I love coffee. I've always loved it. My parents drink it black with no sugar all day, and I pretty much adapted that too. I feel about coffee the way I feel about baked goods in that the freshness of it is very important. There should not be very much time elapsed at all between the time it was roasted and delivered to you, and definitely not much time elapsed between when it was ground and brewed. That is why Uncommon Grounds is so good - they have a roaster right in the store. I really love Caribou Coffee, whose stores I basically lived in as an undergraduate (with comfy leather chairs and thick, heavy duty wooden tables that are great for studying). I still make sure to pick up their beans when I am in MI or at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport on a layover. Their coffee is never, ever burnt, and always bright tasting and delicious. Zoka Coffee from WA is amazing. Scott bought the Ethiopian brand when he was in Seattle at a conference, and it is complex, fresh, and has such nice, deep flavors. Every time I make a cup I can't believe how good it is, really - what a treasure.
Which brings me to coffee I don't really enjoy - Keurig's K Cup brewer. We have one at the office. Of course it makes sense at the office because multiple people can have different kinds and there is no mess to clean up. But I will argue the coffee does not taste good. We're low on the K Cups around here, and I started brewing my own coffee at home and just waking up a little earlier. It made me realize how much more delicious the coffee I make at home is compared to the coffee brewed in this thing. Apparently, there is a refillable cup you can buy so you can use your own ground coffee, but I have read negative reviews of this accessory online. I just feel that these K cups seem expensive compared to regular coffee (I guess it depends what kind of coffee you normally buy), and it never tastes good. Creating all these little plastic cups for every single cup of coffee someone drinks seems also very bad for the environment (paper coffee filters are biodegradable, and can even be recycled). The taste must be affected by the fact that you have no idea how long those coffee grounds have been in the little plastic cup.You don't know how long they were being shipped all around the country while en route to wholesale big box stores. Then, they sit in the cabinet in the main office for weeks, before even getting to the point where someone might think about using them. It has been great waking up a half an hour earlier to leisurely enjoy my freshly ground coffee at the kitchen table while reading the newspaper, and that turns out to be much, much more satisfying. In this way, it becomes a moment, and more than just a means to an end. If I wanted to go really crazy I could add some frothed milk. So even though I will admit to the convenience of the K cups, I say the taste is not good, and the whole experience is unsatisfying, even though many of my coworkers love the thing. Since going without it, I've realized I'd rather go without than bother with something I don't even really like.
Back when I first moved in with my husband I baked him a cake. I went to the store to buy some baking powder, and the woman behind me didn't approve of the brand I was buying. I said my boyfriend was teaching me how to cook, and that I had actually never made a cake before. She said it should have been the other way around - that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well, the opposite was true, and I didn't eat much of anything before I met him (well, this). This weekend, while doing some Valentine's Day baking I finally got to the end of that can of baking powder (if you want to lecture me about it not being fresh after 3 years, well go ahead). I got to thinking about food in our relationship.
We met in a diner where I'd pressure him to order milkshakes, and he'd try to talk me into eating some of his fries. I baked him a quiche. There was no air conditioning and there was a hot and sticky black leather futon. We spent a lot of time at a wine bar in…
Its hard to believe, I have been having salad bar parties for five years! Here's the link back to the post of the first one. You can see my punch was a bit more attractive for that party. The idea is everyone brings an ingredient to add to the salad bar, and then everyone can go down the line and even make several very different salads. It ends up feeling interactive and community building, I think.
This is a tradition I've been really happy to keep going because I feel like it was a really great idea to start off with. It doesn't require much cooking which is great for summer months, sometimes people have extra produce in the summer from their gardens or CSA memberships, and its really healthy and refreshing so it just feels perfect for this time of year. I thought I'd break it down how this year went.
This past spring I went to Germany for the first time on a work trip. It felt good to see some world, the arts people we were working with were incredibly hospitable, and I left with a warm impression of the German people in general (despite pretty much constant reminders of certain grim parts of their history in the forms of monuments and memorials all around the city, which I wasn't sure how to deal with). I also don't know a lick of German, which was fine because the German people often know English, but the Turkish people only know German so at some Turkish restaurants and second hand shops I had to resort to awkward gestures, which was all in all makes one appreciate what it is to be a foreigner in any land - a foreigner in this country for instance. It's certainly not easy.
Anyways, on the way back I unexpectedly got stuck in Paris for a night. It's hard to explain what a natural and easy connection I have with French culture/food/language. Part of it might be th…