15 minutes on… my heroes


The past 30 days, 22 hours, and 45 minutes have been a National Blog Posting Month (aka NaBloPoMo) dedicated to heroes. I did not post every day this month, and I have yet to type a word about the people I look up to. But still I will embrace the last minute (my favorite time of day) to give a shout out to some important–yes, I’d dare say heroic–foodies.

Alice Waters – Big mama of the local and slow foods movement. I like her so much, I named a goldfish after her. She’s one of the few survivors.

Wendell Berry – A dude dedicated to both small-scale agriculture and beautiful writing about it

Arden Andersen – An MD with the audacity to say that nutrient-dense food, grown in good soil, is the best medicine

Mollie Katzen – A woman who started with a simple cookbook and an ernest little restaurant, and grew a huge & veggie-loving following. I also named a goldfish after her, but the poor gal (or guy?) didn’t make it.

Bill McKibben – Advocate of a locally-based economy. I need to read his latest book!

In the remaining hour of the month, I shall be reflecting on these wonderful people. And cleaning my fish tank.



15 minutes on… incidental wonders

11:54 p.m.
Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries: one of the small, sweet pleasures of my home town. These berries shine from patches of grass and forest without any cultivation or any say-so by any human.

Black caps

Black raspberries, aka black caps (they are a deep purple when ripe. The pictured berries aren’t quite there). Yet another serendipitous find. When I was a kid, they were curly wigs on my imagined finger people, or crowns or coins or cakes.  Unfortunately, they love to grow near poison ivy. Almost every summer, those insidious oils found me and laid me out with oatmeal compresses on the backs of my legs or calamine lotion covering one swollen eye. Even the plumpest of these berries won’t fit on my finger anymore, but I still savor them whenever I’m willing to hunt — and court itchy disaster.

Mulberry close-up

Mulberries. I still feel a smile every time I walk by a mulberry tree. Whether it’s in someone’s back yard, or along the exhaust-laden sidewalks of 16th Street, I’ll halt my purposeful D.C. walk to pick them. The older trees give you the sweetest berries, my dad used to tell me. I know people who have special shirts just for picking mulberries because of the stains, my mother said.

Perennial wild berries: You could walk by and not even notice them. Or you could notice them.

12:09 a.m.

15 minutes on… healty(er) iced coffee at 7-Eleven

12:09 pm

The Takoma Park Jazz Fest was in full swing today, but my usual iced coffee source was shut down. No explanation in the hand-written note, but I suspected the closing of the Drifting Nomad for the day was connected, if not to the Fest, then to one of a trillion other things more fun than serving coffee and sandwiches inside on a blazingly clear, sunny day.

As readers may recall, I like my coffee. Just one cup a day, but I do love that one cup. I also like finding little tricks to pull it off in different ways. So I ventured into the nearby 7-Eleven, pleased with the change of pace from my usual weekend routine. But I soon found myself standing before an iced coffee utterly at a loss. The choices: artificial mocha, or artificial vanilla.  All jazzed up, you might say. The theme of my day! Processed with who knows what kinds of chemicals and with the use of who knows how much energy. Continue reading

Quick tweets meet slow eats


In the foodie world, it isn’t just greens that are going micro. Folks on Twitter (Tweeple, if you will), are now sharing tiny reviews and itty bitty news items about everything from restaurants to cooking at home to public foodie events in 140 characters or less. I have to say this has been fabulous for keeping up with D.C.-area food fun. I’ve doubled or tripled the scope of my D.C. gastronomical awareness, and it’s only been a few weeks.

One set of tweets I recently enjoyed came from chefrock, of The Carlyle Club in Alexandria. He took us through a meal at Rammy-winning Brabo in a play-by-play that could rival any Tom Sietsema review or Iron Chef narration. In quick, nutritious bursts, chefrock took us from the very beginning of the meal (“Fresh baguette was gooder than good. Nothin like great bread to start a meal off right. Service is awesome, so glad its still alive”) to dessert (“Apricot cobbler was nice and refreshing, not too sweet. The chcolate terrine was ridiculous! I’m stuffed!”). Continue reading

Starbucks getting healthy?

Even if you missed those ads with the ernest burlap backdrop talking about how real and good Starbucks is, perhaps you heard of the ‘bucks’ transition to health food? They aren’t serving acai-goji lattes just yet, but they are pledging to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and expand real fruit and organic options. Check out this summary.

Running out

It was the end of the month. “What about you?” She asked. “Do you ever run out of food?”

I wasn’t torn by the question or the answer until later. “Only when I don’t have time to go shopping,” I said.