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A Happy New Year: 48 Hours of Food and Fun in Portland, Maine

7 Jan

Welcome back to the few but faithful readers who have followed the adventures of Tortefeaster, and welcome to any new readers that 2012 may bring to my door! Besides this constituting the year’s inaugural post, I’m writing on a particularly significant day for me. It is an anniversary of sorts, although not in the typical sense. Three years ago today is the day that I was laid off and the first day in a long process of rediscovering who I am and what I was meant to be “when I grow up.” At the time, believe me, I felt as if my world was crumbling, but after having made some rather  unconventional decisions, I couldn’t be happier with how I have redirected my career. I’m having so much fun now: I am living life, life is not living me.

It was a practially “balmy” 50 degrees in Portland on New Year’s Day (Image: Johnisha M. Levi)

New Year’s has always been a special time for me and my husband. We don’t celebrate Christmas (usually we end up spending a quiet day at the movies and either making dinner as normal, or grabbing some Thai or Chinese food at one of the few open establishments). Maybe for this reason, we love a good New Year’s eve celebration.

This year, we decided to head to Portland, Maine–a city that I had previously only spent a few hours in one night in September when we were staying in Ogunquit and made a brief dinner excursion.

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Rain or Shine: The Boston Local Food Festival Delivers Both the Goods and the Good

2 Oct

This Saturday, the threatening rain couldn’t keep me away from the Boston Local Food Festival. A glowering sky and morning showers gave way and while the sun only broke through in brief patches, the morning chill did dissipate.

I hopped on the Red Line and got off at South Station, and then promptly proceeded to the Children’s Museum, site of the Food Festival. From afar, I glimpsed a white sea of dots–the vendor and demonstration tents–but it wasn’t until I entered the festival grounds that I realized the (impressive) magnitude of the event.

One Wing of Saturday’s Boston Local Food Festival (Image: Johnisha M. Levi)

The Food Festival, in its second year, is one of the SBN Local Food Committee’s seven initiatives aimed at growing the local and regional food system.  Upwards of one hundred vendors were offering samples and selling their products; local chefs and butchers gave culinary demonstrations; nonprofit organizations disseminated materials and information; local bands serenaded.

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Ten Things That Surprised Me about Culinary School

23 Jan

I get asked a lot of questions from curious friends and colleagues about my decision to belatedly attend culinary school. Of course, the most FAQ I get, from those who did not witness the process I went through beforehand,  is” How did you make up your mind?” I’ve written about my deliberations previously in my inaugural blog post, Linzer to Litigator. I am writing this posting to give you a glimpse of my world as student in the baking and pastry program at Johnson & Wales, and specifically to highlight a few things, both serious and trivial, that surprised me, and may surprise you, about my current undertaking.

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The Label Says “French Silk,” But This Pie is All-American

16 Jan

Chocolate Orange French Silk Pie

It was in 1951 that Betty Cooper won the third annual Pillsbury Bake-Off contest for home cooks with her now-classic recipe for the Chocolate French silk pie. I didn’t know any of this until recently, when I had to complete a research assignment on “specialty pies” for my Pies and Tarts lab at Johnson & Wales. When I first saw the words “Chocolate French Silk,” my mind was blank. Obviously it was chocolate (a good thing), but what was French silk? It sounded elegant, old, classic, and well…It had to be, it is French, right?

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