Monday March 18, 2013
A great thing happened this weekend. My stepdaughter, Caroline and her boyfriend, Adam plus two of his friends all surprised us for a visit. Caroline did call an hour before arriving to let me know and ask if it were OK. OK?? It's more than OK - they are 150% welcome - ANYTIME!! An unsolicited visit is like a gift!! What made me giggle and my heart sing was that Caroline and Adam both sold the idea of coming to Boulderwood by using my cooking as the hook.
Who knew that 18 and 19 year olds would be interested in dining with adults, then playing some pool and ending the evening with a word association game of Apples to Apples. They were completely present. They relished their food, conversed with us and enjoyed sitting in front of the fire playing . Not once did any of them text, tweet, snap chat, instagram, FB etc..
I have such gratitude that all the years of homemade meals that seemed to be taken for granted actually made an impact on Caroline and they are now offered as a selling point for a visit. This, to me, is the definition of success.
Life is good!
And by the way, we loved playing the word association game and seeing the generational differences and similarities. It was the pop culture stuff where I saw the differences - like, one of them had no idea who Lucille Ball was. I guess I have some 'splanen to do!
And, on the menu: Homemade Organic Buffalo Chicken WIngs, Gluten free liguini with tomatoe sauce (canned last fall), homemade garlic bread, salad with homemade dressing. Dessert: s'mores at the fireplace in the Living Room.
Sunday June 03, 2012
I know it's just June, but we are already thinking about next winter. Afterall, isn't all the vegetable gardening really about the anticipation of putting up food for the winter? But today I am not writing about my garden, I am writing about our decision to find a vintage wood-burning cook stove to replace our Vermont Casting wood stove. My attitude is if we use the stove as auxiliary heat almost everyday of the winter, why not have one that I can cook on?
Is there anyone out there that has cooked on a wood-burning stove? I'd love your tips!! I am excited for this project. Here are some photos of some relics that we are looking at. I kinda like the one that says "Hot Closet" - the precursor to the warming drawer. Love it!!
Monday March 05, 2012
Sometimes I wonder if what I am doing with Heirloom Meals is really working and then something happens to erase my doubts. It's the small things that mean the most. So when I learned that a dinner party we were invited to by my friend Suky Werman was inspired by moi, I knew that Heirloom Meals had struck a chord. In an email she wrote:
"The idea for a heritage potluck was inspired by our viewing Carole Murko's wonderful Heritage Thanksgiving special on PBS this past holiday season. Carole--you created a dybbuk in me.
Here is what is already planned:
We're providing the main course from my Viennese heritage and at least one hors d'oeuvre. Julia Werman will be making Rudy Werman's chopped chicken liver and I know Liam, our son in law, will be creating a Sicilian savory vegetable from his venerable family tradition. So far, Carolann Patterson is making Potato Dauphinoise. Anna Gershenson will be making Dobosh Torte as well as a Latvian dessert from her early life in Riga Latvia. I haven't had an authentic Dobosh since I was about 25. t's a taste sensation and Anna is a fantastic baker. We're looking forward to sharing one of your favorite dishes either in the vegetable, starch or appetizer department. There will be 16 of us, but I think it's comfortable to plan for 12 when you're working out portions. I warn you that we'll have to have little tastes of the dobosh because it's a tough one to bake.
Let me know if you have any questions. I hope this doesn't feel daunting. It's a great way to get to know each other and hear family stories."
Well, it wasn't daunting at all. I made Shrimp Risotto Cakes and was thrilled to see all the dishes that were made. Suky even went to the effort of making labels for everyone's dish.
Here's a photo memory lane from the dinner:
What a wonderful journey we had walking down food memory lane with everyone. Now, if only Suky had asked for recipes. And, by the way, Anna's torte was magnificent in it's presentation and taste.
Well done, Suky. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Monday February 13, 2012
On this Valentine's Eve, I wanted to share with you my philosophy about food and cooking.
Cooking is NOT competition.
Cooking is an expression of love.
Cooking is nourishment.
There is no greater joy than cooking for family, friends or lovers.
Having the people you love, love your food warms my soul.
When you believe food is love then everyday you share your love by cooking.
If everyone believed food is love, the combination of food and love is the answer to living a good life.
Happy Valentine's Day - Hope you all find the love!
Tuesday February 07, 2012
Over the last year I have been on new journey - not just with Heirloom Meals - but one of a healing/spiritual sort. Last year I had a number a minor but scary health scares. From taking aspirin everyday as a prophylactic for migraine headaches, I developed an ulcer that caused heartburn; in seeking relief from chronic TMJ, I ended up feeling worse; and in general, I felt fat, logey and stressed.
What I realized from all of these things is I needed to pay attention to the signs or my intuition. When something I was doing never really turned out right, my "A" student kept trying over and over. And what I really needed to do was change what I was doing. I also needed to care for myself. I was told by the emergency room doctor that I was stressed - he said get a massage, take a vacation and drink some red wine.
None of the advice and coincidence of ailments have left my consciousness. I sought healers, and by elimination, found the ones that worked for me - a myotherapist masseuse, an osteopath, and a homeopathic MD. I felt better but not great. While some stress was mitigated, I still carried it in parts of my body. While I lost some weight, I knew that I could be on the slippery slope toward plumpness.
But, in being more open to the possibilities, the possibilities found me. I also learned a lot about me and being stuck - my massage therapist told me my hips were locked and they both literally and figuratively are what propel you forward. She helped me unlock them and things started to happen. Heirloom Meals started to really happen. But stress and anxiety were still with me. My doctor said I needed to find a way to relax, meditate. But what would work for me? I tried yoga, didn't like it, walking, running, pilates, you name it. And then it came to me...my osteopath's husband was teaching qigong and a program called Dragon's Way. At first, I dismissed it and then it just pursued me. So, I put a class of six people together - my Jim, my best friend Jan who is also on a spiritual quest to health and happiness, my dear friend Donna who is recovering from breast cancer, my Mom and a new friend, Debbie. We are in week 2, and I am beginning to understand the wisdom of the meditative exercises and healing diet. And I thank my lucky stars!!
Ok - so now - we are in the year of the dragon - a year of transition, change and great opportunity.
The program is called Dragon's Way, in the year of the dragon, coincidence? I think not!
If you want to learn more you can buy the book,.
Wednesday January 11, 2012
With the holidays solidly behind us now, I have had time to reflect on my own personal conflict leading up to and during the holidays. I so want to recreate the Christmas of my past with those trays of cookies, memorable meals, festively decorated house and more. So I push and push myself, feeling bad if I couldn't muster the energy to make 12 dozen sugar cookies. Afterall my Mom and Nana could do it effortlessly. And then, reality struck. I work. I am traveling to NYC 2 days a week for a client, I am launching my dream company....my world is different. And that's just the way it is. So I cut myself some slack and the joy of the season emerged. It's about sharing, giving, being with people you love. Not about how perfect you could make it seem.
So as I pedal the importance of nostalgia and honoring the traditions of our ancestors and our treasured family recipes, I do it to embrace the love that was shared, not the fiction of perfection that I or many of us may carry in our memory. Sure, if you have the time, money and desire - go for it!! But, if you are like many of us during these economic times, it's about creating the loving, nurturing environment that hugs the hearts and souls of all that we touch. It's not about the 12 dozen sugar cookies. It's about the memory of them and how they made us feel.
So, I was OK with making some memorable meals this season, sans sugar cookies. Funny thing, no one noticed I didn't make them.
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