“I, Too” by Langston Hughes

us flag

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”


They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.

–Photo by Krystle Fleming

Farewell, LJ!


After 15 years and 1,914 entries, I am leaving LiveJournal.

The company, which was purchased by a Russian firm several years ago, recently changed its terms of service. The new rules prohibit users from posting “political solicitation materials” and anything “contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation.” I also don’t approve of the idea that my writings can be used and/or sold at the company’s discretion without compensation.

So, as of this weekend, I’m deleting my account. It’s been a good ride, LiveJournal. Time to bid you farewell.

Oh, and thanks for the husband.

100 recipes I want to master


I’m not a fan of reality television. I don’t like watching shows that make untalented people famous. I don’t like shows that focus on humiliation. And I really don’t like shows that use meanness to “create drama.”

This last practice seems to be a staple on cooking competition shows. Although I’ve learned a lot about ingredients and techniques from watching “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” I simply can’t stand the cruel judges or the sniping between the “chef-testants.”

The one exception? “The Great British Baking Show” on PBS. After watching the first episode, I immediately began binging on the rest. Not only does this charming program highlight the contestants’ skills, it features people who are supportive of each other. And when each episode ends, I head into the pantry, examine the ingredients on the shelves and start planning what I’m going to make next.

Last week, the Brown Eyed Baker posted a blog entry about her kitchen conquests. Since she and I share a similar cooking style — we’re both huge fans of America’s Test Kitchen — I decided to follow her example and make a list of the 100 recipes I want to master. They are:

Yeast Goodies:
Apple cider doughnuts
Breadsticks (both crunchy and chewy)
Glazed chocolate cake doughnut holes
Honey wheat dinner rolls
Kaiser rolls
Parker House Rolls
Parmesan and garlic butter pull-apart bread
Sourdough bread from homemade starter
Thin-crust pizza

Quick Breads:
British scones
Buttermilk biscuits
Chocolate banana bread
Irish soda bread
Tart cherry and toasted almond scones

Hot chocolate thumbprint cookies
Mexican wedding cookies

Cherry chocolate rolls
Funnel cakes
Raspberry-swirl lemon cheesecake bars

Angel food cake
Banana pudding cupcakes
Black forest cake
Blueberry bundt cake
Boston cream pie
Butter cake
Carrot cake
Chai spiced coffee cake
Charlotte rousse
Chocolate biscuit cake
Ding Dongs
Dobos torte
German chocolate cake
Ginger peach cupcakes
Gluten-free almond cakes
Marble pound cake
Midnight pumpkin layer cake
Millionaire’s layer cake
Petit fours
Pineapple upside down cake
Pound cake
Red velvet cupcakes

Cheddar apple pie
Cherry handpies
Chess pie
Chocolate cheesecake
Chocolate cream pie
Chocolate handpies
New York cheesecake
Pumpkin cheesecake

Baked French toast muffins
Blueberry pancake casserole
Breakfast carbonara

All-chicken pot pie
Beef stroganoff
Chicken chimichangas
Chicken saltimbocca
Fettuccine with asparagus and smoked salmon
Guinness pie
Homemade fettuccine
Mahogany chicken
Maryland crab cakes
Mississippi roast
Pepperoni stuffed chicken
Rigatoni with white bolognese

Soups, Salads and Sides:
Bacon scalloped potatoes
Baked beans
Chorizo queso
Chorizo corn chowder
Crockpot chicken gnocchi soup
Mozzarella sticks
Shrimp and corn chowder
White bean and rosemary gratin with parmesan croutons

Frozen Desserts:
Mint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream

Miscellaneous Desserts:
Baked Alaska
Chocolate mousse
Chocolate souffle
Nestle Crunch bars
Pots de creme
Twix bars

Who wants to come over and taste my treats? If no one volunteers, M will be forced to be my guinea pig (not that he minds). I’m also open to suggestions of other recipes to try. Dishes that serve two people are always preferred.

I’m simply unable to stop myself


Over the weekend, Marcus and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by going out to dinner and visiting an area book store.

As is our wont, we separate moments after walking through the front door, stroll solo down the aisles and peruse volumes that catch our attention. Then, much like at parties, we’ll reunite for a short time to catch up on our latest discoveries and examine current endurance levels. If our spirits are high, we’ll part again and continue the browsing. Otherwise, we’ll check out and head home.

During our first check-in on Saturday night, M remarked that after just 15 minutes in the store, I had already found two books to purchase.

“It’s still early,” I warned.

The next time he saw me — about 20 minutes later — I was carrying an entire basket filled with books, a sight that made him laugh and shake his head at the same time.

Here’s our loot:

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