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.

Leslie

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.

Not Ketchup, Catch Up

tomatoes2

It’s a long weekend, more cold weather is coming, and I feel like making things, so I planned meals for the upcoming week today (you may be surprised to know it’s something I’ve been out of the habit of doing for YEARS), went shopping for the food for those meals, roasted some grape tomatoes in the vein of Nom Nom Paleo and Smitten Kitchen (same basic  principle, slightly different methods), and now I’m patiently (?) waiting for Jim to come home from refereeing soccer matches so he can get started on his chorizo chili so I can just sit here and inhale while he cooks. The chorizo is from Triple S Farms in Stewardson, and – god. Our family has a RELATIONSHIP with this chorizo, an affair. It’s great in fajitas or as nachos, but chili is what is needed tonight. Acceptance-yet-defiance of winter in a bowl, that’s what this chili is.

Post-holidays (is it just me, or do the holidays seem like they happened MONTHS AGO?), I think it’s good to get creative with your comfort food. We’re past everything-pumpkin, we’re past the family traditions that dictate the holidays – now, January/February, before fresh food is truly available here in the midwest, that’s when we get down to the business of really figuring out what we want to eat. For, you know, strength when spring comes. My favorite winter foods come in bowls. How about you?

reading

I am utterly, woefully behind in my reading. I found myself at the bookstore this afternoon (very much a “How did I get here?” moment), looking for more magazines, another cookbook. Never mind that I have the above to read, plus two more cookbooks arriving Tuesday. And I still have two cookbooks I received for Christmas from one of my dear sisters-in-law that I can’t wait to read. It’s a sickness. I LOVE ALL OF THEM and occasionally fantasize about literally building a fort out of all these books and magazines, the better to surround myself with culinary and food (and life) wisdom. I haven’t done it. Yet.

I did, however, finish Provence, 1970 this afternoon. I adored the first 2/3 of the book, and was really excited to find out what happened, but after that first 2/3, I thought it just sort of ground to a halt just when I thought something explosive, some a-ha & super-influential moment that I’d never heard of before, would happen, which it… didn’t. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. I did. I cannot get enough of good, evocative writing about the food and farming and conviviality surrounding food in France, especially from that time period. Author Luke Barr had access to all kinds of correspondence between the principals (MFK Fisher [his great-aunt], Julia Child, James Beard, Richard Olney) as well as Fisher’s notebook from her time in France at that particular juncture. Anyway, if you have a thing for France and French food and The Days of Yore, I do recommend it.

I’m thinking ahead to next weekend, when we begin shooting “Ramen Shaman”. We’ll be interviewing the Shaman himself at his place, surrounded by his cookbooks and tchotchkes (the guy has a hundred times the cookbooks/food books I do… he could build a palace), and then filming the preparation for his next ramen event, and then filming the event. I’m a little nervous; I made a drastic change to my appearance ahead of all this filming, because I was feeling very what-the-hell about it, but now I’m more like, what the hell? Oops.

Anyway. The ramen is the story, but Mark is the story, too. I can’t wait to hear it, to help tell it. Right now, though, I’m all about swooning over this chili; Jim’s home.