The summer air is warm and muggy; grated metal chairs surround outdoor tables waiting for guests to appear. Inside, a smile at the check-in station and murmured conversations blend with Aretha Franklin’s ‘Chain of Fools’ as the steady hiss of an espresso machine pulls one silky, caramel stream after another into warmed, waiting mugs. Booths and tables alike are at capacity as friends, family, and couples connect over steaming plates of Shrimp and Grits, Biscuit Boards stacked with house biscuits served with spoon fruit, local goat butter and spice honey, Croque Madames, or Breakfast Tamales . . . it’s just a typical Sunday Brunch at Feast Bakery Café in Bloomington.
I left my home in Washington State in 1996 and remember writing the word ‘Rome’ in my journal; I had never traveled out of the country and had absolutely no reason to think I would be going to Europe let alone Italy, any time soon. But I did. In December of 1997 I traveled with a group of college students to Rome and spent a little more than two weeks helping in the construction of bedrooms for a church family there. I’d only known The Professor a month before leaving on that trip – we were just good friends and had even discussed the fact that neither of us were looking for a relationship.
Musical pairing – Winter Song by Sara Bareilles (with Ingrid Michaelson)
As a child, I remember my mother canning tomatoes, making grape juice in jars, putting up pickles, freezing green beans and corn and making jams; in fact most families did because we lived in a rural town surrounded by the Blue mountains and farms. Everyone gardened during the summer months and fruits and vegetables were seasonal – meaning that apples were in the stores in the fall and strawberries were in the produce aisles during the summer – ‘year-round’ produce wasn’t available. So we canned or preserved what we could get our hands on while it was in season.
Musical pairing – Starfish and Coffee by Matt Nathanson
Can we talk? Sometimes I dream about breakfast – eggs, bacon, hashbrowns . . . but most of the breakfasts I remember eating as a kid, consisted of cold cereal or peanut butter toast – occasionally we’d have waffles on a weekend but no buttered Pop Tarts for me! Bleh. So for more years than I care to count, I skipped breakfast all together and sometimes lunch too – bad, bad, bad girl as I now have the metabolism of a dead slug. Not to worry because in my next life, I’ve already put my order in for the body of a tall, leggy Blonde.