Kitchen Road Trip: Alaska

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This week’s Kitchen Road Trip takes us to the Last Frontier — Alaska. When I was in college, I went on two Spring Break service-learning trips with a team of other students from my university. We spent the week exploring glaciers, hiking in the forest, going crabbing, watching for wildlife and learning about life in Alaska, but the best part was tutoring kids in a small Native American fishing village. These trips opened my eyes to a lot of issues in education and the environment, and I’ll never forget how beautiful it is there. Ever since I left, I’ve been wishing I could go back, so I was really excited to work on this week’s post. With these posts, I try to find as many items as I can that are local to the state I’m covering, but in Alaska’s case this proved more difficult (perhaps because of its location, weather or smaller population) so I opted for a few more items inspired by the state this time. Alaska is very near and dear to my heart, so I hope you enjoy these finds as much as I do! (I’m so obsessed with those plates, by the way…) // susannah

See the list after the jump…

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The Biscuit Report // No. 2

TGIF, y’all! It’s been a good week for me. I had a few client meetings and I’ve been working on some fun projects, too. On Wednesday I got to reunite with my mom, who’s been in Atlanta for a week. I baked a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for her, but it royally flopped (though it still tasted fantastic). I’ll just have to try that again, I guess! I’ve also been designing a new, better look for this blog, too, and I hope to unveil it soon! I’m also finishing editing some of my photos from D.C. which will finally be ready for me to share sometime next week. In the meantime, here’s a few of the things I loved this week. // susannah

Great Reads

A guy’s $500 Detroit home // Buzzfeed

52 places to go in 2014 (I’ve been to five!) // The New York Times

Recipes to try

Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ Green Chili Chocolate Pie // Serious Eats

Mango Habanero Chicken Chili // Cheap Recipe Blog

Delicious design

The most amazing egg carton maybe ever // Fast Co. Design

Warby Parker’s annual report does it again // Warby Parker

Various and sundry

Light is a drug, so sleep in pure darkness // io9

Tunes for the weekend

Photo // Gil Rodrigues

Kitchen Road Trip: Alabama

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In my family, we’re racing to see who will be the first to visit all 50 states, but there’s some argument (mainly from me) about what “counts” as a visit. For example, in my opinion, an airport layover doesn’t count. Driving through without stopping doesn’t count. Going there as a baby doesn’t count. I suppose any of those could get half-credit if you’re using this interactive map, not my rules, to track your progress. But to me, making a memory is what really matters. If you do something memorable that connects you to the state — such as a meal or a photo-op — then you get the full point.

With today’s Kitchen Road Trip, I’m taking you to the great state of Alabama. Even though I have “passed through” on road trips at least twice, none of them “count” by my rules. Much of my knowledge of Alabama, sadly, comes from history class, books and movies. ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ spring to mind. Also, a pair of my friends once schooled me on the difference between the War Eagle and the Crimson Tide, but that’s really about it. However, everything I read about the Cotton State to prepare this post just made me excited about visiting someday. Alabamans sound like an incredibly charming bunch who live for a good bowl of grits and college football, and I can’t wait to meet them! In addition to the finds below, I also came across these recipes for white barbecue sauce and black bottom pie that I absolutely must try… // susannah

See the list after the jump…

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New Beginnings

Julia Child's kitchen on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Julia Child’s kitchen on display at the American Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Hello there! I’m back to blogging, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. For years, I’ve been looking for a way to marry my passion for design, photography and writing with my loves of travel, music, reading and food, and it dawned on me some time ago that I needed to start doing something about it. I dragged my feet about beginning yet another blog, but I’ve decided to give it another go, with lots more thought put into it this time. So, meet Feast & West, a place where I’m going to write about those things! I hope to bring in some contributors eventually, but for now, it’s just me. And that’s just fine.

I’m visiting family in Washington, D.C. at the moment, and today we visited the National Museum of American History, one of my all-time favorite museums. I visited the museum for the first time in the summer of 2009 when I was studying and interning in D.C. One of my friends patiently explored it with me while I hobbled around on a swollen, sprained ankle. (Don’t text and walk, you guys.) Amazingly, this gal and I are still friends despite our strange tendency to acquire ankle injuries whenever we see each other…

I remember being taken with the exhibition of Julia Child’s kitchen, but I had little appreciation for all of the stories contained in this little space. Today was much different. Julia’s kitchen has this special warmth about it — it draws you in as though she is still there, saying “bon appétit” in her sing-song voice, a glass of wine in her hand. As I stood there, taking everything in — the antique gadgetry, the copper pots and pans, the cabinets painted that 1960s mint green, the yellow Marimekko tablecloth, her framed Cordon Bleu diploma and all the thoughtful little details like baskets of fruit, her cookbook collection and kitschy fridge magnets — I felt like Julia was giving me her blessing to begin this blog finally. Maybe it was her spirit or maybe it was just her voice in a museum video playing on repeat in the background, but somehow I walked away with the confidence and inspiration to write this blog post today, the first day of another new year. When we left the museum, we walked outside under the blanket of the most incredible sunset behind the Washington Monument, which seemed to echo Julia’s sentiment. A good omen.

The sun setting on Jan. 1, 2014 behind the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

The sun setting on Jan. 1, 2014 behind the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

2014 seems so new, so pure, like a fresh white egg plucked from the nest. I’m a little nervous to crack it, but I can’t see it being any more trying than 2013, so bring it on. New Year’s usually brings with it a few resolutions, but I like to think of them as goals I can achieve. Today is as good a day as any to decide to do something, but something about that blank slate is so appealing. So, my goal — well, one of them — is to write and share my findings here as often as I can. I hope you’ll stick with me. Thanks for reading! Oh, and if you haven’t seen it in person, or if you need a reminder, you can take an interactive tour of Julia’s historic kitchen without having to step foot on the Metro.

Happy New Year!
// susannah