What is a bunch?


The recipe called for a bunch of parsley. What exactly is a bunch? Did you know that until the 20th century most cookbooks did not list “standard” measurements such as cup, tablespoon or ounces! It seems that many of the “old” measurement terms still abound in our lexicon of cooking terminology.

I am consciously trying not to be swayed by measurements when cooking but to understand the relationship between the ingredients. Many of my recipes copied onto my note cards simply contain the suggested ingredients and notes about appropriate temperature and timing. For your see, the great cooks, those who invented the recipes are those who cook by feel and intuition – just as our great grandmothers did!

Let us think about the terms, pinch, dash, jigger and bunch. I always enjoy looking at my Food Lovers Companion (by Sharon Tyler Herbst) and consider it one of the best kitchen guides available.

They define a pinch as about 1/16 teaspoon or less. I bet that if you took a pinch of salt and measured it you would be very close. A dash usually refers to liquid measurements – a few drops – but we also talk about a dash of pepper or other seasoning. For me a dash is a little more than a pinch about 1/8 teaspoon. Now a jigger (or a pony) is about three tablespoons, about 1 1/2 ounce of a liquid. What you hope the bar tender is really putting into your mixed drink glass even though it does not look like it!

Finally, what is a bunch? A bunch is really, whatever you decide it is to be! You see, the taste of the food is up to you and you are responsible for the outcome. Let your intuition take over, taste the recipe in your mind, look at that parsley, cilantro, or spinach, and go for it. After all, you are the cook and the only way to learn about the interactions of ingredients is to take a jigger of confidence, a pinch of knowledge and a dash of inspiration as you prepare food for that next bunch of folks!

Taste of Our Carolina Foothills

It is Sunday and liquid sunshine is misting over the many canopies where eager foodies are gathered to enjoy the samples of pleasure at the Taste of Our Carolina Foothills wine and food festival20150927_140532

The location, Overmountain Vineyards in Tryon is a beautiful vineyard with terraces and special group seating for the nearly 400 people attending this event. The event is a fundraiser for the Our Carolina Foothills public relations campaign to create awareness about and promote tourism in Landrum, Tryon, Saluda and Columbus. [Read more…]

7th Asheville Wine & Food Festival

Our Festival brought together a vibrant culinary community, attracting 5000 attendees over the celebratory week!


August 28, 2015 – The seventh annual Asheville Wine & Food Festival, presented by sponsor Asheville Color Imaging, was held August 20-22 in downtown Asheville. The festival attracted 5,000 wine and food aficionados to three days of signature events: ELIXIR, NC’s largest distillery showcase and craft cocktail competition; SWEET, a feast of desserts, wines, and spirits; and the GRAND TASTING, featuring farm-to-table restaurants, artisan food producers, bakers, chocolatiers, craft brewers and distilleries, and winemakers who turned out to cook, pour, demonstrate, and serve their love to eager attendees. The festival, one of the largest indoor culinary festivals in the southeast, is a testament to the region’s growing food scene. [Read more…]

The Community’s Kitchen in Tryon NC

When a community of farmers, food producers, and volunteers get together it is usually to plan for a service or to celebrate the opening of a much needed service. On Sunday, July 12, Polk County’s first mission-driven Incubator and Teaching Kitchen “The Community’s Kitchen” opened in Tryon NC. Polk Community Kitchen1

This facility has been a long time coming with many farmers, educators, business organizations, civic and church groups partnering to “provide an accessible space for local entrepreneurs, farmers, community members and organizations to process high-quality food products in a diverse and collaborative learning environment and then offer them an on-site marketplace.”

Carol Lynn Jackson, the founding board leader for Slow Food Asheville Foothills Community and owner of Manna Cabanna Market had a vision of providing sustainable healthy food access by leveraging Polk’s County’s capacity within its thriving local food community.

Polk Community Room2In addition to a processing kitchen, the offer a community room that can be rented for educational events, civic meetings, music, and private events.

Many of the attendees at the kick-off event on Sunday, announced that they had signed up and pledged to eat totally local for a week each, writing about their experience, the farms that the food was purchased from, and the accessibility of local healthy food. Read about their experiences at (https://www.facebook.com/polkcountyfarms)

If you are in the Tryon area, stop by this facility at 835 N Trade St, Tryon NC 28782 and support their efforts. As an L3C organization they welcome investment from foundations, businesses, and individual investors who can receive a tax advantage.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Quote by Margaret Mead

Polk Community Kitchen-drawing

Blue Ridge Tiny Homes, Gifting the Dream & Gardens

May 30 & 31, 2015 – what a weekend we had in Barnardsville. Over 400 families attended the Open House for

Blue Ridge Tiny Homes and their most beautiful tiny home just finished and ready for ownership. They lounged in the grand room, shared stories with their children in the loft bedroom, or dreamed out loud about the meals they would cook and share with families and friends. The dynamic conversations were about not just the home, but the lifestyle, and future that will embrace all generations and ages. Retirees, those want to be retired, downsizers, young families, and those wanting to start their first family, were all excited to see how much choice they had and how little was missing from what they already had in their homes.

It is a conscious choice to retain the useful and source out those items, hobbies, habits that clutter our life. What does this leave room for? Gardening and the control of our diets, our health, sunshine, fresh air, a walk on newly turned earth and the smell of soil and plants crushed underfoot while exploring, while leaving behind most thoughts that distracts us from work or troubles.

Can all this come from owning a Tiny Home? All this from a decision to make a difference and change our world to be a more sustainable, community driven, and shared lifestyle.

I think it is just possible.

Bob must admits that he owns a 1966 Airstream (26‘) and finds it a lovely place to be. Wait to you see the inside pictures. So many visitors even I did not get a chance to photograph the spectacular and fully furnished inside!


See Blue Ridge Tiny Homes www.blueridgetinyhomes.com




A Culinary Circus of Drink, Music, Competitions & Fun in Asheville NC

Culinary artistry and showmanship preselected by chefs and mixologists, intensified by the competition among competitors and emphasizing smaller, more intensely flavored courses. “The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his or her big ideas in small bites.”

May 1 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the MHCC Event Center. Presented by Capital at Play.

Got Tickets?  http://ashevillewineandfood.com/amuse-essence-best-chefs-mixologists-new

Can’t wait?  Sample this signature AMUSE cocktail in anticipation of the upcoming event:


1 oz Absolut Vanilla

3/4 oz Domaine de Canton

1 oz Orange Juice

1/2 oz Roses Lime Juice


Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of ginger ale.

Lime twist and/or cherry garnish.




This creation is shared with you by Kenny Rieg of Chop House, Downtown Asheville.Chop House Logo

Spring’s Abundance

In the back yard, the bees are brawling.
The scent of the nectar alone has made them tipsy, drunken, even.
From inside I hear their thick black bodies bumping against the window, making me think at first that a hummingbird has thrown itself against the glass.
Outside, the air thrums with their beating wings.
The petals flatten beneath the whir.
Though these flowers must number in the thousands, they hover over this patch of pink and purple, unable to decide.
Whenever one of their compatriots nears, they rush at each other in a huff.
On the porch steps, I hold my breath as one of them darts towards me.
It hangs in the moist air, inches from my face.
“Are you guarding?” I ask it out loud.
But it turns its back to me and dives head first into the fragrant lap of spring’s abundance.

Brawling bees

Written by: Elizabeth Dankoski helping students get into the school of their dreams p:781.724.9138 | e:info@elizabethdankoski.com | w:www.elizabethdankoski.com | a:Scheduler: http://tinyurl.com/owzpdyl

2015 Tailgate Market Spring Openings

Spring is here and the growing season is upon us! Tailgate tents are going up, and area farmers markets are opening outdoors for the season. Celebrate spring by getting a taste of what is growing in your community. At early spring markets, expect fresh greens, spring onions and asparagus; meats, cheeses, baked goods, value-added farm products like preserves, and a wide selection of plant starts. Produce offerings will differ from market to market based on the location of vendor farms—microclimates vary greatly in the region. But the season changes quickly, with new offerings sprouting up each week.


Find a list of spring tailgate opening days for the central mountains below. For a complete list of the 90+ tailgate markets in the region, including their season start dates, visit ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org. The 2015 print guide hits stands in mid-April. [Read more…]

More Than Honey

More Than Honey

March 16th at 7pm – Tryon Theatre

Bring your friends and family to a free movie on bees and beekeeping with a reception beforehand at La Boutielle Wine and Beer Boutique. This awesome documentary showcases beekeeping around the world, demonstrating why bees and beekeepers are vital to our existence on earth.

Thanks to Slow Foods Asheville – Foothills for the reception sponsorship. 


Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest

Come out and celebrate everything cheesy.  The festival will be held rain or shine at Highland Brewery in Asheville, NC.  The festival will utilize the indoor and outdoor areas of the brewery so you can get your hands on goats and calves outside and participate in discussions and tastings inside.  Tickets for the 1st annual Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival will go on sale on this website starting November 1, 2014.

Ticket prices are listed below:

DATE:  April 26th, 2015
LOCATION: Highland Brewery, 12 Old Charlotte Highway
Asheville, NC 28803
TIME: 12 noon to 4pm


  • Ages 13 to 103: $12.00
  • Children 12 & under:  Free

If there are any remaining tickets, they will be sold at the gate the day of the event for $15.00 each.