Archive - Staff Blog
February 11th, 2010
Recently, I got into a discussion with a friend about baking bread. He's been doing it regularly for a couple of years, and judging from the finished products that I've tasted, he's learned quite a bit in that time.
In the past, when I've tried to make bread, it's always failed to rise, or it's come out tasteless or too sweet or salty, or the wheatberries I've added come out toothbreakingly hard. My schedule forces me to edit the rising times or I make substitutions or just plain forget that I am waiting for my bread to rise. The variables are endless.
The greatest diversity challenge that Vermont public schools face is socioeconomic. I discovered this during my first few days as a teacher at Middlebury Union High School. My senior advisory, which included a random cross-section of that year’s graduating class, socialized almost exclusively along class lines: those who were going to college versus those about to enter the workforce.
After my last post on the Blueberry Hill ski touring area, I had to follow up with a post describing a favorite loop at my home in the mountains, the Rikert Ski touring center on the Breadloaf Campus. I have purchased a season’s pass here pretty much every winter since I moved to Vt, and I can’t say enough good things about the place and the people who run it, so I won’t!
Sometimes it's good to be told what to do.
No matter how great you are at cooking, inspiration isn't always going to be right at your fingertips. I find that mine comes and goes in waves. One day I'm incredibly inspired to cook, and all the separate pieces of a dish fall together perfectly with little or no planning. The next day, I'll look at the ingredients in the kitchen and can't see them as anything but ingredients. At those times I can barely work up the energy to Google a recipe, or look one up on Epicurious.
For the last two years, my friend and I have been asking area businesses to put mason jars on their counters for the month of November. Our goal is to gather pennies from customers to donate to the Brandon Area Food Shelf. The great thing about collecting pennies is that for adults, they are almost meaningless.
As promised, I am posting occasional ski tours over the winter. I have been an avid cross-country skier even longer than a runner – in fact I started running in the first place to stay in shape for skiing, feeding my delusions that I was a nordic racer. Some of my ski tours are within the confines of ski touring areas, while some are along less manicured routes. Today’s post is the former. There are two fabulous ski touring areas in the mountains above Middlebury, and the Romance Mountain route is part of one of them, the Blueberry Hill Ski Touring Center in Goshen.
I just couldn't let the dairy thing go.
Because for all of my cheesemaking attempts, I always had that nagging knowledge at the back of my head that I wasn't actually going to make cheese. Not when there's so much good cheese available right here in Vermont.
But I've been wanting to make yogurt for a long time. This seemed like a good time to do it, because the yogurt I like recently went back up to full price at the Co-op, after having been on sale for $2.60 for months.
Ellen Young's yellow farmhouse sits on a rise of land in Shoreham, set apart from the road by a tidy stone wall. Inside, the wood beams of the living room hold paintings, and two old wooden wheels hang from the ceiling. All of the decorations in the room have memories attached, stretching back to a time when a small dairy farm and 30 cows could easily support a family.
Ellen grew up just a few yards down the road on a dairy farm run by her parents, Ada and Joseph Burgess. Years before, in 1888, Ada's parents had come to Vermont from Canada and bought the 300-acre farm.
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