Notes from the Kitchen

Baseball Poetry and Anniversaries

DESSERT RECIPES- Orange & Black CookiesLet’s set the record straight. I didn’t grow up in a baseballer family. Far from it, my dad would root for soccer teams and instilled the love of football in me from a young age. For reasons unknown (voracious reader, hated to go outside), I never tried out for soccer. Many years later, I found my inner sweeper while playing indoor soccer and was fearless in making sure the ball stopped with me.

Peer pressure or namely Deborah pressure most likely convinced me to try out for the girls’ softball team. Somehow the Dolphin Dazzlers let me join. While others excelled at fielding balls and smacking them straight on with the bat, I shot a blind mitt into the air as an outfielder, determined not to catch a glimpse of the ball as it careened toward my face or the space around me. I approached home plate with caution, again, aware that a fast ball could narrowly avoid hitting my arm, my hand, my face. I was what Deborah’s dad called a “go-fer,” in that I would go for any pitch. Where I shined was the dugout. I could yell and scream and root and holler. I secretly harbored hopes of being sidelined but still on the team. Athletic prowess was never in my genetic make-up but a loud voice was.

baseball poetry - bruce bochy 2010 world series parade san francisco giants

Getting married during a World Series year changes you. I’ve written about my junior high fan girl moment upon seeing rocker Steve Perry aboard a San Francisco Giants trolley during the 2010 victory parade. I passed all the people lined up in 2012 who had taken off from work to get a prime spot on the street curb, anticipating the Giants in another World Series victory parade. Heck, I jumpstarted my blog four years ago from “la vie en route” where I had chronicled the delectable morsels discovered while living my life on the go into a place to talk about food and poetry, believing they both possess an ability to pull an emotional response out of each of us. If we must all eat, let it be good food. If we must all eat, let it sometimes be the food of the soul.

Four years ago, I desired to celebrate our World Series champs with Orange & Black Cookies. And so, on this fourth anniversary of the food poet, even as I root for the Giants to sweep the Cardinals in the city by the bay, I leave you with a timeless poem, one that makes me think of the endless text messages of frustration and elation spirited back and forth between my husband and his father as I know they are both listening to Johnny Miller comment while the game plays on. In my head I hear my father-in-law read this poem aloud and all is right with the post-season world where time stops and baseballs fly into the stands of roaring fans.

Read Baseball Poetry, “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. 

Notes from the Kitchen

San Francisco Celebrates 2012 World Series Winners

In a neighborhood market, a giant flat screen TV played play-off games and then world series games for local shoppers to keep tabs on their hometown team. During a recent shopping trip, the checker invited me to sit down and watch an inning. So I did. She proceeded to explain that she didn’t understand baseball but wanted to.

Down the street, one bar after another was packed wall to wall with people clad in orange and black. And even in a bookstore known for its quiet atmosphere, the pallor was ghostly as the usually packed aisles were empty and the dulcet tones of Johnny Miller called plays overhead.

Don’t get me started about the neighborhood restaurant that rented speakers to boom games against the Reds out onto the sidewalk. I stood there, along with US Postal workers taking their breaks watching the close game and gritting their teeth. We wandered further inside and clung to the back wall with a fray of others not imbibing or eating, just watching the torture unfold. And then, just like that, the Giants won. Strangers exchanged high fives and hollers.

One particular afternoon, happy that two of my favorite clothing colors include burnt orange and black, I yelled into the opening mouths of buses at their bus stops, “Let’s go Giants” to the bus drivers. They would honk the horn, shoot the peace signal or hit the air with a fist bump.

And this, friends, is what made this year’s World Series and play-offs all the more exquisite. The game brought people together under a shared cause and regardless of socioeconomic circumstances or even knowledge of the game (Panda who?), San Francisco rallied behind a team where each player played a role and no one person swept the series.

Whether it was Hunter Pence with his inspirational pre-game talks and homers or Pablo Sandoval scoring multiple runs in a single game, we cheered on our team. Tweets built the enthusiasm coining “MVPosey”, sharing Vogelsong’s story, seeing Zito come alive, Timmy make it happen or touting Romo’s latest strike-outs. And what about Pagan, Scutaro, Theriot, Baby Giraffe or Wolverine? Each player worked hard and kept going until the jubilant end. And former closer, Brian Wilson? While confined to the dugout due to an injury, well, he played piano on the other players’ caps.

Everyone shared this victory. Their teamwork paid off.

Tonight, fireworks, throngs of people and even the absurdity of trash can fires demonstrated the kinetic energy of a city so excited at a team of misfits bringing the magic to the forefront of a series where the underdog prevailed. Together, we are Giant.

And with that, I thought it might be nice to recount recipes inspired by fandom or photos from our last world series win two years ago. So enjoy, preferably with a glass of bubbly.

Inspired by the San Francisco Giants

DESSERT RECIPES- Orange & Black Cookies

Orange & Black Cookies


Dark Rye Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Rubbed Garlic

World Series Parade 2010

(Or when I devolved into a schoolgirl squealing at seeing former Journey frontman Steve Perry).

Click here for full story and 2010 parade recap.

Bruce Bochy

Pablo Sandoval

tim-lincecum-2010-world-series-paradeTim Lincecum

brian-wilson-2010-world-series-paradeBrian Wilson

And finally, what would that 2010 World Series parade have been without Steve Perry?




One year ago – a blogaversary

crowd waiting

One year ago, things looked a bit different.

After we said I do, we watched the San Francisco Giants clinch the title of World Series champs. Put differently, on a certain honeymoon and in a certain seaside town, there was a bar, multiple visits and bellowing at Phillies play-off games over foamy mugs of Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest. Before there was a Beck in my life, I thought I understood baseball. I even thought of myself as a baseball fan.

One year ago, la vie en route came back to life.

Everyone loves a fresh start. While la vie en route really started in 2006, it made sense last year to finagle it into something that culled my passions for food, poetry, art and travel into one place. It made sense to begin again.

williemays_world series parade

And this brings me back to that band of misfits who made magic.

bruce bochy 2010 world series parade

For a week before the Giants won, I wore orange and black like a badge of honor. It’s a good thing my closet is full of Austin orange and New York black. I baked a batch of Orange & Blacks – my West Coast homage to cakey East Coast Black & Whites.

orange & black cookies

The day of the big celebratory parade I checked out early for lunch and sidled my way into the throngs of people skirting the sidewalk curbs. Two kind women let me inch my way onto the square of street space in front of them. They grumbled as people who have been holding a place for hours might and I took it upon myself to try and make them smile for their courtesy and shrink myself so as not to block their incredible view.

pablo sandoval 2010 world series parade

We waited. We waited some more. Eventually around the corner came vehicles of the big-wigs including Coach Bruce Bochy.

tim lincecum 2010 world series parade

I cheered along with the people around me as the cable cars began slowly climbing forward in the ferreting the Giants players down the street.

brian wilson 2010 world series parade

But before we saw the likes of Pablo Sandoval, the Panda, before we watched Brian Wilson clad in his silver high tops leave the confines of his cable car and before Tim Lincecum casually waved from the enclosed cover of his, I saw someone who made me scream like a schoolgirl.

Out of this crowd anxiously scouring the line of cable cars waiting to parade up the street and out of the quietude of fans waiting to see and wave at their favorite player, I saw a shock of shoulder length black hair and began hearing the wail of electric guitars in my head.

steve perry 2010 world series parade

Steve Perry!!!!”

Steve Perry turned and looked straight at me as people to my left and right looked at me, a pre-teen squealing and hearing backup vocals to bear me up, a woman grown and waving her freak flag high. As he smiled and gave me a thumbs up, I yelled, “Don’t stop believing!!!”

In the throes of World Series mayhem, I left on cloud nine.

If you have read this blog over the past year, you’ve brought some joy to my life. You’ve followed the bitter and the sweet intersecting and maybe tried your hand at a recipe or two. Perhaps you’ve found a poem I’ve posted that speaks to you or been taken for a ride in travels shared. I want to give some joy back to you as you live your life en route.

Three books. Three winners.

In support of my favorite local and independent bookstore, two of the books are already well loved and one is brand new. Represented are food, poetry and art because that’s how I roll en route. So here’s where it gets fun. Leave a comment and pick one: “food, poetry or art” in your response.

Then we play ball.

Sharing our Strength Spirit

The Great Fundraising Act: Orange & Black Cookies

orange and black cookies

I love my job.

How many of us can really say that? One of the things that makes going to work so much fun is getting to meet, connect and become friends with other bloggers. A few weeks ago, fellow blogger Janetha sent out a mass email to a bunch of healthy living and food bloggers letting us know that Susan of The Great Balancing Act found out she has lymphoma. I’ve chatted with Susan before and she’s really a terrific person, so news like this is really sobering. I’ve kept her in my prayers, as cancer is something that also touched my family.

What resulted from Janetha’s email is inspiring. She rallied 150 bloggers and companies to join her in supporting Susan by raising funds to help pay for the costly treatments. The blogging community is full of people who care about her and stand with her as she fights this illness. I’m on board and trying to spread the word to other bloggers and readers hoping it spreads like wild fire!

Introducing the Great Fundraising Act.

Those 150 bloggers and companies are providing homebaked treats and ones you can find at the grocery store too. Then there are some items you can’t eat available for purchase well. With so many ridiculously cool and delicious items to bid on, I’m sure you’ll find something that fits your budget and your appetite.  For details on Susan and the lovely Janetha who set up this love fest, click the photo above of Susan.

Return of the Orange & Blacks

orange & black cookies for the great fundraising act

I’m baking some of my Orange & Black cookies to donate. You remember them, right? My homage to the San Francisco Giants in round doughy delightful form? Soft, cakey cookies kissed with chocolate icing on one side and vanilla-orange on the other? Now, we’re talking… I’m going to bake a dozen of my homemade Orange & Black cookies, pack them into a gift tin and include a box of Mighty Leaf Orange Dulce tea pouches to the highest bidder. Those cookies with that tea are meant for each other. So go on, take a look.

Notable Homemade Edibles You Can Bid On:

  • Vegan No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars  from Anne
  • Chocolate Dipped Homemade Marshmallows from Elina
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins from Erica
  • Peanut Butter Granola from Julie
  • Home-roasted coffee from Lori
  • Chocolate Chip and Nut Banana Bread and a batch of Peppermint Bark from Melissa

Notable Non-Edibles to Bid On:

  • Social media advising from Katy
  • 100 calorie fitness cards from Carla
  • Sassy Blogger Survival Kit from Lara


The auction opens and closes on Monday, July 25th, so get ready to start bidding… let’s all participate in the Great Fundraising Act!


Orange Black Cookies

DESSERT RECIPES- Orange & Black Cookies

2010 has been a bit of a doozy as years go. You take the sweet and the bitter.

It was the year Holland almost clinched the World Cup in South Africa. For several weeks on pre-set days, I take on a resemblance of a character from Halloween in a non-October timeframe. An ardent fan of watching the orange and black jerseys scuttle on the field, I took the early bus on several occasions to work, just so I could sit at my self-designated World Cup pub and watch the matches with others excited about the possible outcomes on the field. The rag tag crew that gathered at the pub seemed to play on the same soccer team or that’s the impression I got. Over steaming cups of coffee, we would yell at the screen, along with the bartender, sidled up to the bar. Most of them quietly eschewed my female presence among their male gathering except the bartender. He called me the Dutch team’s “lucky charm” and said when I walked in wearing my Holland jersey, they made their goals.

The final match conveniently fell on my best friend Olga’s birthday. I happened to be house-sitting at a sprawling home with a tv and plenty of space to accommodate our two rooms full of friends to a birthday cum world cup viewing party. While guests sat on the plush red couches, I sat perched on the edge of a red ottoman close to the tv, willing the orange and blacks, the Dutch to win. They played dirty football that I described as “pirate soccer,” tripping and pulling their way toward an inconceivable number of yellow cards. Even still, they were my team, part of my ancestry and in the back of my mind, I played that foolish game of thinking if they could just win, somehow it might ease the pain of my Dad’s recent death.

He loved soccer and even was responsible several years in a row for bringing a young Bolivian soccer team to my hometown to play in the Dallas cup. He would hoot and holler from the stands. He brought noisemakers. He was that guy. After the game, he took the team out to dinner with other friends where they celebrated their heritage and the camaraderie of teamwork. My spoken Dutch equates to counting one to seven and a children’s song about a dog that barks “woof wof woof wof;” whereas his fluency seldom came out but when it did, his face came alive as he chattered excitedly. It was part of the fabric of self. It was always the part of him he kept most tucked away in Texas. The part of him, I had hoped to one day understand better by traveling with him to the Netherlands.

You can imagine my chagrin when the Spanish made that final goal and with it, amid the cheers in the room, the hopefulness of the party diminished as I fought to control my tears. It was irrational, but still his absence was so new. In the early days especially, so much life feels transcribed by their voice and touch… But I collected myself and off we went to sing happy birthday to a beaming Olga.

Two weeks ago, I got married.

Nathan’s passion for baseball and the Giants puts my love of World Cup soccer to shame. His knowledge of statistics, player’s batting averages, names and detailed information on radio announcers gives serious pause. The guy could easily bleed orange and black. For his birthday a few years ago, we rounded up several of his friends and family to celebrate at a game at AT&T park. In between the sixth and seventh innings, the message “Happy Birthday Nathan” lighted the jumbo-tron as we unpeeled the paper linings of mini carrot cupcakes I’d made for the occasion. Oh yeah, he’s an avid Giants fan.

So it should really come as no surprise that on our honeymoon, we found ourselves wandering to a local pub in the town where we were staying to nosh on bar food, drink Oktoberfest off the draft and revel in the Phillies – Giants playoffs, though sometimes we left with more of a knot in our stomachs than a good feeling. The bartender began memorizing our drinks and recognizing us as we came in later in the week. He said he felt more invested in who won because of our dedication.

Nathan’s enthusiasm was contagious. Where I might have been a bit of a fan when we first met, I was now invested and took pride in yukking it up with the guys about how the team was playing. By game six of the playoffs, I drove us through the rain to the ballpark, trying to eke out a place for us at the Public House bar. No luck there, we found ourselves at a tapas microbrewery called the Thirsty Bear. I know personally how much better a game is when you’re surrounded by people intent on the outcome you too desire. My date night to Nathan, I wanted him to be thronged by orange and black. When they won, he pumped his fist up and down, then mechanically clapped his palms together exultant.

For two weeks, I’ve worn orange and black through the mostly black clad streets downtown, a nod to my dedication to see the Giants go all the way in the World Series. This has been a mite strange since normally the Rangers would be my other go-to baseball team. I am Texan after all and my first ball game was watching the Rangers. Friends have teasingly scorned me for not rooting for the Rangers, but I’m a bit of a misfit like those Giants and found myself lured into their success or defeat. Tonight, they did it. They won the World Series! If you were here in San Francisco, you might hear horns honking, people yelling and whooping it up. Fireworks crackling in the night sky. People excited to be a part of the winning team.

One rainy day during the honeymoon a few weeks back, we trolled a used bookstore. He wandered down to fantasy / sci fi as I perused the poetry section, then meandered over to food. I stumbled upon David Lebovitz’s “Ready for Dessert” and while thumbing through the pages came across the recipe for one of my favorite cookies. So in honor, of the Giants I’ve adapted a similar recipe from Gourmet magazine: celebrating the Giants’ victory, the Dutch legacy that keeps me clad in orange and black every four years and the passage of a baseball team from New York to San Francisco. I give you the Orange & Black.

orange & black cookies



adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Think of them as Black & White cookies, just better. They take my love of chocolate and pair it with a subtle orange. It’s the new little black dress of cakey cookies. Trust me, they’re a home run. Hah! Eat while weaing a giants ballcap or perhaps if you’re lucky, a holland jersey or perhaps in New York…


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.

Make icings while cookies chill:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, orange juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.

Ice cookies:
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.

Note: If you can stand the wait, cookies taste better if cooled without being chilled.