It snowed last night; not much in terms of what’s on the ground – less than 3-inches of the white stuff. Today the sun bounces off the glistening white; I see the tall, now bare trees, swaying in the wind and every once in a while a gust tosses the powder-sugar-like stuff from our roof through the air and onto a new landing spot. It feels very much like I’m on the inside of a snow globe – and I’m grateful to be inside the globe instead of outside the globe because tonight’s temperature is expected to be 7 degrees. Far too early for winter as it’s just the week before Thanksgiving. Somebody hold me.
Hard Cider has quite the colorful history here in America; in fact, during Colonial times in the Eastern States, Cider was more popular than beer, wine or whiskey. It was far more difficult to grow grains for beer than it was to grow apples so seeds were brought over from England, orchards were established and cider-making was as popular here as it was in England. By the mid-1800s, the New England states were producing nearly 300,000 gallons of cider every year.
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’ve written about my friend Georgia Pellegrini before and I’ve really enjoyed both books she’s written previously; but her new book, Modern Pioneering might just be my favorite one yet. Filled with more than 150 recipes, projects and skills, Modern Pioneering is a book about self-sufficiency – in the kitchen, garden and the great outdoors.
I’ve been on a pickling kick this summer and in fact, I’ve pickled more food this year than ever. It started with these preserved lemons and moved on to sweet pickles, sour pickles, blackberries and I even have a jar of brandied cherries tucked away; jams and jellies are also stacked in the pantry and I may even try my hand at a bit of sauerkraut this fall.
The Professor and I are in the midst of a minor bathroom renovation at the moment; thank goodness it’s a teeny half-bath in the Master bedroom because the plumbing and wiring in a house that is nearly 100 years old is enough to give both of us heart palpitations and make our eyes cross – no junction box for a light fixture, no baseboard trim, no framing for plumbing that comes straight up through the floor from the basement – all in an area that measures approximately 5 feet by 6 feet – barely enough room to change your mind. I’m just thanking the gods above that we’re not dealing with a bathtub – silver linings, you know?