Monday, January 3, 2011

Mind your peas and queues

I had the good fortune of ringing in the new year with an outstanding group of old (and new) friends in Burlington, VT this year. Why Vermont? Because, you know, DC wasn't nearly cold enough with its below freezing temperatures through most of December. No, actually, it was a tradition started back at the turn of 2004/2005, a few months after Mark and I left the school we were teaching at in Brooklyn, and a few months before I joined folks I'd met that night for a week-long community service project in Belize. It's that kind of crowd.

[It was quite a journey this year, with a bus from DC's Chinatown to NYC's Penn Station, then a subway ride to John's apartment on the Upper West Side, where a day later I caught a ride up to Burlington, then the reverse series of cars, trains, and buses to get home tonight. Boy am I ready for some quality time with Ollie after all of this time sitting and standing in queues!]

This year, in addition to the usual crowd of exceptional Vermonters, I had the extra good fortune to meet a few more inspiring kindred spirits, including my friend John's girlfriend Christine, an amazing cook, triathlete, and life coach. (I'm not just saying that because of our shared love for all things food, bicycling, and LOST, but they are additional signs of quality people in my book....) As we feasted on her vegetarian version of Hoppin' John, I learned as much about life possibilities -- Christine's an independent nutritional counselor and personal chef -- as I did about food traditions like the Southern practice of leaving three black-eyed peas on one's plate to ensure good luck, fortune, and romance in the coming year. (You'd better believe I pre-counted and scooted three peas to the edge of my plate right from the start, lest in my distracted conversational state I accidentally eat my way to an ill-fated 2011.)

It got me thinking about new, creative ways to share the joy of healthy, well-prepared, sustainable food. Stay tuned for more developments as we move forward into this new year....

(Oh, come on, those of you who also watched LOST are used to cliff-hangers.)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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