“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone

It may seem as though I have slipped off the face of the earth.

I would love to say it was in respect for my last post.

Stopping censorship and retaining Freedom of speech are crucial to our world today.

I fear the changes I see happening in my homeland.

Pink sky at night

The irony is that I now happily live in England. The land my family left for the freedom America offered. The 2 maybe  closing in on one another.

  This subject could easily be a blog in itself.

However I have new reasons why I can not visit this blog as often as I would like. More about this in a bit…

So I will occasionally throw in a bit here and there about my other love…Politics.

But mostly I want to get back on track. Sort out all these forking thoughts I have about food and my wish to bring it to others.

So you may notice it’s exactly a year since my last post. Some symbolism there. Thoughts about a year in silence….

PEACE

Not Quite. I have been very busy. Not just creating amazing plates of food thinking of satisfying my café guests one day. Not just creating new recipes using fresh creative ingredients.

I have been very busy creating a baby brother for my beautiful amazing EllaBee.

My body felt the challenge more than last time. Possibly all to aware of what it is doing. Going through.

I have scary pregnancies. Almost die, barely move 10 feet pregnancies. The first time I did not know this…the second I did. I was as ready as possible.

My first pregnancy I was lucky to survive with 10 pulmonary embolism‘s.

I spent the 1st year of EB‘s life being told ‘No More’. Then a year on my amazing hematologist finally broke down and said I was possibly stubborn enough to survive another.

I have the NHS to thank for my 2 amazing kids and my life. The NHS has its troubles… a whole other blog. But it IS better than nothing.

I wanted my baby girl to have a sibling.

It has been an important relationship to both my husband and I.

So now she’s got her baby brother, or ‘brudder’ as she says. Griff Bee, GB for short. He’s as wonderful as I could have ever dreamed of. Just like his big sister.

So here I am back…ish. I have intentions to grab this bull by the horns. Baby and 3-year-old allowing. I know how quickly this 3 years will speed by.  I am looking at this time as pre pre prep. Like taking folic acid…incase you get knocked up. I need to be ready.

I have built  business plans in my head for decades. NO honestly decades.

Since my sisters and I would play cafe.

I have tweaked it with every meal out and every restaurant visited.

I have one in my head for if some sweet sweet person wanted to drop a gazillion pounds in my lap.

I have one for making soup and homemade garlic and cheese biscuits in my kitchen  to sell at the market.

One for every version in between. I have a chain of forks in my head perfectly suited to university towns and seaside resorts.

A brew pub, we do not brew we are the first to bring the small guys together, here in Lil’ ol’ England.

I have images of flooring and art, tables and glasses.

It is out of control. So this year is the year of the business plan.

To get these babies on the plate… oh I meant paper.

So if I run into that gazillonaire….

I can give them something to clench their teeth into.

Something they just want another mouthful of….

you know how it is not wanting the mouthful to end……

Welcome back hopefully this is the forkfull you’ve been missing!

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I Had a Dream Last Night

Ossy's sandwich shop, Union Road, Oswaldtwistl...

I had a dream last night.

It was of the perfect little building. It was already a take-away sandwich shop. Serving mediocre cold food.

It was very busy. I was working there. It was not mine. Yet.

The people I was working with did not know I wanted it to be mine.

They were happy with how quick I was and Friendly with the customers.

I am a bit of a show pony. That is what we call it when many new people meet me. An American on the south coast of England. There are not many of us.

The outside was dingy. Old ratty pebble dash. The windows were dirty, The insides had stuff stacked in front of them.

The shelves behind the work counter had been merchandised some time in the 1980’s and left to age. They were a dirty old brown, meant to look like wood.

The beautiful wood floor had been painted dark brown.

The work counters were in front of a stair case. Filled with crap. Another thing un touched since the 1990’s.

Do they not realise that is seating area upstairs. With great views of the sea.

Then it was mine.

Later in the dream it was mine. I had friends come for a painting party.

I have spent years finely brainwashing people with food. Kind Neighbor will for a fact do anything….yes anything for buffalo wings.

We painted the outside white with a blue/ turquoise trim. We built a conservatory just off the front for a bit of added all season seating. Decking next to that, we are right on the beach.

Amazing Saint of a Plumber friend sorted out the pipes inside. He also built an outside shower to rinse of the sand, if you want. A little sand is not a problem.

Inside bead board wainscoting and shelves painted a nice accent turquoise. Everything else white. The floor stripped back to it’s virgin board, oiled and sealed. A couple new deli cases and stainless steel tables.

By the door shelving for fresh fruits and veggies you can buy and take with you. Silly to have it taking up our storage space. Upstairs painted and ready for table and chairs.

We stop to take breaks, there are tubes filled with cold drinks, wine and beer

(No alcohol if you’re using power tools. That was one of my dad’s wise rules he would have loved this.)

There is a bit of snack foods. Towards the end of the day I bring out the Crock Pot of BBQ ribs and bowls of salad Potato salad, green salad, cottage cheese salad

We turn the music up. We break in the decking with one mighty inaugural dance.

I love these people. I really do. They will be some of my regulars.

One difference.

They will eat for free for quite a while

New Years, new resolutions…

OOH, my Mom’s green chilli.

My Mom’s green chilli. Oh what I would do  just one more big pot of New Years Day Green chili. That was a family tradition. There were not many in my family. But that was one.

I live in England now. Led estray by my Englishman. Led very happily estray.

England is different to the US in many ways. Many ways I prefer it. There are a few I don’t. One being I can’t get the correct chili for green chili. I love every little bit of my house. Except the north facing garden. They would not grow if I tried.

One more difference is the availability of ready meals. Entire aisles are dedicated to them at the grocery.  In the frozen section there is hardly any.  It seems like it should be the same in the US.  This took me awhile to figure out. I think the difference in the welfare system. These meals in both places are aimed at people who either can not be bothered to cook healthy meals. Or do not have the time.

In the US Food stamps will not buy you ready meals. In the UK they give you cash to spend as you will when on welfare/ benefits. (This is probably more for my political blog. That may surface one day. When I feel like wasting some time on our stupid politicians. On either side of the pond. Of late they have not been worthy of my 2-year-old play time. She deserves it. They Do Not.)

People I know eat only ready meals. This seems alien to me. I feel guilty every Friday feeding my husband and daughter frozen fish, chips and a tin of mushy peas.

I rejoice in cooking for my family.

I will enter the New Year with plans for more home cooked food for my family.

 I will enter the New year with plans to share here more often. To share recipes and cafes  I love. Some far and wide and some here on my door step.

I will write recipes for the standards in my head. Some how I will figure out how to give you my recipe for my greeny goddess dressing, well kinda.

When I jumped across the pond there where some things I missed more than others. Salad dressings. I did not realize I equated restaurants to their dressings. Blue Cheese at Patsy’s, The Sanctuary and long gone Applegates landing. Olive Gardens, crack vinaigrette. I do not know what they do with that but I’ve had dreams about it.

I will spend my year ahead focusing on the new, treasuring the old.

I will share  with you my old loves. Patsy’s, The Sanctuary … and so many others, There are words I’d love to share about these.

I don’t know if you can a restaurant you have not been to in 10 years. I will give it ago. I will share my loves here. I will share my joys.

We will cook and plan. Cook for our families and plan our futures.

This year will be one filled with joy.  I hope you’ll join me.

The Biggest of Happy New Years to you and yours.

food ooh food

English: Coffee comes in may varieties, shapes...

I’ve had a dream. My whole life, well as long as I can remember, I have wanted my own cafe, restaurant, and deli.

Someplace that brings people together to share delicious food, great conversation. A place where memories are made. A place that someone knows they can find a great meal, snack or just the perfect cup of coffee or tea.

A war smile when they are feeling down. Someplace that is buzzing with happiness. But

quiet enough where you can still sit and read your book or do your work on a laptop. A cafe you feel comfortable sitting with strangers at the community table.

Where you walk through the door and the person behind the counter is making your drink. Ok so that is about the feeling of my cafe.

The food; Ooh the food. That is the real clincher. It will be a place where there is something for everyone. Made from scratch, using healthy fresh ingredients. It will be delicious and nutritious. The kind of food you think about the next day. I want to become the place you come to most often.

It may seem I missed out a word in the earlier sentence

IT,

it may seem like I missed it.

But I have not. As long as I can remember this cafe has lived inside of me. It is like waiting a Childs birth. All-encompassing.

Life long quest for the perfect fork.

I have had a life long quest for the perfect Fork.

The perfect fork of food. Actually with my love of food its a wonder I am not the size of a house. A small garden shed maybe, a large dogs house but not a house. I am not a svelte woman. I know what other woman call their bingo wings are in reality cheese wings.  There is a direct correlation to the size of the flappers and the amount of cheese consumed.

Once upon a time this would be the month for cheese wings. In America, In December, every where you turn there is cheese. Being that it is a month of celebration, us Americans can justify a bit of extra expense. So the cheese you find is extra special. Aged longer. Served with better accompaniments. Blended into to delicious family cheese balls. Ours is Grandma Wanda’s recipe. I have a following for my cheese balls in my new home of England. Just this week I have had 4 phone calls. Friends asking nonchalant questions so they can squeeze in “are you making cheese balls this year?”.  Of course I am making cheese balls this year, and cranberry pound-cake.  We’ll see about the cookies fudge and brownies.

Now to any other American reading this it is the norm.  We Cook. We cook for our families we cook for our friends, it is not unheard to cook for the firehouse or your local Doctors office. Oh and of course when someone dies, has surgery, or is just unwell we cook. Our mother passed away this week. My sister has not cooked for eight days. She lives in America. Her neighbors, friends, people from my nephews school, gym friends they are showing up with meals, frozen dishes, baked goods.  We cook.

Luckily the American in me runs deep in my veins and I cook. And I freeze, so in my freezer I have meals prepared. Enchiladas, lasagna, baked ziti, shepherds pie… So I have heated up this week.

I miss cooking. If I go a few days without it I miss it. Today I will cook. I have a pot of chicken stock cooking now.  It will become chicken vegetable soup. Hot chicken sandwiches, and a chicken pie. The cooking will fill my heart and soul. The cooking will bring me closer to my daughter. She will help me cut carrots, celery, leeks and potatoes.  We will sit as a family at our table and eat what we have created. We will feed my husband, her daddy.  The pie will be his favourite. My dad would have loved the hot chicken sandwiches smothered in homemade gravy. Maybe with a side of stuffing. For me and my mom it would be the soup. Nice hot Chicken soup so thick veggies you can not see the chicken. With enough black pepper you can feel it in your chest. So today I cook. Today I fill my soul.

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