Celebrating Earth Day where I want to be

plants and planters by a rainy window

With my office smelling like wet soil and a motley crew of plants and planters straggling across my desk, I’m in a good place to celebrate Earth Day.  It doesn’t hurt that the plants came from a campus clean-up project that one of my classes planned last week, and the egg carton planters came into being thanks to another class activity yesterday. I’ll spend another few minutes with these signs of spring, then head to a board meeting for the Crossroads Community Food Network. We’ll be talking about that organization’s fragrant, colorful farmers market, which opens in just six weeks.

I hope you’re celebrating where you want to be this Earth Day, or that you’re on the way.

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Attending a Passover Seder

Rhea:

In the Passover Seder, we say “let all who are hungry, come and eat.” So I was excited when writer friend Whitney Pipkin approached me with a craving to try her first Pesach experience. She and her husband forked in the new information and traditional foods earlier this week, and Whitney wrote a colorful post about the evening. Very pleased to share it with you!

Originally posted on Think About Eat:

seder horizontal

As a journalism student at the University of Oklahoma, I was once assigned as homework what would become one of my favorite pastimes later in life: go participate in a cultural or religious ceremony that is outside your realm of experience.

For the assignment, I attended my suite mate’s African American Southern Baptist church. It felt like an easy way out in some regards. But, having grown up in a comparatively stoic Presbyterian church in Kansas (although we did have a “contemporary” service), it proved to be a rich cultural experience. I was enthralled as the pastor sang half the sermon while nearly dancing down the center aisle, accompanied by a chorus of ‘Amen’s from those in attendance. It made my church look like nap time by comparison.

I began to cherish these types of cultural experiences and seek them out on my own. I love the feeling and learning that comes with entering into a…

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New food writing: “Passover, with a strictly biblical flavor”

I’m pleased to share my article “Passover, with a strictly biblical flavor,” my first piece in the Washington Post Food section. I hope you enjoy it!

As I mentioned before, you can also catch me tomorrow from noon to 1 in the weekly online chat Free Range on Food. I’m honored to be invited, even if my fingers shake on the keyboard every time I think about it! Softball questions welcome.

Many thanks to the gracious and knowledgeable people I interviewed, the daring friends who tasted my recipe trials, and to everyone who gave me feedback.

Thank you for reading, and happy Passover!

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Free Range on Food, with yours truly

The table is set for an online chat about food and maybe even my own recipes and writing on Wednesday, April 9. Pictured here are Karaite-style matzah and a green take on maror.

The table is set for an online chat about food and maybe even my own recipes and writing on Wednesday, April 9. Pictured here are Karaite-style matzah and a green take on maror.

Friends,

I’m pleased to announce that on Wednesday, April 9, I’ll be a guest on the Free Range on Food chat with The Washington Post. This weekly online Q & A features WaPo food editors and staff writers, as well as the occasional freelancer like myself. An article I wrote about Passover will appear in the newspaper that same day. Readers can tune into the chat from noon to about 1 to ask about food, drink, and maybe even my piece.

Here’s the site to bookmark: http://live.washingtonpost.com/free-range-4-9-2014.html. And here’s what you’ll see when you go there before the chat:

Joe Yonan is editor of the Food section; joining us today are deputy editor Bonnie Benwick, staff writer Tim Carman, Spirits columnist Carrie Allan, Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin and Beer columnist Greg Kitsock. Guests: Washington Baker Teeny Lamothe, author of “Teeny’s Tour of Pie: A Cookbook”; freelance writer Rhea Yablon Kennedy.  [<---Yep, that's me right there, just a few phrases removed from the editors of the Food section]

Check out past Free Range sessions if you’re curious about what they look like. See you there Wednesday at noon!

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Analyze that Dirt

bags of soil

Soil samples from my plot and my garden neighbors’ are mixed, dried, and ready to ship to U Mass.

Colleges just had that special break where students drink on the beach and faculty stay home to watch 90s movies, and I have potatoes sprouting on my kitchen table. So even if forecasters predict snow tomorrow, spring is officially here! For gardeners, that means it’s time to send in soil samples for testing, if you haven’t already.

Wondering what the deal is with soil testing? Here’s my basic guide to getting your dirt analyzed:

  • It’s a good idea to test levels of various materials in your garden soil every year or two. It’s like getting a physical and doing blood work. Then you can add whatever nutrients you need to grow the most abundant and nutritious plants or, in some cases, remediate or move on to avoid harmful contaminants like lead. Find out more on this and the movement for better soil from the Bionutrient Food Association.
  • A good time to do this in the D.C. area is usually late February. But if the ground is frozen solid during that time like it was this year, late March works.

Continue reading

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Snow Day Salsa

Returning to my food writing roots, I offer you this recipe.

Snow Day SalsaSnow Day Salsa

You may find yourself at home on a snowy day, with work canceled and your tummy hankering for a warming breakfast of huevos rancheros. I know it’s a plausible situation, because it happened to me today. Here’s the salsa I came up with, using what I had around the house (because when this happens to you, living in D.C. may have thinned your skin just a tad, and you may shudder at the thought of venturing to the store in four inches of snow).

Makes about 2 cups Continue reading

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March 2014: Videofreex go to Washington

A picture of my dad, Chuck Kennedy, throwing snowballs in Lanesville, NY, circa 1970. Gotta love the snow suit.

My dad, Chuck Kennedy, plays in the snow in Lanesville, NY, some time in the 1970s. Gotta love the snow suit. Photo courtesy of Bart Friedman.

No one knows whether springy or snowy weather will greet these events, but I look forward to going. Cross posted from Videofreex.com.

Videofreex and friends are coming to Washington, D.C. in March. Join us for two events.

1) On Sunday, March 9, the National Gallery of Art will host a screening of Videofreex material and a talk by Videofreex members Skip Blumberg and Parry Teasdale, along with Tom Colley of Video Data Bank.

Early Video Pioneers: Videofreex with Portapaks

Sunday, March 9, 4:00
 p.m.

East Building Auditorium, National Gallery of Art

6th St. and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC

FREE

2) The next day, the work of the Videofreex and their contemporaries comes to the DC Arts Center. The event will debut a new edit of the compilation Videofreex Pirate TV Show and feature video from the landmark May Day protest of 1971.

Videofreex and the May Day Video Collective at DCAC (Facebook event)

Monday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.

DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW,  Washington, DC

Tickets: $8    Ticket reservations: 202-462-7833

After party to follow nearby. Contact us for information.

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