Click to open the iTunes page for this podcast.

A GOOD DINNER > What’s Up with Eat Feed?

What’s Up with Eat Feed?

I’m rarely personal on the podcast, in part because the one-way format doesn’t encourage it unless in some kind of undignified tell-all.

But there are perhaps reasons to do things just a little differently here: the two-way and multi-voiced dialogue a blog allows with a comments space and the many emails I’ve received over the past few months wondering what’s up behind the scenes with a delayed schedule.

Then there’s the kind of intimacy of inviting someone to a virtual dinner. Even the most polite people like to look inside your medicine chest just out of curiosity or the hope of finding something interesting about the folks around the table. So here’s that peak by way of both welcoming you back and filling you in.

Behind the scenes at Eat Feed you’ll find the birth of our first child, Oona. A few subsequent health scares for Oona. Then the rescue and recovery of a dog whose leg had been shattered by a bullet. The unexpected death of my mother at the very young age of 55 and just two weeks before a big move from North Carolina to Cambridge, Mass.

And a little thing like the responsibilities and the joys that come with having one’s first book released into the world.

As I say in the Acknowledgements, “Though she never really cooked much, my mother’s endless hours at difficult jobs meant I learned to cook at a very early age.”

As my mother was passing away from me, I promised her that I would tell her amazing story and acknowledge the hard life she had in so many ways and the many things she for me to make sure I could get up and out and away and do such radically different things like writing and teaching. So, occasionally here, you’ll find me telling those stories as they involve my food memories. And of course, more good things to come as we all look ahead to better 2009 while relaunching with a look back at the Word of the Year for 2008: locavore.

(Apologies for rough spots around the new website as our designer still has some things to work out.)

Oats and Ginger

On our way out of town to turn our taste buds back toward Maine, I discovered Aliper’s Hearth, a tiny bakery off the back of the Cackling Goose natural foods store.  

There I loaded up on rugged ginger cookies with huge chunks of crystalized ginger. Really one of the best hearty winter cookies I believe I’ve ever had. And freshly baked oat cakes, including one iced with Canadian maple syrup. Gorgeous, slightly sweet, thin and crispy.  

At every stop I found oat cakes of another kind — huge thick pucks in every coffee shop in the region, often frosted with dark or white chocolate. Is this a testament to the Scottish heritage or just a need for hearty comfort food to get through the long cold night?

Delia Day

The carrot dangling before us on this little jaunt up north to Sackville, New Brunswick was our very good friends from time once lived in Berlin.  

I wish I had live photos to show you but you’ll have to use your imagination as the photos ended up being of food: Chantal Wright, brilliant translation studies scholar and Margaret and Wallace McCain (as in McCain chips*) Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Languages and Literatures at Mount Allison University.  Charming spouse, Dan Vyleta, bright young novelist and author of Pavel and I.  (And lovely cats Fosco and Velasquez.)

For our first dinner, Dan dished up a local fish stew served with a drizzle of his homemade chile oil — and of course, oven chips on the side.  As much for the appropriateness as for the fact that one-year-old hands love food in batons. 

Day two was Delia Day — with her flapjacks for afternoon tea and shepherd’s pie (with a side of wintery beets) for dinner.  All served by our hosts with smart talk and generous glasses of Canadian Blanche de Chambly.


*See the acknowledgements in Eat Feed Autumn Winter: 30 Ways to Celebrate When the Mercury Dropson why this is genius.)

Back at the Helm


It’s birthday-eve, which like New Year’s Eve just a month ago, makes me feel like catching up, cleaning up, and making some resolutions before I’m too told to enjoy it all.  As stomach flu last week seems to have interrupted my notes from Northeastern food and travel, it’s also a good time to look backward while looking forward and try to get the proverbial show on the road.  So, a few posts in a noble effort to do just that.

Duck Fat Poutine

Due to a prevailing perversity about winter and cold climate food, instead of heading south in January I prefer to go north of wherever I happen to be at the time. 

Years ago that meant cheese tours and fish boils in Wisconsin as an escape from Chicago or ice wine and venison saddle in Toronto when Pittsburgh just didn’t seem cold enough.  As I find myself in Cambridge, Mass at present, this past week I’ve been eating my way through New England and Canada.

First bite: Portland, Maine.  As the mercury was treating zero like a distant cousin, we needed something hot and hearty to bring on hibernation until we reached the border. Duck Fat in Portland does poutine beyond the beyond: potatoes fried in duck fat and layered with duck gravy and cheese curds from Silvery Moon Creamery.  Keeping with the season, the soup of the day was beet and orange  – giving me a virtuous vegetable and a fruit to mitigate sending so much delicious fat down my gullet.  

Down the street, Rabelais Books is fashionably arranged with new and used food tomes for every taste — perfect for choosing some light reading for a winter sojourn and now I’m glued to Kate’s Colquhoun’s recent Taste: The Story of Britain Through it’s Cooking.