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Archive for September, 2009

Today, I’d like to thank the sun for shining and the cool breeze for blowing. I’m sitting outside. The sun has begun to set and the sky is unmasking the comforting orange-hue that becomes more pronounced as fall arrives. As the cool weather bustles in, it brings some of my favorite vegetables- winter squash and greens, apples and pears, and colorful roots and tubers. Although my fall-favorite food changes quicker than the leaves go from green to orange, burgundy, and golden yellow…today, I’m in love with arugula.

Maybe I like it for it’s fiery pepperness. After all, arugula gained nationwide recognition after conservatives touted it as a pretentious liberal green eaten by then Mr. America hopeful and now president,Obama. I’ve pondered who decided to label arugula as a holier-than-thou green in the first place. After all, it is just low-calorie vitamin and mineral-rich bunny food. Sadly, the average grocery store choose to promote its popular cousin loved first by popeye and now favored by health-conscious citizens nationwide—>Spinach.

It’s not that I have anything against Spinach, but it’s so…what’s the word: dull, overused, lackluster or just plan blah. If you really want to treat your taste buds to something exciting, arugula is your vegetable. Arugula lasagna has more depth than the traditional Italian favorite. Arugula pesto makes you forget the heady basil version. And don’t get me started on arugula pasta with walnuts, white wine, and Manchego. Lordy, I’m too hungry to think about this without going to the refrigerator and stuffing my mouth with the tender green leaves.

If there’s anything you should do this fall, it’s branch out and discover your arugula wild side. When it gets cold, we all need a little excitement in our lives, rather than relying on your boyfriend, just eat some arugula. Too cheesy, too cheesy. I sincerely apologize, but that’s what happens when I listen to Robinella and munch on a lemon cookie simultaneosly. But let me leave you with this. It’s my favorite arugula recipe for you to try, so you don’t have to find a sub-par recipe that fails to put arugula on the pedestal it belongs upon. And please, if you have a favorite arugula recipe share it with me. After all, I have so much arugula and so little time.

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I’m not sure what it is about coffee shops paired with rainy days… maybe the melancholy clouds and grey skies paired with the ominous drizzle stirs frantic emotions within my soul, but it seems every time I drink a latte, I try to figure out life and more specifically, what the heck I’m supposed to do with myself.

My parents value goal-setting–mapping out a five-year plan for the future. It’s all about stability and future financial security. I had all the dots of my future connected. I had a foolproof plan in which I told destiny what she would bring me.

1. Stay in Knoxville- intern and the farmers’ market, attend culinary school, learn Italian

2. Go to Italy for graduate school in gastonomy–eat and drink wine for two years

3. Get a real job in a far away country and avoid the  United States of America for as long as possible

But alas, someone up above took my overly-detailed plans and turned them upside down, making me question the whole purpose of planning. What is the true benefit of planning your path regulating your thoughts to a box with no windows of opportunity or doors to the unknown. Doesn’t it make more sense to let destiny take you where she pleases. Aren’t you more likely to miss the details and the sights if you just set your eye on the final destination?

Realizing these things are like being born again or knowing a secret that the rest of the world will probably never catch onto. The thought of living a plan-less life leaves me anxiously giddy, my heart beats faster and I feel lighter. I no longer carry the weight of my future on my shoulders., I know everything works for a reason- in some mysterious way nonetheless. I don’t know who or what to attribute it to- God, fate, myself or mother nature…but I like it.  I like how giving up control on my life has shown me feelings, people, and opportunities I may have bypassed.

So, here’s my big self-realization and announcement to the world- I’m staying in Knoxville. I’m not sure why or exactly how long I’ll be here, but it feels right and my heart belongs to this progressive city. My love of artisan agriculture will thrive here. I’m surrounded by people like Charlotte Tolley, John Craig, Kristen Faerber, Shaun and Meg Parrish, Sarah and Katie Ries who are the best heroic figures I could ask for and they are right here in Knoxville, takin’ names and killing corporate america. I’ve fought my ties to this Eastern TN city ever since my dad made apply here for college. It was a last minute decision to come here. I loved it but was ready to leave it. Then I stayed post-graduation. And here I am smitten with the hidden jewels of the greater good I’ve found here.

Thank you Old City Java, for the double-shot latte that helped me stop pondering my destiny and start living in the moment.

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I haven’t left country of sweet liberty in two long, long, long years. After residing in Kiwi-ville for six months I found the transition back to God country appalling and unbearable. When studying (or traveling) abroad you find a sense of self. This happens because you remove the familiar–parents, friends, pets, cars, technology, news sources, and in some cases language. And what are you left with? You. It’s a wonderful feeling to rediscover that person. It’s hard to be that person in Knoxville, McMinnville or Jackson.

My time in Knoxville, post-NZ, has been a whirlwind of adventures, friendships and jobs. I love this little-big city and know that we have a unique bond. However, I need to get away for a short time to find myself again. I need to plan for the future, figure out what I can’t live without, and remember how to live joyfully again. That is why when my friend Ben inquired about my interest in going to Brazil last week? I replied, hell yes. I’m still pinching myself because the reality hasn’t set in–even though the airline fee has settled, quite heavily on my bank account. But alas, rejuvenation is coming in February.

I’ll land in Rio de Janeiro and traverse around the area. The pinnacle will be Carnival and then back to Tennessee. Now just to fill in the blanks.

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