Monday, September 22, 2014
Registration is at EventBrite, which is free. I need a somewhat accurate head count, so I know whether or not this event can be held. Register soon! Here's the link:
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Food memories are more powerful than we give them credit. I recently saw a bag of circus peanuts in a grocery store and was instantly transported back in time to my childhood. Eating a bag of oddly colored orange and banana flavored peanut shaped and vaguely marshmallowy candies. The memory made me happy.
In sharing my guilty pleasure food, I started to think about other peculiar foods and memories that I have; eating a McDonald's hamburger and drinking an orangeade at my Catholic School's monthly "Hamburger Day" school luncheon. The time after I had my tonsils out when I was 30 years old, and I couldn't eat for over a week. My first sold food was a hamburger from Nifty Fifty's. It was a simple, thin patty hamburger. I had it with a vanilla milkshake. Bliss!
The life I had growing up was chaotic and violent. The happy memories that I retain are what got me through my childhood and adolescence. I think it's also what has propelled me into an adult life filled with cooking and food writing. Food is memories, food is comfort, food is sustenance, and food can be a love substitute, for good and for bad. I often think that when I throw a party or attend a party, the mark of how well the event went is by how good the food was.
There is a Chinese practice to feed one's guests until they are full. Many Asian cultures do this, preparing elaborate feasts that are over the top, with way more food than one should/could consume. I attended one such banquet many years ago. Towards the end of a multi-course meal, bowls of rice were given to the diners. Many of us were so stuffed we couldn't even stand to look at the fortune cookies on the tables, let alone think about eating a chopstick's worth of rice. We didn't know the protocol, so we ate the rice. I think it was in bad form. The rice was to signify that we were all full. By eating the rice it signaled to our hosts that we hadn't had enough to eat!
Within the meals we've had, the ones we attended, cooked, shared, we cull through our life's history. To be able to share in that with others is, for me, one of the most rewarding endeavors I can accomplish. Food is more than nourishment. Food is memories. What food memories do you have that make you smile?
Sunday, August 10, 2014
A few weeks ago, I had the rare opportunity to go to the movies, in a real movie theater! It's a big deal for me because I've seen about 3 movies in a theater since our son was born nearly five years ago. In my foot-loose and fancy-free days, I used to go to the movies weekly and I would often go to film festivals, seeing two movies in one sitting. I remember days of doing a double feature, back when you could - but it wasn't so far back that the double feature cost a nickle or a dime! I"m old, but not that old!
Planning a trip to the movies is an ordeal and an expense. Tickets cost a fortune, then there's paying a baby sitter. And DON'T even get me started on the rudeness of movie-going patrons. Talking. Texting. Cellphone lights. Ugh. I prefer the comforts of my own home, knowing what's in my popcorn and not having gross sticky floors to walk upon; unless Nate spilled juice...
My friend, LeAnne, of the blog, TinselTine.com, mentioned on Facebook that she had the chance to see and review two films on the same day - The Hundred-Foot Journey and Get on Up, the James Brown bio-pic. She wanted to see both because the former film speaks to the blog's brand; the later film speaks to her heart! I offered to see The Hundred Foot Journey in her place. A food movie, set in France, with interesting cultural clashes and cuisines. A movie custom cut for me.
My thoughts and review of the movie, along with a recap of the panel discussion that took place after the movie are all on LeAnne's blog. I hope you'll all wander over there to read it. You can find the link right here! Leanne's blog is a fantastic place to land. she has the most unique voice and honest approach to her reviews. Plus she's witty and engaging. LeAnne and I go back over 20 years now - I wrote about her in a post last November, as part of a group of blogger friends' Follow Friday series.
Go read my review. I'm saving the choicest parts for you at TinselTine.com! FoodieFilm: The Hundred-Foot Journey
UPDATE!: 8/13/14 - Leanne submitted eh post to BlogHer, a blog website for women bloggers, with all sorts of ranging topics and blogs. We were the guest post blog on today's site! http://www.blogher.com/guest-blogger-covers-foodie-film-100-foot-journey
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Last week I got a phone call from Cass Duffy, from the Borough of Collingswood. She called to ask me if I'd be able/interested in doing an interview with a writer from Inquirer, regarding my experience with the Collingswood Pop Up Gala. Now, when have I ever shied away from talking or any sort of publicity? Me? NEVER! Of course I said, and a few minutes later, Rita Giordano, a writer for the South Jersey Section of the Philadelphia Inquirer called me. We had a very pleasant conversation, talking about how lovely Collingswood is, the benefits of living in a hip small town and still having quick access to Philadelphia. We discussed the ways the Pop Up Gala is like a little version of Diner en Blanc, and of course, we discussed my involvement with that event.
The next day, the article was published and I received a few mentions from friends on Facebook, which was nice. But then, the negatives started to pile up on that bastion of social media. I won't dwell on them, since the negatives weren't about me, more about the idea of these events, the money it costs to do them, and all of the hard work that goes into the event; it's a common perception that I frequently see and hear. The usual complaints (not ones uttered by anyone I personally know) are that why would anyone pay money to go to an event where you have to bring all of your own stuff (tables, chairs, food, etc.) and then dress in all white, follow a set of restrictive rules, and then schlep to some unknown location. I've read comments online that call participants in these parties, "douches" and idiots. I've read about people countering the event with a protest dinner called Diner et Noir. Some folks even try to crash the event wearing bright colours, to mess up the "look". And I've read things where people are outraged that any of this costs money. Oye.
Since I am so involved with Diner en Blanc Philadelphia, and because I adore theme events, I'm quite happy to follow along with the rules that come go with this party. I'm glad I can afford to do this sort of stuff. Believe me, it wasn't that long ago when I couldn't afford to cross the street, let alone schlep a table, chairs, and an entire dinner to go dine with a few thousand people somewhere on a city street. I get that it's a frivolous endeavor. I get that it's not for the faint of heart. It's a lot of work, especially for the first time you do it. The outlay of money is daunting. I'd say it's a once in a life-time event, but seeing that I'm now on my third Diner en Blanc and second Pop Up Gala, it's a yearly occurrence in my life. I'm lucky to be able to afford to do them, with time and funds, and a lot of white accessories!
So for those out there that don't "get" these events, please don't knock them. It's fine that you don't want to do them, or cannot afford this sort of expense. I just don't want to be bullied because I can and want to attend an elegant affair. I don't want to read that you are going to go and do a grey themed party because wearing all white one (or two) night(s) a year is stupid. Stupid is making fun of something because you don't want to participate, for whatever reason. Stupid is not seeing the big picture that events like these bring together a community, bring a positive focus to an area and bring a little bit of magic to life. With so many negative things happening in our world right now, isn't nice to have a reason to celebrate with friends for one night?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Our family-friendly affair brought out a lot of kids. Families from our circle of Opera Moms, to the families we have made into our village in Collingswood. I loved seeing the children who had never before met play with each other, make new connections and just run with wild abandon. I like to say that I know a party at our house is a success when I find the kids in the area behind our garage digging in the dirt and with faces and bodies covered in so much dirt that they look like they are young chimney sweepers! The kids played, ran, dug and had a ton of fun. When it came time to straighten up Nate's room, I found crumbs and sprinkles in his bed! The kids had FUN!
Our adult friends enjoyed themselves too. I set out a feast for the occasion - cooking all night for the meal. Cider brine roasted turkey; Coca Cola braised ham; sweet potatoes marshmallows; string beans with sauteed peppers and onions; cucumber salad; home-made guacamole. Guests brought watermelon medley; panzanella salads; ramen noodle salads; home-made tortillas and sweet empanadas. I made a huge pitcher of 100% proof Southern Comfort Manhattans and 3 gallons of slamming red wine, brandy and fruit sangria (I'll be drinking this for weeks, there is so much left!) Looks like enough for another get-together will have to be organized!
While I enjoyed myself very much, it was a lot of hard work for 3 days straight. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating the house with holiday lights and garb. Then a full day of undoing it all and putting all the stuff away. I am filled with awe at our friends' generosity. So many people, from so many various aspects of our worlds came over to hang out and to donate to our charities. We are donating the food to The Food Bank of South Jersey. I think we collected over 200 pounds of food to bring to them! The toys will go to PegsPresents, a charity run by my friend, Lee Romano. She and her husband, Andrew, bring gifts, toys, gift baskets to kids who live in shelters. They do this periodically throughout the year, not just at Christmas. We received great things, games, puzzles, a skateboard! I know that there will be many happy kids and well-fed folks thanks to my friends!