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Daily Archives: April 12, 2012

That Whole Grocery Store Avoidance Thing

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Who knew you could put together a pizza this good looking without setting foot in a chain grocery store? Or by eating out.

A while back, I evaluated how much better I was doing by moving from processed to whole foods and declared an avoidance strategy when it comes to shopping the easy way at grocery stores.

I called it my GGSAC and only posted twice about it. So, how am I doing at avoiding the Giant Food and Safeway stores? For the past two weeks since I started, pretty well with an exception for Harris Teeter when I didn’t feel like running across the county to Costco or up to H Mart for fish.

I have spent more time and money in Boarman’s, Roots and David’s so far this month. I have been using up pantry items bought last fall, and have also put together a bag full of stuff to take to the Food Bank. If it makes me sneeze, it is out of here. If it has a long list of additives, same thing.

Thanks to Nicole at Hoco Loco for commenting that she saw Meyer Lemons at David’s. Yesterday we made it there to do some shopping that included locally made sausages and the aforementioned lemons. Looks like National Boh Brats on the grill this weekend maybe. Made in Baltimore.

I got a few things necessary as well to make a killer pizza tonight. The cheese, oh, the cheese. My favorite Mountain Top Bleu from Firefly Farms, bought at the Silver Spring Market.

Pancetta, bought at David’s Natural Market. The pizza crust came from Roots. The fig butter was in the fridge, and from Trader Joe’s.

The greens, from my garden, the asparagus, the first delicate spear from that wild plant under the crepe myrtles. Finished with a drizzle of Ariston olive oil bought at Casual Gourmet, this pizza is so satisfying.

Dinner was served with a 2002 Linden Cabernet Franc, still hanging in there after ten years. Full of fruit, a hint of smoke, not tired or fading. No bell pepper taste that Virginia francs sometimes exhibit. This lovely wine balanced the sweetness of the fig butter, the saltiness of the pancetta, the earthiness of the cheese, and the tang of the greens. What a great combination and a satisfying meal, NOT courtesy of boxed supermarket pizza.


Choosing Community in Howard County

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Last night’s bloggers party in Second Chance Saloon in Columbia reminded me of why I love living here, and wouldn’t change it without serious thoughts on what could possibly be better. I moved out here in 1975 to find a sense of community. In those early days, it was really small here, and felt like a small town with that sense of community. I mean, I still have my original ADC map from 1976, back when there were just a fraction of the number of people in Howard Couny than today. In 1975, less people lived in the entire county than there are now in the city of Columbia.

The Choose Civility bumper stickers miss the point, I believe. Civility isn’t enough. Community is.

The bloggers here are incredibly welcoming, friendly, willing to assist new bloggers, welcome readers and bloggers equally, and so much more. If you read hocoblogs, you can see that. Until you attend your first get together and are welcomed as if “Everybody knows your name”, you won’t understand the power of that community.

My hubby came with me last night. He was a bit worried that he would be bored by all of us talking blog stuff. He didn’t need to be. He came home and told me he had a great time. Everyone was friendly. Talkative. Mixed and mingled. No cliques. No awkward silences or sense of exclusion anywhere.

Ask Nicole of HoCo Loco, our newest blogger, who has been welcomed just like I was at my first party in February.

When I first contacted HowChow and got linked into his blog roll, the welcome was amazing. We exchange emails, and do pingbacks to each other’s blog. He told me he was helped immensely in the beginning by bloggers like Jessie Newburn who is behind the curtain at hocoblogs. Jessie helps all of us by keeping us out there, keeping us motivated. And for organizing the bloggers parties over how many years now?

So, last night I met Marshmallow Man, Sarah and Julia, who cohosted this party, Duane of HoCo Connect, Matt of the newly restored Lost in Columbia blog, Anne from Annethologie, Jeff from Green Floss, Frank from FrankHecker, and others whose names escape me at the moment. Ginger Breadgirl was there as well. Love the pic tweeted last night.

I missed talking to LisaBMrsS, I think I saw Dennis of To2C fame pop in but never got to say Hi, and I was surprised at how many people I remembered from February. As you can see, there are dozens of active bloggers in Howard County who turned out for this event.

One by one, we are losing papers and magazines around here. More and more, we turn to social media to stay in touch, but we don’t always connect. I think this community of bloggers here, connects. In a good way.

Hoping to attend many more get togethers and keep Howard County as great as I personally think it is today.