Holidays, food and families have interwoven themselves, like braids on a loaf of challah or strands of colored beads on a Christmas tree, since time now forgotten. That continues to be true for me.
When I was a kid, this season’s parade of holidays always stepped-off with Thanksgiving and since my folks couldn’t decide whether we should be with Mom’s or Dad’s family, we settled on -- both. This didn’t happen just once, but for many years. If you ever wondered how I got to be over 300 pounds, knowing just that bit of holiday history should be enlightening.
The day I brought Petey home from the hospital, we also brought home a bunch of stuff.
We had instructions and prescriptions. We had unguents, lotions and a couple of pairs of ugly, strangely-fitting yellow socks (Who was the foot model for those things anyway?). We also carried a big box full of gifts from his amazing, generous co-workers at Duke.
How times have changed.
In 1990, Thanksgiving made me uneasy.
Not about getting together with my family. No. That year I'd lost more than 100 pounds for the first time and in my family, Thanksgiving dinner triggered the start of a food-centric race running for the next six weeks. T-Day 1990 marked the single toughest meal I'd faced that year.
When I was 4, my family went to a Christmas party. The adults were in the living room, and the kids were in the rumpus room. I was just getting ready to go to the restroom when a surprise visitor showed up. It was Santa Claus!
You should have seen me. I was trussed up like a Christmas goose.
I wore a tent-sized apron, and next to my latex swathed hands was a spray bottle of Clorox Clean-up. My hair was tied back, and my glasses were acting as safety goggles. The only reason I wasn’t wearing a face mask is because I freak a wee bit when stuff covers my mouth and nose. But I was drawing infrequent, shallow, nervous breaths.
A couple of days ago I received a note from my niece, Susi:
“Can you do an article on green bean casserole? For 10 years I have been making it and for 10 years it does not turn out. Now it's a running joke to everyone that I'm going to bring this casserole that no one eats. This year is the year for me, I can feel it.”
Almost anyone who cooks a little can prepare a six- to eight-ingredient recipe with results that, if not spectacular, usually exceed expectations. But, take that same recipe and join it with three, four, five or six more, all to be served sequentially or simultaneously and even experienced cooks start doubting their skills.
If controversy and confusion caused weight loss, anyone considering intermittent fasting (sometimes referred to as IF) would lose weight just by reading about it.
Intermittent fasting is this year's most popular no-calorie-counting, no-fat-gram-counting, fast-track to weight loss diet. When I wrote about David Zinczenko's "The 8-Hour Diet" book earlier this year I had no clue how widespread the IF trend was about to become. Head over to Amazon.com and you'll quickly find more than 100 books on the topic, each one slightly different; many with glaring similarities.
I recently received a master’s degree at Duke.
It’s not really that impressive. It was obtained at the medical center, and the degree was in survival of the long-term hospital visitor.
Petey’s been a patient for a while at Duke. Every day he’s getting a little better, but for now, this is his home.
Winners of the N.C. State Fair Special Cooking Competitions included five residents of Durham and Orange counties. Contests were sponsored by state food associations or companies, and prizes included ribbons and cash. They were judged by local media, teachers, chefs and homemakers.
West 94th St. Pub will celebrate Oktoberfest with music, German food and beer as well as benefiting the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
The Pub at 4711 Hope Valley Road in southwest Durham will host Oktoberfest from 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 2.
Teams from local businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations will be making on-site sculptures using canned and boxed foods at the third annual Creative Food Drive. The improvised sculptures then will be donated to nonprofit organizations Housing for New Hope and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
I’ve got ’em all snowed.
When my mom is planning a special dinner, she asks me to prepare it. When I make it for Petey, he thinks he must have been a very good boy.
The thing is, my twice-baked potatoes might impress, but couldn’t be easier to produce.
As the popularity of food trucks rises like a biscuit, so too does the appetite to experience them off the road. “The Southern Food Truck Cookbook: Discover the South’s Best Food on Four Wheels,” (Nelson Books, $24.99) by Washington state-based food writer Heather Donahoe, takes readers and home cooks on a tour of the South’s best restaurants on wheels. Chirba Chirba, the Chinese dumplings food truck founded by UNC Chapel Hill students and now a sought after truck around the Triangle, is featured in the new cookbook.
Carolina Brewery of Chapel Hill’s Flagship India Pale Ale won Best of Show in the N.C. State Fair’s 2013 N.C. Brewers’ Cup competition. In the competition’s second year, the number of entries more than doubled.