15 New Things: Profite bien!

We’re two months in to 2015, ⅙ of the way through this year, and so I thought I owed all of you lovely readers an update on my resolutions. I started this year with a list of 15 new things I intended to do, try, or learn in 2015. Here’s how I’m doing so far.

For the most part, the winter weather has had me in hibernation mode, which is less than conducive to accomplishing many of my goals. However, I have done remarkably well with one item:

7. Try at least one new bar/restaurant every month.

Despite the cold and the ice and the uncooperative subway, I have managed to try not just one, but at least two new spots each month, so far to great success. January brought Sweet Chick, whose fried chicken and waffles won over my little Southern heart (I’ve already waxed poetic about how at home the cozy Williamsburg joint made me feel).

In January, my roomie and I (along with her sister and cousin) also ventured to Rosemary, an Italian restaurant in the West Village that takes the term “farm to table” to heart; much of their produce and herbs makes a long and arduous journey from their rooftop farm directly to the kitchen and into patrons’ delighted mouths. My carbonara was melt-in-your-mouth good, conjuring up memories of the bygone summer when I lived in Florence, and of scrounged up dinners senior year of college with my then, and current, roomie, whose go-to dish made ready use of our fridge’s eccentric staples: eggs, cheese, bacon, and shallots. (Girls gotta eat, and in our case eat carbonara.) We also split some incredible rosemary focaccia, a side of roasted brussel sprouts, and some heavenly lemon beignets with nutella whipped cream. The only dissapointment? A much-touted house hot chocolate with marshmallow, which turned out to be rather unspectacular. Even my roomie’s “grown-up” version, infused with cognac, wasn’t worth the price. (To be fair, once you’ve had Angelina’s hot chocolate, you’re pretty much ruined for life.)

February brought two new faves with a decidedly Southern flavor. Scout and I finally made the trek to Arrogant Swine, and promptly wondered why it had taken us so long to make the walkable (in nicer weather) journey. While the barbecue was Carolina style, and therefore not our favorite, the sides more than made up for any of the meat’s deficiencies. As the owner explained to us, the Bushwick joint does not have an oven, so anything that needs to be baked gets baked in a waffle iron. Hence sweet potato waffles, mini cornbread waffles, and the piéce de resistance: the baked macaroni and cheese waffle. The great beer list, ample bourbon selection, and friendly staff made us quick converts, and definite return customers.

My neighborhood does not lack for great brunch options (Fritzl’s Lunch Box and Heavy Woods are my personal favorites), but this past weekend I braved the crowds of the L and headed to Williamsburg to meet one of my favorite fellow Southern transplants. Being a vegetarian, Anita is sometimes limited in her breakfast options, but she had heard of a spot that served not just great biscuits and gravy, but great biscuits and gravy that could be made meat-free. She was intrigued, as was I, and so we found ourselves at Egg. She got the veggie version, while I went all-meat-in, and neither one of us was disappointed. I’ll be perfectly honest: I am not normally a biscuits and gravy kind of gal, even though I know it infringes on my Southerner cred. To me, the gravy just adds an extra heavy layer to the already buttery biscuit, and I can feel my arteries clogging with every bite. But Egg may make a convert of me yet. The biscuits were perfect, sturdy but not tough, and the gravy offered an unexpected bit of spice that brought the whole meal to another level. While perusing the menu, I also discovered a country ham biscuit that featured, among other things, homemade fig jam and Grafton cheddar, therefore landing it at the top of Scout’s ideal food list. I immediately snapchatted her a photo, as besties do, and her reaction did not disappoint. We will be making a return visit ASAP.

Scout does not take kindly to interruptions to her burrito time.

Scout does not take kindly to interruptions to her burrito time.

Even though I’ve only technically checked one item off my list (and since that item is an ongoing one, it’s not so much a check as a running tally mark), I’m still happy, and pleasantly surprised, by my progress with my resolutions so far. And it’s had me thinking about one of my favorite frequently used french phrases: “Profite bien.” See the French are always telling you to profite from some thing or another — a trip, a sale, the day, the weather, your life as a whole. Aesthetes that they are, they firmly believe that if one is not sucking the marrow out of life, seizing moments of beauty and pleasure when they come, then one is not really living. Carpe diem, as it were. It’s a sentiment I appreciate, but one I find hard to adhere to in New York, especially during the winter months. This city is hard and expensive, and it can be difficult to muster up the energy and willpower to leave your den, get on the subway with another several hundred people, push your way through crowds, sacrifice a chunk of your hard-earned money, and then do the commute all over again. It’s exhausting just thinking about it, and doubly hard when the winter adds an extra bundling step to the whole process, while also eliminating many of your free activity options.

Seizing the day

Ready to embrace life, or at least warmer weather.

The vast majority of my goals for this year could really be filed under one larger aspiration: profiter de life in New York. And these past few months, in spite of the cold (and, admittedly, more than a handful of days when I wore pajamas until 4 pm and my only interactions were with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, the Bartlet White House staff, or the TGS crew), I feel like I’ve done ok with that. I went to a movie by myself on a Wednesday afternoon (sometimes, mid-week weekends aren’t so bad after all). I went to a production of one of my favorite plays in a coffeeshop (my inner site-specific theatre nerd was singing with joy, and nostalgia) and reunited with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. I drank bourbon and beer and ate burritos with Scout and another lover of the finer things in life that start with B. I left my apartment and went to the coffee shop around the corner to write this post. And all those admittedly little things, when you add them up together, make me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Maybe it’s the sunshine, which has slowly started to invade the forecast. Maybe it’s the new year, with it’s (arbitrary) sense of a clean slate and new beginnings. Or maybe it’s that, after 18 months in this city, it’s finally starting to feel like a home.

Bless Your Heart, New York: BBQ Blues

Dear New York,

We’ve got a bone to pick with you. See we’ve been here a while, and we’ve seen some things. Some things that you call barbecue. But we’re here to inform you that BBQ as you know it is, for the most part, not BBQ at all. And, dear misinformed New York, you are missing out on so much.

Let’s start with the word itself. Early on, we realized that when New Yorkers talked about “going to a barbecue” they were not talking about the events of our childhood. A barbecue in New York is a completely different beast than a barbecue in the South. Allow us to clear one thing up, for your own personal edification.

“Barbecue” is not throwing a few burgers and hot dogs on the grill and calling it a day. That is a cook-out. What you’ve been passing off as barbecuing? That’s called grilling, bless your heart, and doesn’t come close to the culinary heights of true BBQ.

See barbecue, real barbecue, is the slow smoking of some form of meat; our personal preference is for pork, but mutton and beef are also acceptable. If you’re inviting us to a barbecue, there best be a pit or a smoker in sight. Anything else is just false advertising on your part. We’re not trying to shame you — you didn’t know any better, bless your yankee heart — but we’ve been burned before. So really this lesson is for your benefit, and for ours.

Now that we’ve got the broad strokes straight, let’s break it down. Barbecue in the United States is not one homogenous entity. It is a broad culinary genre that encompasses four major categories. Further hybrid and sub-categories abound, but you’ve gotta crawl before you can run, so we’ll stick to the basics here: Carolina, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City.

Carolina Style: North Carolina takes its barbecue very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it’s become a political issue, with a constant battle raging over which approach should be considered the “official” state style of barbecue. There’s the Lexington or Piedmont Style, which generally uses pork shoulder with a vinegar-based sauce seasoned with ketchup and pepper. On the other side, you have Eastern Style, which uses the whole hog and a vinegar sauce that excludes any sort of tomato product (Zelda’s on their side with this one. If she had her druthers, ketchup would be banned altogether. From the world.). Both factions are adamant that their style is superior, with loyalties running as red hot as sports team allegiances. (South Carolina gets even more complicated, with three separate styles distinguished by their sauces, from Pee Dee to Carolina Gold. But that’s a lesson for another day.)

Memphis Style: Memphis style also consists of two varieties: wet and dry. Meat-wise, either style usually consists of ribs or pork shoulder. The dry style is covered in a rub, pit smoked, and then eaten without sauce. The wet style, as the name might suggest, is all about that sauce, with the meat generously brushed before, during, and after cooking (cue the hand wipes). Memphis is also big on barbecue sandwiches, and they even go so far as to include the smoked stuff on everything from pizza to nachos.

Texas Style: The great and giant state of Texas has its substyles as well, generally divided into East, West, South and Central Texas. While most disciples of Carolina and Memphis style will maintain that barbecue is a pork-only affair, Texas is less concerned about the meat, and more about the smoke. Beef, pork, sheep — pretty much anything goes. They are, however, quite picky about what wood they smoke that meat over. East Texas is hickory-smoked, Central Texas uses pecan or oak, and West Texas is over mesquite. South Texas is the wild child; their signature move is a thick, molasses-like sauce that keeps the meat nice and juicy.

Kansas City Style: Kansas City is single minded in their style, and a little less picky than their Carolina and Memphis counterparts. Brought to Missouri by Memphis-native Henry Perry in the early 1900’s, Kansas City style barbecue encompasses a wide variety of meats, dry rubbed and slow-smoked over a variety of woods. But no matter the meat, KC barbecue always includes a thick, sweet tomato and molasses based sauce, served on the side.

Now New York, you may be asking yourself: “Why did they just tell me about all these delicious slow-cooked meats when their birthplaces are thousands of miles away? Does Seamless deliver from Raleigh?” Not to fear, luckily there are other barbecue enthusiasts who have decamped to your fair boroughs: passionate believers, like us, in the beauty of a well-roasted hog. So don’t just take our word for it. You can find all of these styles of barbecue within your borders.

For Carolina Style, try Arrogant Swine in Bushwick. 73 Morgan Ave. (Morgan or Montrose stop on the L), open Tues.-Sun., arrogantswine.com

For Memphis Style, try Southern Hospitality in Hell’s Kitchen (Yes, it was co-created by Justin Timberlake. What can we say, Memphis boy knows his BBQ!) 645 9th Ave. (42nd St. stop on the ACE, or like eight other trains), open every day, southernhospitalitybbq.com

For Texas Style, try BrisketTown in Williamsburg. 359 Bedford Ave. (Bedford stop on the L or Marcy Av. stop on the JMZ), open Wed.-Sun., delaneybbq.com

For Kansas City Style, try John Brown’s Smokehouse in Long Island City. 10-43 44th Drive (Court Sq. stop on the E, M, 7, or G), open every day, johnbrownseriousbbq.com

Zelda is particularly partial to the Memphis and Kansas City styles, having resided in both towns during her formative years. But if you’re feeling really adventurous, our personal NYC favorite is the Oklahoma City Style at Mable’s Smokehouse & Banquet Hall in Williamsburg. Their sides are equally awesome, and the friendly staff gives it a very homey vibe. Or maybe it’s just our Louisvillian hearts recognized a fellow transplant‘s touches. Namely the excellent (correctly made) mint juleps44 Berry Street (Bedford Ave Stop on the L, Nassau Ave on the G), open every day, mablessmokehouse.com

Now go forth, darlings, and sample widely. You can thank us later.

Love,

Zelda & Scout

February Round Up

Oh February: month of chocolate, teddy bears, and glaring at PDA on the subway. While this month wasn’t particularly busy or exciting for either of us — just lots of work, more work, and then work again — it seemed to fly by. Maybe it’s because February is shorter than all the other months, bless its heart, or maybe it’s because we spent the last four weeks hibernating and hiding from the sub-zero temperatures. Either way, we’re baffled that it’s already time for another round up, and so ready for March and the promise of spring that it brings (someday, someday…maybe).

arrogant-swine, bushwick, brooklyn, barbecue

Nothing says Tuesday like beer and barbecue.

What We’re Doing: This month started off on the pensive side, with Zelda helping y’all fight homesickness and Scout feeling adultolescent as the long gray slog known as January finally drew to a close. Luckily, February is punctuated by a dose of chocolatey, holiday goodness. We quickly shifted into festive gear, from the ultimate Galentine’s Day party guide to a little something personal as we celebrated our own bestie-ship. With recipes, camp memories, and two awesome Floridians to round out the month, we are oh-so-ready to break into March with a dose of sunshine and the promise of coat-less weather to come.

lesley-gore

It’s always her party. (via Entertainment Weekly)

What We’re Listening To: This month’s playlist was all about the ladies: a celebration of female friendship and girl power in honor of Galentine’s Day. Filled with icons old and new, it is particularly poignant since one of our featured badass lady crooners, Lesley Gore, passed away just one week later. So in her honor, we pour one out, don our finest pantsuits, and belt out her timeless feminist anthem. And then, because it’s our party, we may cry a little.

saturday-night-live, snl-40

This. Was. Everything. (via The Wrap)

What We’re Watching: We are big fans of Saturday Night Live, from the Superstars and cowbells of our childhoods to Stefon and Serial spoofs. There are very few things in this world that can hold our attention on the TV screen for 3.5 hours without multi-tasking or interruptions, but the show’s 40th Anniversary Special was one of them. Featuring oodles of our favorites and a Who’s Who of the past four decades of comedy, it was the perfect balance of old and new, montages and sketches, laughter and, yes, tears. Now if Fey/Poehler/Curtin could just be a thing always, we would be set.

We also love: As you will learn in March, we are both fans of the musical theatre, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we loved the film adaptation of The Last Five Years, our all-time favorite (Off-Broadway) musical (we were even more delighted to discover that we could rent it from iTunes or Amazon, thus avoiding the need to leave our apartments). Scout has gotten super into the espionage antics of The Americans, while Zelda has plunged into an SNL 40-inspired 30 Rock rewatch. Also have you seen the video for our fave gal Ingrid Michaelson’s “Time Machine” because it’s beyond fantastic…

Team Oxford Comma for life. (Via Verbicide Magazine)

Team Oxford Comma for life. (via Verbicide Magazine)

What We’re Reading: This article by The New Yorker’s proofreader Mary Norris is one of the greatest things Zelda has read in a while. As this blog’s resident comma queen, she has a lot of feelings about punctuation (Team Oxford/Serial Comma for life). This essay — part bare-faced memoire, part grammatical treatise, and 100% delightful — introduced her to a kindred spirit, and she is now counting down the days until Norris’s book comes out.

We also love: It takes guts to put your name on something and put it out there for the internet to judge. It takes even more guts to admit you might have made a mistake when you pressed publish. For this thoughtful response, and honesty about the state of the South, we tip our Derby hats to the Bitter Southerner.

The world of writing lost a giant, a genius, and a champion this month, at the age of 58. The world is darker without David Carr in it, and Mondays are far more boring, but with this syllabus we can continue to learn from his kind, incisive, and witty example.

hotdudesreading

“Spotted this scruffy prince on his morning commute. Probably to sculpture class.” (via @hotdudesreading)

Who We’re Following: Social media newcomer @hotdudesreading is our favorite thing to happen to Instagram, possibly ever. Our commutes with never be the same again. And if you’re not already following @seen.and.heard, you’re missing out on some delightful illustrated hilarity. You are welcome.

mabel's-smokehouse, barbecue

Mabel’s for the win.

What We’re Eating: Okay, we know that May is National BBQ Month or whatever, but here on Zelda and Scout we don’t need an occasion to eat the food of our people. We’ve basically made it one of our life’s missions to try all the worthy barbecue places in this city. This month, we hit up the Bushwick-based joint Arrogant Swine; while the Carolina style they serve is not our favorite, we are dying for another of their mac and cheese waffles. We also made a spontaneous pilgrimage to our favorite Williamsburg spot, Mable’s Smokehouse, for a Wednesday comfort food fix. They’re Kentuckian-owned, and their Oklahoma-style BBQ hits the spot every time.

The one and only. (Via Cricket Press)

The one and only. (via Cricket Press)

What We’re Drinking: We are always bourbon drinkers; as Kentucky girls, it’s in our blood. But with the cold weather, we’ve been particularly drawn to our favorite American spirit. When the mercury drops, we curl up with a glass of Bulleit or Blanton’s, and this lovely essay that spoke straight to our little Southern hearts.

Oh Kentucky for Kentucky, you know the way to our hearts.

Oh Kentucky for Kentucky, you know the way to our hearts.

What’s On Our Wishlist: Zelda loves her Kitchen Aid mixer. A lot. Inherited from her mom, it’s full of childhood memories and makes whipping up homemade baked delights oh so easy (much to Scout’s joy as well). The one thing it’s missing? An ice cream maker attachment. Which, if she’s perfectly honest, she wants 99% so she can make this. Also, in the “bringing Zelda’s childhood dreams back to life” category, Zoombinis, the greatest computer game about a fictional species EVER, is making a comeback! So if you really want to give her a gift, contribute to the Kickstarter and make her inner 8-year-old over-the-moon ecstatic.

Scout, meanwhile, is lusting after Kentucky for Kentucky’s newest offering: adorable, and practical, enamel mugs, perfect for that camping trip she swears she’s going to take when the weather warms up.

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In The Heart Of A Wooded Mountain

Temperatures dropped below freezing this week, and the will to leave the comfort of my apartment, much less my bed, has become nearly non-existent. As I descend into full-blown hibernation, I’ve been thinking a lot about the outdoors, and my recent lack of interaction with it. As winter sinks its icy claws into my neighborhood, I’ve been wishing for summer, and thinking about summer always eventually comes around to thoughts of the nine summers I spent at sleepaway camp, tucked away in the heart of a North Carolina mountain. The view from my Brooklyn apartment is all snow-covered sidewalks and train tracks with nary a tree in sight. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that, in some strange way, the barebones cabins and gravel pathways of camp prepared me for the man-made forest I now live in.

I was seven when I spent my first session at Rockbrook Camp. Two of my friends had found it through some sort of info session, part of the camp staff’s annual recruitment tour. I was drawn to the promises of adventure, sisterhood, and cultivating independence. Plus, since both of my parents worked, my summers always had to be filled with something — usually a smorgasbord of day camps with themes ranging from field hockey to art to cooking. Being thrust into new situations was something I had come to accept, but usually, after a day of group activities, I was able to retreat to my home and watch TV. Rockbrook was different. This would be two and a half weeks sans technology, with my parents not a mere room away, but a seven hour drive.

Rockbrook-Camp, Girls-Camp, RBC

Way down in Brevard where the classy people go (Via Rockbrook Camp)

Seven-year-old me took to the idea surprisingly well. I was excited about all the new gear I got in preparation. (I was always one of those kids who liked going back to school because it meant new folders and pencils and notebooks, and this was basically the summer version of that). Armed with a bright purple trunk (which now stores linens in my childhood bedroom) and my first ever Nalgene bottle, I settled into a cabin on top of a hill with seven new sisters, two harried college students to guide us, and the Appalachian mountains.

That first year was hard. My cabin was among the youngest at camp, all newbies who were delving into the brave new world of parental separation for the first time. But we liked each other, supported each other, and challenged each other in ways that only seven-year-olds can. We sang songs and read stories, and lived a life free from judgment. That was the great thing about being seven and away from parents and teachers and boys: absolute freedom to just be yourself. There was something beautiful and rare about it, and by the end of my first session I was hooked, already itching to get back.

The scene of my girlhood dreams (Via Rockbrook Camp)

The scene of my girlhood dreams (Via Rockbrook Camp)

From that point on until the age of 16, I went back every summer. The nervousness about leaving my comfort zone was gone as those wood buildings became my home away from home. On Opening Day, I ran to greet last year’s friends, all of us hauling trunks and sleeping bags and books to our cabins. I saved clothing during the year knowing that this bit of an outfit would work perfectly for some costumed camp activity. I looked forward to immersing myself in the crisp mountain air, the misty mornings and muggy afternoons, the summer rainstorms that echoed hard on the tin roofs of the cabins. I lived for solitary twilights reading in the woods, and smokey camp fires swaying to the voices of my friends as we sang unabashedly. Rockbrook was beautiful — green forest, waterfalls, nature pretty much everywhere. It was everything it’s songs promised (the heart of a wooded mountain, circled by silvery streams…). even more beautiful were the people and the sense of community. It was important and life-changing and even spiritual. It was also super weird.

Explaining weird camp rituals and traditions to people who didn’t experience them is hard, because going to camp is a little like being in a really harmless cult. There are Midnight Fairy parties and six a.m. jungle breakfasts, air band competitions and pageants where the winner’s gown is made entirely from toilet paper, prank wars, and theme dress days, strange names for everything, and a whole lot of singing. You sing when you go to meals, you sing when you go to campfires, and to morning assembly, and to vespers. There’s a lot of singing in general. Camp is probably the closest you’ll ever get to actually living inside a musical.

Post-rainstorm hill rolling. Soaked, but never happier.

Post-rainstorm hill rolling. Soaked, but never happier.

And all this weird stuff, it bonds you with the girls around you. Once you’ve rolled down a hill in the rain, and crawled through sand and mud in Hi-Up initiation; once you’ve dressed up in matching outfits and choreographed a dance routine that no one looks good doing; once you’ve challenged, and won, a shooting competition against the nearby boys camp, you don’t lose that. You are family and comrades, sisters for life. It’s been a while since I’ve really talked to my camp friends, but I know that if I were to call them up or send them an email, that bond would still be there. No matter where we go or what happens, we’ll always have Rockbrook, those nine years, and I have no doubt that we could pick up right where we left off. You don’t jump off three-story cliffs, lead the camp in song, make matching hats, eat Dolly’s ice cream, prank your younger cohorts, and wash dishes together every day without forming something lasting.

Camp taught me a lot: how to thrive in a new environment, how to be away from my parents, how to make a banana boat, how to paddle my own canoe, how to shoot a gun, how to live with other people, but mostly how important friendships are, especially my friendships with other women. This, above all, has helped me survive in the concrete forest of New York City. See camp taught me that when thrust into a strange place or a new situation, it’s important to have someone who will jump in with you. Your cabinmates, your sisters will be there. They’ll hold your hand and leap into the void, screaming like a banshee all the way down. And while my New York “cabinmates” don’t share 1000 square feet and two light bulbs with me (well, two of them do), they do provide the same support, physical cliffs not withstanding.

Final Year as a Camper. HUPS '06!

Final Year as a camper. HUPS ’06!

Going to camp every summer taught me that it’s okay to be scared, to be unsure, to not know what exactly you’re doing. It taught me to jump into things with a sense of adventure, and to make friends at every turn, because you’re never in it alone.

Now post-camp life is not quite the same. There was something in the mountain air that helped us form those bonds, some sort of positivity radiating off the lake and the trees that we don’t get here in the city (maybe it was just an over abundance of Vitamin D). But the lessons still apply. A true friend will cry with you on a rock in the middle of the woods as much as they will on a roof by the M train. They will hold you when you’re homesick, and dance with you to the Spice Girls in your pajamas (what was relevant then is nostalgia now). We’re all dragging our trunks into a metaphorical wilderness, and we will laugh, cry, and sing out way through it the way we did every North Carolina summer.

Get Your Fruit On: Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Hello, lovelies! G/Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the cold has hung on with a vengeance, which always puts me in a baking mood. When the weather outside is frightful, I want nothing more than to munch on something warm and homey, and the baking process has the added benefits of 1. making my apartment smell awesome and 2. significantly raising the temperature in my kitchen. Winter is a tough season for bakers, especially in the Northern climes, as many of our favorite ingredients are in short, and very expensive, supply. One can only make so many apple pies. So when I find myself dreaming of summery peach pies or blueberry scones, I turn to recipes like this one.

These cookies are one of my all-time favorites from my mom’s kitchen, but they tend to get mushy in the mail, so I’ve been forced to tackle them on my own. The rich chocolate and red raspberry may lead you to believe that these are a Valentine’s dessert. However, I am a firm believer that February 14th, while lovely, is a completely arbitrary moment to show your affection. True love means showing the ones you hold dear that you care every day of the year, not just 1/365th of the time, and chocolate and red fruits are no exception to that rule. And the best thing about this recipe? It calls for frozen raspberries, making it an all-season baking all-star, and a perfect cure for those winter doldrums.

Raspberries: The Superior Berry (Via Wikimedia)

Raspberries: The Superior Berry (Via Wikimedia)

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Ingredients

1 ½ cups flour

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup butter (softened)

1 box (10 oz) frozen raspberries in syrup (thawed but undrained)

¼ cup orange juice

1 tbsp cornstarch

¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Let's get our bake on.

Let’s get our bake on.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and butter to form dough.

Press the dough evenly in the bottom of an ungreased 13X9-in. pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.

In a 1-qt. saucepan, mix the raspberries (with syrup), orange juice, and cornstarch. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil, continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over crust. Once the raspberry mixture has cooled, carefully spread it over the chocolate layer. Try to get the layer evenly distributed across the pan, paying special attention to the corners.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the raspberry mixture has set.

Remove from oven and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the chocolate is firm.

Cut and serve.

Just Folks: Katie Warden

Mondays on Zelda & Scout are all about you! In a series we call “Just Folks,” we talk to Southerners who have found their way to New York about where they’re from, where they are now, and what home means to them.

This week we have the lovely Katie Warden! Katie is one of Zelda & Scout’s New York besties, a fellow lover of musicals, Southern food, spoken word-infused rap, and Matthew Gray Gubler. Now there are some who would not consider her Florida home the South, but this tailgatin’, Buffett-listenin’, margarita-drinkin’ chick would beg to differ.

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Name:

Katie Warden

Hometown:

DeLand, FL

Age:

25

Current City:

Brooklyn, NY

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m currently working at Christie’s Education in New York. The graduate program combines art history and art business to train the next group of art professionals. Basically I plan graduate students’ day to day lives.

Time North of the Mason-Dixon line so far?

2 years, 5 months, and 10 days, but who’s counting really.

What brought you to New York?

Sotheby’s Institute of Art for graduate school, where I met Scout!

What’s the most common reaction when people learn where you’re from? What’s something about life in the South that you have to explain to non-Southerners?

No one ever really knows where I am from, so I generally tell everyone I am from the Orlando area, which people usually think means I live at Disney. Also, being from Florida, many people do not consider it part of the “true South,” so I find myself having to defend my Southern roots more so than others.

Describe life in NYC as people at home picture it. Describe life in NYC as it actually is.

I think people always think that living in New York is like living in a dream world. Don’t get me wrong, New York is amazing, but this is not Gossip Girl. While there are a ton of things I get to do in NYC that I would never be able to do if I were back in Florida (like see world class art, go to Broadway shows, walk on the Highline in the summertime), the majority of my time is spent on things that are much more mundane, like going to work for the majority of each day. New York life is about seizing all those opportunities that are afforded to you by the city and really making the most of what it has to offer.

Where do you consider home? Why?

This question is hard, because I feel like a girl of two worlds now. I go back to Florida and it fits, but my life in New York fits, too. I think I will always be a Florida girl at heart. My blood constantly craves the sunshine and sea air and good seafood. Yet there is something about New York that draws me back each time. I think that my definition of home is where there is love, and I have so much love at home from my family and old friends, but there is love here in New York and things I cherish about this city that I never want to give up.

Do you miss where you’re from? Do you see yourself going back?

I miss DeLand for the people more than anything else. I miss my parents and other family. I miss my best friends that I’ve had for 10+ years. I miss wandering around our downtown, drinking Boston Coffee drinks and living the small town life. I can see myself being back below the Mason Dickson eventually for sure, but I’m not sure when that will be. If anything, I will just retire to a beach house in Daytona and soak up the sun in my old age.

Do you consider yourself a Southerner? Do you consider yourself a New Yorker? Why or why not?

There are times when I consider myself both. The longer I live in New York, the more it seems to fit, and the more I feel like a New Yorker. But the South will always have my heart, and deep down I will always be a Southern girl.

Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines New York for you?

Food/ Drink: Brunch of all shapes and sizes, particularly with endless mimosas.

Book: I have a lot of really strong feelings associated with Catcher and the Rye. I read it about once a year, and now that I live in New York, I like looking at the places that Holden describes and seeing how much, and how little, has changed about the city.

Quote: “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” –Tom Wolfe

Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines where you’re from?

Food/ Drink: Seafood and margaritas, specifically those found at my parents’ restaurant, Our Deck Down Under, in Daytona Beach. There is also a clear connection for me between the South and all things barbeque and whiskey.

Song: As cheesy as it sounds, I always associate the tunes of Jimmy Buffett with my home. There is just something about driving down the beach and listening to Buffett songs that screams home. Also the sounds of Southern rock that I grew up listening to with my dad — things like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels, etc. Those are the traditional sounds of the South that always make me think of home and my family.

Quote: “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch — we are going back from whence we came.” — John F. Kennedy

What is the best cure for homesickness?

Whenever I’m feeling homesick, I cook. I’ll make the cookies my mom has been making for us since infancy or another one of her other home-cooked classics. This food, along with a good movie or book, helps me center myself and makes me feel better about being so far from home. And I’m pretty much in the constant contact with my family and friends back home, which makes the distance seem much shorter.

The Best Friend Tag

Happy Galentine’s Day, y’all! To wrap up our very special week of festive content, we have something a little different for you. We were besties long before we were bloggers (14 years and counting now…). So to let you get to know us, the real people behind Zelda and Scout, a little better, and to see how well we know each other, we present: The Best Friend Tag.

Thanks for watching! Now go celebrate today with your BFF. Preferably with waffles.