Category Archives: Food for Thought

  1. Add a cooking competition to your summer parties

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    June 3, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Nine entries in the banana pudding bake-off.

    It seemed like a joke — a birthday party/backyard barbecue/banana pudding bake-off? So many slashes, so much to wrap my head around for one afternoon at my friend Christine’s house.

    Nine bakers made their version of banana pudding. All the dishes were numbered so guests didn’t know who made each entry. Then, everyone scooped and ate to their heart’s content. Right as our bellies were about to burst, we wrote the number of our favorite entry on a slip of paper. The number with the most votes was the winner.

    Somehow, this amalgamation of an event I attended last week not only worked, but stands out as one of the best parties I’ve attended as an adulthood (because honestly, nothing competes with some Chuck E. Cheese action as a kid).

  2. Need a last-minute Mother’s Day gift? Go for edible gifts (with a side of flowers)

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    May 9, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    The ol' dyed pasta necklace isn't going to cut it when you become an adult. (Photo courtesy Selena N. B. H. via Flickr Creative Commons)

    The horses have barely finished kicking up dirt at Churchill Downs, yet it’s time to turn around and celebrate another big occasion.

    I’ve always thought that the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day are just a little too close together to give moms in the state proper justice. You want me to pick a horse, down a couple of mint juleps, AND plan a bomb brunch and buy a fabulous gift for my beyond-fabulous mother all in one breath?

    Month of May, have mercy on me.

  3. A Passover Seder, a fish fry, and how food brings us together

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    April 16, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    A Seder plate. (Photo courtesy Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr)

    Sometimes, I can be pretty naive for my own good. Take this blog post, for example.

    I’ve had a case of the warm fuzzies all day after attending my first Passover Seder on Monday. I spent a wonderful evening learning about the Jewish holiday, drinking a lot of kosher wine, eating my weight in matzo, and having some great conversations with folks I would’ve never met otherwise.

    A few weeks ago, I had the tinglies after a trip with two of my best friends to Holy Family Catholic Church’s Friday fish fry, a Catholic tradition during the Christian holiday of Lent. There I was, in a gym full of strangers, eating a fish sandwich, listening to someone holler out Keno numbers over the crowd. It was the best Friday night I’d had in ages.

    I’m not Catholic. I’m not Jewish. But both communities welcomed me with the one event that has the formative power to bridge divides — a good meal.

  4. Forget recaps. Here are 10 ways I will rock my foodie life in 2014.

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    December 31, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    A corn dog from the 2013 state fair. I'm coming for you.

    Is 2013 already over?  There’s so much food I didn’t get to. So many recipes I didn’t try. So many …
    Continue reading

  5. Time to reclaim Ashlee Eats for frugal Louisville eaters

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    October 8, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    I thought I had made it. I had a secure job at a huge company. I could pay my bills on time. I bought Rice Krispies instead of Crispy Rice. 

     

    For the past few months, I’ve visited more upscale restaurants high on the fumes of financial security. My budget has upgraded from dollar menu to value meal.

     

    Then I received an $80 dinner bill that kicked me in the pants. I blame the one two three cocktails for my lapse in fiscal responsibility during a birthday dinner at a delicious restaurant that shall remain nameless (I’m protecting the innocent; it’s not the restaurant’s fault I balled so hard).

     

    I felt all the feelings after that splurge:

     

    • I felt full (seriously, that food was delicious)
    • I was thankful that I could afford that meal
    • I was guilty that I had abandoned this blog’s original pledge of eating frugally and had wiled out in the name of YOLO*
    • I was sad that there are still folks in my city who can’t afford a meal anywhere, let alone an $80 one
    • I felt motivated to refocus Ashlee Eats around the four tenets of my food philosophy: buy local, be green, eat frugally, and fight hunger.

     

    I’ve eaten some delicious food since I started calling myself a food blogger. And sometimes, great food comes with an even greater tab. I’m not saying that I or anyone who can afford it should refrain from treating ourselves sometimes. I’m also not saying that I’m anywhere within spitting distance of rich, or even being able to regularly throw down almost 100 bucks for dinner.

     

    But for me, that $80 ticket reminded me of how long it had been since I followed my own advice about eating on the cheap. It reminded me that I had stopped writing so much about hunger and frugality in exchange for the more upscale dining I’ve encountered. I stopped being a good steward of my own food philosophy, on this blog and in real life.

     

    I’ll write more about good deals around town, either at fancy places or just regular ol’ spots. I’ll share more recipes, since you can save so much money by staying in a few nights a week. And I’ll broadcast more events that provide an opportunity to give back to our community so we collectively kick hunger’s behind.

     

    Oh, and I’ve gone back to Crispy Rice.

     

     

     

     

     

    *YOLO — You Only Live Once; an urban version of carpe diem; my motto for the past few months; an outdated term I refuse to abandon

     

  6. 30 things I love about the Kentucky State Fair

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    August 21, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    KyFair13_funnel

    1. The rows of food vendors that surround the exhibition center

    2. Balancing a corn dog, bottle of water and wallet while obtaining even mustard distribution on the corn dog
    4. The samples of country ham in the West Hall

    5. The sorghum samples on pieces of biscuits in the West Hall

    6. The rabbits

  7. My two pennies on the Louisville food truck fiasco

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    July 18, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Cheese makes everything better.

    I hesitated to dip my tow in the recent conversation that has dominated Louisville social media about the cleanliness of food trucks.

    In case you missed it, WAVE 3 aired a story recently by reporter Eric Flack about the sanitation and safety of food trucks, mobile eateries that park on the street or at events and serve dishes out of the sides of the vehicles. Eric reported that Metro Health and Wellness inspections “reveal trucks that were cited for food on the floor, dirty kitchens, cheese sauce at potentially hazardous temperatures, mislabeled toxic items and cooks without hair nets.” He went on to interview the chief health inspector with Metro Health and Wellness, who said she never eats at food trucks because of sanitation concerns. You can read and watch the full story here.

    This feature lit up on the Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of food trucks and customers. The overall feeling was that WAVE 3 at best, got the story wrong, or, at worst, sensationalized a non-issue.

  8. The Root Mobile: The latest Louisville Kickstarter project worth your donation

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    April 5, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

     

    The owner of The Root Cellar has worked hard to bring farm-fresh, local food to Louisville, and now he wants to take his market to the streets.

    Ron Smith, founder of The Root Cellar food markets, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 for the creation of The Root Mobile. Ron’s goal is “to transform an old bus into a mobile market bringing our farm fresh food to the people who have the least access to it.”

    The Root Cellar is located in two brick-and-mortar locations — the original store at Third and Hill streets in Old Louisville and the corner of Kentucky and Swan streets in Germantown. So why put produce on wheels? Here are some of Ron’s objectives:

    • increase the access to local foods in our community by taking The Root Mobile to neighborhoods called food deserts

    • raise awareness for the need to change the paradigm of food delivery

    • create a new business opportunity for The Root Cellar

    • provide input into those areas of the South/West Ends of Louisville that would best support a permanent location for a third store

    I regularly shopped at The Root Cellar when it first opened in 2011 and I lived right around the corner. Ron is not only one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but he really cares about the community and the ability to access local food. I’m happy to see that he has taken on this project, and I happily pledged my support on Kickstarter.

    As of Thursday night, The Root Mobile has raised $4,833 toward the big $10,000 goal. The project needs to raise the money by April 29 to be funded. If you’re interested in contributing to The Root Mobile, visit the Kickstarter page here

  9. What restaurant should replace Lynn’s Paradise Cafe?

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    March 19, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    Chicken molé with plantains at Guaca Mole.

    The scuttlebutt about Lynn’s Paradise Café just keeps churning.

    The latest news about this now-defunct Louisville restaurant staple is that the owner, Lynn Winter, wants to sell the restaurant, the Courier-Journal reports (click here for more background on the closing).

    Winter said she is “going to be really picky” about who she sells the café to. Fortunately, I’m not picky. Nor do I have a stake in this fight. That means I can spout off a list of what I would like to see go into this prime real estate at 984 Barret Avenue:

    • Guaca Mole. This restaurant has become my new favorite place to eat. Fortunately for me, this Mexican restaurant is located in the East End. Unfortunately for everyone else, it’s only located in the East End. A Guaca Mole outpost in the Highlands would fare well.
    • Wild Eggs. My love of this breakfast/lunch spot runs deep. Putting a Wild Eggs branch in this location would give post-Derby revelers an affordable, great place to brunch.
    • A soul food restaurant. And not one of those fancy soul food restaurants where a plate of grits costs $12. I’m talking about a place with a Kool-Aid of the Day (a real item at a Las Vegas restaurant I visited once), cornbread made in cast iron skillets, collared greens cooked in pork fat, and a “meat and three” special that only costs about $8.
    • A barbecue joint. Because you can never go wrong with barbecue. Scientists have proven it. Give me some pulled pork, crispy coleslaw and baked beans, and I’m in heaven.
    • A 24-hour bakery with delivery services to the greater Louisville area. A woman can dream, can’t she?

     

    What restaurant (real or imagined) do you think should replace Lynn’s Paradise Café?

  10. A food blogger needs a food tattoo, right?

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    March 12, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

    My tattoo. I shall call her... Lulu.

    You’re looking at my lower back. My muffin top area, if you will. Upon that muffin top is a permanent slice of cheesecake, a tattoo that I’ve affectionately named Lulu.

    This is my first and only tattoo. Kudos to the amazing tattoo artist Amanda Pepper in St. Louis for creating this. I knew I couldn’t go wrong with an artist who shares my love of desserts and Golden Girls.

    I don’t want to wax poetically about what it symbolizes (visit the blog F Yeah Tattoos if you’re into that). I’ll simply say that Lulu is a little souvenir from my 20s that I get to carry with me for a lifetime. And it’s as cute as a button.

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Curry chicken with lentils and rice. #thebusiness Pic from my parents' vacay. These two crazy kids have been together more than 30 years and still smile like they're on a first date. My parents = #thebusiness
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