Quirky

We never decorated Easter eggs at my house. It seems a shame, because as you can see from my last post, colorful and intricate designs are right up my alley.

But we only ate scrambled eggs when I was little. In fact, some of my family members are still dubious of eggs in any other form. This breakfast pizza, for example, was deemed too frightening for human consumption.

IMG_4239

Hard-boiled eggs are even more objectionable, according to my sisters. So you can see why we didn’t cook a batch every spring. They might offer a fun canvas for painting, but the insides would be wasted.

I, however, learned to love hard-boiled eggs after a trip to Germany. My host family also introduced me another unfamiliar substance often viewed with suspicion: quark.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Bored Squiggly

Boredom is bad for you.

Warnings against the dangers of idleness have circulated for centuries, and people resort to all kinds of pointless activities (or worse) when they’re bored to tears.

Doodling, on the other hand, has been officially sanctioned and hailed for its many psychological benefits.

This tactic has saved my under-stimulated brain from destruction more than once. And these shoes elevate doodles from a last-ditch defense against boredom to a wearable art form.

IMG_7450

Continue reading

Deviation

If I wanted to stir up debate, I’d say this was a traditional Irish scone.

It’s not.

Scone

Proper scones are so traditional to Ireland that they were chosen to represent the country at Cafe Europe in 2006. Scones may even get their name from the Gaelic word “sgonn,” meaning “lump.” But applying the word “traditional” to a particular recipe always sparks controversy among aficionados.

Of course, recipes can be traditional without being uniform. These scones, however, break the mold completely. They don’t come close to “authentic,” but they are delicious. Plus, they highlight the wonderful flavor and texture of oats—one of Ireland’s oldest and greatest crops.

Continue reading

Spring Fever

I have cold feet today.

It’s my fault, since I’m running around barefoot—but I can’t bear to put socks on. A few days of sunshine, a little birdsong, and talk of planting a garden have swept me into springtime.

Just in time for a March blizzard, of course.

Blizzard

But that’s okay—spring fever is keeping me warm.

Continue reading

A Miner’s Wife

My great-grandmother was married to a miner. What a woman. She washed the coal dust from her husband’s blackened jeans with her own hands, and she could cook to keep pace with a miner’s appetite. Grandma says her daddy ate apples by the bushel, and he took several biscuit sandwiches to work every day.

Copper miners in Michigan were hungry too, but they typically carried pasties (pass-tees) for lunch. Their wives baked meat and vegetables in pastry dough, then wrapped the small pies in cloth or paper to keep them warm. After Cornish immigrants brought the dish to Michigan in the 1800s, pasties became an icon of the Upper Peninsula.

Pasties

Meat and potatoes—the classic foundation of a hearty meal—sound like perfect fuel for physical labor. But pastry dough is fragile (there’s a reason people usually serve pie on plates).

In my mind, these ladies should have brushed up on their sandwich-making abilities (generally considered an essential part of the domestic female’s skill set). My great-grandma was a sandwich innovator—her husband didn’t like sliced bread, but he loved biscuits. Again, what a woman!

Still, pasties have the charm of tradition. My mom grew up in Michigan, and she loves these—for reasons that have nothing to do with portability.

Continue reading

Stone Soup

I am always in the mood for soup—especially in winter, when I’m desperate to warm myself up from the inside out.

Soup

In the dining hall, I always make a beeline for the soup zone, and at home, you can catch me finishing leftover chili for breakfast.

Speaking of leftovers—this is a great way to use them. Soup is the contortionist of the kitchen—you can twist it into whatever shape you like best.

Or, if you’re a stranger in a stingy town, you can use a rock, plus whatever your gullible benefactors have on hand.

Continue reading

Roses are Red

There’s no escaping chocolate on Valentine’s day.

In America, this tradition is pervasive enough to inspire guides to getting outside the heart-shaped box. In Italy, chocolate-covered hazelnuts are common, and in Japan, women buy giri chocoliterally “obligation chocolate”—for the not-so-special men in their lives.

The chocolate connection may be unavoidable, but there’s plenty of room for creativity within this tradition.

Chocolate Crepes

Continue reading