Every afternoon around 1:30, I bite into a piece of organic 70% cacao dark chocolate. As it slowly melts in my mouth (oh, so velvety rich and flavorful!), my mood lifts and a certain dreamy euphoria sets in. Hello, dopamine, serotonin and antioxidants!
Not only does chocolate make me feel good, it’s good for my health, overall well being and productivity. As per my ongoing “scientific” research, most of the writers I’ve polled agree that chocolateinspires their best work — all the more reason to heartily swig steamy cups of cocoa, wrap your lips around fudgy brownies, gleefully devour truffles and bonbons, and giddily carouse with cacao at every opportunity.
Glad we agree on that! 🙂
But such divine delights should never be taken for granted. In fact, the next time you reach for your favorite chocolate bar, you will probably appreciate it even more if you consider how the cocoa was sourced and harvested, with a nod to the hardworking farmers in faraway places who play such an important role in producing the scrumptious wonder that is chocolate.
1. Just in case you’re suffering from the winter blues or cabin fever, drink in some of the gorgeous colors, patterns and textures of Este MacLeod’spaintings.
Born in South Africa, Este now lives in London, where she creates beautiful, stylized landscapes, florals and still lives. What a master of layering and composition! There is a certain dreaminess about her work that nourishes the viewer. Shake off the blahs, wake up and embrace the world in living color!
Limited edition prints, notebooks, tea towels and originals are available for purchase at her Etsy Shop.
2. New Book Alert! Sometimes you find the nicest surprises in your mailbox. Recently, THE BOOK OF YAWNS by Carolyn Blasinsky (Blazing Sky & Co., 2018) magically appeared.
This adorable board book is just the thing to get the little ones to wind down at bedtime. Full color photographs of eight wild and domestic animals show them practicing the fine art of yawning. Their facial expressions, whether weary, drowsy, or comical, are just plain priceless, and the simple, repetitive text saying “night night” to each animal is hypnotic.
The thing is, after you’ve turned a few pages, you start to get sleepy too. Yawns are contagious! Whether in the forest, ocean, open plains, arctic or back yard, these creatures demonstrate what we all have in common. I especially like the monkey, tiger and seal. Guess who the last animal in the book is?
I asked Carolyn, who is my neighbor, to provide a little backstory about the book:
I’m a graphic and web designer and have always wanted to do a children’s book – I was just waiting for the right idea to strike. With a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old I read to them nightly and one book showed a character yawning which made us all yawn and I thought – what about a book all about yawns?! Children love animals and it seemed like the perfect combination. I like simple books that are easy to read (for tired parents at night) and love great photographs and clean, beautiful design. Plus – it helps get my little readers sleepy and ready for bed! My kids love the book and I’ve learned a lot in the process. It’s been an interesting project!
A special treat for animal lovers, THE BOOK OF YAWNS is the perfect new baby, shower or toddler gift. I would *yawn* tell you more *y -a-w -n* but I really need *y — a. –w — n* to take a nap.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Have you ever noticed how many terms of endearment are related to food?
Just call me Honey, Babycakes, Sugar, Pumpkin, Cookie, Cutie Pie, Cupcake, Pudding, or Dumpling.
Of course I wouldn’t mind a little foreign flavor once in awhile, like “petit chou,” (little cabbage, French), “polpetto/a” (meatball, Italian), or “fasolaki mou” (my little green bean, Greek).
It’s all good, cause food is love, and love is food.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, we’re serving up a little three-course feast just for you, cause we love you more than chocolate. . . well, almost (and that’s saying a lot). 🙂
So put on your best bibs and savor these goodies to your heart’s content (feel free to smack your lips, lick your chops, and kiss your bunched fingertips).
❤️ APPETIZER: VINTAGE FOODIE VALENTINES ❤️
Oh, how I love old timey valentines! They take me right back to grade school. It was exciting to go to the five-and-dime with my mom to buy a pack of valentines for my classmates.
Back then, there weren’t any rules about having to give them to everyone in your class. On Valentine’s Day morning, we’d put our cards in a big box, and when we returned from morning recess, we’d find those addressed to us on our desks.
This was actually both a happy and sad experience, because some kids ended up with a big pile of valentines, while others only received a few. A ranking of popularity there on display for all to see. I still remember how sorry I felt for Ronald, because he only got one. This was over 50 years ago, and it still bothers me.
Anyway, a quick scan of vintage valentines (ca. 1950’s) revealed a preponderance of food-related puns. Some are sweet, some are groan-worthy, and some a little strange. Nevertheless, all harken back to a simpler time and are interesting for different reasons. It’s too bad that for the most part, we’ll never know who the artists were behind these designs. Hope you enjoy this little feast from yesteryear!
So, did you like those? I think my favorite is the Olive Oyl one. I did find a few raise-the-eyebrow-strange non-foodie ones, too:
I like that the practice of sending Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts started in the UK. Leave it to those clever Brits! And back in Victorian times, they exchanged fancy valentines made with real lace and ribbons before paper lace was invented. So cool.
Do you still send Valentine’s Day cards? More than just a nod to romantic love, this particular holiday is a wonderful time to celebrate friendships.
“It is important to have a child spend time in the kitchen — the most secure, comfortable, loving place in the house. The smell of food cooking, your mother’s or father’s voice, the clang of the utensils, and the taste of the food: These memories will stay with you for the rest of your life.” ~ Jacques Pépin
Jacques Pépin once asked his then two-year-old granddaughter Shorey Wesen whether she liked blueberries. She said she loved them, adding that they contained antioxidants. This early precociousness regarding food wasn’t especially surprising, since both her father and grandfather are professional chefs, and her mother Claudine cooks for the family every day, using fresh ingredients either from their home garden or nearby organic markets.
From about the age of five, whenever Shorey visited her grandparents, she’d stand on a wooden box next to Jacques so she could “help” him cook. Simple tasks like washing the lettuce, helping to gather herbs from the garden, or passing tools or ingredients, made Shorey comfortable in the kitchen and more enthusiastic about eating the food she helped prepare.
Just as he taught Claudine how to cook in one of his PBS cooking series, Jacques shares cooking basics with 13-year-old Shorey in this accessible collection of 75 recipes, 36 of which have companion 10-minute videos hosted at Sur La Table.
This is less a “children’s” cookbook than a primer for novice cooks of any age, with simple and elegant recipes presented via clear, step-by-step instructions, beautiful color photographs, Jacques’s winsome line art, engaging headnotes full of tips and family stories, and occasional quotes from Shorey. Recipes were chosen in line with Shorey’s favorites and what she would have the most fun making.
The book opens with lessons on setting the table and good table manners, followed by sections featuring Hors d’Oeuvres, Soups and Salads; Eggs, Sandwiches, Pizza, and Breads; Fish and Shellfish; Poultry and Meat; Pasta and Quinoa; Vegetables; Desserts and Confections; and Decorating for Fun.
1. Is it lunch yet? “Let’s taco bout how cute this lunch tote is.” Yep, cute cute cute. I wonder, do you have to be a kid to actually use this thing? 🙂
Well, let me just say that if I did take my lunch to work every day, I wouldn’t hesitate for one second. Of course, this makes an adorable gift for the munchkin(s) in your life. I’m sure it would make anything you pack extra yummy. The tote is insulated and hard-walled on the inside to keep edibles fresh and protected. Available now for pre-order from the Foodiggity shop, ships April 14.
2.Heads up, poets!Terrapin Books is now accepting submissions for a new Donut Anthology to be published this Fall! Yes, I said DONUTS.
We will consider up to five published or unpublished poems about any kind of donut, e.g., jelly donut, sugar, powdered, glazed, Boston cream, donut holes, cruller, long john, fritter, pączki, oliebollen, ponchik, fánk. Send us your poems about making donuts, eating donuts, donuts and family rituals or traditions, your love or fear of donuts, your first donut, a memory associated with donuts, cops and donuts, a fight over donuts, a dream or a nightmare about donuts.
We will consider previously published poems provided the author is able to grant permission for Terrapin Books to republish the poems.