Fried Chicken #ladieslunch & other highlights

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Thursday was a great day. Sure, I didn’t exactly dig out from under the very large pile of work I’ve built for myself between now and baby’s arrival. But I did eat good food. So there’s that.

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Thursday was great because I spent the lunch hour (or two) eating homemade fried chicken and talking about life as women who basically work for ourselves (or would like to). Some days, it’s great and affords you the time to eat a leisurely lunch that ends with lemon meringue. Other days, you don’t have the time to do that but do it anyway. And still other days involve a strenuous climb of putting yourself “out there” time and time again and always wondering what it really means to have a “brand” and how much easier it might be to just go to work and then leave work and then go on real vacations.

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So, yeah, these are the sort of things we talked about. Over really good, homemade food, courtesy of Rebecca Layton Gunter, owner of Operation Eatery. Bookalokal organized the small event. I thought the best way to tell you about it would be to Storify the conversation and meal, which was fit for spreading across the pages of Southern Living magazine. Check it out here:

Wednesday was a great day, too. A conversation with a chef genius I’ve been talking about ever since I got to meet him, Dan Barber, ran in The Washington Post food section. And The Faces Behind Our Food project I launched on Beacon Reader surpassed its original funding goal! We’ve now expanded it with stretch goals that, if met in the next 7 days, will add professional video storytelling to the project to better tell the stories behind our food. It’s not too late to subscribe to the project, and you won’t be able to read what I write — or film — for it without a subscription.

Did I mention the other great thing about Thursday yet? We had the first pickup for our summer CSA! We haven’t done a CSA since we lived in Washington state, and I’ve missed the weekly routine of fetching a box of who-knows-what vegetables and letting it inspire. We went with Even’ Star Organic Farm out of Lexington, Md., which has a pickup spot not far from our house.

My Google maps app has been on the fritz lately, sending me to all sorts of odd places. This morning’s trip to find the new pickup location was no exception. I threw the dog in the car and headed toward the dot, only to find myself near the Shirlington Dog Park (said dog begins excitedly barking, thinking that’s where we were going all along) and at the Arlington Food Assistance Center, a food pantry where lines had begun to form. I thought it would be pretty odd for our CSA pickup spot to be at the food pantry, so I rechecked the address and my email.

Sure enough, Google maps had taken me on its own little adventure. I switched apps and found my destination, the side porch of a house where the box was waiting. I thought about the irony of my map taking me to a food pantry when I was headed to pick up my CSA. The two aren’t that different, really; just the payment methods. I felt sad about the juxtaposition yet thankful that we have the means to support an organic farmer. So much about our food system needs fixing, and I’m eager to continue writing about the possible solutions that give me hope.

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And to find a higher purpose of giant bunches of pungent basil…

Happy Summer,

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