High School Seniors, Here’s My Shoulder. Have a Big, Ugly Cry.

Dear Class of 2020: I’m writing today because sometimes when terrible things happen, it’s important to stop, and count the cost, and just cry. Of course, having the next few months of your life popped like a soap bubble is nothing compared to the tens of thousands of people who have lost their lives. ButContinue reading “High School Seniors, Here’s My Shoulder. Have a Big, Ugly Cry.”

I’ve Missed You!

What can I say? What started as a busy few months morphed into a yearlong (Really? How did that happen?) break. But I’m back. With recipes. And not-to-be-missed local food events and links to my writing. Speaking of which … that’s really what’s to blame for my — shall we call it a sabbatical? I’veContinue reading “I’ve Missed You!”

Easier Than Ever to Eat Local for Thanksgiving

The evening skies got darker last Sunday and the weather in these parts took a turn for the raw, so there’s no denying winter is just around the corner. Which, mostly depresses me, but I can stay positive for the next few months as my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, arrives and is quickly followed by theContinue reading “Easier Than Ever to Eat Local for Thanksgiving”

Black Bean Raspberry Dip

When your job entails writing for a lifestyle magazine, sometimes a local caterer will “spill the beans” and send a great recipe your way. So was the case with this tasty dip, which marries flavors I would never have thought to bring together. Roanoke’s Tracy Hamilton seeks out a special raspberry salsa to make thisContinue reading “Black Bean Raspberry Dip”

Apples of Every Stripe

Apples and fall fit together like two perfectly matched puzzle pieces. Just as the air acquires its seasonal snap, the apples are weighing down their branches, beckoning us to come pick them. And just as temperatures begin their slide, our kitchens are ready for slow cookers and warm ovens, for soups and pies, for theContinue reading “Apples of Every Stripe”

Doe Creek Farm Apple Pie

I recently wrote a magazine story about Georgia Haverty, who worked on her family’s apple farm in the early ‘80s and then returned to her land in the beautiful Virginia mountains in 2011 to start a pick-your-own operation. When I showed up to interview her, she was making crockpot apple butter and had a loaf ofContinue reading “Doe Creek Farm Apple Pie”

Happy Summer!

Here’s hoping your garden is bursting with tomatoes and zucchini and green beans, cucumbers and peppers and melons. Maybe you’ve dug some potatoes. Or headed to a local farm to pick blueberries. Or stocked up at your farmers market, bringing home enough sweet corn to roast on the grill today, as well as cut offContinue reading “Happy Summer!”

Magazines, Essays and Cookbooks

This week, I’ve been head-down, reporting and writing two stories for the magazine SWVA Living. One was a profile of a well-known and inspiring local painter (Nan Mahone Wellborn) who will be taking part in a popular artists studio tour in Roanoke the last weekend in April. The other was a look at asparagus —Continue reading “Magazines, Essays and Cookbooks”

Inspiration

What inspires you? People? Places? Experiences? Lately, I’ve sensed inspiration all around. Spring will do that to a girl. But also I’ve lately encountered wisdom-filled conversations and travel to thrumming cities. Like I said, inspiration everywhere. So … time for a little sharing. First, my profile of a man who has been inspiring gardeners forContinue reading “Inspiration”

Giving Chestnuts Another Go

My first encounter with a chestnut was in my friend’s backyard. She and her family have a beautiful chestnut tree whose branches reach across their whole lot, providing shade and climbing for her three boys — even supporting a swank treehouse. So when I asked if she might have a few extra nuts for meContinue reading “Giving Chestnuts Another Go”