This Saturday, seven new D.C. bands with names like King Donut and the Road Sodas, IRL Stine and Jerkhole will take the stage at St. Stephen’s Church. For all the bands on the lineup, it’ll be their first gig, and probably also their last.
The randomly formed groups — composed of both seasoned musicians and newbies — have been playing together for a little more than two months as part of Hat Band, a project devised by Shira Mario, a library associate at D.C. Public Library.
Read on in Bandwidth
In spring when we're craving the taste of fresh fruit, but still waiting for early strawberries and rhubarb to ripen, I like to opt for desserts made with jam. They offer a great opportunity to use up the stock of last summer's preserves, work well with frozen berries and, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some spring fruit, you can use it in a quick jam. Baked goods with jam are also perfect for the tea party occasions spring offers: Easter, Mother's Day and Mem`orial Day. Though earlier in the season, the featured dessert of Purim–hamentashen–also features the pairing of pastry and preserves.
Read on in Edible DC
On Saturday evening, I found myself in a white-out blizzard, driving up steep and curvy West Virginia back roads. Normally, I would have admitted defeat and turned back. But I kept going, propelled up the mountain by thoughts of the unique Mardi Gras foods and festivities that awaited me in an improbable-seeming Swiss village at top.
Helvetia, population 59, is an incongruous place — an Alpine village nestled in the isolated wilderness of West Virginia. It was settled in 1869 by Swiss craftsmen drawn by the large tracts of cheap land, beautiful mountains and plentiful forests of game. The town is situated along the Buckhannon River in a high mountain valley, and as I was reminded on my drive, is not very easy to get to.
Read on via NPR
Here at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, we have a meta-foodways tradition. Whenever a staff member travels to an interesting place—whether foreign or to their hometown, it is customary to bring back a traditional food item to share with the office. News of a shared treat generally comes by way of an inter-office email: “The Original Derby Pie brought back from my home state of Kentucky, now in the kitchen while supplies last,” it might read, or “Back from Jakarta, I offer Bangkit Jaghe (a spicy ginger cookie) from Macassar in South Sulawesi.” We’ve had kiffles from Hungary,ampelmännchen gummis from East Germany, and a favorite: peanut butter-filled taffy chews from a third-generation Bakersfield, California, confectionery company.
Read on in Talk Story
While I love the ritual of sitting down to a pie with a group of friends and family, hand pies are a more personalized treat and offer the ability to take and eat on the go. This is the reason pastys—a variety of hand pies— became popular among Cornish miners, as they could take the pastries to work and enjoy a complete meal without the need for utensils.
Served for holiday feasts, hand pies present a different take on the classic pie, and can be served not just in the dessert course, but throughout the meal. These Cranberry Hand Pies, made with a quick cranberry jam, can be made more savory with the addition of goat cheese—making them ideal for appetizers or dessert, while the Pear, Gruyère, and Caramelized Onion Hand Pies make a lovely accompaniment to a main course.
Read on in Edible DC
Ten years have passed since my first visit to Canterbury Shaker Village, but walking again past the apple trees and old wooden buildings, I’m struck by the same feeling. In this small settlement nestled among New Hampshire’s green, rolling hills, a serenity seeps into my bones and muscles, compelling me to walk slowly, deliberately, with reverence. The Shakers believed they were creating and living in a heaven on earth, and that belief feels tangible here, a surviving legacy. But the sentiment also implies a tension—between permanence and transience, between mortal and eternal existence—that is itself ephemeral, difficult to grasp.
Read on in Ecotone
When the Modern Farmer article “Painting the Farm Red: The Chicken-Slaughtering Pinup Girls of Marion Acres” appeared in my inbox, I took once glance, deemed it inconsequential, and deleted it. Then it started popping up all over my Facebook feed, and the images of twenty– and thirty-something women in bandanas and red lipstick leering at chickens stuffed into slaughtering cones was too difficult to ignore, so I clicked. When my friend Lora asked me for my feminist analysis, I balked, “I have no real feminist analysis. I just think this is profoundly dumb.”
Despite my initial reaction, the complex implications of that story (if you can call it that) have stuck with me and left me wondering what the piece might say about the societal fetishization of women and meat, agrarian labor, and rural culture. Turns out, I have a feminist analysis after all.
Read on in Render
My primary framework for understanding Australia: Music from the New England Tablelands of New South Wales, 1850–1900, a collection of modern interpretations of “bush music” dating back to the latter half of the 19th century, largely comes from my own experience playing American old-time music.
Both traditions have origins in English, Scottish, Irish, and other European musical forms, and the two even share some of the same repertoire. “Barbara Allen” (track 13), arranged on this album with vocals, guitar, violin, cello, kendang (a type of skin-head drum), and clapsticks, is also one of the most popular Appalachian ballads in the old-time tradition. “William Grimes the Drover” (track 15) is another classic American folk song and is included in Cecil Sharp’s Appalachian collection.
Read on via Smithsonian Folkways
Along the back roads of Loudon County, en route to Georges Mill Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia, there are signs that you’re still within striking distance of a major metropolitan area, as newer homes and development extend their reach among the rolling farms with old barns and white farmhouses.
But as you finally round the corner of Georges Farm Road and spot the Civil War–era stone house and the quaint barn-red Georges Mill Farm stand, you feel as if you’ve entered a landscape all its own, a historic haven very separate from the new growth in the county.
Read on in Edible DC