At Home With Food Poems


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If you’re expecting the expected — that this post will feature poets who write about food — you’ll want to guess again.

Lisa Price, a child and adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Cambridge, writes below about getting her own Kindergarten-age kids to really think about the food they’re tasting — through poetry. She shares with us her success by way of The Family Dinner Project Family Blog.

Lisa Price, M.D.

Slowing down is no small feat when I sit down to dinner with my 5-year-old daughter and son. Their ordinary pace is a skip or run, which is delightful on a walk through local woods. But at dinnertime, it’s easy for them to plunge into their meal, leaving me to find them half done before I’ve even sat down.

I can contribute to that fast pace as well. Shifting between work and home, I arrive in high gear, driven to get dinner on the table. If I’m not careful, I can be quick to step away, beginning to clear dishes mid-meal. This is despite my strong awareness of the preciousness of this time – having us all together in one place, held by our need to be nourished by our meal and our connection with each other. I’m aware of mindfulness research that has shown that children who are able to slow down and be present are more relaxed, less anxious, and better able to focus and excel in school. I have realized that we can all benefit from slowing down. Continue reading

Thursday Tidbits: Come Hungry

Photo: cascade_lily/Flickr


Follow That Truck!
There will be lots of them (parked) at UMass Boston this weekend as The Boston Food Truck Festival hits campus on Sunday, June 10. Tickets are $30/ea and allow you one serving from each of the participating food vendors (beverages not included). Heed their advice: “Come early, come hungry…”

Taste Cambridge
You’ll want to “come hungry” to this venue, too: the 10th Annual Taste of Cambridge, being held Tuesday, June 12, 5:30-8:30 pm. Over 90 Cambridge restaurants and drink purveyors will be featured; the site is new and bigger, too. Area Four, Cuisine en Locale, Four Burgers, Moksa and Park (among others) will be making a debut! More details here.

Just get through this rainy week and you’ll be able to dine out by the water instead of drowning in it. Here’s a link to what is calling their Ultimate Guide to Waterfront Dining in Boston. Anyone from the North and South Shores want to chime in here?

Somerville Special
A new outdoor market called “Swirl and Spice” opens one week from today — Thursday, June 14, 5-8pm. Presented by Union Square Main Streets, it’s a specialty food market to be held at Union Square Plaza each Thursday evening through September, featuring Massachusetts wines, cheeses, breads, cured meats, jams, pickles and other specialty foods. Get the details.

Call Out: 6-9 Year Olds!
On Monday, June 18, 3:30-4:30 pm, kids will have the chance to work spoon to spoon with celebrity chef Rebecca Newell of The Beehive at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE), making ham & cheeses and their own French crêpes. This is the BCAE’s Bean City Kids program. $45 Members/Non-Members, $15 Materials. You must register! Continue reading

Surviving In College (Or How I Learned To Cook)

Photo: CeresB/Flickr

In the wake of her debut post for PRK, BU journalism student Megan Riesz chronicles, below, her first attempts at basic survival: cooking for herself in college.

Megan Riesz

I can still recall the feeling of bewilderment that came over me while helping my roommate unpack his pots and pans into our kitchen almost two years ago. As I shoved those once-foreign utensils into whatever drawer was nearby, I wondered if I would ever take them out again – aside from when I needed to boil water to make Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

Although Dean Elmore (BU’s Dean of Students) wouldn’t like to hear me say it, I couldn’t wait to move off campus. But I was severely unprepared to cook for myself, having had access to a fully stocked dining hall as a freshman and having been raised by parents who preferred takeout. Going to Shaw’s Supermarket for the first time was so overwhelming that I went for a few Lean Cuisines and, to make quick quesadillas, tortillas and shredded cheese. Plus hummus, of course.

I survived on meager meals and snacks for weeks until I realized I had to make a concentrated effort to learn how to make food, otherwise my physical and mental health would rapidly deteriorate. Ever since, of all the recipes I accrued and realized in my Allston apartment, nearly all include my now-favorite ingredient: chicken.

I’ve had my attempts at vegetarianism, even veganism (the latter lasted six hours), but chicken is too high in protein – and deliciously satisfying when grilled and spiced – to ignore. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices, wondering what the real difference was between thinly sliced breasts and regular breasts, I went with the breasts. Cutting off the fat didn’t occur to me, so I dialed the stove up to level ten, sprayed it with Pam and plopped the breast right on the pan. Salt and pepper were the only “seasonings” we had. In a matter of minutes, I had a sadly seasoned chicken that was deceptively raw. I opted for hummus. Continue reading

Food Therapy From The Garum Factory

Photo: stevendepolo/Flickr

The first time we checked in with The Garum Factory, the food blog co-written by locals Ken Rivard and his wife, chef Jody Adams of Rialto and Trade, the two were serving up Summer Tomatoes with Grilled Corn and Barley and having a seemingly grand time with their new joint enterprise. Ken and Jody have made, consumed and shared with us many gorgeous and accessible dishes since then.

Nowadays, the pair are diving into strawberry season. With a short list of five ingredients (one being strawberries), and a set of steps roughly the same number in length, their Strawberries with Marsala Zabaglione is within easy reach. Sounds like you need to be attentive to the eggs and not skimp out with the quality of your Marsala. Beyond that, this tongue-twisting, elegantly simple dessert is yours for the having — and sharing.

Let Your Grill Do The Work

Photo: Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

We all have favorite recipes. The tried and true that we turn to time and time again.

One of my favorite summer dishes is grilled butterfly of lamb. I like to marinate the meat in red wine, garlic and lots of fresh herbs and throw it on the grill ’til it’s almost charred on the outside, pink and tender within. I’ve been grilling lamb this way for decades. And I’ve been more than happy with the way it comes out every single time.

So why mess with a good thing, and change something that doesn’t need fixing?

I had no intention of altering my grilled lamb recipe, but somehow it happened. A friend down the street raised lambs last year and we bought one. I took the leg out of the freezer last weekend, thawed it and figured I’d proceed the way I always do. I would bone the leg of lamb (with the bone removed the two flaps on either side resemble a butterfly) and then marinate the meat for a full 24 hours, infusing it with garlic, olive oil, fresh rosemary and mint. But when it came time to cook the meat, the weather turned unexpectedly warm. The cool day morphed into summer-hot, and I ran out of energy. I didn’t feel like boning the meat and chose to leave it whole. And then I thought: what if, instead of the usual high-heat, quick grill technique I always use, I cooked the whole leg of lamb really slowly over indirect heat? Continue reading

Get Your Bucket Ready: Local Strawberries Coming Early

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Great news, berry lovers. Thanks to our mild winter and warm spring (current temps aside, ahem), officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) have reported that strawberries should emerge about two weeks earlier than usual this year.

Across the state, locally grown strawberries will be available at farms and farmers’ markets soon, and some farms have already opened their fields for the kick-off of the “pick-your-own” season.

Jim Geoghegan of Sunshine Farm in Sherborn, quoted in the DAR official release, said strawberries are ripening well and a bit early due to March’s unusually warm temperatures. “Our challenge was getting through the frost for four days after the heat in March. But we sprayed water to keep the buds from getting too cold, and now we are looking at being ready for early June.”

Farms across the Commonwealth will be holding special events and festivals in celebration of strawberry season. Here are a few venues and dates:

  • Boston Area Gleaners: 3rd Annual Strawberry Fete Fundraiser, June 15, Historic Gore Place, Waltham, 6–9 p.m. Live music, a tour of the gardens and a talk by Gleaners’ founder Oakes Plimpton.
  • Connors Farm, Danvers: 2012 Strawberry Festival, June 16, 6–9 p.m., featuring live rockabilly music and a barbecue.
  • Verrill Farm, Concord: Strawberry Festival, Saturday, June 23, 11–3 p.m. Enter their Strawberry Dessert Recipe Contest!

For a more comprehensive listing of strawberry farms, plus information on events and festivals, check out DAR’s Mass Grown map, which gives locations and profiles of the amenities offered at Massachusetts farms. Get your buckets ready!

Thursday Tidbits: Jam Session

Photo: Rachel Tayse/Flickr


Jam Session
This Sunday, June 3, Formaggio Kitchen is hosting a jam-making class featuring Rachel Saunders, founder of Blue Chair Fruit Company in San Fran’s Bay Area. You do not need to bring your own fruit, but you will take two jars of jam home! Details here.

I went to a Garden Party
Also this Sunday, June 3, from 5-7pm, Ashmont Grill is hosting a Garden Party, the proceeds from which will support the inchoate Boston Public Market. Locally-sourced cocktails and appetizers on the menu!

Dining Out?

Here’s a nod to our friends at, who’ve got a rockin’ calendar of dining-out-related events in Boston and surrounds — all flavors, all sizes, all food groups. Dine out, dine well.


High Fructose Corn Syrup: Here to Stay
In name, anyway. The FDA has just rejected a bid by the Corn Refiner’s Association to change the name of their product. Here’s why. Continue reading

PRK On The Air: Your Garden

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Today on On Point Tom Ashbrook talks up a storm…about your garden.

Featured guests are Charlie Nardozzi, an author, garden coach and consultant out of Vermont, and Karen Wolfgang, the owner and project coordinator at Independence Gardens in Portland, OR, which helps create new edible garden spaces and trouble-shoot gardening issues.

What’s growing in your back/front yard? On your window sills or back stoop? How’s it all going?? Listen to the show, and join in the commentary. Show you green thumb!

The Makings Of A Bad Mormon Dessert


Photo: YiowMade/Flickr

Last month I attended a food event with a pretty unusual theme. It was an author reading (fair enough) and held at a private home in Belmont. But it was billed as a “Bad Mormon Desserts” party.

A what?

In truth, I was not as interested in the author/book as I was in learning just what constitutes a “Mormon” dessert, let alone a “bad” one. (My preoccupation with the food quickly shifted once I met the featured author, Joanna Brooks — a powerhouse of a personality despite her small stature —  and heard her read excerpts from her superbly written Book Of Mormon Girl, which Brooks herself described ascheeky,” both in title and content. But I digress here; back to the desserts.)

As I intuited, the ‘dig’ at their own culinary traditions by this local gathering of Mormons was wholly tongue-in-cheek — a self-deprecating joke amongst insiders. You know, that kind of good-natured tease that’s at once affectionate and respectful in tone.

Come to find out, there are actually two kinds of “bad” Mormon desserts. Both kinds, at this party, were delicious. Continue reading

PRK On The Air: Ice And Fire

Photo: jonseidman1988/Flickr

Today on Here & Now Robin Young speaks with Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, two Allston roommates who have co-authored A Feast of Ice and Fire.

Their cookbook, released just yesterday, is culled from the food (feasts!) richy described in George R. R. Martin’s bestselling medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones, now on HBO (the Season Two finale broadcasts this Sunday).

Unlike the novels, there are no herrons, whole swans, dogs or horse hearts on the menu of this inspired companion cookbook. Instead, you’ll find recipes for Trout Wrapped in Bacon, Sister’s Stew, Pork Pie, Honeyed Crickets and Elizabethan Lemon Cakes.

But, before their book, came the blog. Huzzah!

Listen to the interview here.

Related Reading:
An Official Interview About The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook