Awful or Offal?

Dear Kid,

There was a small problem with conversation the other night.

Use your heart, your brain, your liver, your stomach, whatever you want to figure out what offal is... DearKidLoveMom.comThere was confusion about the difference between awful and offal. (Pronounced about the same, as different in meaning as the spelling. Except for some people who think they are exactly the same.)

So first the definition. Offal refers to the internal organs and entrails of an animal. So pretty much everything that isn’t bone or muscle.

Now before you stop reading and start yelling at me, some kinds of offal and its dishes are considered seriously yummy cuisine. Think foie gras, pâté, chopped liver, or sweetbread.

Iron Chef Michael Symon is known for liking offal.

I am not Iron Chef Michel Symon.

Love, Mom

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Pretty Perfect Pancake Panache

Dear Kid,

One meal. Five pancakes. Pretty much sufficient for the entire day.

We had breakfast (or possibly breakfastlunchdinnerandallthesnacksinbetween) at Nashville’s Pancake Pantry.

The pancakes came out and I ate myself happy...and I may not eat again until next Wednesday. DearKidLoveMom.comThey have a sign at the Pancake Pantry that says “Calories eaten outside your zip code don’t count.” How can you not love these people?

In order to eat at the Pancake Pantry, you have to wait. There’s pretty much no place to wait inside and fortunately the weather cooperated. (That was pretty much the theme of the weekend—weather threat offset by weather cooperating. When you think about it, that’s a great theme.)

The Pancake Pantry is known for—wait for it—pancakes. They are known for spectacular buttermilk pancakes made with a super-secret flour and for sweet potato pancakes. How to choose, how to choose? Easy. I didn’t. I had them split my order half and half.

And then ate myself happy.

Skipped lunch, had some salad for dinner, and may not eat until next Wednesday.

I really hope they’re right about the calories.

Love, Mom

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We Were Hungry Because It Was Us | Portia’s Cafe to the Rescue

We Were Hungry Because It Was Us | Portia’s Cafe to the Rescue

Dear Kid,

The things we do for our children…

…which lead to Great Adventure and Dinner.

So there we were, Pi and I, in Mansfield, OH (home of nothing) long enough to fill up the car with gas and turn around. And—not surprisingly—we were hungry, what with it being 7pm and more importantly being us.

“There’s a German restaurant at the next exit.”


“Yeah, I don’t care much for the idea of German food either. OK. Let’s see…” and I put the Google machine to work.

It will not stun you to learn that My Friend the Internet came through for me, and Pi and I proceeded to somewhere in North Columbus where we found Portia’s Café right where the Internet said it would be.

This is a picture of Portia (right) and her sister (whose name I forgot to ask in the excitement of meeting Portia herself. (Sorry, Sister.)

This is a picture of Portia (right) and her sister (whose name I forgot to ask in the excitement of meeting Portia herself. (Sorry, Sister.)

Portia’s is vegan, mostly gluten-free, stunningly amazing café. I wish we lived closer (an hour and a half for dinner is a bit much, but if I’m in the area, don’t even ask if I want to try someplace else).

Pi and I had raw falafel for starters. Because I’m not a food critic, I can’t possibly do it justice. Let’s just go with “yum”. Then Pi had a quesadilla and I had their beet salad special (just a side order which turned out to be enough to feed all of Montana).

Pi and I had a great dinner at Portia's Cafe.

I had to just stick with only having a side salad, because DESSERT!!!!

This is a picture from Portia’s Café’s website because I didn’t think about taking photos until we’d devoured our food. I hope they don’t mind. Because as good as this berry-berry-mango cheezecake looks, it tasted even better. “Divine” comes to mind and is immediately overruled by “Yummmmmmmmm.”

Berry Berry Mango Cheezecake at Portia's Cafe. Yum!

Berry Berry Mango Cheezecake at Portia’s Cafe. Yum!

We also had a citrus parfait that didn’t taste anything like I expected it to, but was delish in its own way.

Shoutout to the waitress/front of the house expert (I can say front of the house like I know what I’m talking about because I watch useful shows like Restaurant Impossible and learn these things). She goes to UC and gave me a to-go cup for coffee. Extra points.

If you want to know more, go look them up. Then go eat there. Not you, kiddo, because you aren’t close, but people who are even vaguely proximate should.

Love, Mom

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April 26 National Pretzel Day

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there were no pretzels. This was a problem for the mustard industry and the chocolate covered pretzel industry, so in the year 610 some monks came to the rescue. They took some leftover dough, and shaped it to look like children’s arms resting across their chests, baked, and handed them out as treats to kids who learned their prayers properly. These “little rewards” were called “pretiola” which is Italian for “this will be a winner in the snack food industry.”

Another reason pretzels might have their iconic shape is so that bakers could hang them on sticks for efficient storage. DearKidLoveMom.comNot only were pretzels (probably) invented by monks, they are also associated with religion because they are egg-free and dairy-free which made them excellent for Lent. So when you eat pretzels, you can feel pious and very virtuous.

Pretzels without salt are called “baldies.” They are my personal favorite.

In the late 12th century (which is before I was born), the pretzel became the symbol for the baker’s guild. Apparently, making a flawless pretzel was the pinnacle of baking achievement and one could not be considered a master baker until one perfected the art. This is ridiculous since everyone knows that the epitome of baking is creating the perfect New York bagel.

Do you know why we say people tie the knot when they get married? Pretzels. (Seriously.) In Switzerland, newlyweds traditionally break a pretzel on their wedding day for good luck. Don’t laugh—at least you can eat a broken pretzel.

The original pretzels were of the soft pretzel variety. Hard pretzels were created in the 1660s when an apprentice pretzel baker fell asleep and overbaked a batch of pretzels. Which turned out to be a good thing for those of us who like to crunch things.

The world’s largest pretzel weighed 842 lbs. It was 26.8 feet long and 10.2 feet wide. I cannot even image the amount of dipping sauce necessary.

Americans eat around two pounds of pretzels each year, but Philadelphians eat an average of twelve pounds per year. Pennsylvanians also manufacture most of the US pretzels. It’s probably something in the water.

Happy National Pretzel Day!

Love, Mom

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Earth Day, Sneakers, Food Trucks, and Take a Chance Day

Dear Kid,

Happy Earth Day Weekend! (Here’s the Absolutely Accurate History of Earth Day in case you’ve forgotten.)

Hope you enjoyed your Mud Run yesterday (certainly one way to celebrate Earth Day is getting some Earth all over you).

Dad and I went to the big Earth Day festival (which has now conveniently moved from Sawyer Park to Blue Ash’s Summit Park—yay!). It was a cold-ish day (ah, April) but we had fun wandering around, visiting the booths, talking to people, and sitting on the big adult swings eating food truck lunch.

Then we bought me sneakers. You’d think (for someone as skilled in the shoe shopping arena as I am) that buy sneakies would be easy. You would be wrong in that assumption. I don’t know why, but I stress about buying sneakers. Maybe it’s because they are more function than form? I’m not sure. But the lovely people at Fleet Feet were kind enough to help find shoes for my decidedly un-fleet feet.

Unless you’ve been thinking about something stupid like eating oatmeal and BBQ potato chips for dinner in which case forget I mentioned it. DearKidLoveMom.comBy the way, today is Take A Chance Day. So if there’s something you’ve been thinking about, today might be the day to move forward. Unless you’ve been thinking about something stupid like eating oatmeal and BBQ potato chips for dinner in which case forget I mentioned it.

Love, Mom

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