Monday, February 26

Finding More Foodies
& A Chance To Win $6,000

Hand Delivered California Sunshine

A few weeks ago my mother flew in from California for a week-long stay on the farm. Despite the fact that I was 45 minutes late picking her up at the airport, it had started to snow, and she really, really needed to pee, two seconds after a big hello hug she said, "I want to show you something!" and excitedly dove into her carry-on bag.

With a triumphant smile she pulled out a square plastic container the size of a sandwich and carefully pried off the lid, murmuring that she hoped "they didn’t get smashed." Nestled inside the container were six exquisite petits fours. Three looked like tiny pastel-colored, gift-wrapped packages, and three were shaped like animals. If I had squealed any louder I probably would have been escorted from the terminal by airport security.

Because I provide my mother with everything from overalls and turtlenecks to work gloves and rubber boots during her farm visits, there is plenty of available space in her luggage for transporting other, more important things. So along with the petits fours she arrived bearing two boxes of See’s Candy (custom-packed with my favorite varieties),
The Garlic Lovers’ Cookbook Volumes I and II (which look absolutely delicious), a couple of baking books, the empty container that had held her homemade lunch, and 26 freshly picked limes from the little tree in her front yard. She never travels without an ice pack and a small insulated zipper pouch and once presented me with a chilled piece of pink and white wedding cake she'd nabbed from a recently attended wedding reception.

Since there is no point in returning home with an empty suitcase, when I dropped my mother off at the airport, her various bags were painstakingly crammed with four
blueberry bran muffins, ten cranberry scones, a bag of baby coconut cookies, two dozen molasses ginger spice snaps, four chocolate walnut streusel bars, two apricot almond bars, two blueberry almond bars, half a dozen experimental ginger crunch things I’d made using a recipe clipped from a 1999 issue Gourmet magazine, a hunk of Chocolate Emergency Cake, a homegrown lamb salami sandwich on Farmhouse White (I swear I really will get around to posting this much requested recipe one of these days) with thinly sliced sharp cheddar and lots of mayonnaise, and two cans of pie cherries she found at the supermarket (because they cost so much less than they do back home). She once carried home a container of leftover roast leg of lamb and four loaves of my sourdough bread.

As you can see, foodieism runs in our family--and the secret is out. Knowing I would no doubt have the answer, last summer I received this concerned comment:

"This may sound a bit ridiculous coming from someone who has only just made her first batch of granola, and who only recently discovered breadmaking, but...... what are some of the symptoms of becoming a foodie? I fear I am beginning to develop them. Please, do tell!"

Rather than simply list a few of the characteristics that I personally think classify someone as a foodie, I decided it would be much more fun to put the question to Farmgirl Fare readers--and it was. Here are some of the responses I received. (Click
here to read the rest.)

You know you’re a foodie if. . .

--You’ll only eat chocolate your Dutch friend brings you directly from Holland (unless it is a DIRE emergency, and then you’ll resign yourself to a local specialty shop).

--You own five or more kinds of vinegar.

--You own five or more kinds of salt.

--You put the final touch on a dessert by saying "It just needs a little orange blossom water," and you actually have a bottle of orange blossom water in the cupboard.

--All the magazines you subscribe to are about food.

--You’re lying awake at night because you can’t sleep from the excitement of conjuring up a new recipe.

--Your first word (before "mama" or "dada") was "cookie"--and your spouse’s first word was "cheese."

--You work at a bookstore, and when one of your colleagues excitedly tells you that five gorgeous young men have arrived, wearing only aprons and tight boxer shorts, to promote a new cookbook, your response is: "Ooh, did they bring food?"

--You return home from a family Christmas and take your entire bag of presents straight to the kitchen to unpack it.

--Your husband is embarrassed to take you out to eat because of the moaning noises you make while eating something incredible.

--You just won’t stop fiddling with old family recipes--and your mother actually thinks your versions are better.

--Before traveling to a new destination, the first thing you do is scour the Internet (and your friends’ brains) for information on the local dining scene.

--All your friends who are traveling call you first to ask if you know a good place to eat at their destination.

--Your husband has put you on a condiment moratorium, telling you that you must use up all the fancy-ass stuff you buy when you travel before you bring home any more.

--When you walk into Sur La Table with your teenaged daughter, she calls it "The Mothership."

--Some of your best friends are farmers, ranchers, and chefs.

--Your family knows better than to touch a beautiful plate of food until you’ve had a chance to photograph it.

--You’ve caught yourself dreaming of food and chewing it in your sleep.

Let's add to this list. Are you a foodie? How do you know? Was there some defining moment in your life when you realized you had crossed over the line between living on food and living for food--or did you gradually just keep coming down with more and more symptoms until the diagnosis was blatantly obvious?

Do you routinely harvest dinner in the dark? Has it been suggested to you that if you want your salad that fresh perhaps you should be out grazing with the sheep? After a week long visit with your mother, did your significant other turn to you and say, in a slightly uneasy whisper, "All you two talked about was food!"? Those would all be me. So what about you?

Win A New Kitchen Contest!
Now, what foodie couldn't use some extra cash to upgrade the state of his or her culinary preparation space? There's a wonderful new place for foodies to mingle called Group Recipes, and they're giving away $6,000 toward a new kitchen to celebrate their official launch.

All you have to do is
join Group Recipes (which is free, takes about 2 minutes, and is something you'll want to do anyway), and you'll automatically be entered in the contest. The winner will receive a $6,000 gift card to their choice of one of the following stores: Lowe's, Home Depot, or Sears. (If you're outside the U.S. or don't have access to any of these stores, you'll receive the monetary equivalent.)

What is Group Recipes?
In their own words, "Group Recipes wants to be the world's neatest food site. The project's goal is to harness the tastebuds of the masses to create a really useful resource for food lovers."

At Group Recipes you can create your own food page, meet other foodies, have Roger the Recipe Robot learn about your tastes and predict recipes you will like or dislike, share & discover great places to eat in your home town, join and/or create groups of like-minded foodies (Food Styling & Photography, Chocolate Dreams, Comfort Foods, and Organic Sustainable Farming are some of the groups I belong to), and of course discover oodles of new recipes.

Don't want to commit to keeping a food blog? Share your recipes on Group Recipes instead!

Sounds pretty tasty, doesn't it? The contest ends at midnight on Tuesday March 6th, so don't delay--click
here to join Group Recipes and enter the $6,000 New Kitchen Giveway today!


  1. the four things that happened that made me realize I'd crossed over to foodie:

    1. A neighbor called to see if I had any barley she could borrow for a recipe--she knew I would have some if anybody would.

    2. My husband bit into one of my chocolate chip cookies and declared without thinking, "these are so much better than my mom's!"

    3. I started regularly shopping at 6 grocery stores and 3 different farmers markets.

    4. I could no longer bring myself to drink milk that did not come out of a glass jar.

  2. I guess I am just a foodie wannabe..oh well! It's fun getting to that stage.I wish my mama was coming in from California bringing me treats - oh gawd I miss fresh CA produce! St. Louis just doesn't come close..but it's home now (and of course I could never have had sheepies, dogs, cats, horses in California - now could I!)

    And, on a side note -of the 2 remaining ewes we had to lamb - we got a set of QUADS! yes, quads out of 1 ewe; and so far 2 huge lambs out of the last ewe (going to go back out in about an hour to make sure we don't have a 3rd one). So, we gave the quads a bit of colustrum to boost what they are getting from mama, and I'll probably have to bottle feed them (not sure she has enough milk for all 4 - how do you tell?)! But so far all are doing great! along with the other 2 from last Sunday which are being bottle fed..they still aren't on a "bucket"!

    5 ewes and 11 lambs!

    love your site!

  3. Hi Bridgett,
    Great list--yep, you are definitely one of us!

    Hi Anna,
    WOW. Congratulations 11 times! What breed of sheep do you have? Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job with your first lambing season.

    And there must be something about that first time--my very first ewe to give birth (back in 1996 when I was completely clueless) had quadruplets (two didn't survive which isn't unusual, and I still have the other two--Chip and Chip!). Then came the triplets (one didn't make it, and again, I still have the other two--Mary and Doll Face). Mary did have triplets herself a couple of years ago.

    We sure do get thrown right into all the action!

    I'm guessing that your quadruplets will probably need some supplemental bottles of milk replacer.

    I just love that you mix it up with a hand blender. That really had me laughing out loud. Great idea. I keep telling everybody those things are so handy. . .

    Again, congratulations, Anna. Well done you! Or I guess it should be well done ewe! : )

    P.S. Click here for a link to copies of Raising Sheep The Modern Way for sale at at under $2.00 a copy.

    I also just discovered Storey's Guide To Raising Sheep which is apparently an updated version of Raising Sheep The Modern Way. You might want to just go ahead and get it instead.

  4. I actually like food enthousiast better than foodie. My husband thinks I'm a food snob.

    1. When my mother comes to visit from Montreal, she always asks if I want her to bring anything and it's assumed she means food related things (she brought fantastic vanilla extract last time).

    2. I eat out so rarely because the food we make at home is 10X better than the food at most restaurants.

    3. I'm a picky eater. I eat everything and anything under the sun but it must be prepared the right way.

    Does that qualify me as a foodie?

  5. Susan - thanks so much for the link to Group Recipes- already found some "must tries". Foodie? Probably not - I do love certain foods and while not totally adventuresome I love trying new foods. Trying to eat mostly organic, wholesome foods and occasionally just have to have steak and enchiladas with papas con chilies! On the new baby scene - our goats seem to have twins one year and then a single the next - although CryBaby has consistently delivered twins. Her daughters - Hannah and Bananna each had singles this year - but the babies nurse off either doe - so identical even their babies interchange. New life is SO COOL!

  6. LOL...I was just reading along, when, uh...I said that!! Thanks for including my undying love of Dutch chocolate! It made me laugh out loud!

  7. Referring back to your wonderful food relationship with moms - I didn't comment earlier but reality is - my Mom started and sustained my love of cooking. Bless her - she went to be with the Lord a year ago tomorrow. Mary Ruth was a great southern cook - I remember well the jar for bacon grease! Of course back then - we thought flavor was good and tv dinners were a novelty! Thank you Mother -for mailing me the ingredients to make enchiladas when I was away at college in frozen and Mexican foodless Vermont (it was a LONG time ago). Those of you fortunate to still have your moms - enjoy! Hi to Susan's mom - love those practical packing tips! Bring food not clothes!

  8. I will get back to you on the foodie stuff... I did join the site ....

    Now back to shopping and foodie stuffs... (much like "back to your regularly scheduled programming")

  9. Oh my, this could be dangerous. I might get fired if I join (for spending too much time tooling around on the internet and not enough time on the work I am paid to do.)

    I think I knew I'd become a foodie when I was willing to drive 45 minutes for fresh ricotta.

    I started making my own cheese from raw milk.

    I joined a CSA for the fabulous produce (and I am going through such withdrawal this winter!)

    I realized that I can make bread that is just as good as any bakery.

  10. Thank you!
    I have ordered the Storey's Guide! The 5 ewes are Polypay and the ram was a Hampshire.

    I think that we're going to add 2 Southdown ewes (preferably already bred to a Southdown ram). Not sure what we'll breed the polypays too this next season but we'll be checking out ram prospects at the Southern Illinois Sheep & Craft Festival in Waterloo this April.

    Definitely- yes the hand held blender is something NO ONE should be without :)

    Well, time to go back to bottle feed the quads (good thing my boss is so understanding - sorry have to work from home for a few days as I am bottlefeeding lambs..I think I won the most creative award for excuses on why one can't come into the office).

  11. You know you are a foodie (and come from a family of foodies) when the whole family is sitting at the table after an absolutely delicious meal and the main topic of conversation is family meals we had in the past, meals eaten in foreign locations, meals eaten in domestic USA locations, and meals we hope to have in the future. Sometimes we include meal failures in that discussion too.

  12. Hmmm, I only have three kinds of salt at moment, so I don't meet the standard there. Perhaps the fact that I currently have 8 varieties of dark chocolate and a cache of 10 vanilla beans in my cupboard qualifies me?

  13. You know you're a foodie if:
    You worry that the term "foodie" sounds too cutesy. Nobody who is not a foodie would care one whit about this burning issue.

    Do you think that maybe "foodster" sounds less lame? I guess not, actually. I think someone should have a contest to come up with a tougher, no nonsense name for us.

  14. RE: "Your first word (before "mama" or "dada") was "cookie"

    My first word was "Bite".

  15. RE: lindy: "You worry that the term "foodie" sounds too cutesy."






    or, just plain Foor

  16. How about a pic of those Petit Fours (or didn't they make it long enough?)! Love, love,love your blog. I read often but don't comment much.

  17. I love your site! I began reading it recently and was amazed at some of the things we have in common, right down to a preference for black sheep :) I got hooked, and went and read all the blog posts...and got so hungry, lol!

    My mom was a terrible cook, but my grandmother made good old fashioned home cooking, and those are my warmest memories...the folks and the food!

    Maybe I am a latent foodie. Let's see if this list rings true

    1. I can never stick to any recipe without trying to "improve" or experiment.

    2. I've invented my own invisible rules tailored to what I believe tastes "right," such as that vanilla MUST be made from vanilla beans stored in brandy, because once I've tasted the difference, I'm suddenly a vanilla snob. Imitation vanilla is a travesty (or so goes my rationale) heh heh

    3. My seed purchase wish-list is a full page long for tomatoes alone. I have a separate folder under Favorite Places just for tomato seeds. The catalogue description of each heirloom tomato reads like the most detailed and exquisite wine-tasting commentary. Not for me the hothouse tomato. I MUST have fluted/round/flat/ribbed/younameit black/purple/pink/red/striped/yellow/green tomatoes, and then I must learn to can them, serve them, present them, decorate household surfaces with them so that others can Behold the Beautiful Tomato in all its glory. (Yes, I think this is a condition that may require intervention, lol!) Visions of tomatoes dance in my head...and then there are the melons...and the squashes...and the lettuces...argghhh!

    4. I value animal poop. I covet stable straw. I dream of what they do for my ____________ (fill in blank with organic garden vegetable of choice, each of which live to one day be admired, photographed, and eaten).

    5. My eyes are no longer bigger than my stomach, in its gastronomic enthusiasm, caught up! (I'm working on that...)

    LOL guess that's about it for now...thank you for your wonderful blog!

  18. As I was reading through the "foodie list" I kept saying "that's me, too!". ;)

    Not only do I have various vinegars and salts, but I know what to do with them (and what NOT to). I moved my herb garden closer to the back door so I can harvest in the evening by turning on the back patio lights. I love talking about food and cooking-- my husband has learned to be patient while I photograph before he "digs in" to whatever my project-of-the-day has been.

    Now I am off to join Group Recipes... :)

  19. -hanging head...
    So I've been reading this blog for as long as I have been in SC...and after reading this...I must admit...I am a foodie.
    Here's another way you can tell...
    -You know just by looking if the vegetables in the food you are about to eat were canned(eek!!!), frozen or fresh at the time of preparation and by eek i am not refering to homegrown produce.
    -I am planning hanging baskets of herbs and not flowers for my new house as well as as soon as we saw the house the first time I said 'thats the garden patch'.
    -You also curse Home Owner Associations for limitation on how big gardens can be and that you aren't allowed to have a greenhouse/coldframe.
    -You bake your dogs biscuits so that you know they are 'safe' to eat.
    -you have more than 2 kinds of flour - nevermind salt, pepper or vinegar. (I have 4 at the moment.)
    -4 months before you moved 1100 miles from home, in August, and bought a house you were planning your garden for the next spring.
    -You grow vegetables in your apartment while you are still house hunting. (currently waiting on lettuce and trying very hard to not start all my other veggies before we move in 2 weeks)
    Ok I'm done I think.
    PS Thank you for an awesome blog Susan!

  20. Sending your mom home packed
    to the overhead bins with
    food reminds me of an I Love
    Lucy episode...Lucy's on a plane...pretends a large block of cheese is an infant...not certain what led to this chaos...par for
    the course for Mrs. Ricardo I

  21. I already belong, but thanks for the reminder to get my bum back over to grouprecipes!

    Foodie line crossed:

    1. I always have a stack of food magazines or cookbooks along with me, in my car wherever I go. I look at them while waiting for red stop lights to turn green.

    2. I love going to grocery stores and farmers markets.

    3. The last 8 books I read from cover to cover were... cookbooks.

  22. I don't know if any of this qualifies me, but I'm slowly getting there.

    1. I can make two variations of the same recipe. One gluten and casein free.

    2. I now have over 8 types of flours in my freezer and always looking for more.

    3. I regularly shop at 6 different grocery stores.

    4. Like others, I cannot make a recipe without tweaking it a bit each time. (makes my husband so mad!!)

    5. I am the first generation foodie, so if anyone needs info on food, they call me. (pretty sad, I know!)

    6. I spend HOURS on the internet searching recipes and reading yahoo forums on food and gardening, including my favorite food blogs!!

    7. Any yes, I do dream about recipes and cooking. Especially after my son's was first diagnosed with food allergies. I think back then they would be called nightmares, though!!

  23. Oh gosh, 90% of my dreams are about food! I'm pretty much right there with you, how about:

    Some of the longest and best conversations you have with friends are about food.

    Your friends are terrified to invite you over for dinner b/c they are afraid to cook around you

    Friends ask you to host cooking classes

    You enjoy activities like "recipe searching" "cookbook drooling" "canning"

    You do not need a cookbook to make something delicious

    You can often be found inventing recipes

    You know what spices taste "right" together and are not afraid to mix

    You have an herb garden on your kitchen window sill

    You plan daytrips out of the city around farm visits for picking up produce/ cheese/ meats, etc

    You cringe at your friend who thinks anything that comes "straight from the box" is delicious.

    Ditto on cheeses wrapped in plastic or that come pre-shredded

    You have brainwashed your boyfriend into exclaiming "I need fresh ingredients!" anytime he makes something

    You have problems eating out because you're often found saying things like, "whatever, I could have made this better for a fraction of the cost"

    You have your uncle in California ship vegetables from his garden to you in NYC

    Despite living in NYC and having a 10 ft plot of soil you insist on planting a small vegetable garden, even though neighborhood women and squirrels steal your bounty and you suspect a Meth addict stole your chicken wire that kept the former at bay

    You do not have to check your cupboards for ingredients to a recipe b/c you always have what's needed on hand "for an emergency"

    You jump at the chance to start your local CSA chapter.

    I could go on...

  24. Excellent post! When I fly from AC to RI, my family looks for the See's candies before they even hug me. ;)

  25. I love See's candies...I hope she brough molassis chips too!

  26. Some of these comments reminded me of things I forgot--I think I'm a gadget freak/foodie.

    Friends brought me vanilla as my souvenir from their trip to Mexico.

    I give food gifts, thinking others will love them as much as I would: candied violets from Paris, a spice set as a wedding present, an original Fannie Farmer cookbook, 4 kinds of curry powder from Penzeys.

    I have 2 kinds of salt, 2 kind of butter, 4 kinds of flour, 4 kinds of vinegar, 6 kinds of oil, and 6 kinds of sugar.

    I own kitchen gadgets people haven't heard of: yogurt maker, food dehydrator, mouline, milk frother, avocado pitter.

    I have chili pastes, fish sauce, unusual oils, lemongrass, vinegars, and mustards on my condiment shelf.

    I say things like, "I don't understand why anyone would buy a jar of spaghetti sauce when it's so easy to make it from scratch."

    My friend calls me from the store when he wants to make a sauce and forgot the shopping list--he knows I'll know what he needs to buy.

    I love making things "from scratch": apple sauce, spice blends, tortilla chips, mayonnaise.

    I tried unsuccessfully to grow tomatoes, carrots, beets, radishes and lettuce on my apartment deck. I had to settle for basil and chives in the one tiny window that gets enough sun.

    I read cookbooks cover to cover.

    I nearly always deviate from a recipe.

  27. The "how to know your a foodie" is the most amazing thing I have read in a long time, I love it. Thanks for pointing out the garlic lovers book which I didn’t know. I am a garlic maniac and addict par excellence, can’t live without a day.

  28. Having relocated to NY from SF, visitors and family all know - bring both See's and SourDough bread when visiting!!!

  29. I am very lucky in that I come from foodies on BOTH sides--my mother, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, paternal aunts, and now me are ALL foodies. (And the paternal side is 100% Swedish--I can't believe you can be a foodie if you come from a country that invented lutefisk, but apparently you can!) But of course, we're in Seattle, and in the Pacific Northwest, you can stuff yourself on berries and dandelion greens simply while walking to the car--my out of town visitors can't believe how fertile this area is! I'd like to put forth the theory that it's easier to be a foodie in such a place. My boyfriend is from Texas, and his parents grew up in Ohio, and...well. We went down Texas to visit his widowed father...and I became aware that cooking in the middle of nowhere in South Texas is NOT THE SAME as cooking when there is a Farmer's Market around the corner! I did what I could, though, between "fresh" herb salad mixes in a bag and whole spelt pasta, and I made enough for leftovers so he'd be able to eat after I left, too.

    But all that is just being enough of a cook to put food on the table, not a big feat and something that most women (and some men!) have accomplished since the dawn of time. I realized I was truly a foodie when:

    1. I bought two kinds of smoked salt.

    2. I made my own bagel chips.

    3. I made my own tortilla chips. (!)

    4. I started roasting my own almonds.

    5. My sorority sister came to visit me and half of our back-and-forth emails were about which restaurants we wanted to visit.

    Sigh. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it! :)

    P.S. Susan! Did you get my flower pictures?

  30. I'm probably a foodie and don't want to admit it but I'm also a Pastry Chef so I get away with hoarding lots of fun food-type stuff without having to admit to said foodieness.

    I'm seriously considering raising a couple of laying hens (or maybe geese but BOY are they messy) for the fresh eggs even though I live in the suburbs. My busy body neighbors would have a FIT... heh heh heh

  31. Some random self incriminating ones:

    1. You have brought an empty suitcase on a trip just to bring back food. [Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee in my case]

    2. You jump up from the table to refer to McGee On Food and Cooking to answer obscure food questions.

    3. You own more than 5 books on cheese.

    4. The only words you know in several foreign languages are food items and profanity.

    5. You know all the farms in your part of the state that you can buy food from and are now looking at neighboring states.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!