Thankful for the Columbus Museum of Art

by Kate Djupe

The pre-kid versions of Paul & Kate thought we would have kids and they would join us on all of our trips to important places: museums, restaurants, shows, and mountaintops. 

Art Institute, Chicago, IL

When our kids were born, we managed to make it to all of these places (and more!). We were so proud and righteous!

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Clarification: we were able to do this while we had one kid and he was tiny.

Art Institute, Chicago, IL

Once we had two kids and they were more whiny than tiny, our adventures shifted to loud, active, dirty, outdoor pursuits. Now that our boys are loud and vibrating with energy and now that we are aware of our parental limits, we don't make it to those amazing places nearly as much as we had hoped.

Space Needle, Seattle, WA (right before we got in trouble)

In part, this is because it is a lot of work to make their big personalities fit into those fine places comfortably and respectfully.

Field Museum, Chicago, IL

And it is exhausting to find opportunities to say "yes" when the rules are so dependent on control of one's body.

the water fountain near the bathrooms at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA 

Basically, it costs real money to take a family of four somewhere; enough money that it doesn't feel okay to leave when things are just not working.

Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, MA

This is why I love love love free admission Sundays at the Columbus Museum of Art.

We have taken the boys to the that museum two times in as many months. We have plans to go back next month.

We haven't lasted longer than forty five minutes yet and that is okay. It matters to me that my family made it. We saw some things and used our minds. We interacted with the art in thoughtful ways (because CMA is pretty amazing in this way).

And we even found some ways to get the energy out while we there.

An entire room of yes at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH

All of that in less than an hour! For free!

I am over the moon excited that we can socialize our kids with small visits to important places! And I feel righteous now that museums are not just for dates any more.

A photography promise

by Kate Djupe

I believe that I have taken photos of everything in my kids' lives:
toys, art, activities, smiles,
food, ideas, favorites, developments,
playing with their dad, friends, and cousins,
temper tantrums, discoveries, holidays and every days.
Do you know what I don't have? Photos of me. Photos of us. 

Have you seen the family portraits by Diego Goldberg?  Every year, on his wedding anniversary, he takes a close up, black and white portrait of every member of his family. I don't know this family and I have studied their progression through the years. Personally, I've managed to take a close up portrait of my kids almost every month of their entire lives. It is amazing to scroll through those months and see their faces change. I wonder what it would be like to see Paul that way. Or *gulp* myself.

I don't have very many photos from my own childhood that are of my parents. I can flip through the mental catalog of each one that was taken, that is how few there are and how frequently and completely I have studied them.
I wonder if my kids will go looking for evidence of me in photos. Will they know me and not just the fuzzy edges of who I was?
If I only keep the ones where I have managed to look put together, my face angled so that my nose is not too prominent, and my body positioned so that I do not look too out of shape, will they recognize me in their memories? 
Will they understand that normal can be beautiful and familiar? 

I want to be present in my kids' history but I also want to be present in my own. I want to be able to look back at photos from this time, when I was still young (or at least not very old) and capable. I want to see my own before and after and before and after photo. I want to see my ponytail at all ages.
So, I am going to do this. I'm going to get on the other side of the camera, and even harder, I am not going to delete every photo of me. Game on.
 (While this post was inspired by my kids, my memories and my photo archives and Diego Goldberg, the topic is fresh in my mind because of this link shared by this mom.)


Jackfruit: the other white meat (ish sort of fruit)

by Kate Djupe

When Paul & I were on our first or second date, I told him about my dreams of opening a butcher shop. He told me about his life as a vegan. Clearly, we were destined to marry. 

It's almost a decade later and we have both regressed to the mean in that, I don't really cook or eat meat at home (it is silly to cook meat for just one person; especially when our meals at home are complete and tasty without) and he eats butter and cheese and eggs (so he is now a vegetarian) and sometimes, when the atmospheric pressure is just so, and we are going to specific restaurants & food trucks, on rare occasions, when the planets arrange themselves in a certain formation, he sometimes sort of eats some fish sometimes (a reluctant pescatarian, perhaps?).

I have said it many times, but it is easier to be with a vegan or vegetarian or pescatarian that loves really good food than it ever was to date an Applebee's loving meat eater. 

We have learned a lot from each other about how to play with food and care about our ingredients and experiment with new flavors and textures and styles. In other words, we have found a way to eat really really well.

Unripe jackfruit is just one of the secrets. It does not suffer from the major failure of most vegetarian substitutes for meat: texture. Other claims that you will not believe until you actually eat it:

  • it is not bizarrely sweet
  • it doesn't have a funk to it
  • it actually does fool meat eaters
  • it is ridiculously cheap (less than $2 for several servings)
  • it makes good leftovers
  • it is delicious
  • it is easy to prepare. No really. This is what you do:

Buy a can of unripe jackfruit from an Indian grocery store or Amazon. It looks like this:

  • Drain off the liquid and lay the jackfruit in a single layer on a towel to soak up most moisture.
  • Fry the jackfruit in oil until lightly browned in the gills and edges (about 1-3 minutes depending on how hot the oil is).
  • Let jackfruit dry and cool on paper towels (if you are preparing ahead of time, this is where you would stop your prep)
  • Heat your sauce (bbq, masala, curry, etc).
  • Add jackfruit to warm/hot sauce and simmer for about five minutes.
  • This can be served with knife and fork or you can "pull" the jackfruit into shreds

Here are just two things we have done with jackfruit this week:

BBQ picnic bites


photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Brewery Food Experiments Flickr account 

On Sunday, my husband and I competed in the smoke themed Food Experiment. We had to prepare one bite of smoky food for 200-300 people. We finished our jackfruit with a smoked BBQ sauce and pulled into shreds with two forks. We served with a red potato, chive aioli, garlic scape pickles and some minature chaat.

Bahn Mi - a pretty kick ass vegetarian version

And for every lunch since, we have filled a toasted bolillo (from Panaderia Guadalupana) or baguette with:

  • a smear of mayo or aioli
  • sliced cucumbers
  • salted tomatoes
  • thinly sliced shallots
  • serrano peppers slices
  • avocado
  • quick daikon and carrot pickle
  • soy sauce with crushed, dried chipotle peppers (although, if you are an omnivore or pescatarian, I cannot recommend nuoc cham enough) 
  • BBQ pulled jackfruit, warmed in a saute pan (adding just a little water if it isn't saucy enough).

But don't stop with BBQ pulled jackfruit! Add it whole to Indian masalas, Thai curries, Italian marinaras, sweet corn puree with some red bell peppers and ricotta salata over some buttermilk biscuits... well, you get the picture. I've been dreaming of a shredded jackfruit pot pie - I am not sure how well it bakes but this experiment is in my future. 

Go on. Stop looking at me. Go. Play. 

Smoke: A Food Experiment

by Kate Djupe

For years, I have tolerated smoky foods more than I have liked them.

That made my entry into a competition based on smoky foods all the more curious.

But then today, while sitting downwind from the grill at Los Potosinos while they were finishing their amazing pollo al carbon, I realized my mouth was salivating, my stomach was growling and I couldn't concentrate on anything going on around me. The smoke that I was bathing in was having a profound effect on me.

Smoke stimulates my appetite. Quite effectively, too. Who knew? (Fine. Anyone besides cavemen and the billions of humans that came after them to light a fire?)

Acknowledging this feels like I have broken down a wall because now that I am not saying "I don't like eating charcoal", I can recall some really incredible bites of food and sips of beers & cocktails that have been smoky. Perhaps I didn't think of them as smoky before this because they were also tangy or spicy or chocolate-y or herbaceous or just more complex.

So my views on smoke have evolved in the lead up to Sunday's Food Experiment: Columbus. Now I think of smoke much like I do spiciness. Too much of either creates an unpalatable flat note in the mouth that would leave only die hards going back for a second bite. Just the right balance elevates a good bite into something that leaves me, and hopefully you, wanting another and another.

If you aren't convinced, come to Skully's on Sunday afternoon to find out.

And because my sous chef/husband has also had a profound effect on the evolution of my culinary beliefs, vegetarians will be welcome at our table!


by Kate Djupe

I never gave jellyfish a thought beyond the typical foul things you think about something that just stung your legs while you were trying to have fun in the sun. 

And then I went to the Jellies exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium and was completely hypnotized by the blobs. The Shedd did an amazing job with the curation (is that what it is called when the thing being described is a living creature?) because I found myself actually reading the writing on the walls.

Here are the three things I will think of when I hear "jellyfish":

1. Researchers study how jellies swim in order to learn more about how the human heart pumps blood. (They also think that jellyfish make the ocean flow)

2. There are jellyfish bigger than a grown human (don't trust the first images in that google search; snopes says no to those) but trusted sources (National Geographic, for one) confirm that there are jellyfish BIGGER THAN PEOPLE.

3. Jellyfish thrive in polluted waters.

Peeing on a sting should no longer be the first thing that comes to mind when I hear "jellyfish". 

Baking lessons

by Kate Djupe

I had my second baking lesson last night. 

I loved everything about it (the feel of dough! the smell of bread! the sound of giggling!)and will surely share much of what I learned in time.

In the mean time, here are three new to me things:

A distillation experiment! I don't think I am sophisticated enough to truly appreciate what Dave is doing with whisky... yet. There is hope for me though, I just know it.


The reason behind the whole evening:

I am trying to remember all of the lessons and tips on docking, resting time, proofing, baking, shaping, etc that Dave gave me because I want every loaf to turn out as delicious as this one did.


And these special treats to get me through the proofing time for that bread:

These pistachio-almond pavés from  Pâtisserie Lallier made me so very happy (so did the pistachio/dark chocolate macarons)!  Check out Michelle's facebook page for information about where the goodies can be found or how to place an order (like I did).