September 16, 2013

A Travelogue in Food

mama in jammies, packing the pod.
We’re back! Oh, what adventures we've had! On June 30th, two parents, one toddler, and two displeased cats jigsawed into a Toyota Matrix for a voyage north through all manner of sun and storms, traffic jams and open roads.

This is our travel story told by way of the food that nourished us.

kid lunch on a busy packing day: no cooking required
The night before we left Florida,  our wonderful friend Karen invited us over (out of our own, then-desolate kitchen) for a feast of local-pork tacos with guacamole, cilantro, and pickled Bermuda onions. Thank you, Karen!

The next morning we set off due north for what turned out to be a ten-hour drive. As we hurtled down the highway, we snacked on popcorn with extra virgin olive oil, baby carrots, and frozen peas straight from the bag. We sliced open pears and avocados ripened in our car’s console and ate them with enjoyment and gratitude. When we finally stopped to rest for the night at La Quinta Inn in Charlotte, we microwaved a can of lentil soup from Trader Joe’s, and split it among paper bowls.

On day two, we drove for seven hours, and yes, that was us--did you see us?—stretching our limbs on a cool, misty roadside in the Appalachian mountains, refueling on baked sweet potatoes and boiled eggs. We stopped that evening at my uncle Mark’s farm in rural Pennsylvania, where Darwin played on grassy hills and sat across the table from his great-grandmother to a feast of grilled chicken, fresh corn, roasted vegetables, and Mark’s homemade pickles.

Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandson watching PBS cartoons
The morning of the third day, Scott bought a stick of homemade beef jerky from the countertop of a tiny gas station in Pennsylvania, and gnawed on it with dedication almost all the way to New York. We  ate a tupperware of kidney beans, more raw veggies, and there was also, I confess, a key-lime pie donut on this day, split between Scott and I. (My verdict: gluey and overly sweet.)

Then lo, we arrived! It would still be a few weeks before our house on Long Island was ready for move-in, so after two day’s rest at the family home, we ventured further north to Massachusetts to visit my parents. My parents are supremely devoted gardeners and grandparents, and Darwin ran happily through their big yard (my old big yard!) chasing bubbles and eating fresh food straight off the plant: cucumbers, a few early tomatoes, snap peas, blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries, and parsley. (He liked to linger in front of the parsley plants, which Grandma alluringly called “healing parsley,” snipping the leaves off with his fingers and eating them one after another.)

Darwin, Grandma, and the famous "bubble dog"
We returned to Long Island in late July and spent a few restful weeks with Scott’s parents. While we were there, Darwin's Grandma and JiJi graciously allowed my near-total takeover of their kitchen for a series of quiches, curries, bean soups, muffins and too many other dishes to name. Finally, in mid-August, we moved into our new house. One of our first tasks, even before unpacking, was to put in a small vegetable garden:

still growing: kale, bok choy, radishes, snap peas, bell peppers, lettuces, herbs, and spinach.
We also bought a simple kitchen table—our first! What a pleasure it is to finally eat together around a table. The heart of the house is here.

a chair for each
lunch in our new kitchen
Now we are finally settled down, more or less unpacked, and establishing a kind of routine. The endless work and pleasure of cooking marches on…

sauerkraut season is here
sweet potatoes, whole wheat banana pancake, nectarines, spinach

breakfast bar preview
And I have some amazing recipes to share! Coming up in the next post: the ultimate whole-food breakfast bars. Thank you for reading my story, and here's to a season of real food and healthy families. "Grapes cheers!"



  1. Welcome back! Looks like you have had a wonderful summer and I enjoyed reading this post. Darwin is so grown up! I love your table - where did you get it? We need something strong and sturdy like that. Looking forward to your upcoming posts.

  2. Thanks Jessica! The table is Ikea, actually. :)

    1. Love Ikea! I will keep that in mind if we ever get a new one. Thanks!