It wasn't an article so much as a proclamation to an invisible, unknown to me, blog-world to which I was gingerly cracking open the door and awkwardly stepping into it's room.
My credentials were:
"I'm not sure why I am starting a blog, other than I love to eat, I like to write, and I need an outlet. Plus, I seem to get myself into situations that my friends seem to think will entertain the masses.
I'm not so sure about that."
And that was that.
I had started a blog. That first post was titled,
"Will Work For Food".
I never would have guessed where that motto would take me over the next seven years, but in the immediate future it took me to my next post...
"The almighty Ingredient" wasn't that much more exciting, but I did name myself as an 'ingredient girl", which I still stand behind.
|Lemon Rosemary Cocktail|
I'm not surprised that my first "recipe" such as it is, was for a "Whacky Lemon Rosemary Cocktail". A damn good one at that.
Well, the cocktail was damn good, the recipe itself went:
"So the key is making the syrup in advance and letting it cool. So make it at some weird time when you're hangin' in the kitchen, or when you're making your coffee or whatever, then it will be ready to roll when it's cocktail time."
Haha what more do you need to know? I was never professing to be an expert, just someone with an eat-drink-and-be-merry-motto.
|Eggplant Parmesan - A Love story...|
|Crazy Chocolate Cake|
|Stories of Salt and Pepper|
|Herbs make all the difference|
|Eau De Summer|
|Hello giant piece of sugar cane|
|Escapism in Chinatown|
Truly expert advice.
|Brie and Grape Quesadilla|
|Fingerling Potatoes. Because they're cute.|
|Pear and Gorgonzola Salad|
We also talked about having swanky breakfasts and outrageously fabulous sandwiches, I begged you to see the movie, "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs"and we publicly began the conversation which has now defined my culinary point of view: "sexy food".
|Outrageously fabulous sandwich: Exhibit A|
|Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs|
Serve with the warm pears and you will look like some kind of freaky chef-ish type, but really, you just worked with what you had and were willing to part with and came up with a comforting, warm, simple dessert! Go for it...", (my mystery basket skills go way back!).
There were also recipes for
|Moroccan Chicken Stew|
|B.J.'s Famous Baked Beans|
There were also plenty of wines that I was just discovering, mostly because they had awesome names like Bitch, Plungerhead, Molly Dooker, the Ballbuster and 7 Deadly Zins, until wine started to arrive at my doorstep for me to sample and write about, which was obviously very very exciting.
|Ahh but what's in a name? Everything....|
|The Ball Buster|
|7 Deadly Zins|
|That time when wine started to arrive at my doorstep...|
And of course there's been plenty of cocktails like Soul de Cuba's Mojito, and my own renditions of a Lychee Martini, Watermelon Cocktail, Bloody Mary, Limoncello, Infused Vodka, Ginger Martini, Shave Ice Cocktail, an ad-lib recipe called "Ginger Peach Martini - The Saga... and one that became a very popular Swigs and Grinds photograph of a very sexy Ginger-Grape Cocktail.
|Ginger Peach Martini|
|When life gives you lemons... make limoncello|
|Shave Ice Cocktail|
|Ginger Grape Cocktail|
In the beginning of 2010 I decided to conduct some food surveys of sorts to as many different demographics as I could wrangle. I interviewed Kids, Mountain Bikers, and Moms; and I sadly just realized that my interviews with Business Professionals, Singles, Restaurant People, and Swanky Artists somehow only got saved as drafts and I can't figure out how to publish them now and keep them in sequence. Sigh.... just know that it was fascinating stuff.
|Because who doesn't wonder what mountain bikers eat?|
There was my bread dough phase, where I was freakishly determined to master the alchemy of yeast, flour and sugar. I shared my first success as well as my Dough Mishaps, and as I gained a little bread making confidence,
there were recipes for Naan Bread, Pecan Raisin Bread, Pretzels, Pita Bread, Midnight Bread, Flour Tortillas and finally Pizza Dough - which I now make several times a week professionally, but that story comes later...
|Dough mishaps: what to do when you screw up the dough...|
|Pecan Raisin Bread|
|Making bread at midnight...|
Those first couple of years I was cooking and eating like a maniac and dragging my readers, few as they were, along for the ride with more recipes for Melty Chocolate Cake and Chewy Chocolate Cookies,
|Melty Chocolate Cake|
|Chewy Chocolate Cookies|
|Sexy Pear Tart|
Bacon and Egg Sandwiches, Chicken Pot Pie, a Pastrami Invention, Lasagna Lunches, Corn and Potato Chowder, Artichokes, Berry Custard Cups, Caramelized Tomato and Onion Tart, Roasted Beet Salad, Fondu, Indian Spiced Chicken, Creamy Rosemary Potato Soup, Pork Roast w/ Caramelized Onions, Pear Tarts, Savory Crepes, a gnocchi recipe with confessions of several previous failures, and my Brussels Sprout recipe that has converted many a hater over the years, (and also almost caught my house on fire)...
|Brussels Sprouts with Bacon|
|Bacon and Egg Sandwiches|
|Chicken Pot Pie|
|Pretty sure I invented the Reuben Calzone...|
|Corn and Potato Chowder|
|The Art of the Artichoke|
|Berry Custard Cups|
|Carmelized Onion Tart|
|Roasted Beet Salad|
|Indian Spiced Chicken|
|Rosemary Potato Soup|
|FINALLY, successful gnocchi|
Writing this blog over the last seven years has been so much fun for so many creative reasons, even during the creative famines where I was apologizing for abandoning my post(s) - (literally), promising to post more in the new year, waiting for my muse to return, or seeking that muse on a sunday morning in bed with some food porn and the realization that "when I am in this space, it shows up and inevitably leads me to beautiful images, words, thought, and then takes me by the hand and leads me into the kitchen, pours us both a cocktail and watches me do my thing."
|Luring the children outside to play|
It's also been a bit of a time capsule for my life, seen through the eyes of food and drink.
My kids have grown up in the span of these seven years, but they are chronicled by such a Perfect Thing as my joy in watching them eat something they love, while Strange Things Invade My Kitchen - thanks to my mother, or while I become my own mother and tell them to Go Outside and Play, and get their Hands Dirty from bbq sauce at the beach.
There's stories of my mother and of my own childhood sprinkled throughout, and are expressed in memories of Mother's Day and food fights, as well as new traditions I had begun like Sunday Dinners.
|Get your hands dirty!|
|Sunday Dinners with Family|
|From a story about my mama|
There was the helplessness of feeding someone who is in mourning and the beauty in realizing "When there are no words that need to be said, a simple bowl of scrambled eggs, or a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, or even a coffee cup full of Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream can begin the process of healing an un-healable wound. The mind must shift to taste and texture, making room around the pain and welcoming the true meaning of "comfort food".
For something that can be lifted in salute to the fallen, in remembrance."
I have in the "pages" of this blog, my list of Perfect Things, and further appreciation for things like my dishes, coffee, Lucky Peach, Picky Food, Bacon Jam and Sam the Cooking Guy,
|My List of Perfect Things|
|Dishes for days...|
|Best. Magazine. Ever|
|Introducing: "Picky Food"|
|Bacon Jam. Click on the link and make this NOW|
|Sam the Cooking Guy|
along with some of the places I have loved, like Brasserie Du Vin, Shogunai Tacos, Le Crepe Cafe, the Hawaiian Shochu Co., Lucky Belly, Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop, the K.C.C. Farmers Market, Hale Maluhia
|Oysters from Brasserie Du Vin|
|My boys from Shogunai Tacos|
|Le Crepe Cafe|
|Learning from the masters at Hawaiian Shochu Co.|
|Lucky Belly, I love you|
|Chef Brian making things pretty at Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop|
|Scenes from the K.C.C. Farmers Market|
and of course, the best of all...
My Italy adventure... Where first I had to introduce you to a verb I created called Dickwolfing before I could tell you about Having This Dream, learning to say I Love Your Face in Italian, having a Strawberry Epiphany, and advice on what to do when your Friend Has a Winery in Tuscany.
|March in NYC|
|Mi Piace la tua facia|
|My favorite faces of Italy|
|While having a Strawberry Epiphany|
|Terasole Winery, Tuscany|
|The Good Stuff|
|A beautiful dinner with a beautiful family. Unforgettable...|
|Campo di Fiore = my mind BLOWN|
|The day I fell in love with Pisa|
|Castle Rooftop Shenanigans|
And let's not forget about what finding the crapier side of Livorno taught me. Oh Italy..... I still have stories upon stories still to tell of that trip of a lifetime.
Which brings us to today. My posts have gotten further apart, I sleep less and work more. I no longer cook three meals a day at home or even entertain at home much, in fact my home fridge contains more take out containers than actual ingredients and my own meals are usually wolfed over a trash can or nibbled on between kitchen tasks instead of being eaten or sipped in the garden. I am more involved in food than I ever have been and much of my time is spent planning catering menus or four course wine pairing menus, doing mountains of dishes, and practically living at Costco. But it's pretty cool.
|The Real Food Cafe's Monster Brownies|
|Special of the Day: Enchiladas|
|From the days of making endless trays of baklava|
|It's all about our famous pizza though...|
|It's true and I've met some of the best....|
My cafe is in a residential building in downtown Honolulu. Customers become friends and pop in through the back door throughout my day to bring me a cocktail or to have some kitchen scraps and talk story. My children are learning to work and serve and cook, and the crazy memories and experiences that I have collected as a result of ALL of this is the most beautiful reminder which is found in my logo, and which I wrote on that first day as a blogger seven years ago, "When your motto is 'will work for food', who knows what adventures may come. Really when you boil it down, aren't we all just working for food? In the pursuit to obey the eat-drink-and-be-merry advice of old, there is plenty to laugh at and chew on along the way."
And ain't that the truth.
|Happy 7th Swigs-and-Grinds-a-Versary!!!!!!!|
So here on this seventh Swigs-and-Grinds-a-Versary, I want to say how truly grateful I am to see life unfold through the mess of food and the revelry of drink and I am blessed beyond belief to have been able to connect with readers, friends and family through the powerful connection of Swigs and Grinds.
So if you're reading this, could ya do me a solid and leave me a comment? Tell me how you found Swigs and Grinds, or how I know you, or what you connect with in these stories and through food and drink itself. Please. Pretty please. And thank you.
Thank you and cheers to where this will take us next....