The Revealing, Secret Diaries of a Not-So-Secret Foodie

Archive for the ‘Essay’ Category

Cookbooks on my Shelf

In Essay, Food, Garden on January 20, 2016 at 2:58 pm

cookbooks

Marcella's Italian Kitchen by Marcella Hazen

The paperback edition of Marcella’s Italian Kitchen was gifted to me over twenty years ago. It was a thank you from a student who was doing a rotation through the research lab where I was working at the time.

I remember a day when I met her ten year old son.  Sick and unable to attend school he accompanied his mom to the hospital.  I offered to look after him while she attended a biochemistry lecture.  One she couldn’t miss. Unexpectedly, I had an assistant.

For an hour or so we had fun viewing slides under the microscope. While his mom scribbled notes on the chemical processes of life, with a little light and a lot of magnification, he and I looked at cells where it was all taking place.

She returned grateful.  I was in my twenties at the time.  Not yet a wife, nor mother.   She was both.  And a first year medical student in her early forties attending a most prestigious school. She had been an artist.  Later I learned a close friend’s sickness and death had inspired her to enter a new career late in life. Read More

Beets

In Essay, Food, food photography, Gab, Garden, Photos, Recipe on June 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm

beetsThe clothesline is empty and so is the blooming clover that fills the yard. Yesterday’s bumblebees have not yet reoccupied their spiky white posts. The stillness of the early hour is broken only with the unintended music from the clicks of our flip flops in rhythm with the whiney creak from the handle of a pail. It swings back and forth empty and wrapped around my arm. I pause for a moment at the putting hole to pocket a forgotten golf ball and look back towards the house. Our steps have left an interesting trail in the cool dew. Grandma calls my name. She’s ahead of me now and has stopped, waiting for me to catch up.

-Read More>

Oreos

In Essay, Faith, Food, food photography, Gab, Photos, Recipe, Spiritual on January 3, 2012 at 12:27 am

Milk and White Chocolate-dipped Oreo Bon Bons.

Nearly a year has passed since debuting my little idea of suebthefoodie.com. It is most certainly with a gigantic smile that I recall the electrifying sense of excitement when I hit publish on my first post that February afternoon. How vividly I can remember the sheer terror that immediately followed. Why terror? Well, instead of like so many other times in my life, I did not stand at the edge hesitating, wondering if I could succeed. Or worse, fearing that I would fail. My big toe did not go first to test the waters. Instead, I just did it. I dove right in with a pounding, passionate heart and a “cannonball” mindset. For me, doing something new is terrifying. Silly. I know. But so true. So deeply apart of me. -Read More>

Pizzelle

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe, Spiritual, Tidbits on November 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Holiday Pizzelle with Earl Grey.

Snowflakes sitting on the plate. These ones aren’t cold. They aren’t even white. On the small round table in Grandma’s kitchen next to her cup of coffee they wait. Earlier, I had watched her retrieve them from high atop the dark cherry china hutch that inhabited her dining room . So carefully she had reached up to retrieve the dress shirt box whose lid was slightly ajar. A curiosity in my mind; Grandma never left anything ajar. -Read More>

Club Soda

In Essay, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe, Tidbits on July 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Backyard Margarita with Lime Wedge & Fresh Mint Garnish

Neighborhood lawnmowers have grown quiet but the clean, crisp smell of a cul-de-sac’s worth of freshly cut grass remains.  The last soothing calls of robins fill the air as the lightening bugs make their debut.  Amidst their intermittent flashes that my boys so enjoy, dusk falls upon the suburbia that I call home.   On such a perfect summer evening it is difficult not to be aware of the beauty that surrounds me.  My mind begins to wander.

I take notice of the imposing Mulberry Tree that is in the parkway of our backyard.  Its sturdy frame must have graced that spot of land for the better part of 150 years.  Its knotted and gnarled branches have likely provided refuge to generations of Great Horned Owls whose most recent descendents we’ve been fortunate enough to witness stalking their prey.  Suddenly, it occurs to me that I have been looking at that formidable tree everyday for over a decade while sipping my morning coffee from the view out my kitchen window.  Wow, how can that be?  A decade has passed in the blink of an eye. Not one, but two children now have completed their first years of elementary school and my youngest son will start preschool in the fall.  They are growing like weeds. -Continue>

Cayenne

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on June 23, 2011 at 8:32 pm

La Bamba Casserole with Sides of Brown Rice & Organic Spring Scallions

I knew sending my child to Kindergarten would be an exciting adventure for him.  I anticipated that he would learn lots of new things, meet many new faces and more importantly begin to navigate his way in the world without me.   But the big surprise for me, I do have to admit, is that I entirely underestimated all the new things that I would learn and experience his first year of school.    Not only about being a mom, but about letting go.

During the hustle and bustle of trying to get him to school before the bell rang those first few weeks with a newborn and three-year old in tow, I found myself feeling very frazzled.  What an accomplishment it was just to get out the door each day.  Actually getting there was an entirely different and monumental task to hurdle.  I swear on the short walks to school that year, I spent more time chasing my three-year old than I care to remember.  For some reason he had acquired a fascination for following random birds with no regard for where I was, or where I needed to be.  Let’s just say that getting his older brother to school on time was not high on his priority list.   He’d been like that since day one, always following the beat of his own drum, and I would not have him be any other way; except maybe when we had somewhere we needed to be ; ).   -Continue>

Noodles

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on June 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

Merle's Chinese Chicken Salad in Red Cabbage Leaf Bowl with Fortune Cookie

Ramen Noodles; those super long noodles I first discovered in college.  The cheap and tasty meal in a package that was my go to dinner in a “hot pot” when the spending money, meant to last all month, was nearly gone after less than a week.  Some might consider them a salty lesson in budgeting, but for the foodie, more likely an inspiration.  When left to a lively imagination, they are quickly transformed into a secret ingredient stowed away in the next Chopped Champion’s wicker basket, awaiting their successful incorporation into a winning appetizer, entrée or dessert.

When deciding which recipe to post next, it occurred to me those very same noodles had a front row seat at some very joyful events in my life.  That’s because they are actually incorporated into a salad that has become a family food tradition when women in my family shower a Bride-to-Be or a new Mom-in-Waiting with joyful, new beginning wishes.  For me, this blog is in part about, JOY.  So posting this recipe is a “joyful” must.  Plus, it is a recipe that my sister, on more than one occasion, specifically requested for her “keeper box”.  So in here, it will be.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Can”nellini Bean

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on April 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm
Doug's White Chicken Chili with Fresh Cilantro and Jalapeno Garnishes

Doug’s White Chicken Chili with Fresh Cilantro and Jalapeno Garnishes

My next recipe was given to me by my sister, yes the very same sister who doesn’t really cook.  The one to whom I have dedicated this blog, Lori Anne.  You might wonder how it came to be that she gave me a recipe, a recipe so good and well-received that it has ended up in my keeper box filed under the letter “C”, for “Chili”.  Well, this is not your average chili. It is spectacular.  There is always a story, right?  Well here it is.

My little sister invited my husband, son and I over for a quick dinner before trick-or-treating with our kids.  Lori’s favorite holiday is Halloween.  She always goes all out.  That year she told me she’d found a recipe she wanted to try.  She saw it in a cookbook that she had picked up while on vacation.  She was going to make it for dinner. Hmmm, Lori was going to make us something for dinner.  I have to admit, I was intrigued the moment she said “I found a recipe in a cookbook”.  It is not that Lori can’t cook.   Rather, it isn’t her thing.  She’d prefer to have someone else do the cooking while she kept them company.  She just isn’t the type to peruse cookbooks, much less do it for leisure while on vacation.  Or, so I thought.

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Pumpkin

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on March 31, 2011 at 9:02 am

pumpkin crunch cakeWith great awe I would watch my mom pack up the hardtop Buick Electra as we prepared for the traditional Thanksgiving Day trek. I knew enough to stay out of her way when she was in the midst of shoving things here and there. She never said it specifically; however, her face said it all. Her mind focused with great determination, her eyes fixed on the task at hand and her brow seriously flexed for the added “Oomph” to get things where they needed to go. Yep, I knew not to go anywhere near her or that car. I just sat back and took it all in. My dad also seemed to instinctively know not to offer any advice, nor question the placement of a packed item, lest a piece of uncooperative luggage come flying his way.

I love to recall how many people, pieces of luggage, lovely desserts and on more than one occasion, an oversized dog, a lone woman could creatively cram in the family vehicle. Especially, when I remind myself that she did it years before the advent of the now common mini-van. Nope. She did it seventies-style. No car seats or seat belts to hinder her ingenuity. Sometimes I wonder how we all survived those early road trips precariously perched atop all our belongings. But we did. We survived. And we did it in grand-style packed to the gills; bickering, teasing, singing and complaining all the way. With the car packed and all passengers in place, we’d depart. Destination: Gramma & Papa’s house.

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Chicken Soup

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on March 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm
Swiss Chicken with Grape Tomato & Argula Salad

Swiss Chicken with Grape Tomato & Arugula Salad

The year I was born my aunt was nine years old. My mom, her sister, was twenty-one and still wearing braces. How unaware we all were that day of the unusual, yet needed tie, that would be formed between the three of us in the years to come. Sometimes, someone else’s tragedy is your unknown blessing, even if not fully realized until many years later. Sadly and suddenly, I had received a precious and beautiful gift sent straight from God, albeit unexpected and unsolicited. I received an older sister, overnight. Read More>