Happy Food Year

January 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

The last bit of the poem “Love at First Sight” by Wislawa Szymborska has always resonated with me, and it was in my mind this morning when I woke up.

“Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.”

Ends prompt reflections. Year-ends lend themselves the most to retrospectives, in memoriam reels, highlights, best-and-worst lists. Some years of my life have involved much visible change and others contained shifts that are more subtle. I think 2014 has been one of the latter. Much of life is similar to last year: job, apartment, church, dear friends and family, my chocolate consumption levels. There are the positive, welcome changes and also the ones I see, right now, as mostly negative or disappointing.

But, it’s been a great year in food. And rich in people to share in the bounty with. Thanks to my (everyone’s) penchant for photographing mouth-watering plates, I can look back over meals I’ve made and been served.

Early in 2014, there was Hattie B’s hot chicken in Nashville with Alison. Several times, chocolate chip cookies found their way into my oven. I inhaled sweet tea fried chicken from Saw’s BBQ on more than one occasion. Callie came over for breakfast yogurt parfaits.┬áThere was peach-a-day summer to celebrate. I made cinnamon roll/pull-apart bread/cake, pastichio, a whole roast chicken, cathead biscuits, flaky roasted strawberry phyllo turnovers and bruschetta for Joy’s wedding shower, blackberry graham cracker pie, pumpkin pie with caramel pecan praline, and breads like challah and Irish brown. Many meals were shared around the fire pit at Rachael and Jeff’s place. Smitten Kitchen’s apple cider caramel recipe won me over, and just about everyone I shared the chewy, salty deliciousness with. I love when people clamor for more. I introduced my family to cream cheese ice cream, and now my Dad requests it. I finally experienced the tomato salad at Hot and Hot Fish Club. This list barely scratches the surface, as it was often too dark or I was too hungry to capture photographic evidence of the rest. And, of course, there were the dishes that didn’t quite realize their full potential, but let’s not rain on the how-well-I-ate parade.

At this point, 2015 is an untapped well, but I know of a few constants: the love of God, my desire to know him and serve him more fully, and the call of the kitchen.

“The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter of what place in history or society; they can be part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest to console him when he has outlived the rest.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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Pizzelle’s Confections

June 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s a well-documented fact that I enjoy chocolate, in all its forms: a tiny but intense molten lava cake, a square of Amedei dark chocolate, chewy chocolate chip cookies with a kiss of salt, and truffles. Luckily, friends and family share my interest in the little decorative gems of deliciousness. My uncle introduced me to Pix Patisserie and Alma Chocolate in Portland. Near Durham, NC, a few years back, I had a delicious tea infused treat at Miel Bon Bons. Trips to other states and overseas have surely brought sweet morsels of cacao past my lips but only the memories have remained.

I have yet to encounter a similar caliber chocolate shop in my own home state…until now! Pizzelle’s has been open in Huntsville for a little more than a year and attempts to get my brother (who lives so close by!) to darken their door and bring me some have failed. Thankfully, a quick Memorial weekend trip to see said brother with my roommate to watch the X-Men movie also included the long-awaited visit. After counting the truffles in the case, I decided 14 was exactly the amount I should buy. Choosing among the flavors that included calling cards like lemon-lime curd, maple-infused milk chocolate, chai-spices, cayenne with cinnamon, or caramelized cacao nibs was impossible. All or nothing, right?

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Alone, but Not

March 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

I really enjoyed last weekend. I normally enjoy my weekends, being freed from the daily schedule and pressing need to get into bed at a decent hour. I relish them, even when they are busy, but usually more if they are not. This past weekend, I confess, I was a bit apprehensive. My roommate was going out of town, and while not cause for alarm by any means, I could feel myself getting a bit down in the mouth about it, feelings of loneliness creeping in.

As a child, I was always very fearful of being alone in our house, even just for an afternoon. It sounds silly to type, but it’s the truth. Even into early adulthood, the thought of staying alone overnight filled my mind with shadowy images from all the worst Lifetime movies I’d ever succumbed to watching. Living on my own a few years ago helped me tackle some of these fears, but I still fell victim to occasionally lying awake at night and imagining how quickly I could climb out my window before an intruder would arrive at my bedroom door. It’s not that bad, anymore, Thank The Lord, but it crops up from time to time just the same.

As Friday approached, I just began to pray, for trust that God would see me through the time and even make it fruitful, not fearful. (I had no plans made which doesn’t help either, if a struggle with loneliness finds you.) It may seem a small thing to some, but it was a huge blessing to me to enjoy and even embrace my time alone. Little bit by little bit, a few plans started to develop and my mind turned to what I had to look forward to instead of dread. Pizza was made with friends, a recipe for brown bread successfully attempted, another friend visited and chatted, and a cat was let outside as much as she wanted when the weather was nice. I am thankful for it all, and most of all, for the Spirit of freedom that kept me company.

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It exceeded my expectations for just an ordinary facing-your-fears-and-having-victory-over-them weekend at home.

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