Manger Workshop- Remembering A Beginning

Where to begin?

Ahh yes, I will try my best by remembering a beginning.

It’s beautiful arriving upon a moment that you have been looking forward to for so long. The experience feels slightly just slightly out of body. I have been awaiting this experience for a few years, reading every post, and every page that  Mimi has shared with the world of food. As each moment pulled me closer to the workshop, I plowed through obstacles, small ones, but obstacles nonetheless that challenge one whilst traveling alone (maybe they happen just as often while with someone, but having the crutch of a companion makes the obstacles seem smaller, more mundane). I think I might cover my thoughts on that topic once I get finished with this one.

I arrived at the Chateau le Ormes de Pres with a happy excitement, driving around the little village 100 times attempting to find the entrance. It’s amazing how well you know a place once you leave, laughing at the moments of complete ignorance that plagued the beginning of your trip.

That night I gave myself a tour of Saint Estephe. If I’m being honest, I was trying to find a place to eat, as well as keep myself busy until night fell. It stays light quite late in Europe. I was puzzled. The area looked abandoned. Moving from one village to the next I was perplexed to find NOTHING. No store of any type, modern conveniences aside. A few locals here and there (even more perplexing, was where did these few people eat! What did they do! How did they survive? Who were they?!) I found more tractors than people.

Fields and Fields of grapes
Seemingly abandoned villages
The Priests home, sitting right behind the Church, hands off people. I will be the one renovating this beauty!

Day one

My fellow workshop attendee, Roberta (and soon to be fast best friend) hopped in the Peugot and got moving, over the hills and around the bends to St. Yzans De Medoc, Mimi’s village. It looks a bit like the others; a church with an impressive steeple, small roads, and stone homes built closely, one abandoned chateau after another. But Mimi’s home is glorious. the smooth fox terriers greet you with anticipation, and you realize there is life to this village after all.

Walking into her home… through what looks like a side door, you land in the La Boucherie. Instead of the traditional boucherie (butcher room) where meat is the main attraction, this one houses heaps and heaps of vegetables. Mimi’s husband Oddur, mentioned on our last day that they surround themselves with an abundance of produce for two reasons, 1) we fuel ourselves with it, we do it for us first, our family and  2) it creates moments that represent our family, when a photographer or journalist pops by we are never scrambling, this is our life and this is what it always looks like (I’m paraphrasing obviously).

The first photo I took of the workshop, Oddur met us at the door, we stepped into a room that seemed like a movie set.

The many photos that represent their family & lifestyle through the years are the raw truth. This family is just as fantastic as your wildest dreams imagined it to be. Soon you walk into the “Big Harvest room,” then the “Green Dining Room” and then to where the heart beats – her kitchen.  Each room is adorned with copper pots; antique this and that, hardwood floors meet tile. Your eyes don’t stop moving, there are moments where you feel small and there are moments where you feel like you’ve left the century you came from. The home is bigger than you think, and I mean that in many ways, she holds history and that beauty exposes itself in every corner.

The room just before Her kitchen, housing the florets, wine glasses etc…
Before we knew it the Savoy cabbage became our dear friend
Chou Farci, from Mimi’s first book, apropriately our first meal in Medoc
These meringues became the most elegant desert

This world they live in is a fairytale. Oddur said it simply, they want to be together as much as possible, and live that way. So they do, and they do everything they can to hold on to this lifestyle.

I soon found myself falling a little in love with this life. The home being wedged between vineyards and abandoned chateaus begins to feel more charming than inconvenient.

So for those of you who are thinking about attending this workshop, I recommend you hop on the opportunity. Of course there is no end date in site but this beautiful family has to live! And I’m sure there will be less and less workshops as the years progress, their adventures are growing as I type. But for now…snatch it up while you can, the experience is that of a fairytale.

Some folks wrote to me asking if the trip was worth it. As I said, this trip exceeded my wildest dreams. The drive to Medoc, the adventure of traveling alone in Europe, renting a car and navigating the vineyards with little to no service was all worth it. However, the workshop itself was magic. Mimi says to make this home yours, relax and enjoy yourself over the next three days. Once you do just that, the workshop transports you, it pauses time. The simple techniques you glean from Mimi as she glides around the kitchen, you could not possibly put a price on. The quality of produce and drink make you amp up your standards for your own kitchen, brainstorming how you can replicate in your everyday usual before you even leave Medoc.

You don’t drink? No problem, there is no pressure to consume any alcohol, cooking with drink, now that’s a must! If you do love wine, Oddur will be sure to help keep your glass full with the most delectable bottles. Mimi herself prefers not to have a glass until the evening, so if you are at all worried I guarantee the pressure is off! The cooking alone is intoxicating and smiles never ever left my face. I go back to those three days often in the short time since I’ve left, truly a Red Letter triage of days.

stay tuned for the day 2 & 3 reflections!

Xx

Cook Space Brooklyn

Tucked away on the second floor of an old building in Prospect heights is a former widget workhouse. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Moving to New York City has led me on a wild goose chase in search of a community or space to meet like-minded individuals who love food, support local business, and are growing themselves. Whether that be their own blog, new career path, or just new cooking skills.

Michelle Mannix was on Cherry Bomb radio a couple weeks ago. Episode 195 “It Ain’t Easy Being a Small Business Owner” grabbed every bit of my attention as I was marching to work about two thursdays ago. https://radiocherrybombe.simplecast.fm/03ed888c During the episode Michelle opened up about her first two businesses, her culinary expieriences, and why she opened up a culinary studio. She’s tackling something completely different, but oddly similar with this venture. Cook Space Brooklyn is an experience https://www.cookspacebrooklyn.com

Somehow Cook Space captures the happiness of walking into your regular cafe to grab the necessary scones & coffee. It’s familiar and cozy while at the same time exuding elegance to impress any and all guests you wish to entertain. This was the right space, and instantly I started growing. You know, that feeling when you are so incredibly sure of each step you make. And somehow a glow is radiating around you, you’re smiling, and it’s because you’re in a happy place. Its temporary, of course. You all too soon are transported back to the cold streets of Brooklyn running after your Uber that stopped a few blocks too far away.

An aspiring small business owner myself, I wanted to absorb every word Michelle spoke. I am/ was that person frantically writing notes & quotes of this special woman’s insights. She knows this city, she definitely knows food, and most importantly she knows people. Michelle understands closing doors and opening new ones, and trusting the process of growth. Just what my Monday night needed. Tuesday I launched Pitchfork and Pearls. thank you Michelle.


Completely renovated and redesigned Michelle and her team have breathed life back into the room. Upon walking in you are treated to a wall of cooking utensils, copper pans and Dutch ovens adorning the original widget board, the only object remaining from the former workshop. Cookbooks organized by color fill the bookshelves.


As you move deeper into the room, there is a cabinet without doors keeping all the flours, spices, grains, open to view. Each ingredient just waiting to be plucked for the recipe that lies ahead of you.


The studio is spotless, stainless steel with the coziest of accents that separate this working kitchen from a conventional space.


What used to be the building’s elevator shaft is now the ‘dining room’ where students sit down to enjoy their culinary creations. It’s beautiful, cozy, and absolutely what I have been looking for.


Space to cook is coveted real estate especially in this city. Finding an outlet for kitchen creativity is equally desired. No strings attached, Cookspace has a mission to get people more comfortable in the kitchen. Unpretentious and completely dedicated to creating a comfortable environment for learning and growing cooking skills. Termed culinary studio on purpose, Michelle wanted to inspire people to make cooking a practice, just like yoga or working out. I advise you make one of these workshops apart of any and all NYC visit itineraries.

I grabbed a ticket to Michelle’s Seize your Day planning workshops for last Monday, March 4th. She mentioned something about this workbook during the podcast and I figured it would be a great excuse to try the place out.The class came with her new 12 week planner (you can buy on Cookspace Brooklyn website). Though I won’t share too much just yet, I am feeling myself apply deeper intention to the day, getting more out of each coveted 24 hours. Will report back at the 6 week mark.

Voyage to Medoc, Voyage to Mimi!

My rendition of Mimi’s Chateau…anticipating this trip (queue the 8 year old on Christmas morning squeal)

Mimi Thorrisson Manger Workshop- How I am making this work

Taking the voyage to Medoc, France is a dream. An expensive dream. Pitchfork and Pearls started with my own version of a vision board. Not necessarily cutting and pasting images from magazines (haven’t gotten there yet) but writing down goals that would propel me forward in this journey. Mimi was not on the top of the list. And I say this to bring reality to the conversation, I chose simple little goals that would be attainable in a few week, maybe a couple months, non threatening and totally in my comfort zone. I had just bought the new IPad Pro- which to me was a BIG splurge- and was feeling drained financially. As the list of goals got longer the visions got bigger, because 1) why not- no harm in day dreaming 2) its was FUN! Stretching my mind to open to the endless possibilities was invigorating. Physically writing them down was propelling them forward. That list is important and I will absolutely share with you. See how the goals JUMPED.

Apologies for my handwriting

Hmph, I should briefly introduce Mimi Thorrisson before I go on. Mimi, her husband Oddur, 8 children, 14 Fox Terriers, and one Italian Pointer Monte Critso reside in Medoc, France. The Bordeux region, you may have heard of it once?or twice, probably in a wine store. Author & food blogger Mimi shares her excuisite life in France. Inspiring and dropping jaws in seasonal cooking, her travels, her entertaining techniques, and her incredible workshops. Find her on Manger, her food blog, or pick up her book A French County Kitchen. Miss Mimi also has quite the tantalizing instagram account…and if that is not enough many many posts reside on Pinterest gifting you windows of the fascinating life she leads. Ahh yes back to goals.

After writing Mimi’s name down on my vision list I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Visiting France in the summer like so many other lucky glamorous folks, taking so much more from this event, more than a simple vacation. I daydreamed about using this material to create connections, grow strangers into friendships, and picking up more and more inspiration along the way. Addicted. So I emailed Mimi thinking 2020 would be the year of Medoc & Me, & her 14 terriers, maybe I would even go home with a pup.. (heh okay keep your goals in check miss) Email sent, 7 hours later I get a reply from Mimi herself. Yes most of the workshops were full, there was a seat open in a new workshop that might be right up my alley (I told her my goals & my very unique (ha) interest in farm to table food because 1) why not give her the low-down, she knows her workshops best 2) She may not even respond, the least this email can do is get my goals in writing again).

Whoops- guess 2020 goals might just have to happen sooner than expected. Putting these bad boys in writing… was dangerous. So I replied with, let me make sure this can work financially and I will get back to you very soon. I knew if this was going to happen it needed to be smart decision. No room for buyers remorse.

Can I afford it? It would be tight. Is this bettering me & my business, my future livelihood. I 100% believed that it would and so the answer was Hi Mimi- I’m in. Because plans began in January I had time to pay in increments. ½ of the workshop fee now to reserve my spot. Flights & lodging would have to be done in a couple paychecks. And I was going to make it work.

As February comes to a close I am feeling tempted to splurge on warm weather dresses and Brigitte Bardot outfits for the Bordeaux region. I am reminding myself that those aren’t in my goals, my vision list. I will look the part just perfectly when wearing the clothes I have now. I mention this because a shopaholic at heart this might urge a reader to keep their goals in check, writing down ideas and visions that propel you forward, clothing is definitely not optional in this world, but it certainly will not take you to the places you want/ need to go (not for me anyway). Style will develop, transform and leave you like a one night stand. I am toning it down to only investing in staple items when need be. Grow the vision but be sure to not focus on what one is wearing (my personal weakness ladies & gents!)

So this is just the beginning to my next chapter & I am oh so grateful for it. I feel beautiful trips like these need to be broken down into real terms. I do not have deep funds to pull from & make these trips happen. Instead it is a very real budgeting system. Stripping down my ego, spending less. Cleaning out my brain of the luxuries crowding our vision daily (belive me- nyc can be crippling at times) and getting down to the basics. Simple meals can be just as exquisite, just stretching a dollar. Breakfast, stewed apples and plain yogurt, (ah my favorite!) what’s for lunch? Sweet potato brought from home. Keeping the grocery bills lower, the material goods at 0 spending and growing my brain. If this is on your radar, you’re going to make it happen! But there will be sacrifices. Sacrifices that grow you.

I brought this up to my mom when I guiltily explained my next adventure (guilty because I wish she could come with me! She absolutely is my best friend!) and she reminded me of growing up in Vermont, though beautiful it is an expensive place to live. Mum and her friends would do “no spend months” where groceries, gas, and of course monthly payments are the only items you are spending money on. No special dinners out for no reason, no splurges at the mall, and certainly no online shopping. Home, work, grocery store, home, it may seem drab at first but you soon will fine ways to brighten your simple world up. She said she was always so impressed with how much savings there were that she would challenge herself to an extra month of savings. So that’s what I’m doing!

Thanks mom, you truly are always right.

An Apology to Bread


My very first loaf! Made with King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour

Hi there

Oh I’ve been thinking about that love hate relationship we have with Bread. For me, it has been absent from my life for quite a while. And by absent… I mean I have actively tried to cut it from my diet while feeling discouraged when I fall victim to a bread-a-thon *hmph* . Of Course we are challenged with most of the carb fam but mainly… bread. And why? Well… everyone else was cutting out carbs so why not snip it from my diet?

The era of the paleo diet affected me mostly my junior year of high school, training me that bread was bad. Bad bread. Ha

I felt like I had a hold on my health but college hit and I was way wrong. I grew up in so many ways … but before long I felt  super uncomfortable with the changes happening to my body. Looking back…it wasn’t the bread that brought on the pounds it was a lifestyle change! Alcohol, junk food, lonnnggg hours in the library (slightly less productive than I would like to admit), frustration with grades, barely drinking enough water to stay hydrated… that reminds me…  and moving WAY LESS.

So here we go, my apology to bread. I am soooo sorry I left you in the dust (flour) and promise I am going to bring you back into my life.

One time Michael Pollan got really into bread baking… So I decided to get really into bread baking… IT WAS AWESOME


Thank you Mr. Michael Pollan. After listening to Cooked on Audible and watching the short series on Netflix I somewhat had an epiphany and realized ye olde ancestors were smart, healthy, and thriiiiiiving. They baked & ate bread daily!

Enter: OCB –  Obcessive compulsive bread baking- Warning- Posts will be following this on how to bake bread, how to love bread and how to bake it some more. Soo so Sorry

So Smart: a very very cheap addition to any & all meals. One loaf of bread uses one pound of flour. At a going rate of about a 64 cents per pound… you really cant say no. If you have the proper ingredients (Salt, yeast, sugar, warm water) A homemade loaf of bread can cost you under a dolla while feeding many.

So Healthy: Bread was the center of the table, a feature of most meals, why? It mainly consists of air: yeast, flour and water.. however for such an airy food it leaves us feeling full? Amazing.

A recent study from the journal Digestion reveales that 86% of the people claiming to be sensitive to gluten.. are not. Celiac disease affects 1% of our population (18 million peeps) And without going full blown scientist… gluten free can be lower in nutrients and higher in sugar (not something you want to buy just because its trending) Maybe let’s not go with the flow.. and deviate from the gluten free track. If your beautiful body is capable to break down gluten give it the opportunity to break down that gluten! And if you are Celiac or gluten intolerant…. pass the bread pls.

So Thriving!!!: Dating back to 30,000 years ago bread is known as the dawn of agriculture,  one of the oldest human-made foods. We know “Breaking bread” as sharing a meal with others, building community, and friendships. I’m excited for this, not only for having bread back in my life(yay!), but for enjoying it once again; celebrating its uniqueness and important history. So here we go, I hope this changes any hesitations you have to hop on the bread boat, bread bowl, bread bandwagon etc etc.

Enjoy and let’s bring this easy, cheap, and nutritious staple back to the table!