What to Drink When You’re Drinking Alone


I’ve been off the sauce for the last month, due to round two of the elimination diet, but before I started that fun time, I drank some good things.

I drank them alone, and I’m here to report that aged Primitivo from Apulia goes excellently with a cheese board and Netflix, and Pedro Ximenez sherry washes down chocolate truffles like a nutty, hedonistic dream.  While I love drinking wine with fellow wine lovers, just lovers, or friends, there is a luxurious pleasure in settling in with a delicious bottle and only myself for company.

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Year of the Monkey


I ushered in the year sick, like last January.  I ate Indian food on New Year’s Day, hunched in a booth by myself scooping saag paneer with garlic naan and trying to convey technicolor chutneys to my mouth without shattering the vehicle of delicate, seeded popadam.  I felt sickness descending, my head heavy and mucus filling the cavities in my sinuses and lungs, an insidious slime.

The brunt of it lasted a week, though the dregs are still hanging around almost into February.  The sick state has disinclined me towards movement, whether brisk exercise or a forthright appraisal of last year and goal-setting for this one.  I’ve been in a lethargy of body and mind, a cocoon suspended between this year and last.

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A Fall of Shaps Burgundy


Summer has slipped away since I was in this space last.  We’re suspended in days that feel like August when the sun beats down, but the nights are cooler and the rain when it comes is chilly, and the breeze snatches leaves from the trees without a fight.

I’ve been drinking wine like a champ in my absence.  I’ve taken a position as wine manager/specialist at Imbibe, a beautiful new store in Chattanooga’s Southside.  I’m loving it, but I’ve barely had time to scribble wine notes in my tasting notebook, let alone blog about them. There are so many new wines to fall in love with.

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Chateau Puy Servain blanc sec, Chicken Puttanesca, and Sam as Wine Model


Thursdays are mine.  Or they were, until I started giving them to Crabtree Farms in the mornings.  It’s like exercise: I never feel like going, but when I do I’m always glad, refreshed, energized.  Well, maybe not the last.  More like stumbling home with mud caked under my fingernails, a crisscross of tan/burn lines on my shoulders, fire in my quads, puss-filled ant bites welting on my ankles, and a box full of succulent organic vegetables.  One of my comrades in the field said the people were what kept her coming back.  I’m more greedy; the veggies keep me coming back, but the community is fun, too.  You’re in the fields with these other weirdos, dropping delicate baby plants into holes in the soil over and over until your knees and calves scream for mercy, working in silence sometimes, shooting the shit and laughing at others.  The sun scorches and sweat runs in rivulets but then a saving breeze blows through.  Today there was fall in the breeze and the humidity was banished but it still looked like summer.

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Confessions of a Food Whore: A Hedonistic Flavor Junkie Goes on a Diet


I’ve been obsessed with food since I was a pre-teen. I read my mom’s cooking magazines and cookbooks over and over. I used to go to Barnes & Noble and read cookbooks, sitting next to a stack of glossy hardbacks on bread baking, the cuisines of Italy or Morocco, Martha Stewart’s latest tome.

When the internet became a thing and I got my own laptop in college, recipes were at my fingertips. Soon after I graduated I found my first cooking blog, Orangette. I was hooked: recipes and stories woven together seamlessly by someone who loved food as much as I did.  Molly was an utterly likeable girl only a little older than myself who lived in Seattle.  She enjoyed the entire process of cooking and sharing a meal with herself or with friends, and her recipes made me hungry to get in the kitchen myself.  I wanted to be her best friend. I read way back through her archives, spending hours catching up on old recipes. I wanted to cook them all.

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