There are two things in this world that I have deep compassion for: children and animals. Both are vulnerable to the neglect and abuses the world hands out to them and require a lot of love and understanding. Three years ago, my daughter went to a summer camp outside Binghamton, New York but when I received a phone call from the nurse at the camp saying my daughter had the swine flu and was quite ill, I went to her. Upon learning she was being given cough medicine to help her sleep and suppress a cough (not a good medication to give an asthmatic) and that she was vomiting in her sleep without waking up, I packed up her things and decided to take her home to recuperate. Read more
Christopher Hitchens was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic esophageal cancer in June of 2010 while on a book tour promoting his most recent memoir – Hitch 22 – (Hitch being his nickname). As Hitchens eloquently points out in one of his many essays on being a cancer patient, “there is no Stage 5” and so he set out to write as much as he could before he passed away. Read more
Processed and packaged foods are not often on my grocery list but every once in a while, I find a product worth buying and writing about. Williams-Sonoma, the kitchen supply/cooking/baking store sells a product under their label called Pulled Pork Starter that makes a saucy, slightly sweet and smokey southern style pulled pork that is always a hit with a big crowd – especially men (what is it about a pulled pork sandwich?).
A 26-ounce jar, Pulled Pork Starter’s ingredients include apple cider vinegar, water, brown sugar, spicy brown mustard, ketchup, tomato paste, natural hickory smoked flavor, organic black strap molasses, chicken demi-glace, chicken broth, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, crushed red pepper, and cayenne powder. Read more
When I need to add some humor to my day, my go-to website is www.thefuckingweather.com (although the site is often referred to as TFW for those less inclined to drop the F bomb). People talk about weather all the time and it’s a safe topic to discuss when there isn’t anything else to have a conversation about because the weather is relevent and people have either a sense of curiosity, wonder, or disgust with it on any given day. And, of course there is always the looming weather disaster somewhere in the world which generates chatter. But, if you simply want a more humorous take on the weather go to TFW – one of the most hilarious weather websites ever created. Read more
The story of a pilgrimage whether it be a hike up the Pacific Coast Trail as depicted in Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild,” a bike ride through Spain (It’s Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans) or the infamous 500 mile walk from southern France to western Spain called the Camino de Santiago can be inspiring. These types of adventures are usually triggered by a crisis or life changing event (the Camino de Santiago is often called The European Divorcee Trail) and center around a person committing to a physically challenging adventure to find meaning, closure, or simply time to think. When I hear of a pilgrimage, the desire for personal enlightenment and a better understanding of self comes to mind and this is the overriding theme in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Read more
When most people think of blue cheese, they think of a strong pungent cheese such as Roquefort Cheese – a blue cheese made from sheep’s milk that hails from the south of France. Maytag Blue Cheese of Newton, Iowa is a blue cheese made from cow’s milk that is tangy – almost lemony – with a moist and crumbly texture; a semi-soft cheese loved by many who give it a chance. Read more
NaturAlmond Butter is an almond butter spread that contains exactly two ingredients: almonds and sea salt. Located in Chamblee, Georgia (just north of Atlanta), the company selects the finest California almonds and slow roasts the nuts in small batches to ensure quality, freshness and flavor. The almonds are then ground to a smooth consistency which releases the essential oils of the nuts. A touch of sea salt is added to enhance the flavor before being packaged in a 12-ounce jar in their peanut-free commercial kitchen. Read more
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple is a hilarious story about a family that lives in Seattle, Washington. Bernadette Fox is an architect who moves from Los Angeles, California with her husband, Elgin Branch whose animation company was acquired by Microsoft. Bernadette and Elgin didn’t have to leave sunny California but after she experiences a career crisis (which she refers to as the “hideous event“) and a strong recommendation to come north from Big Brother (the author’s affectionate name for Microsoft), the couple decide to pack up and relocate to “Rain City.” Read more
“Como mola” (meaning “how cool”) is what my daughter would say in Spain when something impressed her and those are the first words I thought of when I tasted Bola Granola – the crunchiest granola I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Bola Granola has a catchy name that is fun to say but the real joy is the super crunchy granola in the bag.
One bite of this all organic grain granola brings a cornucopia of flavors: a mildly sweet and salty blend of toasty oats and nuts. Made with organic rolled oats, almonds, brown sugar, pumpkin seeds, water, canola oil, wheat germ, organic wheat flour, organic flaxseed meal, wheat bran, vanilla extract, salt, and vitamin E, Bola Granola is a delightful blend of what granola should be: delicious and healthy. Read more
Eleven years ago today – September 11, 2001 – our world was forever changed with the terrorist attacks. We all know that nearly 3,000 people died that day but because of the magnitude, most of us don’t put a face to the number. One of the faces of 9-11 was a 41-year old woman named Janet Alonso – a wife and a mother of two young children who perished on the 97th floor of the north tower at the World Trade Center. Read more