Tuesdays in the kitchen.

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

Ladies Who Brunch.

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”.

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Getting Schooled.

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).

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Tuesday Jam

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

A workshop with the master. And a festival!

IMG_6549 (1024x683)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

Upcoming

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Back yard view, with dogwoods and Brian’s redbud in the distance.

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

Branching out with success.

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