fridee music - armageddon playlist

sweating responsibly (for you and the planet)

Greeeeat. Now they're saying that a lot of the athletic apparel fabrics we have been wearing, specifically the kinds that claim to wick away moisture and keep us dry, contain toxins that our skin absorbs. It makes perfect sense when I think about it. Our skin is our largest organ and we are wearing this clothing while it is, by all accounts, a sweaty sponge. We all know that cotton is good for just about everything but exercising (I've heard some serious outdoors-men and women refer to it as the "fabric of death"), so over the years I've come to rely on my Nike Dri Fit and Under Armour gear. And, if you're like me you have never been much of a sweat-er, then you turned 30 and, well...

Fortunately, a few companies out there are making use of what's available to us here on our fine planet and developed some great, natural fiber athletic apparel. One of my favorite "fabrics" for working out is merino wool. Here is a great write-up on why "All you need is wool", from Rivenndell Bicycle Works' awesome website.

I have to make the disclaimer that one of my best friends works for Ibex, and recently opened their flagship store here in Boston. Still, I have to say, their products are absolutely beautiful, well-cut, and comfortable, and they work. I ran a race in 35 degree weather in October wearing only the Woolies crew under the Zephyr zip up. I was totally warm, comfortable and dry. I also think that Ibex's products are great looking and function as nice layers even if you aren't exercising. And as a tall person, I love that they are cut longer. I have yet to wear any of their merino wool t-shirts or tanks for yoga or to run on a warm day (it feels weird to even type that), but you have to figure that if this is the same stuff that keeps sheep warm in the winter and cool in the summer, it should work for us, too. Here are a few of my favorite Ibex picks.

Another company that uses not only merino wool but bamboo, is New Zealand-based Icebreaker. I may have to order some of these tops. I love these colors and think that v-neck tops are flattering and can make you feel sexy when you're working out. There's nothing wrong with a little sweat shimmering on your chest when you're at the gym. Yep, I said it.

Alo makes a lot of their clothes with recycled material like bamboo. I got this great Alo pullover at City Sports not too long ago, and they have some other nice things on their website like this yoga top. It is made from 67% bamboo, and I think the color and cut are really pretty.

Hope you do something that makes you sweat this weekend!


funny pens

For as long as I can remember I've had a weird fetish for good, juicy pens. I've been known to take them from restaurants and hotels and hospitals, but I'm proud to say I've only once been caught in the act. This is a favorite that I've had for years. 

 How very cute of them to try to discourage patrons from taking their pens (good effort).

So I had to laugh when I saw these pens on the Paper Source website. Even I would have to think twice about taking any of these. Too bad they're out of stock!



I often cringe when I hear the term "style icon", but if I had to pick one, Frida Kahlo would be at the top of my list. One can't help but admire her for her independent spirit, grit, talent and, of course, unique sense of style. This is not to say that I dress like her on a daily basis, though don't you think the world would be a better place if we all wore this much color and pattern?

 Images from "Nunca Te Olvidaré" by Nikolas Muray
Still, I have enough eclectic pieces of clothing and jewelry to pull together a Frida costume for Halloween in minutes, and have dressed like her several times over the years.

That's why I was so thrilled to see this tutorial on "Frida Kahlo style" hair on one of my favorite blogs, Compai. Frida herself had miles of thick hair, much, much more than I have, but I tried this using a long scarf last night, and it worked. It's so simple and pretty, I'm not even going to wait until Halloween to wear my hair like this.



This is a bit of a dumbed-down version of tzatziki because I just happened to grab all of these items at the market. Only later did I realize that I had most of the ingredients for this traditional Greek dip. It often calls for some kind of onion (usually shallot) or garlic, and I've seen it prepared with vinegar instead of lemon. This one was light, super tangy, and perfect with warm pita.


1 pint Greek yogurt
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, chopped or grated
2 tsp chopped dill
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve.


good, simple design

My Bodum French press and I are not on speaking terms. He's just been really gritty and bitter lately and I've had it. I think I'm going to send for one of these beautiful Chemex coffeemakers. I love its simple design with the wood collar and leather ties. It also looks like a breeze to clean.

Here's wishing you a caffeinated weekend.

lloyd dobler, please step aside.

I'm sure this is just New England news, but please observe how one sweet Connecticut high school senior invited a girl to the prom.

While we should all applaud such an expressive gesture (from a high school boy and his FRIENDS, at that!), his school has punished him by suspending him for a day and banning him from attending the prom! What is wrong with the world..

The silver lining? Thinking of how many kids will try to one-up him next year.

james beard wrap-up

Earlier this week, The James Beard Foundation bestowed its highest honors on a variety of food industry professionals. From the JBF website itself, the awards are described as "the Oscars of the food world," and are "the country’s most coveted honor for chefs; food and beverage professionals; broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food; and restaurant architects and designers."

I, for one, am especially interested in learning more about the Journalism award recipients, and look forward to adding some of these people to my reader. One name I did recognize was LA Weekly's food critic, Jonathan Gold who won the Distinguished Writing award! His restaurant reviews no longer apply to me since I moved back to Boston, but I've been listening to him for years as a featured guest on KCRW's Good Food, hosted by another one of my favorite food people, Evan Kleiman.

Here is the full list of JBF winners. Have you eaten at any of these restaurants, cooked from any of these books, or otherwise experienced the work of any of the following culinary winners?

Best new restaurant: ABC Kitchen in New York, Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Outstanding chef: Jose Andres, Minibar by Jose Andres in Washington, D.C.
Outstanding pastry chef: Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park in New York
Outstanding restaurant: Eleven Madison Park in New York, Owner: Danny Meyer
Outstanding service: Per Se in New York, Chef/Owner: Thomas Keller
Rising star chef of the year: Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon in Portland, Ore.

Cookbook Hall of Fame: "On Food and Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee
Baking and dessert: "Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours" by Kim Boyce
Beverage: "Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals" by Jordan Mackay and Rajat Parr
General cooking: "The Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century" by Amanda Hesser
Healthy Focus: "The Simple Art of EatingWell Cookbook" by Jessie Price & the EatingWell Test Kitchen
Reference and scholarship: "Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes" by Mark Bitterman
Single subject: "Meat: A Kitchen Education" by James Peterson
Writing and literature: "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" by Paul Greenberg

Audio webcast or radio show: CBC Ideas: "Pasta: The Long and Short of It"
TV food personality/host: Alton Brown
TV program (in studio or fixed location): "Top Chef: Season 7"
TV program (on location): "Avec Eric" (Host — Eric Ripert)
TV special/documentary: "Milk War"

Publication of the Year Award: Edible Communities
Cooking, recipes or instruction: Amy Thielen, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "A Good Catch," "Low-Tech Wonder," "From the Bean Patch: Plenty"
Food culture and travel: Rick Bragg, Francine Maroukian and Robb Walsh, Garden & Gun: "The Southerner's Guide to Oysters"
Food-related columns and commentary: Tim Carman, Washington City Paper: "Ignore the Pizza Police," "Supply and Da Men," "Schmeer Campaign"
Food section of a general interest publication: San Francisco Chronicle
Group food blog: Grub Street New York
Health and nutrition: Rachael Moeller Gorman, EatingWell: "Captain of the Happier Meal"
Individual food blog: Politics of the Plate, Politicsoftheplate.com by Barry Estabrook
M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award: Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly: "A Movable Beast"
Multimedia food feature: Michael Gebert and Julia Thiel, The Chicago Reader, Key Ingredient: "Kluwak Kupas," "Chinese Black Beans," "Geraniums"
Personal essay: Tom Junod, Esquire: "My Mom Couldn't Cook"
Wine and spirits: Jon Fine, Food & Wine: "Natural Wine: Weird or Wonderful?"


the blogger formerly known as..

birch hill kid

I have decided to combine my two blogs. I started a generous pour as a purely food-focused offshoot of birch hill kid, and while food remains my #1 passion, lately I've been inspired to talk about other topics such as home design, fashion, music and art. I make no claim to be a Renaissance woman, but my interests are far too broad to be restricted to any one category. I think that a generous pour embodies that, and I hope you enjoy what you read here, in whichever genre it falls.



A few days ago I was browsing the sale section on CB2.com and spotted this neat pillow. They call it "la bicicleta" and I can't help but feel that it was inspired by the art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The only reason I am acquainted with Hundertwasser's work is because my parents bought two of his woodblock prints in the 70s, a big investment for them at the time. During my childhood, these prints hung in our family room, and for most of my life I thought they were strange and psychedelic and had no place in my family's traditional home.

Spectacles in the Small Face

When I was studying abroad in Europe in college, I found myself in Vienna at Kunst Haus Vien, a building co-designed by Hundertwasser which now houses a great deal of his incredible art and furniture. I remember calling my parents to tell them that I finally "got it".  At the museum store I bought as many small books and postcards as I could fit in my bag. Just months after I was in Vienna, I read that Hundertwasser had died.

Blob Grows in Beloved Gardens

Recently, after years of begging, my parents allowed me to take one of the prints home to hang in my apartment (see Spectacles above). Even though my parents still treasure it, it no longer "works" with my mother's design aesthetic. Make no mistake, it is most certainly "on loan". But I know they are glad that I can appreciate it now, and every time I walk in the door and see it, it makes me happy.

It also makes me want to invest in art. Perhaps something by a lesser known artist that I can treasure for years to come.

Endless Way to You is my favorite Hundertwasser painting, and I must have stared at for 20 minutes when I saw it in Vienna. This one has a special place in my heart as I once logged many hours behind the wheel of a car during a long-distance relationship. I really love the detail of the windshield wipers.

Endless Way to You

The Pucker Gallery right here in Boston has a great selection of Hundertwasser's work if you're in the market for an original.  Or if you'd like to see more, go here.


happy mother's day..

..to my beautiful, generous, talented, kindhearted, forgiving, tough, and irreplaceable Mum.  I am quite sure she knows how much I love her, but I'm going to tell her a few extra times today.


fridee music

from me to me

There are times when it's just nice to treat yourself to a little something special. I've been admiring Clare Vivier's super soft, richly-colored leather clutches for a while now, so when I read on her blog that she was selling her cognac-colored fold-over clutch at a significant discount, I pulled the trigger and ordered one. And oh, how happy I am that I did! It is even nicer than I expected, so timeless and beautifully made.

I'm looking forward to carrying my new bag this weekend. That is, as long as the rain holds off.



Check out the lentil sprouts that have been growing on my windowsill since last week! I really can't believe how easily and quickly these little buggers turned from hard, brown beans to crunchy, green treats.

I have always liked sprouts, but generally don't buy them at the store because they can be pretty pricey and spoil quickly. Also, a few years back I read something that said they have high bacteria levels because it's hard for packagers to clean them thoroughly. A very healthy friend of my mother's suggested I try sprouting with one of these bags, but I was a bit intimidated by the various sprouting "systems" and worried about finding a place to hang/drain the bags.  I have a very small kitchen, after all.

Then I saw this post on one of my favorite blogs, Honest Fare, and I was encouraged to try sprouting on my own using mason jars. Gabrielle's instructions couldn't have been easier, and I followed them to the letter. After soaking the lentils over night and rinsing them well, I filled each jar about 1/3 of the way full of the beans, making sure there wasn't too much water left so they wouldn't get funky. Then I covered the jars with cheese cloth and a tight rubber band and set them on my windowsill. By the next morning I started to see the first signs that the lentils were sprouting. It was like a science experiment, and would be a fun activity to do with a child as it could really get kids excited about eating these strange little, nutty worms! Each morning and night, I rinsed the jars with clean water several times, letting the water drain out completely before I placed them back in my window. And that was it!

I just ate a delicious salad of arugula, sprouts, red pepper, quinoa, green onion and avocado, served with Gwyneth Paltrow's delicious "Standby Vinaigrette" from her new cookbook. If I could digress for a moment, I highly recommend you buy or at least flip through this lovely book. Say what you will about Gwyneth, after reading this cookbook, which is equal parts a memoir, it's impossible to deny that she is a creative, talented, and down-to-earth woman. She's also quite funny and I think would make an entertaining dining companion. A shout-out to my big sis for presenting this cookbook to me on my birthday last week!

Have you ever tried sprouting at home? Am I really late to the party here? Later today I'm bringing the smaller jar of sprouts to someone who I know will appreciate them.. my mother!