Events

See you at the Boston Globe Travel Expo!

So excited to be heading to the Boston Globe Travel Expo. I'm looking forward to the culinary demos, meeting old friends and editors, and making new acquaintances. While many of my regular readers know about my focus on food, they may not be as familiar with the travel writing I've done. As much as I love food, it was travel that first inspired me. From my earliest days, I would lose myself in the Canary-bordered National Geographic Society magazines. How I loved learning about far-flung places around the globe. Secretly, I made lists of destinations: Xi'an and the armies of terra cotta warriors; the Mayan ruins; Machu Picchu.

The sterile environment of Air Force bases I grew up on left me hollow and bored. But, inside those magazines...I could be anywhere. Jungles, deserts, in a swirl of dust around Flamenco dancer's heels. Then, the oceans themselves were illuminated by Jacques Cousteau and Undersea World. I added scuba diving to my list of things to do once I became a grown up.

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I once dreamt of filling a passport before it expired but have not come close. Still, I have been so very lucky to sit with penguins in Antarctica, to ride a camel into the Sahara at sunset, to clamber around the ruins in Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza and Tulum. I've walked near active lava flow and tiptoed across a black sand beach. I've done dives with bestie Catherine in Mexico (she figures into half these travels) and dove down to a wreck off the coast of Curaçao. Raced around Florence in a thunderstorm to catch the perfect vantage for a sunset to match my butterscotch flats ruined in the rain. So worth it. Gasped at the color of the sea near Santorini. Slurped belons in Brussels and laughed with rediscovered relatives in a Tokyo tatami matted living room while a Japanese Elvis impersonator sang "Brue Suedo Shoes." Stumbled upon one of Paris' oldest oyster bars and celebrated Jesse's newfound love of les huitres. Ordered more food than our table would hold, more than once, in New Orleans.

Chichen_Itza

More than any passport could hold, my heart is full of these memories and yet hungry for more adventures. Allons-y!

Here are some links to pieces I've written about just a few of my trips.

Check out my full pressfolio set of clips here.

 

atomium_Brussels

Oysters Deluxe at The Boston Wine School - a great gift for yourself or a friend

Aren't you starting to think about next year already? I know I am. In the last flush of holiday hustle, there are so many decisions to make. I've been intrigued by the notion of decision-fatigue. Even President Obama understands the power of eliminating decision-fatigue. I think I read that he wears only one or two suits, completely eliminating wasted energy on unimportant decisions. Having some constraints actually can be freeing since it turns out, our brains seem to have a finite ability to make decisions. Even unimportant ones seem to detract from our ability to make later decisions. This applies to critical and non-critical things. It applies to will-power and food decisions. If you're starting to think about resolutions, it's an interesting thing to consider. While I love diversity in food, I've found that having the breakfast routine really helps me start the day on a positive note and that leads to better food choices throughout the day. But before we get to resolutions, let's finish up our holiday decisions, shall we?

Should we bake more cookies? What should we put on the menu for Christmas dinner - duck? Seafood? Turkey? Is it too late to do a year-in-review TinyLetter? (TinyLetters are shorter and more personal than a newsletter, sign up here and let me know what you think.) What's the best gift I could give myself or my favorite person?

My goal is always to make your life more delicious, more grounded, more informed, and more fun. So here we go, I'm reducing your decision fatigue right here and now:

1. Cookies: While some of us have been requested to "stop baking cookies" by those watching their figures. I think cookies are such a simple joy. I say yes! Bake one more batch. You can help moderate your sweet tooth in a couple of ways. Most all cookie doughs freeze well. This means you can bake a small batch and roll the rest in parchment and wrap well for future slice-and-bake treats. I have a log of peanut butter cookie dough in the freezer now. Okay, most of a log of peanut butter cookie dough...

Cookie Platter

2. Christmas menu: Unlike Thanksgiving which tends to be traditional, with favorites requested again and again; Christmas dinner around here seems to be the time for a little flexibility. This year I think we'll do a seafood risotto Christmas Eve and a roast duck Christmas day. Or maybe a turkey breast. I've got that killer cranberry-raspberry sauce from Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry and those crackly, sparkling cranberries are begging to be made again.duck_sugared_cranberries

3. TinyLetter: We do love to re-connect with loved ones this time of year. Newsy updates, photo cards, and year-end emails and "listicles". If it seems too much to create your newsletter from scratch, check out TinyLetter. I got great feedback on my first one sent just before Thanksgiving. (Included two recipes for apple cake, too. If you missed it let me know, I'll be happy to re-send.) I've got a special one coming out soon. BOLO: TinyLetter.

4. Killer gift ideas: Okay. I know some of you might still be hunting for the perfect gift. Only three days left to Christmas - how did that happen?  I love to give and get experience gifts. Who needs more stuff?

  • For Cooks: How about private cooking lesson in your own kitchen with a skilled and patient cook at your side? Learn to make food you love with Kitchen Confidence. Email me to set a time for a free consult call. What have you been dying to learn?
  • For the Bivalve Curious: A night out with a special meal, delicious wines, charming company sounds heavenly, doesn't it? Even better, how about a lobster dinner with the "snob-free" Boston Wine School preceded by an everything you always wanted to know about oysters but were afraid to ask class with me? Come join me for this fun tasting adventure, see what wines you prefer with your oysters, discover a few surprises, impress your friends with your new-found oyster lore. What better way to kick off the new year: well-fed, well-lubricated and full of new tastes and ideas. Also, did I mention? OYSTERS. Guests get Oyster Century Club membership and a special gift in addition to dinner and the oyster class. Jonathon's classes sell out and seating is limited so click today!

Oyster_Knife

Just in time for Halloween - Chocolate Sundrops

I was thrilled to add PASCHA Chocolates to my roster of clients and delighted to work with them. I learned about their fine chocolates at the Food Allergy Research and Education conference where I was a speaker last June in Chicago. I enjoyed meeting Courtenay Vuchnich and her chocolates so much, I had to tell EVERYONE to try them!

Now you can make these delicious cookies at home. Because they're free of the top 8 allergens (tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, wheat) they're also safe for lunchbox or classroom treats that might get shared. Take a batch to your next Halloween party and watch them disappear. The recipe appears here on the PASCHA Chocolates website. Thanks Roz for the name!

drops_FIN 009

Crafty Bastards and Oyster Lore at Harpoon Brewery

Many people do not know just how intertwined the history of oysters and beer are with this country's early days. It's fascinating how our beloved beer and bivalves played such prominent roles in Colonial taverns, diets, commerce. 70 lucky guests got the inside scoop on Tuesday - or should I say inside shuck? Those who scored a ticket to this event before it sold out in under an hour, were honoray Crafty Bastards. A big Welcome to all our new Oyster Century Club members, too. I know you'll enjoy the reading and I hope you'll start shucking at home.

 

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It was a fun crowd full of smart questions - curious about the pairings - and loving the beer. Many thanks to Union Park Press for bringing Lauren's terrific book, thanks to all our Harpoon staff who cheerfully welcomed, served and cleaned and special thanks to our solo shucker Mike Lindley of The Boston Raw Bar Co. and Pangea Shellfish for our fine oysters.

CraftyBastards_Harpoon Collage

If you missed out and want a book click on the Union Park link above. If you want a shucking knife of your own Email Me!

An Evening of Beer, History, and a Boatload of Oysters

  Well I'm on my way shortly here to a terrific event at Harpoon Brewery.

Imagine a giant Venn Diagram with Oysters, Beer, History, Culinary Geekdom all intersecting. THAT is where we'll be tonight!

 

CB

An Evening of Beer, History, and a Boatload of Oysters... Tickets, Boston - Eventbrite.

Anything is Possible - Oysters and Out of the Shell Pairings at Urban Grape

Kicking off the news season of pop-ups at The Urban Grape, The Oyster Century Club co-hosted an evening of inventive pairings with five oystsers expertly shucked by The Boston Raw Bar Company.

Shucking and Slurping

TJ Douglas knocked it out of the park with the pairings:

  • Wellfleets (Crassostrea Virginicas) welcomed our guests paired with a sparkling Gruner Veltliner.
  • Urban Hops' Ben Bouton chose a Leipziger Gose to pair with Sunken Meadows (Crassostrea Virginicas) from Eastham.
  • Kiapara (Crassostrea Gigas) from New Zealand were paired with Bride of the Fox Saké.
  • Kumamotos (Crassostrea Sikamea) from Totten Inlet Washington paired with light Sicilian red: Cos Frappato.
  • and we ended with Pangea's own Standish Shore (Crassostrea Virginicas)from Duxbury. This was paired with an intense new gin from the Schwarzwald, Germany's Black Forest.

I shared some thoughts on the oysters, sustainability, merrroir, demonstrated how to shuck with our Oyster Century Club shucking knife, and chatted with new members. Good time had by all!

Follow the hashtag #oyster100 to see news of upcoming tastings and tweetups.

Thanks to Boston Raw Bar, Pangea Shellfish and the Whole Urban Grape team for a delicious and eye-opening evening!

UGcollage

 

and you know me, if some is good, more is better...

 

my night cap:

nightcap

 

Sweet dreams indeed. See you at our next event!

An Urban Affair: Out of the Shell. The Oyster Century Club @ The Urban Grape

I wish I could say "come join us" but this event sold out before I could even post about it! Will post photos soon. For now, you can follow along using the #oyster100 hashtag on Twitter or FB or IG. Stop by The Urban Grape and ask what to pair with your next dozen oysters at home.

An Urban Affair: Out of the Shell Tickets, Boston - Eventbrite.

 

Oyster_Knife

 

Isn't she a beauty? We're including Oyster Century Club membership for all attendess and the first 20 get a free Oyster Century Club shucking knife!

 

What I'm Doing Instead of the Ice Bucket Challenge - Building Access to Water for Women of the Sahel

If you're doing or thinking of doing the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, or if you've already done it. I appreciate your enthusiastic support of efforts to end that terrible disease. I have been asked a number of times why I haven't done the ice bucket challenge.

This is why. I had the life-changing experience (thank you Catherine, Eva) of seeing the beautiful Sahel - the lower Sahara where people, women often with children, must walk MILES to get water. Water that we get to take for granted many times a day. One day I was awoken by a beautiful sweet singing outside my window. In my sleepy-headed state, I scrambled to find my camera and run to the window. Through the roll down screen I saw a woman walking by. She was singing to herself as she stopped to take her load off her head and re-balance it, then place it back her head and continued on her way.

sangha commuter adjusting load

I wanted to see where she was going, I didn't recall a well near the hotel when we'd checked in.

off to work

I threw on something and went outside to see where the path she was following was headed. I saw her and other women, all following the same trail, as far as the eye could see. The Sahel is flat. I could see pretty far at that point. Then it hit me: this was her morning commute. Early to beat the blazing sun. Women walked. And walked. Many with babies on their backs.

bandiagara commuters

dawn_sanghaIt was only later when our driver took us passed suddenly lush green fields - I realized this was where they were WALKING to - to tend the fields of green onions. An unlikely oasis of green, miles from their simple mud huts.

oasis well (1)

Other women I saw as we hiked to our cliff and La Falaise hike, were walking miles to a well. This was two years ago, not a tap in sight.

baobob dusk

When I returned to Boston, I could not bear to see a faucet run or even an ice cube wasted. I always thought how long and hard women worked for every drop in Mali.

Bandiagara well

Cow well

Cow well (1)

Please watch this heartwarming clip and donate what you can, where you wish. ALS is a horrendous disease and we're contributing to that cause, too. So very many could use that water we're tossing about to make a point. Could we donate without wasting water? Or donate as well to help those who have not a drop to spare?

September Campaign 2014 Trailer: The Sahel from charity: water on Vimeo.

 

Right now a donor is matching every dollar up to $1,000,000.

Do what you can.

The Wrong Kind of Surprise - Epi-Pen? Check. Clear tote? Check? Potential Disaster? Check.

I was packing for my quick trip to Maryland, having been invited to a pre-season Redskins-Patriots game by my brother. Thanks Mike! It was great fun and my first time Tailgating.

photo 2

My first time - I wasn't enjoying it at all.

Mike knows more about the game than most people, and also about the cheerleaders. If you get an invite, go. If you're lucky, like me, your team might spend their whole first half trying to get out of their own end zone, allowing you ample time to preview the team. It was the third quarter before New England earned their second first down and I think a minute 47 left before they put points on the board. But it was a fun time anyway. #HTTR

 

It's in the Bag

Since the NFL now has strict rules about what can or cannot be carried into a stadium, I had to take a close look at what I planned to carry. A wallet, a couple personal items, and that's about all that's allowed. See the statements and exclusions here. You can also carry a one gallon zip top bag, but I found this regulation clear bag was on sale, so why not?

tote

 

The regulation clear totes are meant to streamline the access to any game, making it easy for staff to check what you're carrying.

You'll Never Believe What Happened Next

Don't you hate those teaser headlines? Me too, but it's important info I'm conveying here, so I need to make sure you're paying attention.

Anyone who carries an Epi-Pen knows it's a pain in the butt. It cannot get too hot or it will lose effectiveness - so do NOT store it in your glove compartment. Not even for a short while. Don't think a gel ice pack is the answer, either. It cannot be too cool. So what does one do if one is tailgating and heading to a game in the heat of August? My plan was to bring my gel ice eye mask and place that next to the ice in the cooler, then wrap that loosely around the Epi-pen and bring that in the clear tote into Fedex Field.

I'm grateful to have an Epi-Pen and hope never to have to use it to save my life. Having been through this before, I can tell you, there's nothing in that experience that tempts me to repeat it. And I'm lucky to have lived to tell the story.

epipen

 

See that little window? Where it says "REPLACE if solution is discolored" -? Well I found my back up pen when packing and thought, "Hm, when was the last time I checked the one in my purse?" I couldn't recall. So I checked.

CLOUDY.

I tossed it and placed the newer (clear window) pen in my bag.

Imagine if I'd accidently ingested something that caused anaphylaxis and then took out my expired pen to save my life? Gives me the shivers just to think of it.

  • PLEASE check your pen NOW. Place a note on your calendar to check at some regular intervals - maybe the first of the month is an easy way to remember? It takes only a second to be sure you're safe. In the event of anaphylaxis you do not want to find out - as you're gasping for air - that your pen has lost effectiveness.
  • Please share this post with your friends and family and followers.

 

Skins

As you can see, we had a fun, safe evening at Fedex Field. My brother was sure to place food items for me in separate bags, cooked with separate tongs, and covered my side of the grill with foil. Bonus: it made cleanup easier. We shared food, but not allergens, safely. I picked up hotdogs and buns that were allergen free and my pen survived, too.

The Pats lost but it could have been so much worse. Get your game on and check those pens!

 

Save the Date! September 9!

I got 99 reasons why you should save this date....9/9 get it? Can't wait to get my hands on this. Wonder what would go well with oysters? We'll have some excellent news in this regard very shortly. Stay tuned, bookmark this site and save September 9. In the meantime, allow me to whet your whistle..

 

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Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day from Audissey Media on Vimeo.

Welcome to the Oyster Century Club©!

Find out why BostInno said we're one of 5 social clubs in Boston that you must join! The Oyster Century Club

Tasting our way through 100 varieties of oysters with prizes for milestones along the way. (Congratulations Larry Yu for winning the first one!)

To get the ball rolling, the first 10 members to join will receive autographed copies of the definitive Oyster lover's book: A Geography of Oysters. Rowan Jacobsen's guide includes tasting notes on over 100 types of oysters, clever descriptions of oyster lovers by type (The Shrinking Violet, The Brine Hound, The Connoisseur...), recipes and regional guides.

For OCC© members who reach 100 varieties, there will be a certificate of the accomplishment suitable for framing.

We'll use the hashtag #oyster100 on Twitter. We'll snap our photos and share our slurps on Facebook. We'll give each other a heads up when favorite oyster bars feature special oysters not to be missed. Belons in town? Tweet it and let us know!

  • Bookmark this page for updates.
  • Buy your Oyster Century Club© Tasting Sheet (see sidebar)
  • Make a date for an oyster bar near you, buy some oysters to shuck at home, or plan an oyster tasting party!

FAQs

Why oysters? Why now?

I love them - you love them. I began to wonder how many I've tried. I wanted to share the love and to create a fun event to christen the new website. 

Do I have to get the oyster bar to sign my form? Must I have it with me when I dine out?

Please be considerate of your servers and shuckers. If you can get someone's initials without disrupting their work, by all means, do. It will be fun to see later how many you had here or there and to remember the evening. If everyone's too busy or you forgot your form: simply snap a pic and Tweet it with the #Oyster100 hashtag, then make a note that you've done so.

As we mount a midden of spent shells, we might get distracted. To keep our focus, we will have special prizes/incentives for benchmarks along the way as well as special guest posts and recipes.

In order to be eligible for the prizes you must document tasting via your form.

Do I have to live in Boston to play along?

No! You can join and track your tasting adventures from where ever you live!

Can I include varieties I taste at home?

Of course! We have discovered that the seafood counter at Whole Foods - Charles River Park is a great place to find fresh oysters to enjoy at home. See what's available at your local Whole Foods Seafood counter.

How will you know if I've really tasted all 100?

Well obviously, this is an honor system, but I'm sure I can count on my fellow fans of bivalves to be honest, right? Your form will be filled out for prizes and I'll be seeing who's tweeting with the #Oyster110 hashtag.

Is there really such a thing as merroir?

Of course! Consider the vast majority of East Coast oysters are Crassotrea virginica but how different a Wellfleet tastes as compared to a Chincoteague. Just as the Chardonnay grape has a different expression when grown in the soil of Burgundy versus California, so does the environment of the oyster contribute to its flavor. Salinity of the water, the tides, the water temperature, the microorganisms the oysters feed on and filter from the water -- all these factors contribute its profile.

Do grilled or broiled oysters count?

I suppose I'd have to say yes. It would be interesting to see if the flavor of one oyster variety versus another would be apparent through the grilling/broiling flavors.

Great! I'm in - what do I do now?

Get your tasting form (Paypal button sidebar). I'll send your very own Oyster Century Club© tasting form once payment's been received. Tweet your membership with the #Oyster100 hashtag.

Come back to this site where I'll also be sharing recipes, oyster lore, fun facts along the way. Share your oyster experience and if you post, let me know and I'll link back to you and tweet your post, too.

I'm also lining up a few very special guest posts and of course, I'm tasting, tasting. (Umamis and Cotuits most recently.)

August update Oyster Century Club posts and updates.

 

Are You a Member? 5 Boston Social Clubs You Need to Know About | BostInno

We are delighted to be one of five Boston Social Clubs, BostInno singled out for "must join" status! We welcome all new members and have some exciting events on the horizon. Come slurp and sip and laugh and learn with us! We'll tell you why the old "R" month rule is passé and share favorite stories over a platter or two of our beloved bivalves.

Are You a Member? 5 Boston Social Clubs You Need to Know About | BostInno.

 Oysters

Oysters

What to pack, how to prep when you're a food-allergic traveler

The thrill of travel is my siren song. I used to dream of filling a passport before it expired. Never happened, but I did manage to get to many great places. Machu Picchu, Xi'an, Tulum. Life can throw you one curveball after another, some good, some not so good. Layoffs, pink slips, food allergies. My high-flying life came to a decidedly more earthbound home. For several years I had time to travel but not the money.

The bitter and the sweet

As we get older, we begin to appreciate that one is enhanced by the other. Fast-forward several years and I am slowly building an entrepreneur's life. This means we swing from one trapeze landing to another, sometimes the grip is so tenuous, the next check so long in coming. But we learn to live with the anxiety that would have done us in before and push on, move forward. Grab and let go. Let go, grab.

This week I'm preparing for my first trip to Europe since my flight through de Gaulle to go to Mali but the last visit when I stayed and explored was a media trip to Valencia, Spain. That was wonderful, too. Both trips like evanescent dreams. Wonderful memories.

New opportunities, new challenges

I'm getting on a plane again 48 hours from this moment. I'm off to Brussels to work with the fabulous Nathan Fong on behalf of sustainable, delicious British Columbia seafood. After our success at  Seafood Expo North America (#sena2014) - stir-frying with the Trade Minister! We're bringing the dynamic duo to the largest seafood expo in the world, Brussels! Now I'm dealing with multiple food allergies. Looking at the food there, dairy is definitely going to be a problem. I won't have time to shop all over and my Flemish is pretty weak. I think I've got this one down though: "Aangenamen Kennismaking" (Nice to meet you) it's just plain fun to say, isn't it?

It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't have food allergies. But imagine you're somewhere unfamiliar, and you literally cannot risk eating food because you may end up in anaphylactic shock. And traveling in a professional capacity, you don't want to make every group meal a tiresome litany of your issue and allergies. "Who knows Flemish for 'allergy'?"

Moules Frites? Waffles? (butter, dairy) Carbonnade? Waterzooi? (butter, cream) Food, glorious food. It's what I live for, what I organize my life around, what I share with friends, family and clients. But the prospect of being unable to find anything to eat made me realize I now have an extra list of travel prep tasks: researching, prepping, baking, planning. Even the flight to Belgium is a problem. Special diet meals include vegetarian (with cheese, nuts) Asian Vegetarian (may include dairy); Vegetarian (dairy). So what can I eat during the flight? Grab and go in the airport? Can you trust the labels on pre-packed foods? The fast food training? Erm, no. Basically, there was not one option that I could choose that was both free of dairy and free of tree nuts. Swiss International Airlines announced an "allergy friendly" service but to me it sounds like only a baby step further than what other airlines do.

Chips? (made in a facility that also processes nuts) etc. It's impossible!

Luckily, I'm a good cook. And I have good friends. And a very caring husband. He has turned into the best food sleuth!

My goal was to find things easy to pack and dense with protein to keep me going in the worst case scenario.

Tips:

1. Research, research, research. What are the typical foods in your destination? What capacity does your hotel have to accommodate your allergies? (Or even, to speak English?) Check with TSA and your airlines.

2. Pack pouches. Really good tuna, quinoa cereal, and terrific peanut butter all come in these easy-to-pack pouches. Thanks Doc!

pouches

3. Bake ahead. Energy Bites; Crackers, Apple-Quinoa Cake.

choco chunks, fruit

rye crackers

travel snack

4. Try to order Allergy warning cards in the destination language. I ordered cards from Allergic Traveler - hope they'll arrive in time!

 

Recipes:

The energy bites are great pre/post workout snacks. I love that they're not overly sweet and they're super easy to customize. This is based on Kim O'Donnel's original recipe from her Washington Post days. Her Lulu's Cookies became my Choco-fruit Energy Bites.

Choco-fruit Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C of a combo of: sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds (I omitted sesame and used a combo of peanuts, bran, amaranth for the third 1/2 C.)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds.
  • 3 C flour [I used 1 C Irish Wholemeal flour +1 C White Whole Wheat + 1 C AP flour]
  • 2 cups rolled oats [I used rolled instant] + 1/3 C brown rice crispies + 1/4 flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit - cherries, prunes, apricots
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 C coconut + canola oil
  • 3/4 C honey + golden syrup
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C cup Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (free of 8 major allergens and made in an allergen free facility)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast seeds on a baking sheet about 8 minutes, or until the seeds turn a golden color. Be careful not to burn seeds.
  2.  Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.
  3.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt.
  4.  Soak dried fruit in hot water for about 15 minutes. Drain, but reserve soaking water.
  5.  Add dried fruit soaking water to dry mixture, plus oil and honey. With a rubber spatula, stir until combined. Add cooled seeds and stir to combine, then add fruit and chocolate chips. Don't over-mix.
  6.  Form teaspoon-sized patties onto a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper.
  7.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Don't over-bake; the cookies will turn into rocks.

Makes about 50 cookies.

I love that these are like two bite energy bars without all the overly sweet, highly processed ingredients. These are like bites of shortbread chunks of sweet dried fruits and chocolate.

 

What are your tips for traveling with food allergies or intolerances?

Next up, the apple quinoa cake!

Fifteen Million Reasons - - Why I'm Speaking at the 1st Annual Food Allergy Conference

Doing my part - in June - speaking at the first annual Food Allergy Research & Education conference in Chicago. FARE_logo

 

Here's the conference schedule and my speaker page.

 

 

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That's right, 15 million Americans are living with food allergies. That's 15 million reasons to get educated about keeping people with food allergies safe and included.

I'm looking forward to meeting some of the experts whose research I've been following since my diagnosis, hearing what's new and learning from others how my training, consulting and writing can help. With allergies on the rise, more of us are touched in one way or another:

  • grappling with our own food allergies,
  • learning to cook for family members with allergies or
  • understanding how to safely serve customers with food allergies.

 

Read my article in the Washington Post to learn what it's like to negotiate minefields when dining out -- imagine if one careless gesture by server or chef can result in illness or death for you or your loved one.

If you're a chef or restaurant owner or manager and want to learn how I can help you train staff --Email Me.

To receive your free Ten Points of Liability Checklist, complete this form.  [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='I%26#039;m a:' type='select' required='1' options='Chef,Restaurant Staff,Restaurant Owner/Manager'/][contact-field label='I%26#039;m interested in:' type='select' required='1' options='Food Service Risk Assessment,Menu Review,Staff Training'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

The Oyster Century Club Presents: iPhonography with Brian Samuels - Shoot + Slurp = Success

Don't you love pulling off the impossible? Pull an event together in no time? Drop it right between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Shows you what a few dedicated oyster lovers can do - Thanks to Ashton and Brian and many thanks to Maré for opening early so we could benefit from the great light in the restaurant. Nature cooperated with a good sunny day in the middle of weeks of gray. Hundreds and hundreds of views on EventBrite, social media full court press and we filled our seats and had a blast.

Eight new members, some oyster trivia, half-price oysters and nearly two hours of hands on iphone photography from the fabulous Brian Samuels of A Thought for Food.

And one lucky new member won a gift certificate to Maré! Congrats Gloria!

Occ_Photo_class_collage

 

Social Media Contest

During the class we announced that a prize for most photos posted during and following the class would be tallied at noon Monday and the results are in:

Congratulations Jessica (AKA Little Miss Runshine) in addition to her blog post, Learning How to Shoot Better iPhone Photos with Brian Samuels and the Oyster Century Club at Mare Oyster Bar, she properly tagged and posted the most photos on social media. Go Little Miss Runshine! A set of William Sonoma "Grand Tour" dipping bowls are yours - just in time for holiday entertaining. Reach out and let me know when and where I can drop them off, maybe over a platter of oysters?

 

Oyster Lovers - Join us for a Special "Slurp and Learn" Oyster Century Club Event!

Mare Collage

The Oyster Century Club© invites you for a special midday oyster tasting event.

oyster oyster oyster

 BREAKING NEWS: PARTICIPANTS ALSO GET FREE ADMISSION TO THE EAT BOUTIQUE HOLIDAY MARKET!

...register today, we'll all head over after....

oyster oyster oyster

They Shoot Oysters, Don't They?

This Saturday, December 7 from 12 - 2 ,

we'll be enjoying oysters and special appetizers while

professional photographer and oyster-loving friend, Brian Samuels shares the secrets to capturing great oyster iPhone shots.

We'll be tweeting, instagramming and sharing photos as we shoot and eat.

Brian's classes have been selling out across the country, we're thrilled to grab some time with him Saturday!

Bring a friend!

Sign up today.

MareSelection

 

DozenMare

 

RSandler_Mare_2

How to Handle the Sticky Situations and Prickly Guests at the Holiday Table

Thanksgiving etiquette tips. Who needs 'em? We all do! Whether you're hosting or joining someone else for Hanukkah, Thanksgiving or other big event types of dinners, it is that time of year when nerves can be sensitive and tempers sometimes short. Couple that with free-flowing booze and the potential for fireworks increases. We've all endured the rude comments, bad behavior, and even shouting matches that can ruin the dinner for everyone.

The best cure is a little preventive medicine. Here are some tips to help you avoid the dyspeptic dinner disasters. Whether you're a host or a guest, a brief review might help everyone relax and enjoy. Here are some tips for being a good guest, being a smart host.

"The more wine you drink, the more interesting your relatives become."  Josh Wesson on Talking with My Mouth Full 

1. If you are invited: Offer to bring something. If your host does not want additions to the menu, offer to bring wine, flowers or offer to help clean up after. Marron Glacé are lovely and won't ruin anyone's menu. Especially if you have dietary restrictions, offer to bring a dish that will be safe for you to eat and good enough for all to enjoy. More tips on handling food allergy issues here.

2. During the Thanksgiving day of feasting: Offer to pick up empty glasses or refresh people's drinks. Little things like that can help a lot when your host is probably minding the timing of all the last minute food preparations. If you're hosting and people want to help, let them. Even kids can help with things like offering ice to grown ups, tearing lettuce.

3. What to do if you're served or offered something that you really dislike? A gracious way to turn it down, instead of saying "I don't like brussels sprouts" is to say "I've had so much good food I couldn't possibly eat another bite, thank you so much. They look lovely, though!"

4. How to handle the family members that you know are going to get into a heated argument? Try the preemptive strike:  take whichever of the pair that is more reasonable take them aside ahead of time and appeal to their good nature beforehand. Say "Listen, I know that you and Dad don't agree on healthcare and we know how he gets when he had a few, so I'm gonna count on you being the more reasonable one. Help me sidestep an argument at dinner by changing the subject or not taking the bait? Thanks so much for being reasonable and helping out that way I really appreciate it."

5. Include, don't exclude: I like Thanksgiving because it's a nondenominational day of gratitude, rather than greed disguised as religion. And, it's all about abundance, friends, and football. Try to include everyone in that good feeling of gratitude. Rather than a prayer which might feel exclusive two people don't share the religion, why not start with going to run the table and everybody sharing something they're grateful for?

6. Be calm, make like a duck. Serene on top, even if you're paddling madly under the surface. If you're hosting, remember that guests will take their cue from you. If you're hassled and snippy they won't relax. Try to do ahead, plan and let go. If it won't be the perfect Norman Rockwell painting you have in your head, remember that a good time can still be had by all. Your attitude will set the mood. Pour another round and enjoy what worked, be thankful for the friends and family you have to share the day with. Laugh off the disasters and invite others to join you in good humor. (And make notes while they're fresh in your head what worked and didn't for next year.)

Today is the day to set yourself up for a good tomorrow. Plan a walk in the fresh air first thing in the morning, get a good night's rest.  Chop the veggies that you can for stuffing, make a butter for gravy (1:1 flour and butter) or make the gravy now and just add pan drippings later. Ditch the extra cleaning or extra dishes you won't need to make. No one will notice that you dusted every shelf if you're frazzled.

New Friends, New Oysters - Join the Oyster Century Club - Today!

Top five reasons why you should join the Oyster Century Club - TODAY. 1. It's fun! 

We get together and meet new friends, taste new oysters. Here's our last get together at Maré Oyster Bar:

Mare Oyster Century Club

 

2. It's a totally unique thing that will make you the envy of your friends.

Do you long for the type of camraderie wine drinkers have? Discussing grapes, vineyards, holding tastings? Ever met anyone in a wine century club? Tasting 100 grapes is worthy undertaking. We are tasting our way through 100 varieties of oysters. What's more fun than that?

When you join you will receive your own tasting sheet, where you can track your progress toward the goal of 100, note your favorites, record tasting notes.

 

3. Discover hot new venues.

One of the things I love about Maré is that you can feel transported to someplace carefree and sunny, think South Beach with less attitude.

Mare Oyster Bar

 

4. Win cool prizes.

Along the way we've got some fun raffle items, from saké service, to cookbooks, t-shirts, to gift certificates.

 

Right now - new members will be entered to win a gift certificate for Maré! Drawing extended to 5 PM Wednesday October 16.

Another lucky winner will receive a Little Island Oyster tee shirt.

5. Enjoy sustainable seafood - at its peak right now!

At our recent screening of the documentary Shellshocked, we learned how and why oysters are good for the environment. When was the last time you could enjoy something so luxurious, so affordable, so sexy and so environmentally sound?

shellshocked

 

Oysters are storing up glycogen for their winter "hibernation" this means we get to enjoy extra sweet, plump and delicious oysters now and through the winter. These Nonesuch Oysters were fantastic last month, and the Little Island Oysters, too! Can't wait to try them both now! Thanks again to:

  •  Nonesuch oysters - Abigail Carroll, the accidental oyster farmer. See her TEDxYouth alk here: life lessons and getting your hands dirty, finding joy.
  • Frank & Tonyia Peasley – Little Island Oysters - on the Bagaduce River in Maine.

 

I asked Andrew Jay of the Mass Oyster Project for his tips:

  1. Ask your oyster bar if they recycle their shells.
  2. Email the governor that Massachusetts should do more restoration.
  3. Get in touch with restoration movement- Like Mass Oyster on Facebook.

 

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