Common ground: Sprouting a new American gardener

What I probably miss most living in rural America is the exposure to other cultures. I never regretted having moved for love from bustling New York City with its multitude of ethnicities to a tiny hamlet in a county with a highly homogenous population. I did many things on our mountaintop that I would have never done in an urban setting – first and foremost, I became a gardener. But that does not mean that I ever stopped missing the diversity I was seeking when I emigrated to America: people who, like me, came from another country, and with their background and traditions contribute to the rich cultural fabric of America. Continue reading

Thank you, local farmers!

We are skipping the turkey this year. Instead of spending my time basting and stuffing, I want to give a shout-out to the local farmers and producers who have filled our table with such wonderful foods this year.

When I moved to rural northeast Pennsylvania in 2001, it was a real culture shock. Yes, the culture shock did not happen when I moved from Germany to New York City three years prior. It happened when I moved from the city to the country. It was not only because living on a rural hilltop and telecommuting is an isolated and remote lifestyle, it was also because I realized that my image of country life was a bucolic fantasy. Continue reading

Breakfast fare for breakfast skippers

With the exception of breads, there are very few breakfast recipes on this blog. The simple reason is that I don’t eat breakfast. Yes, I know, it’s a bad habit but the fact is that I cannot stomach to eat anything early in the morning. My breakfast consists of a large mug of coffee with lots of hot frothed milk, basically an oversized cappuccino. Other people’s breakfast then becomes my lunch. Continue reading

As American as apple pie?

In the past few months I have thought a lot about the expression, “as American as apple pie.” Whether I was tossing and turning in bed during many sleepless nights, driving past homes with the American flag and an occasional Confederate flag, whether I was standing at the stove until late at night canning and preserving the harvest from my garden, or angrily digging up the soil and pulling weeds until I almost dropped in an attempt to vent and get away from too much news intake – it all seemed to be boiling down to one question: What is American? Continue reading

Herb-Rub Roasted Chicken, or: celebrating July 4th with local foods

On most days, we eat vegetarian. We have fish once a week at the most, chicken once or twice a month, and beef or other meat on very rare occasions. The few times we do eat meat or poultry, I am ready to dig into my pockets for prime quality, raised organically and locally, because food that is shipped hundreds or thousands of miles across the country is not sustainable even if it is organic. Continue reading

Lavender state of mind

Lavender Meringues w lavender

It’s not that I don’t have enough work from and in the garden already. Every week now, another fruit or vegetable needs to be harvested and processed. And yet, after visiting The Lavender Farmette, a local lavender farm, I just had to make some treats with lavender: Lavender Meringues, a favorite of ours and a great way to use up leftover egg whites. And, for the first time, Lavender Ice-Cream based on my standard ice-cream recipe. Continue reading