Columnist: Debbie Matthews

Feb. 04, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

Healthy tidings of comfort and joy

There are a couple of food buzzwords that I think are ridiculous. One is “sexy”.   Antonio Banderas is sexy. A plate of risotto is not. Black suede, thigh-high boots with a 4 inch heel are sexy. A well-cooked, medium-rare steak, while beautiful and delicious, is not sexy.
The other word so over-used that it means almost nothing, is “superfood.”


Jan. 28, 2014 @ 09:44 AM

Brunch me

“It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal.” (“The Simpsons”)
In the past few weeks, I’ve had brunch a couple of times at Watts Grocery (1116 Broad St.).  Chef/owner Amy Tornquist’s splendid food is full of local, fresh ingredients and has something for everyone.


Jan. 21, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Give it another go

One day in my high school cafeteria I was delighted to find breaded veal patties. 

I sat down with my lunch and my best buds, Bo and Rhi, eager to eat my unexpected bounty. 

Excited, I took a bite — and shrieked.  It didn’t taste like veal; it tasted like what Alpo smells like.

“Oh my gosh, they’re feeding us dog food!”


Jan. 14, 2014 @ 09:49 AM

Dancing with the starch

I won’t twerk. So don’t ask me.
I also won’t watusi, foxtrot or tango. Not a big dancer. In the first grade, I took ballet, tap and jazz for about six months. My 137-year-old teacher frightened me so much I quit. Thus my chance at being a Solid Gold dancer vanished into thin air.


Jan. 07, 2014 @ 10:49 AM

Tales of a second-grade sweet potato

Mrs. Dawson, our music teacher, gave me the lead role in our second-grade play.
I played the part of a sweet potato.  I was completely engulfed in the costume Dad built for me from wire and yards and yards of orange cotton. My best friend, Lynette, had the supporting role of a stick of butter. She carried a knife that was as tall as we were, and together we danced and sang with buttery, carbohydrate abandon. 


Dec. 31, 2013 @ 01:54 PM

The continuation of love and hate

The first time I met Mildred Council (Mama Dip), she made me mad.
She had come to the bookstore where I worked to sign copies of her first cookbook, “Mama Dip’s Kitchen.” She also brought a few items that she’d cooked up from the cookbook.  One of them was her pecan pie.
That pie was the basis of my ire.


Dec. 24, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Five things I hate about food (and 10 things I love)

Petey laughs at me.
My class reunion was a year and a half ago, but it still makes me mad every time I think about it.


Dec. 17, 2013 @ 10:14 AM

Cassou-la-la

It’s a funny old world in which we live. 
Three hundred years ago, a French farmer would trudge into the house for dinner after working all day, doing back-breaking labor to keep his little patch of soil productive, and food on his family’s table. His wife serves him hardy, soul-nourishing peasant food, made with cheap, handy ingredients and cooked for hours. 


Dec. 10, 2013 @ 10:59 AM

The dark side of hospital dining

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.


Dec. 03, 2013 @ 10:36 AM

Santa’s knee

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!


Nov. 26, 2013 @ 09:50 AM

Dirty work

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.


Nov. 20, 2013 @ 10:55 AM

Serendipity doo-dah

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.”


Nov. 12, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

Surviving ‘til black Friday

So I asked The Kid if there was anything I should include in this week’s column; Thanksgiving with an emphasis on food safety.  My little chef wrote this informative discourse:

“This holiday season, please don't kill your family.


Nov. 05, 2013 @ 08:13 AM

Continuing education

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.


Oct. 29, 2013 @ 09:39 AM

Pass the cheese, please

We’ve had dogs, hermit crabs and even a pet rock or two.  But there is a standing rule -- no rodents allowed.
That’s because two giant, voracious mice already live here — Petey and The Kid.  They can never, ever, get enough cheese.