Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Baltimore Lovely

It dawned on me some time ago that I never posted about the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore.  I’ve lived here for so long that I didn’t even think to describe my lovely city in at least one posting.

The things I take for granted. 

Well, let me fix that oversight right now, and give an abbreviated tour because I actually have a specific destination to attend to in this post besides doing the touristy-thing for you.  So I’m killing two birds with one stone.

Excellent.

First stop.  This is our National Aquarium.  I’ve been in there once with Zen Master and Zen Mum and it’s a definite must-see when you’re in Baltimore.

Next stop.  The Power Plant Building that holds numerous eateries, and a multi-story Barnes and Nobles.  This view is the backside of the building because I wasn’t thinking to catch the frontside. 

I just wasn’t thinking.  Sometimes you just have to go with your impulses.

Okay, final stop.  This was the reason for my trip to the Inner Harbor yesterday morning.

I break for Miss Shirley’s.

Let me toot my little horn for this Baltimore lovely.  If you want a real taste of Baltimore flavors, this is the place.

I mean, where else can you get lump crab meat — the Mac Crabby — for breakfast?

I met up with a couple of old friends over a really tasty brunch.  Good friends, good food, I mean what else can a person ask for, right?

Absolutely.

And being in a place that serves breakfast all day long is my idea of a really good time.  Breakfast food for lunch and dinner is an under-appreciated habit, I think.

Susan opted for the Coconut Cream-Stuffed French Toast.

Adrianne went for the Make It Your Own Omelet filled with spinach, turkey sausage and brie cheese.  The sides that came along with it were a biscuit and hash browns and onions.

The hash browns kept calling my name but I played it cool.  I wasn’t about to jeopardize my friendship with Adrianne by reaching over and helping myself to her tasty-looking hash browns.  But she probably would’ve let me because she’s just that kind of friend.  

I opted for my usual, the Benne Seed Chicken ‘N Waffles.  I have just one word for this dish.

OUTSTANDING.  BREAKFAST.

Okay, so that was actually two words, but oh well.

Besides Charlotte, I also get together with Susan and Adrianne during this time of year for Christmas.  Our lives have taken separate directions in recent years but we make it a habit to keep in touch once in a while, especially for Christmas.

In an insane world that’s 24/7, it’s nice to know that sometimes the world can stop for a spell for good friends sharing good food.

Definitely good times.

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The Pages in my Hands

What do I normally do in between my reading recipes and food stories?

Why, read mysteries, of course!  Isn’t that obvious?

I just finished The Aurora Teagarden Mystery series by Charlaine Harris

I first stumbled across Charlaine when I discovered the Sookie Stackhouse series in the library.  Then I followed the True Blood series on television.

I love all her stories.

Out of her Lily Bard series, I have Shakespeare’s Counselor left to read. 

Whenever I come across good reads, whether food blogs or hard copy books, I tend to become a loyal reader. 

But books…sometimes I just need to feel the pages in my hands.

I love books.

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Words To Live By

No one can make you inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Words to live by.

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An Epiphany

Here’s a question that I’ve been tossing around in my head for awhile.

Does my love for food, for all things related to it…the taste, the texture, the utter marvel of food…

…the writing and the constant talking about it…

…the constant thinking of its loveliness…

…most especially the eating of it…

…does that make me a cook?

The most ironic thing is that I never really cooked.  I love eating, that goes without saying.

But I never really cooked.

Never had an interest in cooking, especially when I was younger.

Obviously something changed along the way. 

Nothing earth-shattering.  No moment of clarity that I can just point to and say, man, this chicken is slamming!  I gotta cook me one of these!

Rather, I think it’s been a gradual process.

Kinda like fine wine.  Or brining a chicken or a turkey overnight or so.

Uh, not that I’m saying that I’m a chicken or turkey.

Anyhoo.

But that’s the question I’ve been pondering in the back of my mind.

Until I discovered the answers to my question when I went to the library one recent day.

I love Mireille.  I’ve read all her books, and just finished this one.  Her writing is easy to read, keeps your attention and really relatable. 

My long-suffering question was finally answered when I got to the last section in the book called Cuisiner Dans La Cuisine or Cooking in the Kitchen.

Here is where she lists her many observations of cooking, among which are these three:

*  “Cooking is reading from a recipe in a cookbook or on the Internet, thus absorption and learning.”

*  “Cooking is time; like writing, it demands that impalpable seasoning.  It takes time, but then time is something we can control.  It is an investment, a brilliant use of time to feed and nurture ourselves and those we care about.”

*  “Cooking is a contemplative experience reaching and probing deep in our thoughts and emotions.”

Wow.

An epiphany.

Hi, my name is Sally and I’m a cook.

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Haiku

The very first Sally in the Zen haiku.

Change riding on wings

Red as the rising phoenix

New journey begins.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Happy Friday!

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Miniature Vegetables

Speaking of tomatoes and peppers, Sally in the Zen, how are yours? How did it go this summer?

Why, they’re dead, thanks very much for asking.

But before the plants shriveled up and died, they left these for us.

Let me provide a more accurate depth to these younglings that took all summer to mature.

Bountiful?

Not even.

“Ooohh,”  Zen Mum murmured.  “Miniature vegetables.”

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Better Late than Never

So after I finished preaching to Zen Master and Zen Mum on the values of healthier eating and portion controls, I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and practice what I preached.

And made guacamole

Avocados are good for the heart, of course. 

Did you know that the Aztecs made and enjoyed guacamole as early as the 16th century?  

Yup, I knew that.

And I’ve been making guacamole since…um…now.

Better late than never, I always say.

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Snow Angels

Too cute!

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