At Home With Mom and Dad

My parents moved from my hometown in Texas a few years back to the small, can't find it on a map town of New Richmond, Wisconsin. At first this was a huge shock and upset me greatly - Austin was the only home I ever knew, and even though I had left to forge my own path years before they actually moved, it broke my heart.

However, in recent years, I've come to learn that wherever they go will always be "home." It's where they are, it's where family heirlooms are, it's where all the familiar furniture and knicknacks are. Their home is a peaceful place, along the banks of a small creek and surrounded by cornfields and silos in the distance, so far from city life that you can count every star in the sky when the sun finally sets after 9:00. Since I hadn't been there since Christmas 2007, I decided it was time to visit over Labor Day (a warm weekend I chose deliberately, having spent some time there during the winter in the past). My announcement encouraged my brother and my uncle to join as well.

Cooking in my parents' kitchen has made me long for more natural light in my own kitchen. These are some of the best food pictures I've ever taken, and it's all because of their large, blind-free windows and the fact that the sun hangs around long after dinnertime.

Corn fields from the back of my dad's 1966 Buick Riviera

Organic local corn vodka

Frequent guest blogger Craig and his massive breakfast at Ava's in New Richmond, WI

My Champagne Cake

A margarita garnished with either filberts or hazelnuts (no nut allergy here, but I thought it was kinda dangerous that they didn't disclose a nut garnish when I ordered the drink) at Pracna Restaurant on Main, the oldest street in Minneapolis.

Homemade marinara

French vanilla truffle from Tremblay's Sweet Shoppe in Stillwater, MN

A store I could have wandered around for hours - the Chef's Gallery in Stillwater, MN

Stillwater Olive Oil Company (and Balsamic Vinegars)

Silos at sunset

Milk in a pouch (has always perplexed me - must be a Wisconsin thing?)


Food and eating are always central and integral components of a visit with my family. We're Italian, after all. Recipes for many Labor day dishes (including the Champagne Cake) coming soon!

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