Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Dearest roomforrambling, ye old and reliable friend. I apologize deeply for my having abandoned you to the greener pastures of food blogging. I am humbled by your perseverance over the years, waiting silently for me to grace your pages with words. How foolish ye must think me, turning from thee to the pleasures of the flesh!

But I have not forgotten you. I am simply finding my chief inspiration as of late in the edible things of this world.

It seems that the more I settle into my life, the more my need to reflect on it diminishes. I was just telling a friend the other day about my 30+ journals, tucked away in a wooden chest in a Winnipeg basement, chronicling the frivolous days of youth. I am still young I know, yet maybe a sign of growing older is that the happening takes over the reflecting. I know this is vague.

I don't want to stop reflecting, I just don't feel the need for it bursting through the crust of things anymore.

This site was started in a time of great upheaval, great unsettledness. Here I find myself, digging into the best things of life--companionship, opportunity, routine, and food.

Yet I still hunger for these pages, too. These little blips I've thrown out there in the chatter that is our collective "I am here!" Maybe they will find this as a relic someday, when the Internet is gone and all they have are pieces. Wouldn't that be something. The excavation of the ephemeral.

Part of me can't wait.

And just for fun, here's my current favourite picture. I'm not usually a "cute pictures of kittens" kind of gal, but this one is just so atypical, such a picture of determination in the face of the bleak colourlessness of winter. It's my gift to the blog I've been neglecting. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

eat up

Hello faithful readers! I have started a new blog, not to replace this one, but more as a reflection of new interests and obsessions. I decided it was time to house my food and drink discoveries in one convenient place, and so fresh cracked pepper was born.

I hope it is inspiring and enjoyable for all who visit!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I read at a local bookstore/cafe last night. It's strange reading aloud when you don't often get the chance to. Your words detach from your mouth and circle the room, quick to become separate entities. Suddenly, they seem like strangers. Your own voice sounds strained in your ears, wavering, like you've been crying. It is difficult to look at the people in the room. It is as if you are afraid to see how your writing has impacted them. Or if it has at all.

I often think of books, especially those of poetry and fiction, as private matters. Readings remind me that they are public matters. Shared matters. A reading can sometimes remind me of church--people, like so many congregants, suspended for a moment in the power of speech and insight, or just captivated by another's vulnerability. They can seem like the perfection of human contact--when the truth about one thing or person is channeled through a story and dropped, like a gift, at the foot of another.

Readings remind me to write as beautifully as I can. Writing reminds me to speak as truthfully as might be possible. And that is enough for today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

what the world eats

I came across this photo essay in my internet travels. Today, when words seem stale, images came to vault me back into thought.

©Peter Menzel; from the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. Ten Speed Press.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

little things

There are many treasures to behold in
New York City. Just three days there and its surface only slightly scratched. We made a good scratch though, I think.

Every once in awhile I come across something that makes me feel a simple, primal happiness just by looking at it. I found these pottery owl teacups (made in Japan) at Anthropologie, a hip clothing etc. boutique on West Broadway. I didn't purchase a lot while in the city, but I had to have these. Now I'm just looking for a pot to match, because I didn't care for the one it came with.

They bring about the same feeling I get when I see a cat. There's just something so paradoxically innocent and proud about them. They exude contentment and sort of amused peacefulness. They'll be great filled with some genmaicha tea.

I also bought a small sampling of Vosges chocolate, wrapped up in a purple bow, with flavours like wasabi-ginger-black sesame and sweet Indian curry-cocount, robed in dark chocolate.

Besides the owls and the chocolate, I came home with some socks and a sweater from a discount store, and a few books from the Strand (birthday present courtesty of the in-laws!): On Beauty, The Old Man and the Sea, Letters to a Young Poet, and The Road. Oh yeah and a cute hat and scarf from a street vendor, plus birthday presents for my mom.

NYC may be shopping central, but I found it easy to resist the 700$ Prada sweaters and $1200 shoes. I was surprised by how repulsive I found much of the haut couture (aka high fashion). I'm not yet sure why, because I like art, and the two are closely tied.

For more pictures visit us on our blog or on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


People have been suggesting I post on here, via Facebook, and face-to-face (woe to that ancient, forgotten form!) I looked back, and yes, it has been awhile. As I thought about what to write about, Natalie Goldberg's words come to mind, "writers end up writing about their obsessions." In her workshops, she has writers make lists of their obsessions, so they know what to expect from their work.

So as I venture into the scary life of an artist (whom, she adds, are "never free unless doing their art"), I got to thinking, what are my obsessions? As I've divulged on here in the past, food is one of them. In all its forms, liquid, hot, cold, spicy, salty, or sweet. Love and friendship are two more. Self-understanding, God, religion, family, the outdoors, the future. And those are just a few.

And then there's exercise. Yes World, I am obsessed with working out. I think part of this is due to the fact that I have a lot of time on my hands. Another reason is because I am a writer, and so my work lacks a certain solidity. I often bake when I feel unproductive, just to revel in the feeling of having created something real. Maybe that's why I like to knit, too. But back to the exercise.

I also love it because it releases pent-up energy. I love to subdue my muscles, heart, tendons--all of me--to my will...I like to see what my body is capable of. I love to feel the exhaustion of having worked. In a society where we are encouraged to take the easy way, exercise connects us to our bodies. Movement used to be a part of everything we did; our bodies were made to move. I think we have to be creative in our current world to replicate that, lest we end up putting the miracle of our flesh and bones to waste. I'm not saying those who don't exercise are bad people...these are just my thoughts about why I do it so much. Whether it's taking a walk, biking to work (commuting on a brisk sunny morning is the cheapest thrill around!), or doing a yoga video before bed, it all counts.

I was talking to a friend the other night who was looking for inspiration to start moving more. I discovered this great site where I've been tracking my workouts since the spring. I've pasted my October record here for an example:

I find the little pictures inspiring...seeing all those little figures makes me smile. (Mark prefers the one on the Runner's World site which gives you bars and graphs and all sorts of cool extras.) But for those of you out there looking for a simple way to track your progress and inspire you, this is a great tool. There's room on here for everything...hiking, playing with kids, walking, and cleaning the house.

I have nothing literary or profound today, but I do have my obsessions. And to those I will strive to be responsible to--to indulge and yet to be aware of their power.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

mint and pine nuts

The other day a friend remarked in jest, on the subject of my blog(s): "Everything you write is about food!" I took a look back, through my own online chronicle and the one on which I share with a certain boy. She was right. I do write a lot about food. Not to mention think and talk about it. Many of my conversations with my mothers lately have included something along the lines of "hey, I made this amazing..." or "we had such and such for dinner." When it comes to subjects, of writing or of conversation, food is one of the most forgiving.

I began to think that I was probably predestined to like chopping, mixing and stirring, given my maternal history. But however accurate that explanation, it still seemed too one-dimensional. I have come to love food--its acquisition, combination, preparation and consumption--for many reasons, some on "my" terms, some on others'. Food is a source of immense joy for me, plain and simple. But it is for my mother to, so now I'm back where I started.

I think what I love so much about cooking is the range of simplicity and complexity it offers. How often in life can you open up a book, follow some directions, and come out with a pleasing, useful result? There is something so satisfying about it when life starts to feel like its not yielding much. Open book, find object of desire, follow steps, and your plate is heaping with a new creation. And even better is when you have almost everything you need for some obscure recipe (Israeli couscous? check. French lentils? got it) and only have to go out and buy two ingredients. Like mint and pine nuts. I wish writing a story was that easy. A pen, a page, some mint and pine nuts.

Maybe it is. Maybe I do already have most of what I need.

The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies. ~Tom Robbins

(now who can write about food like that?!)