A Toast to Fun, Food and Men in Skirts


fun is good seuss_opt


In the spirit of holiday, food and fun, I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving week via photos from the local Celtic festival.


First, a toast to FUN.


And to YUMMY food. 


And Music! 

 irish dancing_opt

To dancing.


To hanging out and playing games.

 men in kilts_opt

And to dressing in your holiday best.


And last but not least, to tradition!

I don’t remember my Irish grandmothers mentioning this Celtic delicacy, but I leave you with–

Ye Olde Fried Oreo . 


Enjoy yourselves this week!  Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to stop by. Huge heaps of gratitude. 🙂

What are you thankful for this week?  Do you have a favorite festival food?





A Food Reunion: My Big Fat Gluten-Filled Week

carpe diem food

I’m drinking the day and eating the pizza.

Because I am having a bit of a carpe diem moment this week.  My doctor ordered me to eat gluten to prepare for a test.

So, for the last week, I’ve been busy with some serious cramming.

And it’s been a dizzying sort of delish, the kind that begins with pizza and well, will probably end with pizza.  Because you can’t have a serious study session without pizza.

pizza crust not gluten free_opt

Gluten-free pizza cannot compete with this crust.


After more than a year of eating gluten-free, I’m having quite the food reunion.

Meet the star of Thanksgiving 2010.

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My old friend, stuffing.


And her distant, but sweet cousin pie showed up too.


I was so touched when my Pinterest food boards made an appearance at the reunion.  After all, I haven’t known them that long.   It was comforting to see them get along so well with my dear friend the bakery case.


The bakery case, shimmering like a mirage. 


In the corner (of the freezer) I found the last cupcake from my daughter’s birthday last month.  What a treat!

cookie cupcake_opt


Cupcake with a cookie dough center.


I met delightful strangers . . .


Pumpkin whoopie pie 

And pals that always got me in trouble when we hung out. . .

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Frosting with a little scone.


And no get together would be complete without a few partypoopers. They always show up, right?

 grilled tofu salad_opt

Don’t worry, I ate ’em.


My closest friend, warm crusty bread was there.  I can’t seem to find any photographs, though.  Couldn’t stay still long enough, I suppose.

But believe me, we had plenty of face time.

Good thing, because my gluten party is almost over.  Will you pass me a napkin?  I’ve got a date with exercise.

Just as soon as I emerge from my carb coma.


What food is the star at your party?  

Tell me in the comments! I have three more gluten days to go and I might’ve missed something (it’s possible). 🙂






For the Love of Food and Nostalgia


“Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.”

Sounds awesome to me–add in “read” and it’s practically perfect.

Those are the four words Top Chef judge Gail Simmons wrote down when asked what she wanted to do with her life once she graduated college.


 Talking with my Mouth Full details her quest to create a successful career out of those four words.


As I read her food stories from childhood up to her hosting Top Chef: Just Desserts, I couldn’t help but get caught up in my own food nostalgia.

One of the earliest and most vivid food memories I have is of a glass bakery case filled with sprinkle cookies and pastel frosted cupcakes–all of which were right at my eye level.  I was maybe three or four.

I wonder how many hand prints and nose smudges had to be cleaned from that glass front everyday?

All I remember is the excitement.

Because there can be a lot of emotion tucked away inside of our food memories.

Like the laughter at family birthday parties, especially as my sister and I dipped forkfuls of cake into our tea cups.   The comforting ritual of a bowl of cereal as I watched Saturday morning cartoons.  Or the fun and freedom of walking to the tiny convenience store on the military housing base I lived on in Michigan to buy sweet chewy rice candy (I loved how the rice wrapper just melted in my mouth).

There’s the surprise I felt when I realized how much I liked the cherry beer I drank in Brugge five years ago.  Along with the wonder of the many chocolate shops that lined the cobbled streets, all filled with pretty little candies lined up in perfect rows–inside glass cases of course (I think glass cases trigger a Pavlovian-like longing in me now–it happens now even at Starbucks).

I won’t forget how curious I felt eating crawdads on a picnic table outside our neighbor’s house when we lived in New Orleans, partly because it was so different and partly because I couldn’t quite figure out if I liked eating those little critters or not.

And of course there’s the food we remember simply because we are with those we love.

 baby food face nostalgia _opt


“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”

~ M.F.K. Fisher (The Art of Eating)


What is your favorite food memory?


Things That Make You Go Ew


What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Cereal, eggs, toast?  If you live in Japan, it’s likely you ate natto. A.k.a. fermented soy beans.

Natto looks like Rice Krispy treats, but it’s not-o. They are a favorite breakfast food in Japan, often eaten with raw eggs and fish flakes.

And according to author Rachel Herz in her book That’s Disgusting:  Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion, they smell a bit like ammonia and tire fire.





Then again, I routinely drink this for a mid-morning snack:

kale smoothie _opt

Frozen kale blended with fruit or the latest from Yankee Candle?


Grilled tarantula, octopus ice cream, frog porridge–one person’s meal is another’s poison. When I was a kid it was the crunchy onions in my mom’s beef stroganoff that grossed me out.

But disgust goes further than food.  It is related to other emotions like love, laughter and excitement.

Disgust can inspire laughter.

We all have our own personal “ew” factor.

But we are not born with it.  Disgust is learned.

Children will play in dirt (even eat it), pick up bugs or dried poop and carry around that “sleeping” bird they found in the corner of the back yard.  They don’t know what’s disgusting until they are told.

But why is carrying around road kill disgusting?  After all, kids could collect and swap them like trading cards, right?  And they’re free, unlike Pokemon cards.

Herz says the fundamental function of disgust is to protect boundaries.


“We are the only creatures who experience emotional disgust and we are the only creature that knows it will die .”


Dead birds make us think of germs, disease and ultimately death.  So we develop psychological strategies to defend ourselves from that which we think is a possible threat to our existence.

And it doesn’t stop there.  Obesity, homelessness, or disability can bring out a reaction of disgust.  In fact, anything that “reminds us that we are squishable creatures with a finite time on this earth” can cause us to reject, shun, deny and even destroy.

Of course not everything that disgusts is actually dangerous.

Anyone want a slice of TOILET CAKE?

It’s too gross to post here, but if you can stomach it, click HERE.

Yuck, but then again it’s just cake, right?

What we find disgusting can be easily manipulated.

How else do we see salmonella carrying geckos as cute and charismatic insurance mascots?

Or get caught up in the kind of disgust that leads to derision or bullying?  Suddenly it’s no longer about survival–instead it can lead to missed opportunity or prejudice.

But reasoning can be our tool.

“The more we examine and reflect about the world we live in and the people around us, the more mindfully and compassionately we live.”

So fermented soy beans with a side of compassion?  Order up.

What are your thoughts? I would love to know what you think about the things that make you go ew!