Far Away, So Local

I have a dour Norwegian pal from the North Pole named, coincidentally, Pål. (Pronounced “Paul”.) He’s about 7 feet tall and I knew him sometime before I ever saw him smile. He’s actually got a good sense of humor, and will laugh heartily when you get him going. But he’s just as likely to get teary telling you about the time back home when they watched a reindeer dying outside the living room window.

I had Pål and his now ex-wife (from Ireland) over for dinner one time. I can’t remember what I cooked — hopefully I didn’t try to be clever and make him Norwegian food (“You ever had lutefisk like that before, Pål!??”) When we have guests for dinner and they ask what they can bring, I’ll often suggest dessert — it’s not my favorite dish to prepare and that’s one less thing I have to think about. I will never forget what Pål brought us for dessert. More

Skinny Girls Roadshow: LIVE from Portland — The Yin of Blackberries & Yang of Foodcarts

It might be difficult for Northwesterners to believe that I once planted — intentionally! — a blackberry bush. It was small and anemic and cost $6. I found it a nice spot on the side of the chicken coop, dug a hole, settled it in, watered it lovingly… and forgot about it. A few months later I remembered and went to check on it, and all that was left was a little brittle stick.

Blackberries and cream for breakfast

I’m not sure why blackberries don’t do so well in Southern California. I suspect it has to do with the inherent dryness and lack of rainfall. They grow prolifically in Northern California. But in the Northwest, they are practically a plague. Indeed, I recall coming to my wife’s sister’s property more than a decade ago, before we were married, and nearly the entire four acres was one massive blackberry bramble. Delicious and romantic to the dusty Southern Californian, but a significant complication to the prospective home builder.