Remiss

I love blogging so much – it is, for me, my original social media, really, after the various message boards from the days of yore – but it’s been really difficult to find time to get in here and write. I hate excuses, so I’ll just leave it at that. I’m here. I’m back. Hi.

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We went on vacation, too.

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I’m always looking for interesting food when we visit our beloved little FL island hangout. Poppo’s Tacos was thriving; Anna Maria Donuts (see above) was always busy; we discovered (well, we didn’t really discover it as much as we finally went in after years of going past it) a cafe/high-end 2nd hand store located in an old IGA grocery store called Ginny’s and Jane E’s that made the best americanos, had killer biscuit sandwiches and waffles, and offered cinnamon rolls the size of your head (seriously). The Grouper Reuben at the Rod and Reel was spectacular, as it usually is, and the mullet and the grits at the Starfish blew my mind. We found some Jamaican food at Jamaican Breeze, which was good, but my dish was way too salty for my taste. And we pretty much bought all the Jai Alai IPA (made by Cigar City Brewing in Tampa) on AMI to bring home.

I know. I make it sound like paradise. And when you’re basically on a beach and eating out a lot and you know where the good stuff is, it’s pretty paradise-y. But a few things are missing (or aren’t easy to find). There’s a farmers market, but it’s small and we’re never there when it’s open. It’s impossible to find interesting/unusual citrus fruit, something I thought would be everywhere. No visible food co-ops, and if there’s a lot of support for local food/local endeavors, it’s pretty under the radar. I think things are changing, though. I’d love to have more time down there to actually talk to some of the people running the new businesses, in particular Poppo’s Tacos. They seem to be very tapped in to whatever’s going on food-wise there. Next year.

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“Ramen Shaman” was released while I was away, which we knew would probably happen. None of us were sure what to expect in terms of a response. We sent it to our pals at PBS Digital Services, did some promotion on our end, and waited. I’m happy to say the video was very well-received, picking up social media promotion from PBS and PBS Food (!) in addition to the folks at PBSDS. We’re closing in on 2000 views and could not be more stoked about the response. If you’ve watched it, thank you! I hope it was edifying and entertaining and got you thinking about finding some upgraded ramen somewhere… or making your own.

What’s next: “Shorn Off, Pt. 2”, how 100# of worms doesn’t really look like much when you actually get them together, How My Garlic Survived the Winter (I’m actually not really sure), etc…

We Interrupt This Program…

.. to let you know that our first video, “Ramen Shaman” is live and ready for your viewing pleasure.

It was shared on the PBS main Facebook page today, which was very exciting. Some commenter somewhere was like, “ILLINOIS?” That is EXACTLY the response I was hoping for, so we can say, yes, yes. Illinois. Not just Illinois – DOWNSTATE Illinois. Things are happening here.

Please share, like, subscribe, tweet, follow, whatever, if you’re so inclined – we had a great time making this and want everyone to know how fun ramen is. BYIV2 coming soon.

Back to yr regularly-scheduled sheep in a day or two.

 

Weak Week

Last week was a bit flattening.

There were reasons, most of which I won’t go into here except to say that sometimes the stars just DO NOT ALIGN and EVERYTHING IS CRAZY SOMETIMES and, occasionally, I DO NOT LIKE BEING A RESPONSIBLE-ISH ADULT.  There was also the weather to deal with:

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Saturday morning! Thunder woke me up! It rained slush out of the sky! Uncool, February first! I retaliated by circling about $200 worth of seeds in the Seed Savers catalog and about $1000 worth of kicky clothes in the Title Nine catalog (Seed Savers will win when the chips are down, because TOMATOES). It’s cold again with more snow on the way, apparently, so I’m retaliating further by roasting a chicken and making brownies.

[One note about that latter retaliation: Our Tappan Visualite (as in, this oven has a WINDOW!!) oven is old. Like, it might be 70 years old. It still works, but with caveats. Fine, I’ll bake things, she tells me, but there will be NO temperature regulation whatsoever! I just get hotter than hell! Lately, it’s been Oh, god, you know, nope. Nope. Not today. We always coax her back into action, but I feel like the end might be near. Our kitchen, like our house, is very small (something I’ve talked about before on the radio) and very not-updated. Its vintage nature is not on purpose – it came this way – but I kind of like it the way it is and do not want anything super-fancy to replace ol’ Visualite when she gives up the ghost. I think about this, and how much it will cost, a lot. Because it will cost – a lot.]

We had a great shoot last week for the “Ramen Shamen” episode of BYI that’ll be done at the end of this month (AT THE END. OF THIS MONTH.) I “helped” make noodles for the ramen, and we all peeled a few eggs, and Mark & Leslie were so damn gracious about our totally being in their way (and in their faces). THANKS, YOU GUYS.

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Leslie pretending not to notice BYI DP Tim Meyers

 

As things got closer to service, the fine humans from the Cracked Truck came in to help make noodles as fast as people could eat them. (Note the foreshadowing on their URL)

crackedKieffer & Daniel from Cracked getting all noodly with it

Seeing the Cracked guys come in to lend a hand did my heart good. These are young guys, entrepreneurs, who aren’t thinking just about their success. They want to see others in this community succeed, too.

Lots of people came to the back room at Pizza-M to hang out and eat noodles and take photos of the noodles and of each other. It was quite fun to watch people start gathering after their work days were done, and the whole thing felt very current day downtown Urbana. It’s exactly what we were hoping to capture.

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The first radio piece of 2014 will air this week. One of its inspirations: A cupboard devoid of clean bowls. I hope it sounds as interesting on the air as it does in my head.