A week ago, we moved into our new home and while there are many positives to the place, a huge surprise was the presence of a lilac bush next to our home. I grew up with a lilac bush in my backyard and the smell is among my favorite. My plan was to give my partner a lilac bush to celebrate our closing, but discovering the bush during our final walk through relieved me having to buy lilacs for her. Continue reading »
Earlier this year, I mentioned reading Martha Bayne’s great article on how the food culture and the hungry are moving in opposite directions. After two nights serving soup at Bayne’s Soup & Bread, I recently read about a cause called “Food Bloggers Against Hunger“. As much as I eschew talking about blogs generally, this blog specifically or even referring to myself as a food blogger, I felt this was a good opportunity to contribute to a cause that I really care about.
You may have read about, or seen press junkets, for a recently released film called “A Place at the Table“, a documentary about families going through issues of food insecurity. APatT looks at hunger in a way that is real without being hyperbolic or falling into the trap of sensationalism. The issue is treated with far more calmness and measured speech than I could do. To me the calm tone opens up the dialogue to action rather than reaction. These are not just people getting squeezed by big Ag or by corporate America. It isn’t just those you see panhandling, those out of work or single parent families that struggle. It is not just inner city folks or people in rural areas.
Far more people than I realized previously are limited to $3-$4 per day per person for food and no job or family situation is sheltered from hunger. Trying to subsist on that $3-$4 per person per day was the challenge I decided to take up for my family (my wife and I have two little girls). Before doing this myself, I would have speculated that I could come up with a few days worth of inexpensive meals, but there are few items worth considering to which I had not paid much attention. Continue reading »
St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty serious holiday for my family and not in the “green beer and pass out before it is dark” kind of serious either. Every year, I tell myself that we will just grab some corned beef from the store and do it cliche and every year, I decide not to go that route. Continue reading »
In November, I was sitting in a waiting room killing time when I picked up Time Out Chicago. I typically would rather read the ingredients in commercial ice cream (yes, Polysorbate 80 is the most delicious polysorbate) than Time Out, but when I opened to an article written by someone I have admired from afar, Martha Bayne, I was compelled to read it. Continue reading »
As I stand over these ham hocks and greens and neck bones and Sea Island red peas and I look back at ringing in another New Year at Butcher & Larder, it is not lost on me that a week after I wrote about finding my sweet spot somewhere between Italian slow food and Deep South soul food in making Country Ham cured and dried pork belly, I was served a meal that had been in the planning for months that was precisely in that sweet spot.
You may remember reading in the 2011 installment of this very same post about my quest for health – 2012 was a continuation. After losing well over a hundo through eating better and exercising, 2012 was my first real year of running. In 2011, I ran in a couple 5k and was, and still am, proud to have done so, but starting in January, I started to challenge myself with distance. Starting by running my first half marathon in January (20 degrees and snowy) to running my second in May (90 degrees and sunny), I finished with a flourish – running my first marathon in October, but what in Fergus’s name does that have to do with food? Continue reading »
In the conceptual phase of Christmas Eve dinner, this was supposed to be a traditional suckling porchetta (not just the loin wrapped in the belly, but the whole beast rolled) and it was supposed to be eaten over dinner. Porchetta is a great dish, and currently ranks highly on the hot list, for better or worse, but like many Christmas ideas, concepts are one thing, but you add in other people’s plans and execution becomes another. Continue reading »
A few years ago, I recounted my initial experience with persimmons. Growing up in Wisconsin, I could never imagine a fruit more foreign to me. After having it at Hoosier Mama in pie form and at Next: Kyoto as dessert, it had gained traction in my mind as a dessert-y ingredient. However, a turn at the Otro Bar at my favorite restaurant in Chicago right now, Vera, made me think again. Continue reading »
When the smoker is rolling, nothing is safe. In this case, the turnips went on the smoker filled with pork and peaches with no end result in mind. I knew that I loved turnips, but have never seen or heard of any good preparation for cold-smoked turnips. The texture is slightly less starchy than a potato and flavor slightly less peppery than a radish, but neither radish nor potato had obvious translatable applications to smoking. Continue reading »
After over seven months preparing, early October brought my first marathon. Without going into too much detail, it went well, very well for a first marathon, but coming out on the other side, I knew that I would need a break, and more importantly, L would need a break. She was the one caring for the girls during my training runs. With that in mind, a few months back, we scheduled a kid-free weekend in the Northwoods of Wisconsin for the weekend following my race.
A fall weekend in the woods away from kids meant that we will both do our favorite things, L will sleep and read and I will cook and read. Our plans were only bolstered by the weather – it was cold and sunny on day one, but cold and rainy the next two days. It was perfect. We moved from couch to couch reading. I would get up to tinker with my new Aeropress coffee maker or grab a bite of cheese or feed the fire in the fireplace. As meal time approached, I would move my tinker from coffee to food. Continue reading »