For several years now, my Tuesday afternoons have been spent in various school kitchens, teaching area middle schoolers to cook. I began as a volunteer for one program, moved to another school with that program and am now back at the first school, Walker Upper Elementary, where I am now the lead on the after school cooking program. Continue reading
There was an absolutely lovely party this past summer, the sort that felt like everyone who was still left in town had to have been in attendance, where at least a few of the worlds of Charlottesville collided. And as happens as these things, there was much chatter about how we – me – should invite people over for wine to continue the worlds colliding fun. Because apparently, this is a thing I do – have random gatherings with cool people where they met other cool people.
Of course I obliged, sending out an email to inquire as to when people might be free in order for us to have a ladies wine night. As it turns out, working moms are busy people and the best time for all of us to gather for drinks was Sunday morning. And thus came the inspiration for “Ladies Who Brunch”.
I spent three very delightful evenings this past week assisting down at the Charlottesville Cooking School with my friend Martha, who taught an Every Day Cooking Skills Series. It’s a three part class that is usually taught over the course of three weeks, but Martha decided to teach it over three consecutive evenings in one week as a trial summer run. The concept is sort of like a boot camp for cooking – it covers a variety of basic cooking techniques so that participants walk out with skills to throw together simple seasonal and delicious dinners regularly. Sounds too good to be true, I know, but Martha is an amazing instructor who can make this happen and I don’t just say that because she’s a friend. Martha is a trained chef, who has been teaching cooking classes longer than she wants to admit (which is also longer than I’ve been cooking).
Tuesday afternoons, I lead an after school cooking program at a county middle school for PB&J Fund in conjunction with the local Boys & Girls Club. It’s my second semester doing this and I really enjoy it. All I have to do is show up and teach the kids – PB&J fund does all the lesson planning and ingredient shopping and I swing by their kitchen on Market Street Tuesday afternoons on my way home from my day job to pick up whatever is needed for the day’s class. Continue reading
It almost escaped my attention that Sandor Katz was speaking at the Heritage Harvest Festival up at Monticello this past weekend. Upon discovering this news, I immediately booked myself a spot in his morning workshop that was billed as a ‘premium workshop‘, meaning in addition to forking out money for a festival ticket, I shelled out money for the workshop as well. I mention this because I pretty sure I haven’t paid to attend any sort of food or wine related event in a solid 15 years or so, with the last one I paid for also held up at Monticello – a canning and food preservation class (which yes, was THE class that began my canning odyssey), managing to get into all the events I’ve attended over the years for free. I found out later I probably could have finagled a free entry for this, but in the interest of karma, I figured it doesn’t hurt to actually pay for something once in a while. Continue reading
May, always our busiest month, is next week you guys! Which means we are fast approaching the days where Pat and I traditionally communicate by post-it note, only recently enhanced by technology and the ability to text each other. But that is entirely dependent on my carrying a device in which to text and since I rarely do that, the post-it note is still generally the most reliable form of communication here. Thankfully, Edie is old enough we can leave her home alone, because we’ve already had one incident where both of us committed to something without looking to see if the other one was around. Edie has started realizing when I ask her if she has her key, it means she stands a good chance of being locked out when she comes home if she doesn’t have it. Ah, spring in the Calvert house. Continue reading
I freely admit that my pancakes suck. I somehow manage to burn the exterior while leaving the interior raw, which is quite a skill, I know. (It’s also how my mother made chicken, so I like to think I come by that honestly). I’ve had a few griddles over the years meant to improve this, including a wonderful cast iron double burner griddle that sadly, has not improved my pancake making abilities. Waffles I can do, but pancakes? You really don’t want me making those. Continue reading
For a few months now, I’ve mentioned various projects I’ve been working on but haven’t explained here exactly what they all are. As the time has been right for each one, I’ve shared them. This particular one that I’m about to share is probably the biggest one I’ve been working on, but have been the quietest about in this space.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? True to form, May has kicked my ass on every level imaginable once again this year. How is it Memorial Day weekend already? I’m still not done getting the gardens in, the only batch of strawberry jam I made was at last night’s Happy Cook class and when people ask what our summer plans are, I have no answer. None. Continue reading
If you’ve ever taken any of my canning classes, talked to me for more than say, two minutes about canning or read anything I’ve written in the past few years about canning, then you might have picked up that I’m a bit of a fan of Food in Jars. I completely and totally credit the end of my years long struggle of making a decent batch of jam to Marisa McClellan, the woman behind both the blog and the cookbook. She introduced me to the concept of small batches – which also happens to be the subject of her latest cookbook, “Preserving by the Pint:Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces“. She was here in Charlottesville last night at The Happy Cook, where she demoed Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Jam, on the first stop of her southern book tour promoting her new cookbook.