A House Is Not a Home

In February of 1976, after several years of living in the Carolinas and a memorable year or so in the midwest (a foreign country to my Southern sensibilities), my family finally moved permanently to Florida. We left our house in Westerville, OH and drove through a sleet storm until we crossed the bridge across the Ohio River into Covington, KY. The sun broke through the clouds for just a moment,...
read more

Cast Iron Chronicles: Black Beans and Rice

This Florida girl really feels sorry for non-Floridians who have never eaten Cuban food. Ropa vieja, lechón asado with lots of garlic, boliche, empanadas, maduros, dulce de leche, and, of course, pressed Cuban sandwiches with a side of black beans and rice. Although South Florida is best known for its vibrant Cuban community, we have pockets here and there in Central Florida and some excellent...
read more

Swamp Thing

  After a weekend in Sunny San Diego, mimi can’t begin to say how happy she is to be back in her Central Florida swamp. The first time I ever flew west, I spent much of the time with my forehead pressed to the window, watching the landscape change from brilliant Southern green to hard-baked desert brown. Florida and California may have palm trees and beaches in common, but that’s where the...
read more

mimi’s Black Magic Chili

Tonight is the church’s Halloween Hoedown and the return of the church-wide Chili Cookoff. If there’s one thing that’s pretty certain in church-related cooking contests, it’s that the Bero/Gaston women will do very well. Mama, aka Miss Carolyn, is famous for her homemade soups and ridiculously good pecan shortbread, while middle sis, Cigi, makes a chocolate thing so good...
read more

Stop the Insanity

It’s FCAT week in Florida, which means several things: A)vomiting elementary school students B)stressed-out high schoolers C)overtaxed teachers D)all of the above If you answered D, go to the head of the class. You see, when it’s standardized test week in the state of Florida, time slows (if not stops altogether), kids bail, and normally sane teachers kinda lose it a little. There’s just...
read more