Author Archives: Rhea

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…

View original 858 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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!

2 Comments

Filed under DC, Events, Food writing

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under DC, Events, Food writing

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Food writing

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under DC, Events

Two new words for 2014

Photo by Flickr user miguelphotobooth.

If only a mind-reading device could read our feelings, too. Photo by Flickr user miguelphotobooth.

In 2013, the word “selfie” catapulted to fame. It happened organically at first, its usage jumping 17,000 percent in a single year, according to Oxford Dictionaries’ calculations. Then it happened officially, when that great keeper of human vocabulary declared “selfie” the Word of the Year.

Which word will light up the lexicon in 2014? That’s a tough call with so many months and pop culture phenomena still to come. I recently learned a couple of words I would like to share, though. Here goes:

Telempathy (n.) According to science writer Michael Chorost, telempathy is “the apprehension of another person’s feelings, rather than thoughts.”

As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading Chorost’s book World Wide Mind, and came across it there. This is a next step in interconnectedness begun by the Internet. We know the content of others’ thoughts through blogs and emails with astonishing speed. But what about the emotions behind them? That element lags behind, or never even makes it to the other side. Emoticons can only go so far.

A dose of telempathy would really come in handy for one of my email groups, not to mention Canadians.* Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Language, On media

Disconnect

sunrise

The sun rises near Rancho San Cosme in Baja California, Mexico.

In one of the first pre-dawns of 2014, I stood next to a handful of travelers and watched the sky. As I focused on the layers of stars, I saw meteors cascade one by one through the Baja night. The only sounds for minutes at a time were our gasps.

It was the end of a two-week bus tour along that western peninsula of Mexico, and that entire time I’d been without a computer. I wanted to bring my laptop, but logistical concerns mounted: Limited access to electrical outlets on the bus where we spent much of our time, the risk of damage or theft, few opportunities to connect to email or look up words and maps. So I left it. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel

Mandela and the media

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg in 2008. Photo from South Africa The Good News / http://www.sagoodnews.co.za, via Wikimedia Commons

There it is, on page A8 in the World section–the part I usually flip past between reading the headlines on the front page and the latest dish in Style.

That’s it: The miracle. That’s what I want to talk about, and will get to if you’ll indulge me for a minute. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under International, On media

Alternatives to Black Friday

A crowd shuffles into Target at the DCUSA mall in Columbia Heights. Photo by Gridprop on Wikimedia.

A crowd shuffles into Target at the DCUSA mall in Columbia Heights. Photo by Gridprop on Wikimedia.

Last week, an international student in my class declared that Thanksgiving is a terrible holiday — a time when people are killed.  “What do you mean?” I asked, madly searching for some explanation. I recalled that suicide rates spike during the winter holidays, but I didn’t think that was it.

The student then explained that she’d learned about the origins of Thanksgiving and how it arrived amidst a virtual genocide of indigenous Americans. The other students and I had to admit that was true. This mortality-Thanksgiving connection is, indeed, part of U.S. history. Then, as the discussion continued, another student helpfully pointed out that it wasn’t just a dark spot in our past.  In very recent memory, post-turkey shopping turned deadly.  It happened again last year. The international student wasn’t at all surprised.

“Will you have a chance to experience a Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S.?” we asked the foreigner. Perhaps. She’d been invited to one, but said she feared to venture out of her dorm room that day. The international student was only half kidding. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under DC, Events, International, Sustainability, Teaching