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Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 in On the Basics | 0 comments

A Complete Guide to Sympathy Meals: Basics Part I

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 2.14.09 PM

Last time, we kicked off the Complete Guide to Sympathy Meals Series, and I wanted to start off with some basics. Of course, you can always just bring over a cake, but if you’re aiming to assemble a full meal, here’s a very short checklist of what you should plan for

  • A main entree with protein
  • A side or two (with at least one veggie)

It’s also nice to include

  • Bread or rolls
  • Dessert
  • Beverages (2-liters or a pitcher of tea) and ice, if needed

1) You don’t have to go it alone…go in with someone else. Stay tuned for a post on what to do if you can’t/don’t cook. You can still help out!

2) Ask when you should drop the meal off. If 2 p.m. is when they say, try to make it happen. Prepare your meal for storage and further preparation accordingly. Sometimes you’ll be able to whip in at 5:59 to put dinner for that night on the table at 6, but sometimes you won’t. Bonus points: If there is a new baby in the house, ask how you should announce your arrival. Banging on the door or ringing the bell are probably not good options…especially if there is a dog in the house.

3) Find out preferences
Plain (Please bring over 24 baked potatoes. Ring the doorbell, and leave them on the stoop.)
Healthy (Rabbit food only please)
Comfort food (Mac & Cheese & Eat my feelings & Please & Thank you)
Time of day (I’ve got 12 dinners lined up in a row, but I like to eat breakfast, too.)

4) Use dishware you don’t expect to get back (use disposable or thrifted)
Go the extra mile and bring disposable dishware and silverware to eat your meal on so that there is virtually no clean up.
However, you should know your recipient. If they’re a green-friendly-recycle-only-tree-hugging bunch, it’s probably best to stick to the thrifted casserole dish that you don’t care to get back and let them use their own real dishes and silverware.

5) Make it freezer friendly
Assemble the main dish with a note that says how to bake (today or tomorrow) or freeze for later
Bonus points if you make homemade freezer meals (well-balanced, single meal portions for one or two)

Next time, we’ll talk about how long you should stay. I have some pretty strong feelings about this, and I look forward to hearing what you think!

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Posted by on Jul 27, 2014 in eat/make/do | 2 comments

eat/make/do [3]: Summer in Nashville Edition

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While we’re talking about things to do in Nashville, I recently came across a few good posts with great Nashville eat/make/do round ups…well, mostly eat (this is a food blog, after all). If you’re looking to plan an adventure in Nashville this summer…check ’em out:

Planning a Bachelorette Weekend in Nashville and The Ultimate Nashville Vacation by Kristin / Camels & Chocolate

It doesn’t matter if you’re not actually a bachelorette or traveling to Nashville. Maybe it’s your birthday, and you live here. Kristin’s got you covered with all of the best places to go.

Best Breakfast In Nashville by Nashville Guru

And where to find Brunch on Saturday by Jessyly

12 Dishes That Define the New Nashville by Steve Cavendish / The Nashville Scene

Must Try Cooking Classes by Nashville Lifestyles

I was super bummed when I learned that Viking had closed. I have taken several classes there (even more than I’ve written about because hello, I had a baby), and I always enjoyed it. These look like great recommendations, and I hope I can check them out soon.

If you find yourself in need of some men’s fashion in Nashville. You have to check out Haymakers & Co. My friend Miranda has been busier than usual (she always goes at mach speed) working with a great team to make this new concept come to life. I’m so proud of her!


Have a great week!

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in On the Basics | 0 comments

A Complete Guide to Sympathy Meals

What is a sympathy meal? People usually bring the word sympathy out around funeral time, but if you look it up, its meaning is a little more broad:

1. feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

I’m sorry you are sick or mourning the loss of a loved one. Here’s some chicken noodle soup or a full BBQ spread to make you feel better.

2. understanding between people; common feeling.

I too know what it’s like to push a small human from one’s nethers. Please  accept this casserole and all of my love.


Are sympathy meals only a Southern thing? It feels like it to me, but I’m Southern so who knows? It’s definitely not a Norwegian thing. What do you think?



I’ve been ruminating on a sympathy meal post for a while. I’m not really sure what put it on my mind, but once I started writing out my thoughts I had several pages worth of information and decided it would be better to spread it over a few posts…a series, if you will.

You may have already read some good tips out there for preparing this type of meal. Here is a great post about it. And another. I’ve gathered up the definition, the basics, a few extensions on those guidelines, and a few more things you might not have thought of. Thanks for allowing me to define the art of the sympathy meal for you. Stay tuned for the rest of the tips…coming soon!

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Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Come Together | 2 comments

Our Day on Nolensville Road


My bounty from Our Day on Nolensville Road

I’ve been wanting to check out the food culture on Nolensville Road in Nashville for a while. Last weekend, I finally got the chance along with my friend Marie and our sons, and it was a lot of fun…and very tasty, too. We went to four markets and enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Azadi International Food


I learned about Azadi on a recent Bizarre Foods America episode featuring Nashville spots. The primary culture in this store is Kurdish, as we learned from speaking to the woman in the bakery. I called them because I couldn’t find their hours anywhere, and they’re open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturdays.

Video tour of Azadi (it repeats toward the end)

The highlight of this market was the bakery. It was a very up-close-and-personal space. It felt like we were “in the back” with the ladies (and one guy) as they kneaded and baked the bread. There was literally flour stacked to the ceiling, and a cool oven with fire up both sides. We purchased a half dozen football-shaped loaves, and they were still warm. They were incredibly delish! The woman who packaged them for us suggested toppings peanut butter and jelly, but we ate the majority of them straight up or as cinnamon toast (with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar).

After the bakery, we walked each aisle taking in the freezer section, the meat department, the produce section, and the interior aisles with lots of spices and interesting canned goods. I bought some tahini (sesame seed butter) to try…you can use it almost like peanut butter, and it’s a staple ingredient of hummus. This recipe caught my eye this week, too.


K & S World Market


Top: We took turns taking pics with the boys and our carts.

Bottom (L to R): Marie poses with food she’s most familiar with (Lays chips). Marie displays something we’ve never seen before: a chocolate mixer. Stacks of rice in large bags – many types to choose from.

There is no primary culture in this store. It is truly an international market…every aisle features an new type of cuisine. It was a great experience overall, however, my only negative about this store (that I hope was a fluke on the day we visited) was an unpleasant odor in the produce section, which was in the front door. My eyes wanted to look at the expanse of fresh veggies, but my nose said “get the heck out of here.” Interestingly, the bustling fish market located inside smelled better. There were huge creatures in tanks, crabs and crawfish inside boxes moving around, and several aisles of refrigerated cases full of sea life. There were some unique and beautiful fish for sale there. I got some noodles, fresh corn tortillas, a sushi mat and rice paddle, hot sauces (including sriracha), and sesame oil. There were many kinds of rice and soda to peruse. The customers were as varied as the food inside.


International Farmers Market


This was probably my favorite store. It is an international market so a lot of cultures are represented, but I observed a strong presence of Mexican and Korean influence. Not surprisingly, there was a great fresh produce selection. I got dark red beets, a package of white and purple “beets” that I believe were actually turnips, and Japanese sweet potatoes with purple skin and white flesh. E liked them! The store was clean and organized, and the cashier was nice and chatty.


Patel Brothers


Patel Brothers didn’t open until 10:30 a.m. so it was our last shopping stop. It’s hard to miss the big green signage out front. There was a nice produce section in this store. I especially enjoyed looking through the spices, dried beans/legumes, and various flours here. It was a very neat and orderly, and the white shelving reminded me of being in Ikea. I purchased some cumin, and I look forward to using is as it’s one of my favorite flavors to cook with. It was probably the smallest store, and it was easy to get in and out quickly as we were ready for lunch.


Shish Kabob


While we had the restaurant to ourselves, it was delicious lunch with good service. We were served soft pita wedges with a cilantro and feta salad. Marie and the boys had chicken kabobs with rice and cucumber and tomato salad. I found their kid’s menu items refreshing. There were a few healthy options as well as some more “American” choices for the less-adventurous eater. I had a falafel plate that was very tasty. My son really liked it as well. We ended up sharing each other’s plates. The boys played (the rules state that a friend’s toy is much better than your own), and we took selfies. It was a fun time.



Photo credit: Nana

After lunch, we capped off the day with lap around the flea market (this is where the cow balloon hat comes in). It was a great way to spend a beautiful day in Nashville.

If you would like to plan a day like ours, here are few of the resources we used. There were many other places to explore, and I’d welcome the opportunity to spend another day on “The Road.” Let me know if you go!

The Road: A User’s Guide [Eating Our Way Down Nolensville Pike]

Best of Nashville’s Ethnic Eats

Alimentum Eat and Greet Tours (scroll down to Nolensville Rd. Tour with video)

A Handy Guide to Bizarre Foods’ Nashville Stops

Thanks to our friends for sharing this adventure and their photos with us!

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