Image of Presidential Debate from

Ruminating on my feisty, loud, potty-mouthed, opinionated, assertive, strong headed self

I started this blog when I quit my engineering day job in innovation to pursue a career in food studies. I usually this space with food-related stories. So, bear with me as I detour into politics with a public confession. I am not secretive about my political leanings, so I won’t hash that out. Instead, I want to talk about some of what I felt after this week’s presidential debate. During the ongoing and, at times, difficult reinvention of myself, I constantly discover more about me and what drives me as a person. Watching Secretary Clinton in the presidential debate Monday with a blustering, sexist blowhard reminded me of some of my experiences.

My engineering career was filled with lots of ups and downs. I accomplished shining successes and engineering feats. Many, I still look at proudly and often with a tinge of remorse about a life left behind. But, I remind myself that I also struggled mightily. Struggles more often than not related to interpersonal difficulties rather than technical challenges. On occasion, I tried to put these experiences into words. Knowing damn well, I am a poor example poster child for talking about sexism in technology careers, I hesitated. I am not the sweet, pleasant, friendly, womanly, well-mannered, demure lady who got treated roughshod by the men in the engineering department. I am the feisty, loud, potty-mouthed, opinionated, assertive, strong headed woman who dishes it out.

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Adobo Chicken

I made Adobo Chicken last night. Adobo Chicken is sort of an automatic thing. It is a go-to dish when I can’t think of what to do with what I have. I learned it from you.  Because there is always chicken hidden in the freezer. Because there is always rice in the pantry. Because there is always soy sauce and vinegar and sugar and canned bamboo shoots in the cupboard. Because there is always a shriveled up piece of ginger and some garlic kicking around the kitchen. And if there isn’t there is always the powdered variety to make due. So, when all else failed, we could always have Adobo Chicken. I can always have Adobo Chicken. You always used canned and sliced bamboo shoots in your Adobo Chicken. Didn’t you know that wasn’t ‘authentic’ Adobo Chicken? Don’t you know, we didn’t care because it was your Adobo Chicken? I didn’t have any bamboo shoots, so I dug into an ever present bag of carrots in the fridge and meticulously cut rectangular slices, pretending they were an adequate substitute for bamboo shoots. Being a long way from childhood and so much more learned about nutrition, I looked at my chicken drumsticks and fake bamboo shoots and felt my Adobe Chicken needed more green matter. The fridge didn’t hold any more secret green ingredients, but our garden pepper plants are generous. So, I added rectangular slices of freshly picked peppers. Perhaps they too could stand in for bamboo shoots. You would have made some soft pillowy, short-grain rice out of that 25 pound bag adorned with a neon pink rose bought from the Asian grocery store. My nutrition angel whispered in my ear  and insisted a multigrain rice would be smarter. So, I listened.  As I tucked into my Adobo Chicken, made not from memories, but from an automatic muscle that makes Adobo Chicken when I am at a loss for other ideas, a wave of nostalgia rolled over me. It was not your Adobo Chicken. Carrots and peppers were not bamboo shoots.  Multigrain rice was not pillowy, but rather toothsome. I was short on soy sauce. I was short on rice vinegar. I made up for it with salt, stock and cider vinegar. It was last night’s Adobo Chicken. I was close enough. It made me think of you.

Cookbooks on a Shelf, kceridon

So, You Started a Cookbook Club

Sometime ago I read an article on Serious Eats titled “Why Cookbook Clubs Should Be the New Way We Entertain,” and it sounded awesome. To summarize, a Cookbook Club it isn’t much more than hosting a potluck with enthusiastic strangers who love cooking, cookbooks and eating where each person brings a dish from a selected cookbook or cookbook theme.


Despite cries from the publishing industry about dropping sales and proclamations about the death of the printed book. And, despite Elizabeth G. Dunn lamenting that cooking from cookbooks isn’t actually easy in her Atlantic article “The Myth of Easy Cooking“, sales of physical cookbooks are soaring (at least according to this article).  So, I figured creating a Cookbook Club was a no-brainer way to gather with other cookbook lovers for regular cooking and eating adventures.

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