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Spring is here!

10 Apr

I wrote this on Friday but I’m just getting around to posting today…

We’ve had a few glimpses so far but today is the first day I feel like it’s really, truly spring.

Right now I’m at my parents’ house in Rhode Island, in the country. And it’s such a refreshing change from my neighborhood at home where we live on a busy street, where there’s always fast and noisy cars. Walking down the sidewalk there, whether it’s with my dog or with my son, I always feel like my guard is up because there’s no shoulder and the space between the zooming cars and the sidewalk is dangerously small.

Today my son, Toby and I took a walk down my parents’ quiet road. There are no sidewalks here because there’s really no need, there’s no traffic at all. It is so quiet and peaceful. We just moseyed along and listened to the birds. Toby was all set to get bundled up when I told him we were going for a walk and he seemed puzzled when I told him he didn’t need to today. We got outside and he cheerfully declared, “It’s warm out! We no need hats!” He’s only two and a half. He doesn’t understand the changing of the seasons yet. He probably thought it was going to be winter forever. And I admit, I was beginning to feel that way too.

Along our walk the road makes a little bridge over a brook and we spent quite a lot of time throwing sticks off one side of the bridge and then running across the road to see them come out the other side. This seems like it could get tedious, but instead of feeling like I was merely humoring my son, I was having just as much fun as he was.

We walked down to the lake and threw rocks and acorns into the water. Along the edge where the water was lapping on the sand, there were little red buds lining the shore that must have blown off a nearby tree. They felt so affirming somehow. No, it’s not a figment of your imagination, it really is spring. I enjoy reading this blog: Red Bird Crafts. Once a week the author focuses on some sort of treasure. She says, “It might be thrifted or found on a walk or whispered in my ear or discovered on a dark shelf in the basement. Something. Anything that makes me feel lucky and thankful. It doesn’t necessarily have to make its way home with me – it just has to be noticed. The idea is for it to cost very little and feel very big. After all, this isn’t about acquiring new things; it is about paying better attention to the world around me.”

I was remembering that today as I found these little buds. I felt like they were my treasure this week. They certainly fit her definition: they cost me nothing, were worthy of some special attention, and felt like something big – a message saying, “keep your chin up – it’s getting warmer, and easier, and more beautiful, and more hopeful.”

Still Dancing

26 Feb

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written or posted much of anything here but Kitchen Dancing has never been far from my mind. Yet again, I would like to resurrect my poor neglected blog. But this time around, I’m rethinking it, reshaping it – I have decided I need to broaden my scope. In the past months my silence has not always been a reflection of how busy life is in our household,  how difficult it is to prioritize writing after a long day with a toddler or a long day at work. Often, perhaps. But not always. There have been times when I’ve had lots to say but I’ve felt confined by the theme of this venue.  So, I am making a decision. This will not be a blog just about local food and cooking , food politics and recipes, though I’m sure those will be frequent topics. Instead this will be a general outlet for my musings, for anyone who is interested in listening. Hello out there.

My house, the first and only house my husband and I have bought so far, is a little farmhouse that was built around 1850. Supposedly the Manhan River used to run right through my backyard (it’s since been re-routed much further behind my house) and supposedly my little house started as just a kitchen and shop. Mules used to pull barges down the river and workers would stop at my house to stock up on supplies and get a bite to eat. The previous owner said she found horseshoes in the garden. And we’ve found weights for an old fashioned scale on the property. I love this story of my home’s origins – that this was a place founded on hospitality.

Over time other rooms were added on and this building became a house. It’s purpose evolved. But I still think of the kitchen as the nucleus, the place where our energy is concentrated. Yes, it’s the room where we do our cooking, but it’s also the place where we hatch our plans, where we pour a glass of wine and talk with our friends, where we flop around on the floor with our son pretending to swim like whales, and where we turn up the music and boogie until we are out of breath.

Some things may be changing, but you can be assured we are still dancing in the kitchen.

Vegetable Guilt

30 Jun

Today is farm share pick-up day. I just looked in my fridge to do a little inventory of what we still have from last week. Sadly, I discovered some broccoli, bok choy, and kale that was past it’s prime. I think it was from the week before last. It got shoved way in the back of the fridge and was quickly forgotten as we tried with all our might to get through all the lettuce, zucchini, and snap peas. This year we are splitting a share. I can’t imagine if we had a full share! It’s a good reminder that even though all these beautiful, fresh, and luscious vegetables are available, it doesn’t mean we need to take everything that is available to us. When I started this blog part of my reasoning was that I wanted a place to be held accountable, with the hope that if I put it all out there for you to see, dear readers,  I would make wiser choices, be less wasteful and more creative with our food. It’s all about eating with intention. And that includes selecting our food with intention and not being gluttonous when I’m standing there overwhelmed and delighted by the huge table of veggies in the farm shop.

Today at the farm, I will try to quiet the voice that says surely I could come up with something innovative to do with chinese cabbage, and instead will try to be a bit more realistic about what we can and will eat.

Making the most of your CSA

6 Jun

My friend Cathy (again!) shared this link with me and I liked it so wanted to share it more broadly: The Crisper Whisperer: 10 Secrets for Making the Most of your CSA

Good tips with a sense of humor. I especially appreciated the line about “dying a slow death under the weight of silent veggie guilt.” Anyone who has had  to contend with an overabundance of farm share veggies and the disappointment of finding your once lush lettuce converted into smelly slime can relate. Hopefully these suggestions will help us find ways to use our weekly bounty.

Here we go again…

31 May

Hello dear readers!

After an inexcusably long hiatus, I am making another attempt. Time to recommit myself to Kitchen Dancing!  And what better time than now when inspiration is sprouting from the earth all around us.

As we have been anxiously awaiting the start date for our CSA, we have been biding our time eating local fiddleheads, asparagus, rhubarb, and just yesterday delicious, delicate, buttery lettuce that poor Josh had to listen to me gush about for at least 5 minutes as I was preparing our salad.

Sadly we have left Brookfield Farm in Amherst. We have loved Brookfield and when we first moved to the area we felt so welcomed there. As we were struggling to settle ourselves into the community socially and professionally, Brookfield was a place where Josh and I felt instantly at home. Since then, every move we have made to a new apartment or house  has taken us a little farther away from the farm. Last year, busy with a new house and a new baby, we felt like the drive was long and that we weren’t able to take full advantage of the farm. With mixed emotions, we are making the switch to Mountain View Farm this season, another organic CSA that is very close to where we are living now. Our first pick-up is in a couple days. Stay tuned for a post about my first impressions, plus more seasonal recipes, new RecipeHacking challenges, and more!

National Corndog Day

2 Apr

Let me begin by pointing out that this is not a belated April fools joke, this is real.

It is not often that you will visit this blog to find discussion of sports, but as March Madness is in full swing, I just couldn’t resist posting this little tidbit from a friend about one of the gleaming highlights of sports food fanaticism and marketing genius.

It turns out that there is a National Corndog Day that is designed to coincide with March Madness. If you get together with a group of friends and supple the beer and big screen TV Hormel (the makers of SPAM) will send you all the free corndogs you can eat. For those of you who are not familiar with corn dogs, picture a hotdog on a stick wrapped in a corn pancake and deep fried. A shining star on school lunch menus everywhere, these odd delicacies have spawned a slew of food knock-offs like the breakfast sausage on a stick wrapped in a maple syrup flavored pancake, or the debonair French sausage on a stick encased in a croissant. The possibilities are endless.

Here is a bit from the National Corn Dog Day website: Continue reading

Wherever

7 Feb

I stumbled upon this poem the other day and really appreciated it. While it is not explicitly about food, it touches on some of the themes that reoccur on this blog: planting, making, protest, etc… In part, it was that it reminded me of the title of a book by the democratic/radical educators Myles Horton and Paulo Freire: We Make The Road By Walking. But there was more than that. The lack of punctuation leaves every line open, full or potential and possibility. The way that so many lines end in verbs seems to fill the poem with movement and action. The fact that each person who reads it could imagine something different coming after the line “we will make,” as though they are speaking the poem themselves. It just seemed like a good reminder that every day we are moving, building, planting and making change possible. Continue reading