Good For You

Learning To Cook From Everyone You Meet

So I have an informal goal from everyone I meet and become friendly with: learn a recipe from them. It’s not something I disclose or even have said out loud (until now) but something I’m really happy I’ve actually done over the last ten years.

It all started with Madame Granier who was my host mom during my semester in France. I really loved her cooking so about a month in, once I was a bit more confident in my French, I asked if she would mind giving me her recipes. This began an almost nightly tradition of sitting at the kitchen table with tea with Petite Beurre biscuits and Mme. Granier dictating me a recipe.  Looking back on it, maybe this was so M. Granier would do the dishes while we chatted but she seemed to enjoy dictating recipes to me. She was not expecting my follow up questions like “How much salt?” but she tried to guess as best she could. Even almost ten years later, I’m still making crepes from the original recipe along with an occasional endives au gratin and soupe au lentils. (The lentil soup involves three containers and has a drawing complete with arrows that goes with the recipe).

Ever since Mme. Granier, I’ve tried to learn a recipe from everyone I meet. And whether we become life long buddies or the relationship fizzles, I can always take something really tangible away from each person who has been a part of my life. And making the recipe makes me think of other good memories from them.

A side effect is that learning ended up being a great way to get to know people. I would have never known about my friend Alice is Armenian had she not shown me how to make her delicious version of tzatziki (served with zuchini crisped up in a little olive oil- yum!). I discovered a boyfriend’s Italian roots when he revealed his grandmother’s calzone recipe. What better way to know someone then to cook with and eat with them something that they love?

The biggest cooking experiment was the Vinalhaven dinner club. As five single women living on an island bound together by our weekday supper club, we certainly learned a lot about everyone by taking turns cooking and eating with everyone five meals a week.

I love that most of my fondest memories involve food and getting back to those times just involves an hour or so in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite thing to cook that reminds you of someone? (Share links to recipes if they are online!)

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Fun Friday: Things I’ve Learned On Reality Dating Shows

At the end of the week, I write about whatever I want. Because I can.

So my love for television shows that most people publicly shame is well documented. My latest guilty pleasure has been dating shows. I could only stomach about 15 minutes of the Bachelor but the less sincere ones like ‘Seducing Cindy’ and ‘Rock of Love’ make me laugh out loud about group dynamics and the predictability of people’s public behavior.

I’ve learned the following from watching celebrities try to fake sincerely look for love in front of a bunch of television cameras. Single people, take note. Maybe one of these realizations will help you nab the B-list celebrity of your dreams.

One guy, twenty women... and when it comes down to a 40 year old and a 23 year old, guess who the middle aged rock star picks...

Celebrity Reality Dating Show Rule 1. One person has the power.

In any relationship, one person does the choosing and the other is chosen. In the really realistic scenario of living in the other person’s fourth house with the 20-something other people pursuing them, each powerless person will only get more so as the season progresses.

Celebrity Reality Dating Show Rule 2. You have fit in the other person’s life, but they aren’t worried about it working in the other direction.

While you will be asked superficial questions like what music you like or where you grew up, the celebrity will be asking themselves how the potential mate will fit into their lives. They will never ask the reverse question. + Read More

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

On Getting And Maintaining A Manicure

A few weeks ago, I had a friend visiting for the week. The last day of his visit, Phil told me he had a surprise for me. “Don’t make any plans for 3 o’clock today.” he said cryptically. Needless to say, I was pretty curious.

When we pulled up to the Bar Harbor Spa, I got excited. Clearly I was in for a treat, and something I would never buy myself in a million years.

“We’re getting manicures.” he said. Fun!

What I didn’t expect was for people to actually notice it, and treat me differently.

+ Read More

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Nicole's Quest To Find A Seamstress Or Why Everyone Should Have A Website

The dress that launched a bunch of phone calls. I love Ebay.It all started when I ordered this fabulous silk designer dress on eBay. Normally completely out of my price range, I got it for $40. I figured if it didn’t fit, I could have it altered.

The dress was even more beautiful in person but since I am not a size 8 Anne Klein dress form, it needed alterations to fit. Normally I attempt this sort of thing myself but the potential for disaster on silk made me decide that maybe I should call in an expert. And so my search began.

A Google search yielded some places in Bangor (an hour away) and a dry cleaner in Ellsworth (30 minutes away). I know that the dry cleaner subcontracts this kind of work out (I had something repaired there before) and it would take a few weeks turnaround to get it back. Was there no one in my entire county who could do this?

I checked the Yellow Pages. Nothing. I even tried to convince a friend to help me do it for money. She wasn’t confident enough to attempt silk but did give me the number of a local sewing store. I called them (since their owner once told me she barely checks her email) and was given a phone number to Acadia Sewing.

+ Read More

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Nicole’s Quest To Find A Seamstress Or Why Everyone Should Have A Website

The dress that launched a bunch of phone calls. I love Ebay.It all started when I ordered this fabulous silk designer dress on eBay. Normally completely out of my price range, I got it for $40. I figured if it didn’t fit, I could have it altered.

The dress was even more beautiful in person but since I am not a size 8 Anne Klein dress form, it needed alterations to fit. Normally I attempt this sort of thing myself but the potential for disaster on silk made me decide that maybe I should call in an expert. And so my search began.

A Google search yielded some places in Bangor (an hour away) and a dry cleaner in Ellsworth (30 minutes away). I know that the dry cleaner subcontracts this kind of work out (I had something repaired there before) and it would take a few weeks turnaround to get it back. Was there no one in my entire county who could do this?

I checked the Yellow Pages. Nothing. I even tried to convince a friend to help me do it for money. She wasn’t confident enough to attempt silk but did give me the number of a local sewing store. I called them (since their owner once told me she barely checks her email) and was given a phone number to Acadia Sewing.

+ Read More

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Why Ending Effective Educational Programs Makes Terrible Economic Sense

Recently, a local school district has closed off a computer technology program open to high school students. Their reasons cited were low enrollment. My old boss Chris wrote an excellent letter about his experience with the program in the local paper. It got me thinking, beyond the impact of one individual student, how do these programs effect the world beyond the classroom?

Schools exist to make productive members of society. And when you look into the data, a lot of these technical programs end up being pretty effective. They increase graduation rates and beyond that, students who go through these programs earn more money, have lower unemployment, and lower rates of substance abuse.

So subjectively, these programs are fantastic. But what is their actual return on investment, beyond preventing bad things from happening to teenagers?

ROI on a student enrolled in a technical program in high school. Not bad. Actually pretty darn great!

+ Read More

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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