Voodoo and the Top Pot: Doughnuts Galore


Two weeks of camping has a way of simplifying one’s needs. Or, at least, it should. I must admit that I was rather taken with a supply run at REI’s flagship store in Seattle. Amazing what we can schlep along with us as essential gear, but gone are the days — thank goodness! — of wet wool, freeze-dried food and heavy tents. And remember the taste of water after sloshing around in one of those metal canteens?

I was more than happy to wander back into civilization as we made our way home. If you’re planning a trip yourself to the Pacific Northwest, here are two places worth visiting. I’ll post more once I get back to San Francisco, but for now, a taste of my travels….

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How to Talk Like a Maine Lobsterman

lobster_boatNothing evokes special occasions like a lobster with drawn butter, but there was once a time when they were considered poverty fare. Fed to orphans, prisoners and indentured servants, lobsters from the Northern Atlantic did not appeal to early colonists.

It took the canning craze of the 1950s to spread the taste of lobster beyond New England, and since then, the red, beady-eyed crustaceans appear on casino buffets and surf-and-turf menus in every state. There’s debate now about whether the lobster industry is the best it’s ever been or on the verge of collapse, but Maine lobstermen are working closely with marine biologists to develop sustainable practices. It’s the older, more labor-intensive, back-breaking ways of early lobstering that will save the industry.

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Vermont: Maple Creemees and Common Crackers

Far from the golden hills of California, with endless lush stretches of forest and field, the Green Mountain State lives up to its name. My road trip continues, and this week I find myself heading toward the Northeast Kingdom. Along the way, near the shores of Lake Champlain, I’ve been enjoying two local treats.

 Weblog Food Creemee Sign-1

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Kansas City BBQ: Oklahoma Joe’s

Coming back to Missouri – the state of my childhood – always means returning to a double life.

While I’ve come to terms with my family’s hyphenated existence here in the Heartland, I’m only just beginning to figure out how to balance the relentless abundance of my mother’s kitchen with the city’s smoky, seductive barbecue.

Asian moms take it personally when you don’t eat their food, even when they make more than you can humanly consume. Leaving Kansas City without eating barbecue, though, is culinary sacrilege. I’ve learned how to fit five full meals into one day, and still I can’t fulfill both my familial responsibilities and the extensive research (“eating”) that my work demands.

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Old Krakow: Going Out for Home Cooking

My friend was planning to start his 37th year with a proper feast at his favorite restaurant, Old Krakow. Before the call, I was trying to decide what to do with a few random ingredients that were taking up space in my small kitchen: some spotted bananas, some milk chocolate, a bag of toasted hazelnuts, a block of cream cheese. After the call, I pulled out my cake pans and began baking.

 Weblog Food Banana Cake1-1
Bob’s Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake included layers of moist banana cake, chocolate ganache filling, sliced fresh bananas, cream cheese frosting and toasted hazelnuts.

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