Genie Gratto

My name is Genie. I was born in Washington D.C. While there are plenty of people in the D.C. area with a penchant for gardening, I was not one of those people. I either over-watered or under-watered, and next thing I knew, whatever green thing I tried to coax along into healthy existence had withered and died.

In September 2005, I moved to Iowa City. In April 2006, I decided to overcome my black thumb heritage and plant some herbs in a couple of pots. Next thing I knew, I had a garden.

In May 2008, I said goodbye to my Iowa City garden plot and headed even further West: to Oakland, California, where the farmer’s markets run year-round. Urban gardening is the next challenge in my list of garden experiences.

Let's just say this: apparently, I'll do anything for a good tomato.

A Grocery Store That Lets Shoppers Harvest Their Own Crops

Devotees of buying fresh, local produce often go to a local farmers market or, if they've got the time, might drive to a local farm that allows you to pick fruits and vegetables, such as berries or asparagus, straight from the field. But Durham, North Carolina, consumers have a third option: The Farmery, an urban vertical farm and store where they can pick their own herbs and lettuces....more

What Does Breadfruit Actually Taste Like?

When my husband and I settled on a honeymoon itinerary that would take us from island nation to island nation in the South Pacific, I looked up what food was native to the cultures we'd be visiting. Breadfruit, or ulu, as it's known locally, is very common in both Samoa and American Samoa, both places we'd be visiting along the way. ...more
It's starchy, but pretty good! I say that when you travel, it's always fun to try the local foods.more

Six Great Edible Hostess Gifts for the Holidays

Looking for some great edible hostess gift ideas for the upcoming holidays? These ideas are fantastic options, whether you're headed to someone's house for a Thanksgiving or winter holiday feast, or going to visit relatives and don't want to show up empty-handed. Each one of them would be a welcome treat for whoever's welcoming you into their home. ...more
Oh. The cranberries look so pretty!more

New Cookbook 'Melt' Elevates Macaroni and Cheese

When you think of macaroni and cheese, do your thoughts turn to casseroles of elbow noodles baked with a cheddar cheese-based sauce? You wouldn't be alone—for many, macaroni and cheese, even with variations that include broccoli, bacon, or other treats, is a dish that is often very much the same from one kitchen to the next. Cookbook authors and bloggers Garrett McCord and Stephanie Stiavetti are trying to change that perception with the release of their book Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese. Can this popular dish be reinvented as a salad? A soup? Dessert? McCord and Stiavetti prove it can in many delicious and interesting ways. ...more
Nice interview!  Not a mac and cheese (rubber and goo) lover.  But intrigued by the wonderful ...more

Upgrade Your Kids' Lunch Boxes This School Year

Registered Dietitian Katie Morford of Mom's Kitchen Handbook comes to the rescue this year with Best Lunch Box Ever, which is packed with recipes for salads, sandwiches, and other treats that kids will love to find when it's time to refuel midday....more
This is really helpful to deal with fussy kids.Quite practical and implementable ideas.Thank you ...more

Why I Spent $700 on Dinner for Two

I appreciate artistry in so many forms, but I am willing to pay hard-earned money to eat spectacular, mind-boggling food that plays on all my senses....more
@toufga Where was the dinner? Someplace great?more

Newlywed Gift Idea: A Fabulous Dinner Out

I've given restaurant gift certificates as wedding gifts in the past myself—I especially consider them to be a great option for couples who have already established their households and don't really need any more "stuff" cluttering their lives. It's also fun to introduce my newly married friends to some of my favorite places, many of which they might not have ever thought to try. But I'll admit, it never occurred to me that we might receive some as gifts ourselves!...more
Great ideamore

The Dorie Clark Method of Reinventing Your Personal Brand

I've had a lot of identities over the course of my post-collegiate career: Fiction writer, aquatics coordinator, reporter, webmaster, corporate communications manager, client services representative, editor, blogger, communications director. Each role has required me to rethink how I appear in the world and to redefine how others see me. And each time would have been easier if I'd had a copy of Dorie Clark's soon-to-be released book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future....more
WellsConLLC Appreciate it, David!more

Farewell to Chinua Achebe

On March 21, Chinua Achebe, the groundbreaking African writer whose work has been read by millions, died in Boston. I heard about his death early on the morning of March 22, and slipped my copy of Things Fall Apart, his first and arguably most famous novel, from my bookshelf to look through it again in tribute to this great author....more
@Patton Thanks so much.more

New Book 'Behind the Kitchen Door' Exposes the Injustice of the Restaurant Industry

Over the past month or two, my office has been a veritable hotbed of infection. Even some of those who are normally immune to hacking coughs and feverish faces have been felled by the viruses running rampant this flu season. Lucky for us, when one of us is too sick to work, we have paid leave to fall back on, or the flexibility to work from home. This is not so for many restaurant workers in America, which means that when they're sick, they're often on their feet, in the kitchen, preparing food that ends up on all of our tables. ...more
@Butiwantcake That's so problematic. Ugh. Come back and let us know what you think of the book ...more