31 January 2014
27 January 2014
There were 6 people in the boot camp, chefs, former chefs, a cooking instructor and yours truly. Now, generally, this type of “workshop” event is set up in some Marriot anteroom with unflattering lighting, bad coffee, and soggy pastry. But this event is a Lee Bros event, proving that it doesn’t matter where you are born, you can always become a Southern gentleman.
The boot camp took place in an old Charleston house, complete with pocket doors, a porch, and a fireplace, that many folks thought was necessary, since it was a frigid 55 degrees! The week before the wind chill in Shirley was 20 below. BELOW! The weather in Charleston was like a spring day.
The night before the boot camp, the Lee Bros. hosted the campers for an oyster roast. The next morning work began at 8 a.m. Not one to complain though 8 a.m. seemed a tad uncivilized, but the coffee was excellent. Charleston has never been a big “bakery” town until the last year or so, when several great bakeries set up shop and Matt and Ted knew them all. No soggy hotel pastry for us.
The first day was a series of hands-on writing exercises to articulatethe reasons and focus of the cookbook. Butcher and Bee, a sandwich shop written up in every food magazine from hell to breakfast, catered lunch. More writing and talking through ideas followed lunch. That night, we met for dinner at McCrady’s, where we were treated to a special Boot Camp Dinner.
If you think you might just be ready to write that cookbook, I can't think of better teachers than the Lee Bros. Check out the boot camp here.
17 January 2014
It started to sleet, the. Snow this afternoon. I stepped out to take photos and found the flash captured these big flakes.
They were so white against the gray skies that they look like lights.
I can't remember such big flakes. You could practically lift them off your shirt.
13 January 2014
Thanks to everyone who was worried about me in the West Virginia Water Crisis. I am North of the spill, so my water is not affected...by this.
I was without water for four days due to frozen pipes. By the end of it I was ready to KILL anyone who crossed my path. We were never in any danger, mind you. There was enough bottled water for cats, chickens and even me. There was water for coffee and cooking. After several days, though, there were no more clean dishes. At that point, cooking is not an option. The kitchen is beginning to get a bit odoriferous. And my hair, lets not even go there. Needless to say, I was ready to KILL.
I did not have a baby in the house, nor and elderly person, nor anyone with the flu, and on and on so one can only imagine how 100,000 West Virginian's feel at day 4.
Here are some of the highlights of the water contamination:
First, lets just ask ourselves, who zones a chemical waste storage facility one mile ABOVE the water treatment plant?
Naming your company, "Freedom" and slapping a red, white and blue logo on it does not make it "freedom." Nor free, nor patriotic as you dump gallons of unidentified chemicals into the drinking water.
An associate of "Freedom Industries" was dismayed that West Virginia reacted so harshly, this time. This time??
When asked how long this emergency might last the Governor said he didn't think it would be weeks. WEEKS?? Seriously, WEEKS. So a week or two is OK but probably not WEEKS.
When asked WHAT chemicals were leaking, officials said chemicals that smelled like liquorice. But the exact chemicals are proprietary. This bodes well for fracking, as their chemicals are also proprietary.
When asked if the leak was underground, officials said no, there was a hole in the side of the tank. A hole no one noticed until you could smell the chemicals in your car as you were driving up to the water treatment facility a mile away...
Freedom Industries said "We have mitigated the risk, we believe." We believe in Santa. "Mitigated", does that mean they duct taped the hole?
But, hey, lets give these companies TAX breaks. Let's invite gas companies to drill and pump chemicals into the ground, and give them TAX breaks. Let's disband the Environment Protection Agency! But whatever you do, don't extend unemployment benefits, or give someone an extra $32 in Food Stamps! But I digress...
Again, thanks to everyone who expressed concern.
11 January 2014
Tuesday morning the wind chill was -20. Today it is 58. The weather needs psychiatric care, lithium or some such thing.
After setting up a perfectly reasonable cold house, the weather did it in. We were counting on cold weather, but not wildly frigid winds. Nor did we expect frozen pipes.
Better luck next time.
The good news, seed catalogues shipped much earlier this year.
09 January 2014
Recently, someone came to the house and just after, "hello," he asked, "why did you pick that porch color? It's beautiful and you can see it from the road."
Well, I picked a lovely haint blue to keep those evil spirits out. And because it is pretty. It also has a practical function. The color gives the impression of sky and discourages birds and bees (or wasps) from nesting.
I must confess, I am a rather lousy painter, so I over prepare. I hired my help for three days. We swept, cleaned and power washed. We taped, and taped, and taped. We painted ceilings first. We painted all the white posts and sides. Finally, we painted the floors. It did, indeed, look lovely.
After nearly a week of drying, I stepped out one morning to drink my coffee. As I started back in the house, I lifted my bare foot and the paint came with me. The original paint from years ago was not compatible with the new floor paint. The floor had to be stripped, sanded, and repainted. In stripping the floor, we got blue paint on the white side, so they had to be repainted. My three day job turned I to three weeks.
Alas, there were some bits of painter's tape lingering and the screen got smudged, but after a month, I was done. We have since cleaned the screen removed most of the painter's tape.
The good news is, not one single haint has entered the house. One bold bird did managed to nest on the white trim.
06 January 2014
03 January 2014