We lived just a few minutes away from The Rib Shack. If my dad was in charge of dinner, there was a good chance we’d be chowin’ down on a full rack with smoky sauce, potato salad, and corn muffins. The Rib Shack was my window into the world of serious barbecue. They smoked their ribs for 24 hours, made all of their sauces from scratch, and put a piece of pineapple in the center of each corn muffin.
When I was a kid, the owner told me that there was only one piece of pineapple in each batch of muffins and that I was lucky if I was the one who found it. For years, I thought I had the best luck, exclaiming, “I got it! I got the pineapple!” each and every time.
As with many immigrant families, we took up an American tradition, in this case, barbecuing. But, the Frenchness lingered in the air like cheap perfume. My mother served our burgers on baguette, the potato salad was made with vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise, and instead of coleslaw, you might see beets flecked with parsley and red onion or Polish cucumbers. As for cornbread, I was pretty sure The Rib Shack invented it.
Somewhere along the way, my little brother developed quite a palate for soul food and barbecue. Naturally, I dipped my toes in the water. There was a disaster with fried chicken where I learned that deep frying in flip flops is a bad idea, … get the recipe
“Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.”
I had a phone call two weeks ago from my late grandfather’s wife. I was happy to see her number pop up on my cell- I hadn’t been able to reach her for at least a week.
“Sabrina, j’ai un accident avec le voiture.”
Sabrina, I had an accident in the car, she said. On November 20, Irène fainted while driving and ran into a big truck. Her Lincoln was smashed and she was in the hospital for a week.
So, I am here, in Palm Springs, CA visiting with Irène. Physically, she is in good shape. She had an infection, which the doctors treated and cured. She had some bruising and pain, which is getting better each day. It is apparent, though, that there are some changes happening for Irène that we cannot cure. I am here to help her straighten out her finances, to organize her files and, to take her to various appointments. But mostly I am here for comfort in the form of good company and good food.
When I arrived, the first meal I made was a simple roasted chicken and these roasted root vegetables. These are my ultimate comfort foods, and upon arriving, I knew I needed it as much as she did. Our meal was made even more special because of the gorgeous olive oil from Jovial foods.
This was my first time trying a blended extra virgin olive oil made from the ancient olive … get the recipe
A typical teen, I learned about Nelson Mandela not through reading the news but by listening to a song by one of my favorite bands, The Specials. At 15, their song, Free Nelson Mandela, piqued my curiosity -especially the lyric:
21 years in captivity
Shoes to small to fit his feet
His body abused but his mind still free
I asked my dad who Nelson Mandela was. His impassioned explanation of South African apartheid made an impact on me- and sent me to the school library. Madiba has been a personal hero since then.
I was 17 when Nelson Mandela was set free. I cried from happiness, never imagining that he would one-day be President of South Africa. Over the years, I learned more about Mandela, his fight, his kindness, his love of children, his humor. I am so grateful for his hard work and for the example he set for all of us.
Today’s quotable Friday is dedicated to Nelson Mandela. I have made posters for 5 of my favorite Mandela quotes. He may be gone, but his life’s work remains.
RIP Nelson Mandela
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination
We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe … get the recipe
A few years ago, I’d left my holiday shopping until the last minute. San Francisco was hit with a furious rainstorm and I had to brave the mall. People were wet, they were cranky, and with only four days to go before Christmas, the panic was palpable. I was so overwhelmed that I sat down at one of those teeth whitening kiosks and forked over way too much money just to escape the mêlée.
When I got home, a few presents in hand, I vowed to myself and to my husband that I would never do that again. I haven’t. We buy gifts for the children in our lives, but rarely for any of the adults.
Instead, I spend time in the kitchen making things for the people we love, so when Driscoll’s Berries told me about their Made With Love campaign, I knew it was a perfect fit. From chutneys to jams to flavored sugars and salts, we try to put a lot of love into our homemade gifts and that’s what this season is all about for Driscoll’s. Well love and awesome prizes like a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (enter to win now!)
This year, I’ll make a big batch of chutney and some caramels to ship to out of town friends. For our neighbors and friends close by, I’ll be whipping up a jumbo sized batch of this blackberry rosemary syrup. I’ve collected some pretty vintage bottles and designed labels, which I’ll print at home … get the recipe
We did it! 30 days of blogging and 30 days of gratitude.
It’s hard to believe it’s over. I’ve been trying to think of some brilliant, funny, and insightful way to eulogize #NaBloPoMo, but I don’t know that I’m ready for that.
I did learn a lot over the last month, but I’ve been so busy between the daily posts, the power outages, the gas outages, and hosting 12 for Thanksgiving, that I haven’t really had the chance to put it all together.
For now, I want to thank you for reading and commenting on my blog- especially on pieces that had nothing to do with food lots to do with life. The act of writing or posting every day has been both daunting and freeing and I appreciate the support from you and from my fellow bloggers who participated in #NaBloPoMo
Please be sure to check out some of my blogger pals who took the plunge:
Irvin of Eat The Love
Nicole of Pinch My Salt
Sean of Hedonia
Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen
And my last daily gratitude for November:
The best readers in the world (that’s you)
A group of encouraging, supportive, and kind bloggers
My family- both given and chosen
and my teachers from Dharma Punx who taught me that living in gratitude is the greatest gift I could ever give myself