Book tour: segment 15!

This post concludes my 16-day September Northeast tour, spanning NYC to Toronto and many wonderful cities in between (book tour recap post series numbers 11-15).

My mama and I set out early from the outskirts of Toronto, Niagara Falls bound. Neither of us had seen the falls before, so when we arrived on a perfectly sunny day to this view

we were doubly astonished at the wonder of it all. (Pun intended.)

My favourite part about the falls was standing near the edge (on the Canadian side) where the water glides over a smooth precipice, seconds later transforming itself into a misty crashing conundrum.

We pried ourselves away after a few hours (I could’ve probably sat there all day had we not 5.5 more hours to drive).

This post really had to be its own round-up segment and not because I did any book events, which I didn’t. This portion involved going to two friends’ houses, friends who have been with me from the beginning of this book process, aaaaall the way back into Tigress Can Jam days, when I acquired a fabulous group of food preserving friends.

My mom and I pulled up to Julia’s house the following morning, enthusiastic about homecooked (and What Julia Ate!) food and fine company awaiting us.

We ate a sampling of friends’ jams on homemade cornbread, homegrown greens, personally cured bacon and quiche made from eggs from her chickens. Then I pulled on my boots for a garden tour with Julia and her son.



Super-cute kiddo with a dandelion and an egg he collected from the chicken coop

Of course no trip to a preservationist’s house would be complete without a peek at the larder…

Shortly thereafter, we hopped in the car for the moment around which I’d planned this whole trip. Julia, my trusted fruit friend led me to u-pick Concord grapes.

Not only did I have my hands on grapes, finally, but I also got to pluck them, perfect painting-style bunches from the vine.

Julia’s son helped me fill my box with kid-sized bunches, which was a funny contrast to our last experience picking together, when he proceeded to eat the strawberries as I collected them in my box on this trip.

I’m a fruit hound and this pick-your-own farm had it all.

No time for hoarding other fruits on this occasion, grapes secure in the trunk, we had to skeedattle in order to make it to our next appointment, lunch at Kaela’s.

Let me tell you, this Local Kitchen was totally stocked for a fabulous afternoon snack and lunch session.

Kaela wrote the very first review of my book, and honestly, the one review I was sweating. My friends are true friends who aren’t going to lie. I’m starting and ending the tour (and the past seven months) with the people who matter the most, friends who aren’t going to lie. Kaela’s hospitality in her magnificent treehouse was nothing less than fabulous.

Butternut squash risotto!

Flourless chipotle chocolate mini cakes with the opportunity to prove that one can never have too much ice cream

Aand, another universal rule about photographing larders:the photos are unanimously horrible and are rarely capable of conveying the wonder that is something like this

My friends sent me home to Austin with jars in tow and grapes in the trunk.

p.s. the grapes passed security at JFK with flying colors seeing as they’re not yet liquid and definitely not gel, and soon found themselves jellied (in three batches), contained within 23 jars.