A Time for Everything: “Spring, A Cookbook”

Skye Gyngell recipesThere is a time for everything, including a time for asparagus and artichokes and cookbooks that are all about spring cuisine! Adding to the growing collection of beautiful cookbooks from the culinary world which are dedicated to seasonal cooking is one of London’s “most respected and acclaimed chefs” Skye Gyngell’s new cookbook Spring.

Ms. Gyngell, who also has published three other cookbooks*, is known “for her distinctively seasonal, elegant cooking, creating dishes inspired by what she saw growing and blossoming around her.” She also has a new restaurant by the same name “Spring” in the heart of London’s arts and culture district.

It is worth checking out her website, where you can find one of her shared recipes of the month (see below). Read more

Happy National Tartan Day!

national tartan day
Tartan store in Edinburgh, Scotland

On April 4, 2008, President George W. Bush signed a Presidential Proclamation designating April 6th as “National Tartan Day.”*

“Americans of Scottish descent have made enduring contributions to our Nation with their hard work, faith, and values,” the Proclamation reads. “On National Tartan Day, we celebrate the spirit and character of Scottish Americans and recognize their many contributions to our culture and our way of life.” Read more

Beauty and the Beast: Bringing a Tale as Old as Time to Life

“Winter turns to Spring, famine turns to feast, nature points the way, nothing left to say, Beauty and the Beast.” –Mrs. Potts

Disney could have hardly chosen a better time to make and release a live-action adaption of the beloved Beauty and the Beast 1991 animated classic.*

Winter’s cold, snowy and lethargic presence has been exacerbated by a long, polarizing and turbulent political season, leaving many of us desperately longing for a ray of spring sunshine and a rebirth of our depleted spirit.

While I suspect the film would have been a record-breaker** regardless of its release date, Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast was all the more enjoyable and uplifting for the contrast it provides to the current mood and political climate permeating our country. Read more

Singing in the New Year 2017: Hallelujah!

“There’s a blaze of light in every word;
it doesn’t matter which you heard,
the holy, or the broken Hallelujah!
Edinburgh sunset
Edinburgh, Scotland; December 2016
I couldn’t feel, so I learned to touch.
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong,
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah!”

– Lines taken from the legendary song “Hallelujah” by the legendary Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934-November 7, 2016)

Sailing “Close-hauled” Into Summer

sailing quotes Ahh, summer…there is nothing more inspiring than the majestic beauty of a sailboat sailing offshore, making its way into a welcoming harbor filled with beautiful white boats on a sunset-splashed summer evening.

It brings forth dreams of heroic adventures on the high seas and imaginings of far-away paradisiacal places with “palm-green shores” and ancient ports with cargo ships unloading their treasures of “emeralds, amethysts, topazes, cinnamon, and gold moidores” (as John Masefield describes in his poem “Cargoes”), all bathed in the magical golden hues of summer.

The idea of sailing is the ultimate romantic longing – glistening waters, brilliant sunsets, and a solitude that drenches the soul in the wonder, mystery and power of the natural world. Read more

The “Sunshine of the Lowcountry”

“I was born and raised on a Carolina sea island and I carried the sunshine of the low-country, inked in dark gold, on my back and shoulders.” –Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides  
Pat Conroy quotes
South Carolina Lowcountry, May 2016
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” –Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides
“Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?” –Pat Conroy, My Losing Season

Setting Sail Into New Realms

“Much have I traveled in the realms of gold, and many goodly states and kingdoms seen.” –John Keats
beautiful ocean sunrise
Photo courtesy of Madeline Huemme

From the East to West Coast and the North to South, set sail this summer – on ocean or lake – to bask in the sun’s golden hues and wander the waters of new realms. Read more

A Perfect Spring Read for a “Break” from the World

Shepherd's Life James RebanksThe transition from winter to spring is never an easy overnight happening. It can be a time of slow adjustments – a waking up of the senses to the soft light and intoxicating freshness of the spring air. It is the only seasonal transition where the body and soul yearn for a restorative break from the previous season’s grip.

With a feeling as if the world is in upheaval, spinning away from the light and into the darkness of chaos, confusion and conflict where incompetent leaders have “lay waste [their] powers”, the need for a spring “break” this year of 2016 seems all the more necessary.

“The world is too much with us”, William Wordsworth once wrote in a poem that speaks to the importance of the restorative powers of nature for the body and soul: Read more

“Once You Have Slept on an Island…”

“In the middle of the Pacific ocean where East meets West, 
Is an Island of fire and ice, Home of the volcano and doorway, 
To another dimension and a different reality. Here magic lives, 
Where the Earth herself liquefies and nothing is quite as it seems.”
–Pila of Hawaii
Hawaii poems
Kauai, Hawaii

March, a month signaling the budding of a new season, is a time for “Spring” breaking – students breaking from the tiresome cycle of classroom lectures and late night studying, adults breaking from a grueling schedule of business meetings and client deadlines, and all of us breaking from the cold, dark days of winter.

Many will break away to the coast of Florida, some maybe to the Caribbean, still others to far-off destinations. But here at ATG, we’ve always “breaked” at an island (Hilton Head Island) – an island with windswept beaches, transcendent sunrises (see below), and a soothing calmness felt in the warm, sand swirling winds.

Its beauty and serenity has kept us returning for more than 30 years, replenishing, restoring and reinvigorating our vitamin-D deprived souls. Read more