weak; glazed, frittered, cream-filled, jelly-filled, cinnamon dusted, powder sugar dusted, nut-topped, plain, fried or baked, I’ll admit to being an equal opportunity eater of all things doughnuts. My uncle Jimmy was a professional baker who worked long hours at a local grocery store chain for many years until his retirement; cookies, chocolate cupcakes, decorated cakes, pies and doughnuts were always available – and one free sugar cookie was always given to the littles – fat chubby hands greedily reaching for a perfectly round, sugar-sprinkled confection.
I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to Italy five times in the last 18 years; my first trip was a two-week stint with a group of fellow college students as part of a team to help renovate an apartment space for a pastor of a local church in Rome.
It all started with meatballs and a piece written by an extroverted freelance writer with a desire to gather friends, family and strangers around her table and to share food and build community.
‘There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.’ ~Ruth Stout © 2015, Debra.
Deflate-gate, the unexpected and sudden loss of a beloved member of our food community and the snowpocalypse that wasn’t (at least in New York) – it’s not a stretch to say that it’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks.
It’s a gray day here in the Midwest and I find myself pulling inward, desiring to get quiet and create – to write, to try a new recipe, to paint a wall.
Some Sunday mornings The Professor and I attend a country church just across the street from our house; some Sunday mornings we sleep late, wake slowly, have random conversations while still in bed.
It snowed last night – the first real snow of the winter with six or seven inches of the frozen white stuff on the ground; I laughed out loud when local friends posted photos on Facebook showing completely bare shelves where bread was once stacked - ditto for milk.
I didn’t understand the ‘macaron craze’ for a very long time – didn’t quite get the obsession of a baked meringue cookie with, what I thought, was a filling similar to an oreo cookie.
As I’m certain is true for most of the U.S., we like pizza in this house and in fact, have pizza at least once a week at the old Smith Bites Homestead.
I have dreamed, thought, considered, planned – whatever verb you choose – to bake a Buche de Noel for many, many years; always deciding that baking one would be far too much work, far too complicated and far out of my reach in terms of decorating something that fancy.
Oh you guys – we don’t do many giveaways, but have we got a giveaway for you!!! Our friends at Sabra contacted us to see if we’d be interested in hosting a giveaway for a Big Green Egg – and of course we said yes!
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and while the family celebration will not be in our home this year, we still find ourselves in the kitchen baking; I guess some habits are hard to break.
The Professor and I are in a little bit of a shock to find ourselves mid-November already; I’m not sure why, but when I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to grow up and become an adult.
It snowed last night; not much in terms of what’s on the ground – less than 3-inches of the white stuff.
The Professor has been in LA at a college-related workshop all week and while I’ve missed him, I also know he’s had a great time; so far, the group has visited the Dancing With Stars set to watch this week’s live performances as well as a trip to the DreamWorks studio. They weren’t allowed to take photos but that’s alright because the excitement in his voice as he relayed the details was all I needed to know it has been a fabulous experience. This annual workshop has been on The Professor’s bucket list for the last five years; it’s an invitation-only event and this year, he’s one of 20 faculty to be selected from colleges all over the country.
Last month I traveled to Italy for a week at another Jovial Culinary Getaway; I attended as a guest this time versus working as a photographer and videographer – and I traveled sans The Professor .
I’m celebrating this guy today – it’s his birthday and I honestly don’t know what I did to have this man as my life partner but I know I’m blessed beyond measure.
Well friends, I am plum-tuckered, spent, zapped and officially feel as if I could sleep for the next two months; I’ve been traveling since September and I haven’t been home much these past several weeks.
If you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll know that I’m back in Italy this week, sans The Professor; it’s the first International trip I’ve made by myself – a feat that is, by some estimations, a miracle because I’m incredibly directionally challenged, as in ‘any way I’m facing is North’.