First, I need ideas. I need inspiration. Something food related that I can go after and enjoy, or have my curiousity piqued with. There are a few things, but I welcome ideas from anyone who reads this for things around the area pertaining to food, restaurants, cooking, new trends, or things that you’d like to hear about. Here are some things around the area that have caught my attention:

1) Gooseberries. I haven’t worked with gooseberries for a long time. The last time I saw them, as a matter of fact, was in the tiny town of Mabel, Minnesota sometime in the mid ’90s, when we went on a hike through the back 40 of a family friend. From what I can remember, they’re difficult, tart beyond belief, and not terribly hospitable or forgiving. Challenge? Yes. Recipes? Not yet.

2) Just picked up a book from the library- The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky. Yeah. That Mark Kurlansky. In the industry, great writer, wrote the books Cod, Salt, and The Big Oyster. All of these are important books to me that have contributed to my inquisitive nature over my food, where it comes from, how it got here, and why I use it the way I do. The subheading for the book is “A portrait of American food- before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal, regional, and traditional- from the lost WPA files.” Any other recommendations?

3) We got jam in the mail. From the lady’s mom back in Connecticut. Maybe I’ll write about jam, home canning, preservation of foods, etc. (if you haven’t, check out Handmade’s post on canning your own food, with references to everyone’s favorite children’s book on canning, Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal: http://psoutowood.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/canning/)

Yeah, I know I’ve done it before, but it’ll be different this time. Really.

4) Grilling. I know I haven’t done much about grilling, but I haven’t grilled all that much. I look to those interested to provide me with some inspiration. I can grill almost anything, so long as it’s vegetarian or fish. Recipes, ideas, etc. are all welcome.

5) ____ of the week. Beer of the week. Recipe of the week. Fun food fact of the week. What would you like to see?

Coke Machine, Now with Pepsi!

Those are a few starter ideas. With that to get minds-a-poppin’, I’ll leave you with what I saw this afternoon. After going out for a mid-day meal of a grilled portobello sandwich and wasabi grilled cheese at the Hole in the wall known as Bleu Bistro, we walked up John Street in the direction of 15th. Right next to the tiny Ethiopian place we’ve eaten at before, there was this amazing Coke Machine sitting, bolted to the fence behind it. Clearly not a high trafficked area, it had been tagged and vandalized, but placing a hand to it, the motor still ran with the chill of a thousand tiny gnomes fanning each can. Looking closer, I noticed something interesting about the two buttons all the way to the right. In a tutti-frutti script, they seemed to read- MYSTERY!

How could I say no to that? My lone dollar I brandished, and stuck it into the oddly placed bill collector. Look at it. It’s right in the middle of the machine. How odd. I received my quarter in change immediately.

Hmm…So far, so good. Now, which button to choose? I chose the top one.

K-THUNK!

Oh, my! A beverage was dispensed! In a can! And it was cold? What beverage, you ask? Why, it was just what the Dr. ordered!*

* The Dr. apparently ordered MYSTERY!

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