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I’m morally opposed to sitting at a computer after work hours when the weather outside is nice, thus the long hiatus. And, to be honest, my cooking took a bit of a break over the past few months. I grilled and I made salads, and generally tried to avoid getting hotter and stickier by slaving over a hot stove. But, its getting cold again, which means I’m back to cooking and by extension–blogging. Not that anyone has been waiting with bated breath.

Best Meal of the Summer: The Souder Family Annual Crab Feast Fest in Brigantine, New Jersey. 144 crabs, 8 children under the age of 11, 3 Yuenglings, and 1 very happy Kathleen.

Best Drink of the Summer: A cold beer on a hot summer night at Busch Stadium.

Best Dessert of the Summer: Angie’s freshly baked pie, cut and eaten on my front porch after dinner, with crickets a-chirping and lightning bugs a-glowing.

Now, bring on the baked goods, soups, and of course, the best biscuits you’ve ever eaten.

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Being a regular coffee drinker myself, many news items in the past few weeks have made my ears perk up (pun absolutely intended). Starbucks changed the face of a daily American ritual, changing how we think about–and drink–our coffee; as the pendulum of collective tastes swings from the $5.90 cup of hyped and hyper-personalized cups of joe, a few diverging trends seem to be emerging.

First, a New York Times article (somewhat misleadingly) reported the $20,000 cup of coffee.  A few days ago, I came across an NPR story on the $22 dollar cup of coffee, highlighting the price people in LA are willing to pay for a gourmet cup. Can’t say I’m too surprised, its about time someone felt the need to push the beverage to the elitist heights usually reserved for wines and microbrews.

But what makes this trend really interesting are the other coffee-related stories hitting the newswaves.  Starbucks, fighting declining same-store sales and falling stock prices, decided to test-run a $1 cup. McDonalds is even getting in on the reasonably-priced coffee trend, building coffee counters and hiring baristas in an effort to give Starbucks and other dominant franchises a run for their money. (I, for one, would be glad to see one open up in my neighborhood. I avoid Starbucks as much as possible, not preferring over-roasted, highly bitter, burnt drip coffee, and I’ve actually enjoyed the coffee I’ve had at McDonalds.)

I wish I had some profound insight to offer on the two disparate trends named above, but, I think its pretty evident what’s going on. Per usual, some people feel the need to rise above the Starbucks-gulping proletariat, spending their money as connoisseurs. Good for them. I, however, will follow the other path, happy to have a decent caffeine fix for less.

Or, I’ll just make it at home, with the lovely Bodum french press I got for Christmas, with my trusty mini-grinder and a canister of Trader Joe’s beans.

Now that I’m grown and out of the house, I can’t think of anything better to get for my 11-year-old brother for his next birthday. Mom will kill me, as might my other siblings that still live at home. But I say, what’s the point of being a “adult” older sister if you can’t spoil the younger ones?

P.S. Please note the formal place settings and table arrangement that serve as a backdrop for a gadget billed to “launch your lunch.” Interesting.

Thanks again to Geekologie, and World Wide Fred.

I am sorry to use an election term to start out my blog, in a time where “caucus” and “New Hampshire” have been so oversaid that it puts me on edge. But, its so appropriate! Forgive me for the clunkiness of this metaphor, but on this chilly January day, I’m swearing myself into the world of food + writing and I promise to make things happen in the years to come.

I’ve always loved to cook, always loved to eat, and always, always loved to read about anything culinary. As a kid, I’d read cookbooks. Not just flip through, no: cover to cover, noting descriptions, pictures, ingredients. When I got through my mom’s collection, I’d go to the library and check more out. You know you have it bad when you bring “Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook” to your brother’s Little League game.

Now that you know I was truly one cool cat growing up, here’s something else to know about me: If you said, “Kathleen. Forget your job. Forget your student loans, your responsibilities, and your attachment to stability. What would you do to make your heart happy?” My answer would be to drop everything, go to culinary school, then travel anywhere and everywhere eating as much as I could and writing about it. Consider this a compromise between my head and my heart, the best that I can do for the time being.

So! Hello, nice to meet you, thanks for reading. I have ideas about where this thing will go, but I’m sure plans will morph and directions will change. The one thing I can promise is that pretensions don’t exist in my food world. If it tastes good, it is good, and that applies to everything.