canning season starts with a ball jar giveaway

Canning season is starting up. If you’re like me, and a passionate (um, other adjectives have been used…) canner, you’re canning all year ’round, sure, but those first local strawberries, the slim young asparagus, ramps, garlic chives, candy onions – they’re just around the corner and that feels like the first day of school for me. Check Your Gear Pressure canner gauges should be calibrated once a year. Many hardware stores will do this for you. Give the gasket (the rubber ring around the inside rim) a good going over – has it dried out, is it cracking? If so, order a new one, easily found at the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon. This is a good time to check carefully and then scour the […]

cherry blossoms

We visited the cherry blossoms today. As we do most years, we got up before the sun and jumped in the car and ooh’ed and aah’ed our way around our city.     It’s breathtakingly beautiful at the Tidal Basin. It was packed with people who clearly love pink. And, right on time, with all the other trees blooming across this city, the one we planted 13 years ago stands tall and petal-full. Get outside and smell Spring. Feel the sun on your face. Fill a vase with flowers. xoMrsW

Can In: How Home Food Preservers Might Help Fight Hunger

For the last month, I’ve been tinkering in my new community garden plot. I have spent time there toting water, planting garlic and onions, pressing pea seeds into the soil, making drills for lettuce and radishes and spading in raspberry bushes along the back. In England this would be called an allotment, in France a potager. The idea of each, and mine, is to grow enough food to add freshness to the table every single day. I am not a farmer, just a gardener, growing food for my household in a 10’ x 20’ space. For these few weeks, it’s been deeply satisfying to think of this little plot of land and imagine how it might feed us. I’ve been testing recipes for strawberry jam […]

springtime rituals

While it still feels cold and blustery, and we’ve had odd days of significant snowfall, the light is changing to the light of Spring, all lemon yellow and bright, surprisingly strong on the back of the neck when clearing debris from a garden bed. It’s Passover, soon to be Easter. There are daffodils blooming in the back garden, on the pathway where I planted them fourteen years ago. The orange Kaufmanniana ‘Early Harvest’ tulips in the upper garden bloom reliably early and that flash of color dazzles. The front garden beds are filled with pink, yellow and purple hyacinths so a stop at the front stoop is intoxicating. It’s all going to happen now, one area of the yard at a time bursting into bloom. […]

Pati’s Mexican Table

I have a new cookbook crush and I can’t put it down. I cook from it all the time, and when I’m not cooking from it, I’m thinking about cooking from it. In the spirit of complete disclosure, Pati Jinich and I are friends. She was one of the first food people I met in Washington, when a lovely group of women had a series of lunches. I cooked with her for Charcutepalooza’s Chorizo challenge and love her PBS television show, Pati’s Mexican Kitchen. Pati is a fantastic cook and a terrific teacher; all that comes to life in this gorgeous book. She’s teamed up with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s talented editor Rux Martin and the glorious Penny De Los Santos, a food photographer who layers […]

hope springs eternal

After eight years of waiting, I’ve been given a community garden plot and I am beyond excited. This may come as a surprise to you for a number of reasons.  It’s that Wheelbarrow thing – the assumption that I have a big garden. In my dreams I do. I dream of a small potager garden outside the back door. I would espalier fruit trees and berry brambles along a perfect fence – weathered wrought iron, simple design, pointy tops to keep out the animals. and allowing for plenty of airflow. There would be small discreet beds, and gravel paths. I would grow herbs and greens, a few chiles that are hard to find. I would hump dirt over potato plantings and dig out small rosy […]