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Posts Tagged ‘food writing’

This writer/editor/cook/teacher/former nurse is adding another hat: food tour operator. I’m launching a business called Hudson Valley Food Tours and will be running my first culinary crawls in Rhinebeck soon. I’ve had this in the works for quite a while–years, really–so it’s very exciting for me to be finally giving it a go.

Of course, like many a worthy project, it’s turning out to require much more time, thought and preparation than I anticipated, making the busy life of a single mom of teenagers even more hectic than I even thought possible. But that’s okay!

Although I think the gig is a very, very good fit for me, meshing with my aptitudes and skills and a perfect complement to my other interests and activities, I can’t do it alone. I’ve realized that while I can be on the shy side I’m happier around other people and wouldn’t do well in a room alone at the computer all day every day. I’ll never stop being a writer (“are you still writing?”, people ask me, as if I could stop!) and writing is part of the food tour biz, too, but now I have a fun new way to get out there.

Although I’m officially a “sole proprietor,” this new endeavor is requiring the help of many people and I couldn’t do it alone. Friends and family have been wonderfully encouraging. The other food tour operators I’ve reached out to around the country have been tremendously helpful and generous with their time. Luckily one of them is nearby, only two hours north of me, and invited me to attend a tour this weekend. Joe Haedrich of Saratoga Springs Food Tours very kindly took an entire afternoon out of his busy schedule to show me the ropes of a real tour. Seeing how a food tour operates, on the spot, right there, was a great way to jump in a get a real feel for how things work.

Plus it was just great fun. Saratoga has an awesome, sprawling farmers market, and I got to meet some of the farmers and artisans who had been chosen to participate in the market, like Anna Mae, a beautiful fourth generation farmer who offers jams and jellies made from ingredients she grew herself (except for cranberries and citrus).

Anna Mae.

Anna Mae.

I experienced time travel to the distant past at the lovely Old Bryan Inn, a tavern that dates to 1773, and enjoyed a tasty, tender Balsamic Beef Tip Bruschetta. I was able to taste exquisite olive oils, vinegars and honeys of much finer quality than I’m used to at Saratoga Olive Oil Co. and Saratoga Tea & Honey Company.

I hadn’t been to Saratoga since Grateful Dead concerts years ago. For many the name of the small city evokes horse racing and little else. But thanks to Joe I was able to discover a new side of the town spiced up with his entertaining commentary and stories. He showed me various neighborhoods, many beautiful historic buildings and the lovely Yaddo Gardens at the artists’ retreat Yaddo (where my late dad, the author Donald Harington was in residence when I was a child) and of course the historic and famous Saratoga Raceway that occupies a large part of town but doesn’t dominate its loveliness.

Great to have a change of scenery in such a great town and in such good company.

 

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The other night I did a cooking demo for eight people at Jessica Bard’s Kitchen-Class at Warren Cutlery here in Rhinebeck. I’ve done demos onstage in front of big audiences, and to people milling around at a farmers market, but teaching a small group like this was a first. I had lots of fun hamming it up and spouting off and cooking up a storm, all at once. I got there late (poor organization), forgot to start things in time, had trouble with the induction cooktop, all kinds of mini-crises, but I just had a great time and hope I get to do it again.Spatchcocking a poor helpless game hen.

I made a southern-inspired dinner with Crispy “Smothered” Cornish Game Hens with Mushroom Gravy over Baked Grits (southern polenta!), New-fangled Collard Greens (the fiddleheads I promised were not to be found anywhere), Hoppin’ John Salad, Bourbon Pecan Pie with Julep Whipped Cream, and Strawberry Ice Tea.

On the right is yours truly mercilessly spatchcocking a poor helpless game hen. The photo below is my pie, photographed beautifully by Jessica Bard.

Bourbon Pecan Pie with Julep Whipped Cream. Photo by Jessica Bard.

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I got scooped by The New York Times this week. Monday I sent Ulster Publishing a column about kids cooking, which included a round-up of favorite kids’ cookbooks. They’ll probably run it next Thursday–they’ve been needing a long lead time lately. Then on Wednesday I bought a copy of the Times, which I do once every couple of months or so, just to sort of see what’s going on in the food world. And lo and behold, they had a cover story on kids cookbooks, including the general trendiness of kids cooking.

Now to stroke my ego, my husband says the big food folk follow me around and see what I’m writing about so they can do it too. “Look, Saveur just did avocados–they’re following you!”–that sort of thing. But I don’t know how the old NYT can see something I did that didn’t even see print yet! Rolando says, “They’re hacking into your computer somehow, saying ‘Let’s see what Jenny B.’s up to.'” Pretty cute.

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And Ma, if you’re listening, those grits were a huge hit.

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I’ve been keeping a blog over at Angelfire for three years now and decided to give WordPress a try, since I like what they do with my brand new non-food blog Cast Iron Strumpet. Until I figure out how to add the archives to this location, you can find the last three years of Tripe Soup at this spot.

Last night I got a call from Antonia Allegra, the director of the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at Greenbrier. Once my heart slowed down, she told me that I had gotten two honorable mentions for scholarships for this year’s symposium. Which brings my total for this year to three. Can’t go until I win one 😦 but I’m very happy to have received a total now of four special mentions from those folks. And Ms. Allegra made my day with very kind words about my writing.

Today I will leave you with a quote from myself, from a three-year-old blog entry on why I call my blog Tripe Soup.

“I promised a few entries ago to tell you why this blog is called ‘Tripe Soup.’ Well, it began last year as an idea for a local newsletter about eating in the part of the Hudson Valley where I live. It was to have a logo … that I drew late one night after a little wine and a lot of practice…[see my website at www.jenniferbrizzi.com for the logo]

I was going to distribute my newsletter, the first issue free, in local bookstores and food stores with a tiny black lace bagful of hot pink M & Ms. It was going to be mostly about local food. But after I put a lot of thought and work and planning and pretty much laid out the first issue, I realized that I can’t take my two tots to fancy restaurants or even into food stores where a dirty little paw squeezing the Stilton would be unwelcome.

So I decided to make it a website, with my irreverent, sometimes funny, always passionate comments on food and eating, designed not to teach cooking but to entertain those interested in eating whether they cook or not. Before it becomes a website, it’s having an incarnation as a blog about succulence, savoriness and enjoying life while eating, but in essence bits of worthless, sometimes offensive rubbish…

‘Tripe’ is defined as:
1. the entrails, generally; hence, the belly, generally used in the plural (obs)
2. part of the stomach of ruminating animals when dressed and prepared for food
3. anything worthless, offensive, etc.; rubbish; trash [Slang}

I call it Tripe Soup because it’s about eating what makes you feel good, what makes your eyes, ears, nose, tongue (taste and texture) happy, not what’s trendy, chic, or LITE. Like tripe, it may shock or disgust you. It isn’t sweet and bland but chewy and full of tang. My goal is to induce drooling, to make you hungry.

The subtitle of the original newsletter was ‘Not your Grandmother’s Newsletter,’ although my focus is on the kind of food she cooked. “

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