When I was chasing cows around our farm in Canada, I would have laughed if someone told me that I would replace my wife as the bread baker. I still remember the days that she would bake four or five loaves of oatmeal bread and the kitchen smelled heavenly every time I entered during the day.
I know that cooking together with my wife has become a great joy. We have found a few regional recipes to carry with us as we have wandered from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Virginia, the North Carolina coast and back to the rolling hills of the Piedmont.
The meals that we have cooked are almost always based on simple ingredients. We are blessed to have grown up in families that were close to the land. Fresh vegetables and food direct from the farm or sea often have delighted us and made our meals special.
We were blessed to have grown much of our own food for over a decade. We have never lost those skills or the appreciation of truly fresh food grown in soil that has had enriched with compost that we have made.
For much of our life, we were too busy to do much more than get food on table. That has changed. (Read More)
The first turkey that I remember being prepared in our house was cooked after we moved to the Mount Airy house with my dad. The first Thanksgiving at college, I did not come home but I got invited out by a college friend, Jack. We had a wonderful dinner and I got my one and only opportunity so far to sample stuffing with oysters.
The next memorable Thanksgiving happened after college. I had purchased an old farmhouse with a barn and 140 acres on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Four of us had spent months remodeling the two-hundred year old house with hand-hewed beams. College friends came up to celebrate that first Thanksgiving on our own in the fall of 1971. We bought the biggest turkey we could find and the ladies in the group figured out how to cook it.
Little did I know I was already on the slippery slope to a smaller turkey and eventually just a turkey breast. I never take exception with the cook but I sure do miss those whole turkeys. (Read more)
My mother spent her childhood up to her teenage years on a mill pond. In my mind’s eye I can see the mill pond, the mill and the house. I have certainly heard enough stories. My mother grew up there. As a very young child she got lost in the woods one night. She had tagged a long with her older brothers to play at the other end of the pond. Like older brothers will do, they got frustrated with their sister hanging around and told her to go home. She got lost on the way back. She was found by a black man who helped at the mill. She was found only after spending a long cold night in the woods with only one of the family’s dogs as company. Walter Styers, her father, was getting ready to drain the pond and start looking for her body just before she was found. (Read more)
We actually started going to farmer’s markets as a couple when we were living north of Fredericton, New Brunswick. We went to see people and to pick up a few things that we did not grow on our own farm. Even more so than most farmer’s markets, there were homemade items interspersed with farm produce. There were no food items that we really needed but I think we went home with baskets to use with our own garden produce. Still we enjoyed the market especially the people.
Maybe it was because we had dirt under our fingernails and a close connection to producing food but for whatever reason, visiting farmer’s market became a life-long passion. Read More
It was long ago in 1971, when we gathered for American Thanksgiving on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in a farm house that had been standing for over two hundred years. Most of the people in the picture are no longer in my life but those that are still connected are treasures. Read more at this link.
The COVID-19 crisis has undermined my optimism, broken some of my connections with others, and altered my view of our country. All that has happened and the crisis is far from over. In spite of the advice to stay home, the last couple of weekends we have seen the first significant wave of beach people with license plates from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Florida. We also know that we have plenty of North Carolina visitors and likely most of them come from some of our state’s own hot spots. Things could get much worse in our coastal paradise.
I feel like the pandemic is peeling away layers of my psyche like the layers of an onion. Things have changed and what ends up as our new normal is still an open question. Read more
We each achieve greatness in our own way but what do perfect rolls have to do with it? This article has some thoughts on approaching greatness but great rolls are not the answer unless rolls are your mission in life.