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Of tomatoes and love

victoria —  August 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

The cliché phrase “Life is funny” is, as it happens, overused for a reason. Life is funny and more often than not, not exactly what one expected. While we are piling on with the stock lines let’s also use “nothing is wasted on a writer.” The last week and change has been an exercise in observation of things I didn’t really expect.

Let’s begin with the tomato.

I would really like to be a gardener. When I have gardened, it’s gone rather well and I could pick things for eating with regularity. I’ve also moved house (a lot) and putting in a garden is always something I want to do but we move in at the wrong time of year and I never quite get to it. There are always excuses. The thing is, I know if it were important enough to me, I would do it come rain, shine or another house move. Clearly, I am either too lazy or it just isn’t important enough to me to overcome the admittedly low hurdles to make it happen.

So, I buy tomatoes in the summer (fresh tomatoes in the winter are wet, cottony wastes of money and time and not the subject of this post). I buy them at the farmer’s market most usually on Saturday morning. When my schedule precludes the farmer’s market, I go instead to Whole Foods and pay the convenience fee for my local tomatoes, organic pasta, and other pantry staples all being in one place.

Yesterday, when I wanted a tomato that I did not buy at the farmer’s market, I knew I would pay a premium. But it’s August and hot and now is the time to eat a tomato. I thought the sign said $5.99/each, so being slightly greedy in my tomato choosing, I chose the biggest, heaviest, orangest tomato on the pile. At the register, I learned it was $5.99 a pound and, well, not being keen on sheepishly taking the platinum-valued, $10 tomato back to the table with its brethren, I swiped my card and went about my business.

Now, how to honor this very dear tomato? I’m a firm believer in buying the best ingredients you can afford (or, in this case, splurge on) and doing as little as possible to them to honor their essence. I cut the core out of this giant tomato and then into three portions following its natural lobes, sliced one lobe into manageable slices and laid it out on a serving platter. I drizzled some California olive oil over it and scattered the slices with some crushed white pepper corns and black Hawaiian sea salt. I also dug out the beautiful, horn tomato fork my sister bought me for my birthday a few years ago. That was the salad to go with our pasta dish composed of orecchietti, sliced leftover brats, caramelized onions, a red pepper, and a glug of cream. Not too shabby for 20 minutes from walking in the door to sitting down at the table together. The tomato was perfect.

After dinner, I sliced the remaining tomato lobes, covered them in more of the olive oil and set them in a low oven for an hour to poach. We’ll have those tonight or tomorrow night as bruschetta with some local goat feta. I feel I will have honored my platinum tomato to the best of my ability.

All this cooking and thinking about food doesn’t happen in the vacuum of the Internet, of course. I have a job and a family, friends and two feline rulers. It’s a pretty good life all told. There’s a lot going on in it right now. My boychick, who is now a young man, leaves for college on Thursday. Keifel and I both have elderly parents in declining health. We have jobs that for the most part leave us fulfilled but are by no means perfect. We have friends who are experiencing their own griefs and transitions. Life is funny and messy sometimes. And then just when you think you’ve got a purchase to ride the wave you’re currently on, Poseidon, or Ursula the Sea Witch or whatever you believe controls the universe or leaves it to chaos, ramps up the machine and sends a rogue wave right at you.

My rogue wave brought a surprise invitation for the boychick to meet his birth father. I can speculate all afternoon and into the wee hours of tomorrow about why it finally happened, but I have no idea what the catalyst really was. It’s something I’ve always hoped would happen because I think knowing where you came from can be important to knowing who you are. It went well, as best as reported to me by Keifel and Jules. My son is the glassy surface of a pond when it comes to these things and he’s of the let’s-wait-and-see-where-this-goes mentality.

I do wish I had that seemingly magic ability to be unruffled by the unexpected. Okay, sometimes I do and I have learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s all unexpected. But being in my own transition with Jules’ departure for college, that rogue wave smacked me right in the face. There’s nothing like a mouthful of metaphoric seawater to startle you.

It stirred up some of the emotions that wisp around old wounds, wounds from which I fully believe I have long healed. I guess the scar still itches and maybe that never quite goes away. I’ve talked it out and gazed at my belly button and even had a couple new epiphanies about things I thought I’d finished thinking about. I’m fine as it turns out and the water is definitely calmer now.

You might be asking yourself what the hell tomatoes have to do with personal history and the turns life can take. I thought I knew what I was doing both in buying that tomato and in a long ago relationship. The costs were higher than I imagined but I regret nothing; the tomato was and life is delicious (even when messy). Also, if something is really important to you, apparently you will do it, eventually.

[edited because I always find mistakes after I hit publish]

One sign you might be raising your boy right :

Julian's first pie crust

Pumpkins not included

In culinary school one of the things I loved best and hated most was mystery basket days. They weren’t attached to winning a million or your own restaurant or your face next to Guy Fieri (shudder) on the Food Network or even not looking like an idiot on the Food Network; they were attached to grades. For this type-A, it was a struggle between this has to be perfect and oooh fun. Stress can kick creativity in high gear and occasionally my team and I would get the blue ribbon for the day.

Fast forward five years.

I am not currently cooking professionally. I work a workaday week and have to get dinner on the table. Life is currently filled with obligations, desires and some tragedy. What’s a girl to do with a fridge full of farmer’s market whim, some staples and some things that just need to get used? What is said girl suppose to do if she is also slightly comatose from too many sleepless nights and extra braining at work?

Enter Whole Foods’ Recipe app for iPhone On Hand feature. If you ever played with Google Cooking you’ve got the basic idea. In the app you choose three ingredients you have in the pantry or fridge and touch search. The magical Internet elves sift their recipe cards and give you a list of what you could make with those three items. Obviously, the app is more limited than Google Cooking and you can’t add things like birds’ nests and unicorn horn to your larder list but it does offer some tastier options, many with healthy eating considerations.

My adventure tonight yielded white beans and sausage over polenta with kale. I didn’t have beans but I did have a red pepper. It also didn’t say add a splash of cream and the grated end of some cheese to the polenta, but, hey, I needed to use them up. Recipes are a map and I encourage detours. As always, your mileage may vary, but I like the app and the type-A in me is still challenged enough with the tweaking and tasting even if it is cheating.

No shrink ray needed

victoria —  October 20, 2011 — 2 Comments

Dinner for hungry teenagers

Thrown together pot pie filling: poached chicken, frozen veg mix, sautéed onion, pan gravy, and thyme. Oil-based pie crust from late 1940s edition of Good Housekeeping cookbook. Muffin tin. 375 oven. 60 minutes-ish. Ta da.

Experimental muffins

victoria —  June 12, 2011 — 2 Comments

Brandied cherry muffins displayed on my faux Marimekko plates from Le Target

Young Master Julian is quite the baker. His specialty is muffins. Everytime I hit McKay, I look for muffin cookbooks. I found one aptly title Muffins which we’ve made a couple recipes out of. We can’t seem to make them straight; there’s always a tweak or twist. For this brunch experiment we subbed part of the flour with almond meal as I am forever on a quest to replicate the almond shortbread muffins they used to have a Fido.

I’ll hold off on posting the recipe as the muffins didn’t hold together well. They are however truly muffins, not cupcakes pantomiming breakfast in that they only have two tablespoons of sugar for a batch of 12. We served them as suggested in the recipe with a little sweetened whipped cream laced with kirsch. Very tasty, despite the weak crumb structure.

On a shopping note, I love the unbleached muffin papers we picked up at Whole Foods. They are parchment paper and the muffins don’t stick and leave all the good, crunchy crust stuck to the paper.


It’s still too hot to breathe let alone cook. This is an easy dinner to through together if you don’t mind a little chopping. We make a base of seasoned sushi rice (white or brown) which is served at room temp but you could make regular rice. While the rice cooks, you can put your toppings together. For ours: matchstick carrots in rice vinegar, sliced cucumbers, sliced green onions, sliced sweet peppers in rice vinegar, Japanese-style scrambled egg, sushi ginger, smoked salmon, shiso and nori rice seasonings and Jules’ fiery soy sauce sauce.

Everyone can build their own dinner without too much fuss for the cook. It’s cooling, easy and you don’t feel like an anaconda digesting a wild pig afterward either. It’s also pretty impressive when all the toppings are arranged in little bowls on the table if you need something to wow or woo when it’s this hot.

It’s hot. It’s really hot. According to the weather channel app it’s hotter here than it is in Trinidad. And, technically, at least til midnight, it’s still May. This fills me with fear and loathing. Yours truly is not a hothouse flower. I think I’m more squarely in the slow-growing tundra wildflower category. I prefer the temp 40-70F, with a breeze.

I love the produce summer brings and the long days, but then it’s too hot to cook so I go into salad and doing as little as possible to the food aside from running a knife through it. Tonight was a compromise of sorts. A lovely carrot salad and some honey-glazed chicken because you shouldn’t eat it raw.


The chicken is an old standby. Melt together 1/4 cup honey, some grated ginger and garlic to taste, couple tablespoons soy sauce and the juice of a lemon and douse some chicken thighs (about 4) with the resulting elixir. 375F for 40 minutes, basting twice. Even folks who don’t like dark meat chicken will eye for seconds.

The salad was a riff on a Jamie Oliver recipe from Jamie at Home. Four good-sized carrots peeled and then shaved to shreds with the peeler mixed with a big handful of cilantro leaves, a shredded green onion and some very thinly sliced Hungarian wax pepper (or any mild pepper) tossed together with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, ground cumin, black sesame seeds and finely grated (on a microplane) ginger equals some seriously tasty salad with enough left for a straight from the fridge breakfast.

Despite my trying to keep the hot cooking to a minimum, my oven is currently cranked up. Julian requested some teacher bribery for the end of the year in the form of brownies. So much for a cool kitchen/house.

(As a “by the way,” this is my first attempt at blogging from the phone so forgive any weird spellings, syntax or spacing til I check it on the big screen. Thanks.)

I read Plenty about a month ago and casually asked Keifel if he would be interested in an experiment to see if we could eat locally for a year. To my surprise, he said yes. So, the adventure will begun in earnest May 1. We were planning to start the first day of spring, as in the book, but after a week of realizing we would be eating eggs for two months, we postponed. We did decide we would start mostly sourcing locally and that we should eat anything already in the house because it would be wasteful otherwise. I am all about having a pantry, so we have quite a bit of non-local stuff to play with.

I started out that first spring week by foraging at the Produce Place on Murphy Road because I had seen local produce there from Mennonite farms in the past. They had produce from everywhere but here, but they did have some local biodynamic sweet potatoes. I bought four pounds. They were very dirty, not a problem, and spindly enough to poke a hole right through my bag. They also had some local cheese. I got a chunk of smoked cheddar but it looked a little plasticky through the plastic and is still in the fridge, untouched. My last two things there were local, raw sourwood honey (which is amazing, I can’t even describe the flavor) and local sorghum. We went to Whole Foods that Tuesday because they also carry local produce occasionally. All they had was local eggs, local milk and a teeny bit of local lamb and local beef. We then had not very many vegetables and a lot of animal parts or products.

We had a crazy week but mostly ate stuff from the pantry including local eggs and such as we went. Another stipulation was that if we ate out it had to be a locally owned restaurant preferably one that sourced locally. Fido is really the only one in our current budget. We also had dinner with friends at Rose Pepper. Another rule was that we not be assholes in turning down hospitality, gifts or invitations because of this. Trading the goodwill and fellowship of our friends and family for our experiment seems, well, like being assholes.

That Friday, we went to the Turnip Truck in East Nashville and scored some much better local goat cheese and local buttermilk. Jules and I hit up the Nashville Farmers Market on Saturday and got greenhouse lettuce, turnip greens, local chicken and more local milk, non-homogenized, so I could take a stab at making yogurt. (Still hasn’t happened.) All told, our foraging that week was successful. Also, somewhere along the way I bought coffee beans from Bongo Java Roasting Company. I chose not to give up coffee but to switch to locally roasted by a local business that uses organic and fair trade beans. I had been drinking fair trade organic, but not local.

The high point of our first week of eating local was a cottage pie with local beef, local sweet potatoes, local milk, and local herbs. The carrots and celery and garlic were leftover from the larder. The celery is now done and I really wished I’d had onions. We also ate the local lettuce with a honey mustard vinaigrette. Olive oil is also on my list of things I can continue to buy if it is organic and preferably Californian (as that is the closest olive production, we think). Julian and Keifel loved both the pie and the salad. Jules said if eating local is like this all year, he is totally in.

Things have continued. The new Saturday ritual is dropping Keifel to work, did I mention we also down-sized to one car?, and then having coffee and a pastry at Provence (and buying bread from them if we need it). Then heading to the farmer’s market. We are converts to JD Farms milk. We have tried whole (cream comes to the top!), skim and 2%. Jules has settled on the 2% and since he drinks it straight, he gets the deciding vote. They also have a wicked good chocolate milk. We get eggs from several vendors but the ones I got this morning are a lovely mix of pink and blue with a couple extra jumbo-sized and a teeny bantam egg as well. I got the eggs, some beautiful arugula, and sweet little white turnips with full, lusty tops from Common Grounds. There are two cheese vendors now. One for locally made goats milk cheeses and one that deals in American artisanal cheeses. I picked up an aged farmhouse cheese from N. Alabama. I am thinking a salad with a little of that crumbled over. I also got a pound of bacon from Emerald Glen Farms. The chicken we got from them last week was amazing. I also got a pork roast from Walnut Hills Farm. I got goat stew meat from them last week that Keifel curried in the Trinidadian manner with a little local lamb from Whole Foods. Another local dinner winner.

So, after a almost three weeks of dabbling, things are getting ready to head for the big time. I know that we are really going to have to carve out some time to do more ahead-of-time prep for breakfasts and lunches because we are crazy busy with so many jobs and one car scheduling. Our volunteer schedule calms down that second week of May and I am hoping to get stuck in to working on one or both of the books in progress. Our first CSA delivery from Avalon Acres is also that first week of May, so we will at least have something to eat even if I can’t make it to the Farmer’s Market.

We are preparing some herb beds around the house with some free bricks from Cajun Scorpio Girl and Mark the Carpenter. Julian and I dug one of them out last weekend but this weekend has been too hectic, as will next… We are planning to get a raised bed and get some tomato plants, pepper plants and, if possible, some pickling cucumbers (I love gherkins!). Julian and I started some herbs from seed and some of them actually lived and have sprouted which of course means we need to get on those herb beds.

I thought long and hard about this and I really think that local food is the best way forward for the planet, for the people and for food security. I don’t want to get too involved in being a screamy evangelist about it but I am hoping that with this blog, the supper club, twitter and facebook, I can talk about it to those who are interested in listening in on and seeing pictures from our adventure.

To have some guidelines we came up with a list of allowable indulgences (necessities, more like it!) and some ground rules. Our lives are pretty hectic and we didn’t want this to make it worse. It’s hard to make it look appealing if you are having a nervous breakdown in the process. Here’s our starting point:

Ground Rules:
1. Try for as much of our diet as possible to come from within 100 miles.
2. When travelling or receiving hospitality we will eat what is offered. (The “Don’t Be Assholes*” rule.)
3. We will accept food gifts graciously, even those from far outside the 100 mile limit. (*)
4. It is impractical to put the 100 mile restraint on catering gigs and the supper club, though we will make every effort to continue to source sustainable produce for those functions, especially the supper club.
5. We will make every effort to investigate local wild foods, fish and game. (I am trying to set a date for some trout fishing and have a line on a free -yay!- smoker).
6. We will acquire a small, energy efficient freezer; can as much as we can; and use the dehydrator (that has been in the attic for three years) to preserve as much as we can for the winter and early spring next year when we know fresh, local produce is in short supply.
7. We will plant a small garden this year, focusing on easily preserved items and herbs.
8. We will continue composting.
9. We will avoid food waste by creatively using up leftovers as soon as possible.

Exempt Items:
(the list was supposed to be 10 but we forgot a couple things on the first one and hope to delete some if we find local sources)
1. coffee, must be fair trade and organic and roasted locally
2. tea, organic and fair trade and only if we run out of our current supply
3. olive oil, organic and preferably Californian
4. citrus fruit, but not juice (I have to be honest and say that a life without lemons seems horribly bleak to me)
5. spices, but herbs must be local if not home grown
6. salt, preferably sea salt
7. American grown rice
8. Beer, but must be brewed locally even if the raw ingredients come from somewhere else
9. chocolate, must be fair trade and made locally
10. kefir, until I get my own yogurt set up going (my belly would otherwise not be the same)
11. steel cut oats
12. peanut butter, all natural and organic, unless we can find a 100-mile source (to prevent Jules from starvation)

So working three jobs and trying, sometimes failing, to meet previously agreed upon social and volunteer obligations makes one’s family adjust to leftovers that go on and on, sometimes for a full week. I think Keifel may never eat white chili again. But, bless them, my husband and boychild have been troopers and as they are both pretty handy in the kitchen themselves, we haven’t survived on toast and Cheerios or warmed-over Chinese takeout. Well, not for weeks at a time at least.

Today, Keifel and I managed to team up for a slam dunk of a dinner. Now I don’t know that any Trini worth their salt would proclaim the delicious leftovers in our fridge authentic in any way other than a Trini was involved in the making. But, damn, if Keifel and I didn’t make some good chow.

The shopping was done almost two weeks ago, as canned and frozen bits stay that way. I made an auxiliary trip earlier in the week to get the things that don’t cotton to canning and freezing so much. Over the course of the last three days, Keifel saw to it that the chicken thighs went from freezer to fridge to thaw and then seasoned them in his special kitchen cabinet/fridge door kind of way. I’ll leave that to your imagination or to a comment in Keifel’s own realm to get to the bottom of that.

This morning, while driving back from collecting Julian from his Spring Break adventures, Keifel called to see if I would put together the green seasoning to speed along his cooking this afternoon. I pulled out the NAPS girls’ cookbook, one of the bibles of Trini cooking for the uninitiated, and turned to page 255 and the recipe for green seasoning. Now understand that this is an exercise fraught with pitfalls. A large one being that we have seen chadon beni all of one time in Nashville. A wilted pile of it was given to me by one of the produce guys at Whole Foods. Apparently, I can order it but who has time to remember to do that. Again, for those not familiar with this particular Caribbean/Latin American staple herb, it’s also called culantro or shadow beni. It looks kind of like arugula but not so curvy and tastes like cilantro on steroids. Okay, so that is issue one. Dealt with by purchasing a huge hunk of cilantro and using the tender leaves and the fragrant stems. Issue two is less easily surmounted.

Some time ago this bottle arrived at our house in the arms of a friend of Keifel’s. It was a repurposed plastic bottle (formerly home to fruit juice, perhaps) lovingly filled with what looked like blended grass clippings and smelled of cilantro, garlic and vinegar but was in fact her mother’s Green Seasoning. It lasted some time, as vinegar-preserved items will and Keifel was exuberant every time he opened it to liberally bathe some chicken thighs or pork chops. I remember that look on his face and I remember the smell. I am a good cook, but I am not awash in the teachings bestowed range-side in a Port-of-Spain kitchen. This makes me a little nervous.

I use the NAPS girls instructions as a jumping off point. The herbs in my possession are a little less than perfect with the passage of time in the crisper drawer but they are fine. The grocery did not have fresh thyme and the herb garden here is still in the planning stages. Before me on the counter I have a huge bunch of parsley, an equally large chunk of a row of cilantro, a clam-shell box of chives (the worst for the wear of the lot), a head of garlic, three limes, a bottle of vinegar and some dried (I know, cooks of a Trini persuasion–or any, persuasion for that matter– look away now) thyme. I get out the mezzaluna and its board and start murdering the herbs. All of the them and the diced up garlic, too, go for a spin in the food processor with some white wine vinegar, the juice of two of the limes and a little bit of water. The kitchen smells suspiciously of that fruit juice bottle. I carefully scrape as much as humanly possible into a mason jar, secure a lid tightly and place it in the fridge. It looks like a jar of very fresh grass clippings or a wheat grass smoothie, heavy on the wheat grass.

Keifel returns and pronounces it a triumph. He suggests that it hasn’t had time to mellow so it isn’t as good as N’s mom’s. I know he is lying but I appreciate the fib. He adds that to the marinating chicken, burns some sugar in oil and browns the chicken, adding canned black-eyed peas (’cause you can’t get canned pigeon peas at Whole Foods) and lets that stew. We discovered early on that cooking the rice and peas together made for mushy peas (and not in that cute English way) and hard bullets of rice. Rice was made separately with some coconut milk and a little ginger. Together they were amazing. And I get to eat it for lunch tomorrow, too.

Feeling neglected?

victoria —  September 21, 2008 — Leave a comment

I have been, neglecting the blog, that is. Life intervenes all the damn time. The best laid plans of mice and men… (can’t help but think of Eddie Izzard there), etc. and so on. All the excuses don’t really get at the fact that I haven’t felt like I had much to offer. It’s been a hard year with one thing happening at the heels of another and, honestly, I have always loved that this is place where I can be snappy and light and talk about non-heavy things. And well, there hasn’t been much that was non-heavy that I wanted to talk about. So, in the spirit of the Law of Attraction or whatever you might want to call it, I am going to talk about light things and about my new obsession. I actually have two but the other one, redecorating and purging clutter, doesn’t really have anything to do with food either

About four months ago, I bought a book, Harumi’s Japanese Cooking, to be precise, and you know how I love to be precise (ha). It has honestly changed the way I think about food and cooking at home. So much so that I bought a second book.

The thing about both of Harumi’s books is that they present food in that uniquely Japanese way. The idea that several different flavors in one meal is more satisfying that one gigantic portion of one or two foods. The other big idea I have taken from these is serving small. Over the years I have collected a number of small dishes: Asian bowls, a set of dice plates (yes I saw them on Good Eats and had to have them), chopstick rests, tiny dipping bowls shaped like lotus flowers. I’ve always loved these but didn’t find myself using them very much. With my new big idea in the forefront of how I am cooking and we are eating at home I am serving everything this way, whether it is Asian or not. For example, for dinner tonight we had a filet of mahi mahi seasoned with salt and pepper and seared and a more elaborate pasta salad with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, zucchini, cannellini beans and fresh basil. Pretty simple overall, and definitely not Asian. In the past, I would have served it on a big dinner plate with a big portion of the salad to make up for the smaller portion of fish or we would have just eaten a large portion of the pasta in a pasta bowl. Tonight I served the fish all by itself on a small square plate and served the pasta in a 1 cup side bowl. No one had seconds.

As part of the presentation, we have all been sitting down together at a set table (napkins, placemats and candles) and enjoying some music in the background where previously we would have pushed whatever one of us was working on to the far end of the table and left the news on TV (bad habit, I know, and one that was fairly easily broken). This has been a truly amazing thing. I know that sounds funny and every third article about the degeneration of American family life harps on and on about families not sitting down to eat together any more, but it has been become an oasis of sorts. We have each other and we feel a little more special with candlelight and cloth napkins. It’s an event in the day for our family, not a fuel stop.

The added benefit is we are all eating less and enjoying it more. This has also helped with lunches as there are more leftovers and it is easy to take something with to work the next day. That has lead to a sub obsession: the hunt for bento boxes or thermal lunch jars to take to work. I’ve been cruising bento box lunch sites. I don’t think I have the time or, frankly, the patience to do anything nearly as involved as hard core art bento, but it is inspiring and lovely to look at. So my obsession has really been an eye opener and I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about the Japanese approach to nutrition and the culinary arts. We are looking at slowly replacing our Western-style dishes all together. That 11″ dinner plate looks empty with a sensible portion on it and that psychological empty space makes us want more food. A shocking thought is that today’s contemporary place setting plates are the same size as platters were previously. And when you start talking about restaurant portions and china, things turn to the ridiculous.

Surely there must be a downside?, you ask. Well, that depends. To really eat more in the Japanese-style requires a few more dishes than most of us have time to get to on Tuesday night. But it is working for us with two or three dishes. It does help that I am a trained cook and can take short cuts with some knowledge as to what they will produce. Most people who cook at all can come up with an extra veg or two on the fly and the added colors and textures get at that Asian ideal, especially if you just serve one that is cut beautifully and cold and nearly naked in its dressing, like cucumbers. Then you are getting at color, texture, taste and temperature. There are a few more dishes to wash, but they take up less space in the dishwasher. Yes, my chopsticks are bamboo and wooden so they have to be hand washed, but I wash my knives and pots and pans by hand anyway. And, yes, there are leftovers unless you are super precise about recipe amounts. Some people, I know, are adamant about not eating leftovers. I accept that, though I’ve never understood it. If you don’t take a lunch, you might be eating slaw for a few days for dinner or throwing things out after they get chucked in the fridge to moulder in the back. It gets easier to judge amounts after you do it for while (though, admittedly, I have what seems like a metric tonne of leftovers to get through this week). Aside from a few glitches initially, I haven’t run into a real negative. I’ll keep you posted.

In other happy news, Trader Joe’s is opening in Nashville next month. I love me some Whole Foods, but people don’t make fun of it being Whole Paycheck for nothing.