Setting the Standard

Method + Standard Full Familt Shot (3)

Every once in a while you know something is going to be good, just because.  This is how I feel about the burgeoning craft cocktail scene happening right here, right now, in NC.  At the top of this list is the new vodka called Method & Standard.  Crafted by Piedmont Distilleries, (who was first on the scene of the locally made liquor movement), this smooth vodka in its beautiful packaging did not disappoint.  And yes, aside from the smooth vodka inside, the bottles and packaging give it the look of an artful and expensive perfume.  It is edgy, creative, and good.

For the purists, the original vodka will most likely be your preference.  For those of you who enjoy a flavored vodka, you will be thrilled to know Method & Standard also makes Raspberry, Apple Spice, and Strawberry.  A fine touch is the recipes they provide with creative cocktails, such as the “Bark & Bite” with apple spice vodka and ginger beer.  But don’t take my word for it, you really should get crafty with a bottle of your own.

As their tag line says, Method & Standard is “finely crafted without compromise”.  In words much better than my own, here is what the makers say about the process:  “Method & Standard is crafted without compromise. It was created using our ten years of learning and experimentation with different ingredients and different methods to craft the finest vodka possible. It is small batch blended, using 100% all-natural ingredients to deliver a 100% all-natural taste. It is made from gluten-free, american-grown corn to deliver a subtly sweet taste and extremely clean finish. The vodka is finished by filtering the spirit for twelve hours using carbon made from coconut shells.  This removes almost all of the alcohol burn you typically experience with ordinary vodkas. Method and Standard is free from any additives, extracts or preservatives commonly used in other vodkas. The fruit flavors are authentically infused in whole, ripe, real fruit.  All of the color and taste comes from the fruit itself.  Method & Standard is crafted for those that care what is in their products, how they are made and want products that have a real, all-natural taste. Method & Standard is truly the very best vodka that we can make…”

So get by your local red dot store and pick up some Method & Standard today.  It will inspire you, whether mixed with soda or tonic and a lime, or created like a NYC mixologist into a premium cocktail of your own.  Enjoy!

I am.

I feel like I should say welcome back!  It has been so long since I have blogged and so much has been going on.  Life sometimes gets in the way, and until now I haven’t even thought about writing.  Suddenly I am flooded with thoughts and ideas, but I’ll save some for a rainy day and stick to the thoughts I had this morning.

So this morning I attended a church meeting where I was new to the group.  Since I was one of several newcomers, our leader suggested we do an ice breaker to introduce ourselves and help us learn a little bit about each person.  Let me be honest, I did a horrible job of following her directions.  We were supposed to describe ourselves by saying “I am a (blank)”.  Now don’t get funny here, I realize that was pretty open ended and I’m sure many of you would love to fill in the blank for me on this.  But seriously, I didn’t say one thing I am.  I thought about this on my way home, and instead of telling her what I am, I gave a brief and sweet little synopsis of my life that really didn’t do the question, or myself, justice.  I’m not sure if I meant to do this or not, but never the less it happened and that’s life.

For some reason, I am compelled to answer it now, to myself, to you.  Why?  I have no idea.  I know you have much better things to do than read this, but since it has been a while since my last blog, I hope you’ll oblige me as I’m sure many of you perhaps will relate to where I am.

I am a child. I am a daughter to one of the most kind hearted and caring women I know.  I am daughter to the most influential man in my life, who left us entirely too early.  Although his years were too short, his lessons and his laughter and his words leave a legacy.  I am a daughter, a gift to my parents, as my children are to me.

I am a sister.  At times in my life, the ten and twelve years age difference between my two older sisters and me has seemed like a mountain.  Now that we are older it feels weird to think there is an age difference between us at times.  Our life experiences have been different, but at the end of the day I have two sisters I love, and love me back.  Through thick and thin, through bumps in the road, we are sisters.  Trust me, this love has been tested on all sides of the spectrum, like it or not they are stuck with me, and in the end we are family.

I am a friend.  I type this in tears.  My friends are my world, the family I choose for myself.  My greatest gift.  My friends are the ones I laugh with, cry with, love and play with, share life with.  My future and my past.  They are my all and I hope to be the same to them.  If I type anymore my computer will crash because of the flood from my eyeballs.  So enough said, you get the point.  I consider being a friend top on the list of the things I am.

I am a wife.  This one I hold so very dear, the most important relationship in my life, the one so important it is hard to put into words.  I am a wife, and my husband is my best friend, so ditto everything I just said about friends and add it to being a wife to him.  But more than that, together we have built a home, a family.  We have built the most unique thing and I hope you feel what my lack of words can not express.  You often hear that marriage isn’t easy, and it isn’t always easy.  However, when the rewards are so great, so fulfilling, it isn’t as hard anymore.

I am a mom.  Wow, a mom.  How and when did that happen?  I still feel like I am fresh out of college and some might say I act like it, too.  I have two beautiful, healthy children who I am able to guide through their lives.  I adore them, as the book says “they are my everything.”  I love this, I love to think of being their tour guide for life.  Isn’t that we are as parents?  Our children are their own little people, and while they might hold many similarities to us as parents, their life is uniquely theirs.  The greatest gift is that when the tour is over and they go out on their own, we have showed them the way well.

I am also a chef, but that seems so inadequate.  Not because I am some amazing chef, but to me that is like saying a master violinist is just a musician.  Such a blanket term, lacking the millions of qualities and details that describe what I love, my passion.  A chef is a career, not what I am.  I am a chef, but I am this because it expresses outwardly the aspects of what I love.  Cooking feeds our soul, literally.  It is sharing, preparing, loving.  It is tradition, it is health, it is happiness.  It is culture right here today in Winston-Salem, and it is culture today thousands of miles away in Syria.  Food feeds us, literally, but food really feeds our souls when shared with others.

I am human.  I am not always right and I make mistakes, I make lots of them.  LOTS.  There are days when I think if someone else calls me mom again this rocket might blow!  I am sure the amount of typo’s in this blog would make an editor cry.  I am human, and I wonder at times “why is this happening to me?”.  There are days when I think I have this whole parent thing figured out and rock it completely, then the next day it is utter failure.  You know the kind, the kind where you think “I suck at this and my kids are going to be all screwed up”.  But then again, I am human.  I make mistakes, hopefully learn from them, and remind myself to try again.  Every day is new.

All of the above things lead me to realize, I am a crier.  Yes, one who cries, often.  Occasionally they are tears of sadness, but thankfully the sad tears are few and far between.  I cry tears of joy, compassion, happiness, of life.  I cry when I laugh so hard I can barely breathe, then am sore the next day.  I cry at commercials, I cry at the end of the evening news when they show the life stories.  I cry when someone gives me a special gift, not just a present, but a gift from the heart with no care of the dollar value.  Jimmy Valvano once said that if you laugh each day, love each day, and are moved to tears each day, that is a day well lived.  Not an exact quote, but something I remember.  My days are usually well lived, are yours?

I am so many other things, too.  Writer, outdoor lover, animal lover (have you ever been to my house?), comedian (stretching it), business woman, domestic engineer, should I go on?  Some might think it is hard to define yourself to words, that saying what “I am” is too hard, too confining.  I think it is fabulous.  Instead of feeling confined to these terms, I like to think how lucky I am that I get to be these things?  I am living and breathing, laughing and crying, loving and hurting, searching and finding, just like you.  I am.  I am me.  Your turn now, fill in the blank, what are you?

Enjoy the best of food and life, enjoy all the things that you are.