It’s only February, and it sure feels like winter has been around for a while. For a few weeks we couldn't get the back kitchen door open to let the dog out because the snow was piled so high it just wouldn't budge no matter how much we shoveled. There are mountains of snow out there, making this a winter that feels like the one’s I remember from childhood. When the sun shines the scene outside my window looks pretty spectacular, but there are other times I wonder about this season.
Harding Smith’s restaurant kingdom is an empire built in fits and starts. Each one comes out of the gate magnificently, spirals to a declivitous edge momentarily — like catching one’s breath — only to return to glorious heights, which is where, more or less, his three establishments have remained.
Figa belongs to a breed of restaurant that used to dominate the
The new Walter’s (www.waltersportland.com) is without exception the most expensively designed restaurant in the city of Portland. Which is to also say it’s like so many other upscale urban dining rooms that you find in second-tier cities across the country/ They’re located off hotel lobbies or in downtown office towers. They’re hardly family dining halls but rather crisply designed environments that howl Metropolitan cool.
It was my friend Hope’s idea. A way to brighten the long winter nights and make them just a bit more delicious. She called it: “Seasonal Second Sunday Soup Swap Supper at Six.” Aside from the clever alliteration, she proposed getting together a small group of people who love to cook. The idea was that everyone would simmer up a huge pot of their favorite soup, we’d have a little party, enjoy the soups, and then everyone goes home with the leftovers to fill their refrigerator (or freezer).
Photo copyright Russell French 2009
It’s that time of year again. Shopping, wrapping, making lists, and then making more lists. When it comes to gift-giving my philosophy is simple: stay close to home and choose something that will teach someone something new.
The phone rings and it’s my neighbor, calling at two in the afternoon to tell me a deer has been shot on my land. Just out of the shower, hair dripping, I throw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, and run over to the field across the street and down the hill. I see a big red truck, smack in the middle of the field, its wide over-sized tires stuck deep into muddy ruts it has created, after days of intense rain. And there it is. A huge, white-tailed deer, with bone-white antlers nestled on the ground, right by the rear of the red truck.
Tall, green leeks stand like soldiers in my otherwise barren garden. Next to them are just a few cabbages (their outer leaves dotted with frost), Brussels sprouts, onions, and carrots holding on through the newly frosted nights and cold, white-dusted mornings.
Several months ago I wrote here about my trip to the White House to learn about Michelle Obama’s initiative to improve the food served in American public schools. Since June I have been busy trying to do my small part.
Here’s an update:
· I adopted Central School in South Berwick — a K-3 elementary school.
Labor Day weekend is all about taking it easy, but when the garden is spilling over with produce and the fruit trees drip with fruit, you have to pay attention.
This past weekend I got together with a group of friends and spent an entire day and night, in the sweltering heat, canning our summer produce. Canning is a rite of passage, a way of acknowledging that the summer is fading and colder days are to come. It’s hard to even imagine those cold days when you consider the recent heat wave, but the garden is winding down and it's time to get to work.