Columnist: Debbie Matthews

Jun. 17, 2014 @ 08:59 AM

Get shorty

Some things just aren’t worth the darn effort.


Jun. 10, 2014 @ 09:16 AM

Food chat: board of ed(ition)

It’s something that happens, but no one ever talks about: we do have favorites. It’s true, people in retail have favorite customers.

Years ago, when The Kid was in preschool, and everybody was doing the Macarena, I worked at a small neighborhood bookstore for my friend Bosco. 

We had lots of regular customers. Some of them we dreaded. Most we did not.


Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

It's in the bag

If our house ever caught fire, after I made sure Petey, The Kid, and our pooch Riker were safe, I’d go after a few material things.
I’d grab my computer, my awesome gray suede boots, and a very special bag.
It’s not a Kate Spade, a Burberry, or even a Birkin bag.  This bag may not be as pretty as any of those dream purses, but its versatility can’t be beat. It’s actually a plastic bag that I keep in the fridge.

May. 27, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Ooh Mommy

Picture two different guys, say “Star Trek’s” new Captain Kirk, actor Chris Pine, and the new Scotty, accomplished comedian and writer Simon Pegg.  The first face elicits an “Oh yeah!” and the second, “Oh well…”
They both have eyes, nose and a mouth. But there’s something about the size, shape and facial arrangement that makes a huge difference in the overall aesthetic. It’s an ineffable quality that’s hard to put into words, but known instinctively.

May. 26, 2014 @ 02:08 PM

Gazing and grazing at food-centric ‘Agfest’

Let me tell you, Romeo and Heathcliff have nothing on Petey in the romance department.  Friday he took me on a dream date.  We went out of town, and had lunch at a local landmark.

May. 13, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

That’s how I roll

I just turned 50 last month, so I now have the legal right to say this: Kids these days don’t know what they’re missing.    

Foods like Hydrox cookies, chocolate-peanut butter Oompa Loompas, Mickey D’s McFeasts, and Fruit Float; they’re all but a memory. 

When I was little, in the freezer section of most supermarkets was an ice cream cake.  

May. 06, 2014 @ 08:48 AM

Don’t be that guy

I am confident that you, gentle readers, are the perfect restaurant guests for whom every staff hopes.
But perchance you know someone who might benefit from a subtle refresher course (maybe you could leave this column where they will see it). I’ll be addressing this column to you, but we all know that I really mean “them.”

Apr. 29, 2014 @ 10:57 AM

Inventory story

Well, it’s official. The Kid is a bona fide adult. Our little chef has an awesome job in the area, cooking at an amazing restaurant, for an incredible executive chef.

And two weeks ago, my baby moved into a bright, shiny, new apartment.

We would have been overjoyed to have our own grown-up nerd living in the basement forever. But for some reason, living in a dirt-floored, spidery crawl space with expansive 4-foot ceilings didn’t appeal. 


Apr. 22, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

Food chat: gridiron edition

When I was in high school, there was a story about one of the coaches, Coach P.  Another coach took a honey bun off his desk and ate it.
When Coach P found out what had happened, he picked up the thief by his shirt, held him against the wall of the office, and growled a warning.

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 10:51 AM

In defense of excess

In some places it’s called speculoos, which kind of sounds like a medieval medical/torture device.

It’s also known as biscoff.  That reminds me of a wrestling move. “Holy Moses! He’s giving him the old biscoff maneuver! That’s gonna hurt!”

But to me, the very best name for it is cookie butter.


Apr. 08, 2014 @ 10:24 AM

Taking goulash to new heights

What if I told you that you could cook a dish better than a world-famous chef?
And what if I told you it’s a one-pot meal, that’s both cheap and easy?
The chef is Chef Boyardee, and the dish is beefaroni (wait … stay with me, I’m going someplace with this).

Apr. 01, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

I’m chopped to pieces

“Chopped” is a show on Food Network. Four chefs are confronted by three baskets with four mystery foodstuffs in each. With them, they must cook an appetizer course, then main course, and finally dessert. The time is limited, and the pressure is immense. 
After each round, one contestant is eliminated, so at the dessert cook-off only two remain.
The Kid and I are big fans of the show, and do lots of back-seat cooking.

Mar. 25, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

Rocket, ma’am

I always get blue around St Patrick’s Day.
While refrigerators all over the country are stocked with corned beef and cabbage, the fridge at Chez Matthews is barren.
I adore Irish boiled dinner. When there’s a steaming slab of pink beef within reach, I lose all shame and self-control.  I can eat my weight in that stuff.

Mar. 18, 2014 @ 09:13 PM

Return of the taters

Like every other right-thinking resident of the Bull City, Petey, The Kid and I miss Honey’s.  That quintessential Southern diner fueled and filled generations of locals.
When my friend Bosco attended Duke, he often dined there. 

Mar. 11, 2014 @ 09:25 AM

Smoke gets in your eyes

Nobody’s called the fire department yet; but eventually somebody probably will.
And when they show up, I’ll invite them in and offer them a taste of the best home-cooked steak they’ve likely ever had.
Last week I waxed rhapsodic about well cooked, freshly milled, Southern grits.  I mentioned that I like them topped with sliced steak and a light pan sauce.