Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Handy dandy African artifacts

After visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art's newly reopened galleries I came away infatuated with an African belt. I was there to gather information and ideas for a story running in Sunday's Community section about how the items on display have been in storage or loaned to other museums for the past five years while the galleries were being prepared for their return. Most of what I saw is truly ancient -- some things dating back 5,000 years. A gorgeous Apollo statue, which you can see in my video on the paper's website, was first written about in the 1st century by Pliny the Elder. I think he's the same one who chronicled the eruption of Vesuvius that buried Pompeii.
The African belt, however, is much more recent, dating to maybe 100 years ago. Some believe it is still being used by tribes in the Congo.

I can see why.

It's beaded and beautiful in its handcrafting mostly with beads. Cowrie shells cover one of the pouches and others are beaded in gorgeous shades of blue.. my favorite color. I even saw a scallop shell on the belt - perhaps used to dip water for drinking. Scallop shells have also been worn for 1,000 years by pilgrims walking the Way of St. James across the south of France to Santiago de Compestela in Spain where St. James is supposed to be buried. You can read about that in the Aug 15 travel section which we are putting together now.

I was impressed with the belt for its looks, of course, but I couldn't help but think how handy it would be to carry my stuff - always a dilemma when I need to find a place for my cell phone, my money and credit cards, my notebook and pen and more recently, my flipcam.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ice cream s'mores- YUM

If you're not car sick from viewing the video on my previous blog, those who enjoyed the ice cream recipes in yesterday's Food section (which see) are going to love this one. It's built around Hagen Daz's Java Chip ice cream to make a chilly version of s'mores in a bowl. Makes these hot days much more worthwhile. This recipe serves 4.

Toasted Java Chip Crumble
6 to 8 honey graham cracker squares, divided
6 large marshmallows
2 cups Java Chip HÄAGEN-DAZS All Natural Ice Cream, divided
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
Preheat broiler (or toaster oven) to medium and adjust rack to 6 inches from heat source.Place a piece of foil on a baking sheet.
Place 2 graham cracker squares in a small plastic bag. Crush with fingers or rolling pin into very fine crumbs. Break remaining graham crackers into bite-size pieces and divide between 4 serving dishes.
Dip a sharp knife in water and cut marshmallows in half. Place graham cracker crumbs in a small dish. Press cut side of marshmallows into crumbs. Place marshmallows crumb-side-down on prepared baking sheet.
Scoop one-half cup ice cream into each serving dish. Broil marshmallows for about 45 seconds or until golden brown. (Watch carefully to prevent burning or flaming!). Immediately lift marshmallows from pan with a thin spatula and place 3 in each dish. Sprinkle with nuts and remaining graham cracker crumbs.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

caves are cool even in France

Caves are usually cool places to be, a compelling thought in this heat. Depending on their access to the surface, a cave is between 55 and 65 degrees year round...quite pleasant these recent days.

Caves are a theme in several of the locally written stories on Sunday, the third edition of the new monthly travel section for The News-Herald. It wasn't planned that way, but caves figured in the trips that Tracey Read and Michael Blair took to Indiana, the visit made by Jason Lea to Chattanooga and my own recent trip to the Lozere region of France.

I'll have more on France in August - just in time to help you plan your own trip there this fall or next spring. I'm really sad that Continental cancelled its service between Cleveland and Paris because that flight made it so much easier to visit my favorite city.

But the Lozere region in Languedoc is about as far from Paris as a place can be, reached by a white-knuckle drive from Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast of France. I think my video captures that experience, so have a look.

We took a funicular the first 50 feet down, and then walked down stairs into the cave, which was one huge room big enough to hold several football fields, or the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Here's my press group inside the funicular car.

I've had many recent calls from readers wondering why their travel section is not in their Sunday paper - its home since the 1980s. Three months ago the section went monthly, and I must say it looks good. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to pick it up on Sunday July 11 or subscribe to The News-Herald so you can get it every month. Without your support it may go away, like so many things that once were part of daily newspapers.

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