Thursday, June 30, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

For the last of couple years, my parents have subscribed to a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which means they pay a one-time fee each year and, every week from June through November, my mom drives to a house in a neighboring town and picks up a box of vegetables delivered fresh that morning, from a farm just a few miles away from their home on Long Island. What kind of produce and how much is in each share varies from week to week throughout the season, but all of it is organically grown right on the farm. We could go see them growing it if we wanted to. If you stop to think about it, how rare is that nowadays, to look at your veggies, the dirt still clinging to them, and know exactly where they came from, when they were harvested, and how they got from the soil to you? That’s how everybody ate a couple hundred years ago, before the advance of agribusiness, mega-supermarkets, and year-round demand that leads growers to sacrifice taste and environmentally sound practices in favor of perfect colors and long shelf life.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Home Again in the Kitchen

As I write this, I am sitting out in my parents’ backyard, surrounded by flowers my mom planted, trees I have known my whole life, and raspberry bushes I will eagerly plunder later as I have done every summer of my life (well, almost). It’s something I’ve missed since I left Long Island: having a backyard with space to move and a little patio all my own. In Riverside we have a front stoop we share with the other tenants of the four-plex Todd is renting, and there was no outdoor seating at all at our place in Maastricht (unless you count the cafĂ© across the street, but that wasn’t actually ours of course). It’s nice to have a space like this, a place that is outdoors but still private, a little oasis from the rest of the world.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tibetan Food

I wasn't planning on posting again until I was back in New York, but we had an interesting dining experience in Germany last week that I felt warranted a quick mention here, especially because it featured a cuisine that I have the feeling most people (or at least most Westerners) aren't too familiar with. That cuisine is Tibetan/Himalayan.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Brief Goodbye

It’s almost over. My time here in Maastricht is drawing to a close: soon we will board a train for Bonn, Germany, where we will spend a week, meeting up with Todd’s parents while there, and then I will be on a plane heading back to the States. I might put up a few posts while in Germany, we’ll see.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

After a few gloriously full days in Rome, with lots of walking, sightseeing and (at times) struggling through mobs of our fellow wide-eyed tourists, Todd and I both agreed: we needed to breathe. While we loved Rome, we were both exhausted, and, without speaking, simultaneously felt the urge to spend some time somewhere quiet, a bit more out of the way. Todd had mentioned in passing the five villages of the Cinque Terre, clustered along the coast of the Italian Riviera and noted for their rugged seaside beauty. Todd was interested because he had never been there before, but we had no plans to go there initially. After Rome and Florence, however, we both agreed that a day in the relative isolation of the Cinque Terre sounded like a good idea.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Couscous for Breakfast?

I know I already posted today, and I'm in the middle of a series on our trip to Italy, but I just had to write about this, because I was somewhat flabbergasted. I made a couscous and vegetable dish the other night and cooked waaaay too much couscous. While I was pondering what do with it and lamenting out loud about the waste of good food, Todd looked up from his computer and said simply: "Put some aside in a bowl...I'll have it for breakfast tomorrow."

Rome, Take Two

Our second day (and first full one) in Rome was spent hitting up the tourist sites under a blistering sun. While the historical sites were amazing, as I mentioned in the previous post, I am not going to go into detail about them: they’re in every guidebook.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rome, Take One

Rome is a place I have wanted to go to for a long time, ever since a school trip there was cancelled when I was 16. So a good chunk of our week in Italy was devoted to exploring that ancient city. We did all the usual things; got up early to wander the Forum in blistering heat, but with relatively little company (my goodness that place is big, so much more so than I initially thought; it took us about two hours to cover at a leisurely pace)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Back!

Todd and I arrived back in Maastricht from our holiday in Italy yesterday morning, and while we had a lovely week, we are exhausted! Packing in seven straight days of sightseeing and travel (often in either blazing heat or pouring rain) does not a relaxing vacation make. Still, it was a lot of fun and I've got plenty of things to share. For ease of reading (and to avoid one massively long post) I'll break it up into several posts, covering a couple of days each.