This little spot of internet is a dreamcatcher of sorts. It captures the essence of the simple beauties in daily life... and I hope to do so with charm. Whether is it the bits of dirt under your nails after gardening, the soothing sensation of the first sip of tea, the aroma after brushing past a rosemary bush, the crisp satisfaction of a fresh salad, watching butter melt on a warm scone, mental imagery from reading a good story, food inspirations from folklore, friendly smiles exchanged over a bowl of soup, the lingering scent of curry on my fingers, excitement surrounding the first summer tomato, the thick, sweet air hanging in the kitchen while infusing herbs... I absorb these moments. Each action has a personality and it has an affect. Make no mistake, it is magic.
I intend on bringing tales, teachings, and traditions to share in the form of fiction stories and in the form of food. With each post I intend to bring you a bit of creative writing, a bit of fiction to enjoy with each meal. Vegetarian food and fiction are my primary interested here, but this blog also has a life of its own and sometimes it will pull in unexpected directions.
*All recipes and photos are brainchilds of Kelly Ridenhour unless otherwise mentioned. Please credit appropriately. Thanks!
I was born near the coast in a small town called New Bern, NC. Heavy salt air and warm summer nights are comfort blankets to me. I come from a line of creole cookin' folk on my Mom's side... and most of my early food memories are seafood based and, although I'm a vegetarian, some of my earliest memories are gutting a fish, shelling a crab, and make a roux. Despite the salt on my lips, I choose to live in the mountains with trees, forests, and ferns to drown in. The forest is my chosen home and I can never part from it for long. I was raised in a suburb outside Charlotte, NC where for the most part of my youth, things remained rural. I happily ran around barefoot in the woods and horse pastures playing games and building forts. I like to say that I grew up in Athens, GA during the 5 years I lived there. Athens is home for my identity. I left with a bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture, new loves, two dogs with many nicknames, great friends, a chest of memories, and a love for food. I currently live in the Shenandoah mountains in Charlottesville, VA where I study herbalism, and make herbal products for the body using plants from the woods. You can check out my little artisan business, Forest Things, here.
I feel connected and drawn to a vegetarian lifestyle. I do not expect, or encourage, everyone to follow a vegetarian diet. Every soul has a different body constitution and I believe in doing what feels right. I won't deny that I think most Americans eat too much meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods but I cannot say or believe that it all has to go. I do believe in buying organic/local ingredients whenever possible and affordable. I find that I spend much less money on groceries since I've been a cook and purchase quality produce that lasts, dried beans/grains/nuts and minimal dairy.
For myself, I have always had a strange ad version to meat. For as long as I can remember I wouldn't eat hotdogs, most hamburgers, and most ground beef. Just ask my kindergarten teacher who forced me to eat a bite of hamburger at lunch when it was all the cafeteria had that day (even after I pleaded with her to not make me eat it). Just as soon as we got back to the class room that bite of hamburger made a reappearance... and all over my teacher. I won't lie, a little part of me was pleased by such sweet revenge; after all, I did warm her that I really couldn't eat the hamburger. Since that event, to my delight, I was allowed to stuff an empty hotdog bun full with relish and potato chips instead of the hot dog at "cook-out" school functions without question. No teacher wanted a sequel featuring hotdog puke. When I was 10 I made another food vow after a particularly unpleasant roast beef experience, I was done with all meat forever except for chicken & seafood. My Mom was surprised when I stuck to it, but she let me eat how I wanted...which involved a lot of tuna salad. It wasn't until after my freshman year in college that I phased out all meat/seafood due to physical constitution, health choices, environmental consciousness, and animal rights issues.
All in all... Different strokes for different folks.