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Today I had one of those “oops” moments. Those moments that people talk about later by writing this: Take foot. Insert into mouth. Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But do you ever catch yourself doing or saying something you thought you were beyond? Like implying on live radio that woman = emotional basketcase, or contemplating […]

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I’ll tell you why I didn’t want to be vegan. Some vegan food is just too weird. Vegans are SERIOUS about being vegan. I’ll address these in order, then. So, vegan food is weird. I’m not really talking about recipes, like the obsession with dates (okay, I AM on board with that), and the way […]

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It was so charming. The decoration in the basement-level café evoked a cross between a grotto and a market. A glass display case held tiramisus and Oranginas, and light leaked in from the little basement windows near the ceiling. Shelves on the walls displayed those Italian “nona’s” cookies, lots of stick crackers, and bags of […]

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“What is pumpkin, really?” he asked. I sliced off a giant chunk of this bundt cake and watched my husband examine the extra can of solid pack pumpkin I had left out on the counter. My eyes went all narrow (like they do) and I said, “What do you mean?” turning my head slightly to […]

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I’m going to stop making zucchini and banana breads soon, I promise. (Maybe? They’re so good!) For now, I’m on a late-summer bender – because it’s Texas, and zucchini is still sprouting up as if the fall equinox never happened. Believe me, I’m ready to move on to pumpkin and pecans, but zucchini is here, […]

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I am the worst vegan ever. Let me tell you about the moment I realized it. A couple weeks ago when I visited my old pals in Boston, my friend Kerri and I spent a Monday at the coast. It took us an hour to drive to Manchester-by-the-Sea (real town name), and after adventures in […]

Lav-nilla-vegan-rtdbrowning-overhead

These are the reasons I think we should always have cake on Mondays: 1. If you’re having a rough Monday, cake will make it better. 2. If you’re having a stellar Monday, you can have some cake to celebrate. 3. Monday is a day, and cake tastes great on all the days. And since it’s […]

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So you know how when someone puts this on Pinterest, “This is the BEST recipe for vegan meatballs,” and your first response is a stifled gag, your second is “Oh gross, soy,” and your third is, “Okay, that might taste okay, but only because people leading a vegan lifestyle have forgotten what meat and cheese […]

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It’s worth the wait. They always say it’s sweeter when you’re ready – premature indulgence is a disappointment. I’m here to tell you that when it comes to baklava, all of that is true. Even vegan baklava (don’t go! it’s good!). Ah baklava, that crispy, sweet, salty dessert. Thousands of hair-thin layers of phyllo dough […]

cereal-4

I might have a problem. A cereal problem. In high school, after the tea and buttered bread phase, which was weird enough, I entered the cereal phase. The cereal phase knew no reason. Let me set the scene. There’s a cold, sweaty smell in the air, and the hum of thousands of fluorescent lights makes […]

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This is a love story. A real one. Not the kind about radishes or kale or olive oil (although I think I could write those too). This is the story of a very dorky girl and a very nervous boy who managed – against all odds! – to end up together in Waco, TX, slinging […]

Barely Cooked Tomato Sauce5

“That does look decadent, like you could make it into a sorbet,” my friend Sarah said. She was referring to the bowl basin of frothy tomato juice on the countertop. Sarah and her husband were in town for a wedding and were staying with us. On Friday when she wandered into the kitchen before a […]

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It is time for a cake. Funny isn’t it? That cake day also happens to be Monday? What a coincidence. I had tomato sauce to talk about, but cake (as cake does) pushed itself to the front of my mind and refused to make room for anything else. Besides, I thought it a good time […]

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With a greased bar towel I gripped a tiny soup pot in one hand and a kitchen spoon in the other. My hiking sneakers were ill-adapted for the kitchen, and I slipped on the tiles, maneuvering across the pass-through and ducking beneath another cook’s arms. Elbowing my way down the line, I found the lime-fish […]

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The French are onto something. At home in Texas, even for a food blogger like me, food and eating and dining can come with a dose of anxiety. We’re all familiar with it. Restaurant menus advertise “lite” choices and lattés can be “skinny.” Eating a bagel for breakfast incurs twelve hours of carb guilt and […]

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In January I went to a food blog conference in Birmingham. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was kind of going to see how much I wanted to dedicate myself to CrandleCakes. Like I imagine any “industry” conference can be, there was a lot of really useful information and discussion, some idol worshipping […]

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Sometimes on my husband’s day “off” from the restaurant, we go out to eat together. Now, Waco isn’t known for its plethora of dining options, at least not for a vegetable-eating, bread-avoiding type like me, so there aren’t that many places to choose from. Still, it takes us ages to decide where to go. I […]

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins - R.T.D. Browning

Every year when summer rolls around, bloggers unite in a barbaric yawp* against zucchini. It’s almost an inside joke — #zucchiniproblems. I’ll start the hashtag if it doesn’t already exist. See, food bloggers are at least more committed to seasonal cooking than your average bear because their cooking is public, so they have to RESPOND […]

Chocolate PB Cup Ice Creams06 - rtdbrowning

Once you do enough cooking at home, packaged foods can start to taste artificial to you. It’s always a little disappointing when you think you’re going to go indulge in a candy bar, only to find that instead of a ticket to heaven, you’re eating semi-digestible plastic. In short, once you start cooking fresh food, […]

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Clementines are one of those foods I associate with my childhood in Texas. I know they’re shipped all over the world, but that bright scent, the orangey film under your fingernails, and the glutted feeling after eating oh, I don’t know, 10 or so little clementinas always reminds me of outside and crickets and HOT. […]

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Evening shadows cut horizontal bars across the kitchen and sunbeams made stripes of dust in the air. The sideways sun cast a threatening glare on the cake I had just frosted. The late sunset had deceived me — I was used to the winter light — and I was shocked to find the clock ticking […]

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One of my closest and longest friends visited us this weekend, and we talked about believing that if you have a passion for something, you are meant to relish in it and use it to bring joy to other people, so that you have a sort of responsibility to live your dreams. That’s where my […]

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream - rtdbrowning5

For scarce have I tasted thy odorous steam, When quick from thy clime, soothing warmths round me stream, Attentive my thoughts rise and flow light as air, Awaking my senses and soothing my care. Ideas that but late moved so dull and depressed, Behold, they come smiling in rich garments dressed! Some genius awakes me, […]

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Jump to recipe–> One of the things I loved about living in Boston is the way the city is organized into neighborhood-villages. Technically, I lived in Newton Centre, a township just west of Boston. Newton Centre, like many other neighborhoods in and around Boston, is an actual CENTER. To Texans, that’s kind of like telling […]

Carrot Cake

I thought I’d take a minute to catch my breath. I guess I’m finally living up to my name here and am in a bit of a cake baking frenzy. (Note the Instagram feed on the right.) Here’s what else is going on in Crandle Land. Blog news: Videos have begun! I’ve started making videos. […]

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My aunt visited us in Texas all the way from Northern Ireland a few weeks ago, and she and her immediate family are some of the best gift-givers around. They’re so good at choosing gifts that aren’t necessarily over-the-top, but are so personal and useable. On this visit, she was kind enough to bring a […]

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In college I sang in a jazz combo with 5 guys. Besides me singing, we had piano, bass, drums, saxophone, and trumpet/flugelhorn. We all got course credit at the university for being in the jazz combo, but we spent most of our time getting little gigs around town, maybe at a fancy tailgate party or […]

5 Kitchen Tools vid

In the last month, my husband and I packed up our house and moved. Since packing took several days, I boxed up most of the kitchen equipment and was with left the essentials: a cutting board, two knives, a spatula, tongs, a cookie sheet, a cast iron skillet, a saucepan, and a few other items. […]

Chicken Salad above - rtdbrowning8

I was talking to a few friends about this problem I have when I sit down to write blog posts. I’ll have this thing that I think is really important and interesting to share, such as, “You really need to salt and drain eggplant before cooking it. That will get rid of the funky bitter […]

all the bars - rtdbrowning

Sometimes when I’m baking, it’s not till I’m pulling something out of the oven that I think, “I’ve gone too far.” When cookies need to be spaced four inches apart because I insisted on using ⅓-cup size dough balls, for example–that might be taking it too far. Or when I open the door and the […]

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This post is also published at Waco Weekly. When I lived in Boston, I spent a month working in a Northern Italian-style restaurant. Grad school hadn’t left me much time for the culinary adventures I imagined. Before I made the long drive back to Texas, though, I wanted to experience cooking in Boston. Of course […]

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It seems like every month of the year is dedicated to something. Each month we are encouraged to be aware of a different social topic, and get this: while some months, like May for example, have 12 or 15 dedications (from Jewish American Heritage Month to Haitian Heritage Month), July is just National Ice Cream […]

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The island of my kitchen is a mountain of name-change papers, cookbooks, recipe clippings, a “fruit bowl” holding dried peppers and papery onion skins, a nearly empty wine bottle, banana loaf crumbs, a planner open to last week, a Guggenheim-shaped mug containing an inch of tepid coffee. Don’t let me get started on the living […]

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What is it with Americans and raspberry sauce? Even today, when I think of a berry sauce, I imagine it curtained over a previously frozen cheesecake slice with a mushy graham cracker crust and a glossy bloom of canned whipped cream. “Cheesecake” is one thing, but “Raspberry Cheesecake” gets restaurant-goers acting like they’re in the […]

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This week I’ve been out of town as one side of my family goes through a difficult time. My role has been to hang out with my brothers, be an extra driver, and generally find ways to keep people occupied as we go through this. My husband has had weeks like these, and like he […]

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A couple weeks I got to sit down with an old friend, Jeremy Toledo, owner of Toledo’s Hop Shop in downtown Waco, for a story in a local arts publication, Waco Weekly. I’ve known Jeremy since my college days, when he was my manager at a local drafthouse. I think it’s common for Baylor alumni […]

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I have been trying to write about pasta for a week. I sent off a column about it, but the need to express my passion wasn’t exhausted. I wrote 1,300 words about my complicated relationship to travel (a.k.a., eating pasta abroad). I keep telling stories, framing, trying to find an angle that helps me explain […]

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The first time I read Jane Austen I was 16 or 17, probably a late start compared to most fanatics. I had gone through some life-consuming family turmoil for the first half of my teens and stopped reading as voraciously as I had earlier in life. I missed a stretch of formative years in fiction, […]

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Waco used to be just Waco–a stop on I-35 between the big cities. A town with its own personality and not a lot of ambition to change. That’s the impression I got, anyway. But with recent attention in the media, people are getting defensive about what Waco is and what it’s like to live here. […]

parfait side

Resist the urge to add crunch, my husband is saying to me. I mean, please, love, don’t add crunchies to all my food. I’ve just served him a last bowl of that blood orange sherbet from last week, and without thinking, topped it with a crumbled up waffle cone. Oops. It’s hard for me to […]

eggy toast

We all have one: that food we just don’t like. Something we simply can’t tolerate — an ingredient that can make a whole pot of soup inedible, a whole pizza flavored with that certain undesirable something. I’ve noticed that while many people are honest about things like just not liking onions, or hating the texture […]

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I am always running into Waco transplants. At running club, at the restaurant, in line at the grocery store — I’ll be five minutes into a pleasant conversation with a bright, friendly woman when we both realize we’re from out of town. I can’t figure out if we’re attracting each other with this magnetic pull […]

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I love snacks so. much. Sometimes, if I’m out of “real food,” or Shorty wants to eat barbecue or fried chicken and I don’t, I’ll just say, “That’s okay, I can just have a snack dinner,” secretly elated. If I don’t have much in the way of lunch entrees, or we ate all the leftovers […]

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There are a lot of Valentine’s Day haters out there, and I get it. The holiday can feel like a lot of pressure, whether you’re in a relationship or not. If you are, you’ve probably had one of those probing conversations, where you try to figure out just how important Valentine’s gifts are to your […]

Sunset in North Vancouver, December 2013

I spent last weekend at a food blog conference. For those of you who might be unfamiliar, a “food blog conference” is an actual thing now. Imagine knowing that fifteen years ago–that there would be a phenomenon called a “food blog” and whole conferences just for people who have them! The keynote speaker was Molly […]

Salad shot from the Food Photography session at Food Blog South 2014.

Blogging from Bham. The food blog conference is in full swing, and after a day of intensive food photography and styling and a pretty sweet preparty, complete with pimiento and chicken ‘n’ waffles, I’m really looking forward to the main events tomorrow. Today at the conference, I got to meet a ton of other food […]

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There’s something really special about finding someone who has the same eating preferences and habits as you do. A person who indulges in the same types of foods, who likes to eat at the same restaurants. Someone you can trust to make you just the dinner you’re in the mood for when you get home […]

Cookies angle

In the words of my old roommate, Hoy hoy! (It’s like “hello,” but more…jolly.) I’m writing this post from the midst of a storm of activity. We’re unveiling an updated menu at the shack tomorrow (gulp! today?!), so that means painting signs, updating the computer system, training people on the new stuff, etc. Plus, Shorty […]

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The whole “fusion” food thing has always had a bit of a stigma, it seems. When I tried to tell people that the restaurant I worked in in Belfast cooked some “pub” dishes, like fish and chips or Beef Wellington, but with a lot of Asian-inspired flavors, like curry and wasabi, they would look at […]

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In the last couple weeks, we became the dinner party house, and it feels good. I have people to cook for. I’ve had a hard time blogging lately (as you might have noticed), and I think a big reason for that is the fact that my relationship with food and cooking is really place-based. In […]

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