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

Celebrating them.

A few months ago, my girl had asked if we could rent a nearby cabin for her sixteenth birthday party.  We had previously rented Dunlodge for her dad’s fortieth birthday a few years ago and found it to be a lovely hidden little spot in town.  Sixteen being a big deal, I went for it.  And since I had to take the cabin for the full weekend, I thought I’d throw a party for her one night and a party the next evening for my dear husband, who also had a birthday that weekend. It seemed slightly ambitious, but not overly so.  Just to be sure, I texted Pat’s best bromance, Will, to make sure he was in and when he was, I went with the plan. Continue reading

Holiday Postcard.

I thought about sending a holiday card this year, I did.  But then it fell through the cracks of everything else going on around here, as is the case in recent years. It occurred to me at one point, if I was ever going to write one of those holiday letters, this would be the year to do so, as it’s been quite the eventful year for us.  Which is when I got the brilliant idea to just do one of those in this space, seeing how pretty much everyone that reads here regularly are either related to us or friends. Continue reading

Leni and Oyster Loaves.

My friend Leni has been cooking her way through the classic Mary Randolph cookbook The Virginia Housewife“.  As part of that project, she hosted a dinner at her home recently featuring recipes from it. She asked if I would come lend a hand serving and ensuring everything went smoothly. I absolutely said yes because not only did it involve quality time cooking with my dear friend, it also meant quality time talking old cookbooks and food history with someone who shares my enthusiasm on the subject while also being incredibly knowledgeable on the subject.

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Universal Language

Mena is a 23 year old mother of four who recently fled her home with her family in Afghanistan to resettle in Charlottesville. I was introduced to her by my friend Cathy, who had been paired with the family by International Neighbors  (IN). Their family has been in this country only a few short months, having arrived here in Charlottesville thanks to the assistance of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Unfamiliar to our country, our culture, our language, Mena and her husband are also unaccustomed to running their own household, as they lived in a home with their extended family in their native land. While the IRC got them out of their native country alive, IN works to ensure they thrive in their new home. As a volunteer in the Family Friends program, Cathy was paired with the family to help in that adjustment. Continue reading

When home becomes a hashtag.

I have an article due last week – a feel good story on a piece of Charlottesville history  – that I can’t quite seem to focus on.  After having such violent images of my town broadcast all over the globe, seeing armed nazis in my neighborhood, having my neighbors feel threatened in the safety of their own home, I’m having a hard time focusing on anything but my anger and frustration with our elected officials who allowed this to happen.  The warnings of how ugly this was going to be had been there for months and somehow, our civic leaders failed to protect us. It would appear there is no safety net anymore. Continue reading