What do you create?
Chaos! At least that’s what my family likes to tell me. But seriously, I create stories. Some are real and others are versions of lives I wished I lived filled with people I hope to one day meet, going to places I’ve only dreamt about. The kind of stuff that wakes me up in the middle of the night and forces me to tap out notes into my phone so I remember what to write about the next day. As a wine and food columnist I like to say that I recreate slices of wine country life. People enjoy sipping and swirling and learning about this grape varietal and that. And some even care about what score something received and if the sip smells like chicory or offers a black cherry bomb finish. But what I find people are most fascinated with, is the lifestyle, what I like to call country-cosmo. On the one hand Napa and its outskirts are farm towns, filled with men and women who work the land. On the other hand, Napa Valley is considered to be one of culinary capitals of the world with its fabulous and infamous food and wine tasting scenes. When I write, I try to create a picture for people who have never been here but hope to one day visit, or for those that have come before and yearn to return.
Why do you create?
I will return to my earlier statement about all that chaos I supposedly create/attract. As is often the case, my parents are right. My brain is a very chaotic place to live. It refuses to settle down, ever, which can be intoxicating at times and downright excruciating at others, especially when it’s time to sleep. So, I create as a way to silence the inner chatter and to free my mind so that I can get some rest. I also create as a way to work through the challenges that life presents. When in doubt I turn to humor, living out the cliché, that you can either laugh or cry at the curveballs. I’m all about the former. I’ve found that people enjoy hearing about all the mishaps and how I lived to triumph and talk about it all. So, I think, what the hell, if I can laugh at my own mistakes and then write about it and make other people laugh, cringe or relate, it’s all been worth it.
What do you consume?
The list is endless. I am a sugar fiend. Screw an apple a day (though I like those too), I’m all about a piece of candy (or 10) a day, keeps the doctor way. I love sweet and sour, which some would say matches my personality and ever-changing moods. Then I have my obsessions, which are sprinkled all over the country. One such example is the peanut butter cookie at City Bakery in NYC. When I lived there this was a go-to treat for me. When I moved I went searching for a replacement that I would never find. I love this thing so much, I tripped and sprained my ankle running down the street trying to get one of these cookies before screeching out of town to catch a flight. And for those that want to know, the cookie was and is still that good. Then there’s the butterscotch panna cotta at Brasswood Kitchen in Napa, drenched in caramel and sea salt. Equally dizzying is the butterscotch pot at GJelina in Venice, CA. I could go on and on, but I am making myself hungry just writing about this stuff. OK, one more thing. When I write I’ve been known to binge eat Fritos Scoops with hummus and peanut butter pretzel bites. With coffee, lots and lots of coffee. But always decaf. I’m way too crazy on caffeine.
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