Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010: Full of Family, Friends, Food, and Fun

Looking back, 2010 was kind of a blur! The hubby and I were busy all year, in a good way. And we both turned the big 3-0!  Every month was filled with visits and adventures with friends (new and old) and family.  We attended a total of 5 weddings (and celebrated one engagement).  Between the hubby and I we traveled to 10 states and to Spain.  Of course every adventure was accompanied by delicious meals - both home-cooked and restaurant cuisine.  We sampled local specialties and visited farmers markets in every place we could.

As Good Cook Doris celebrates 2 years of tasty posts, here's to a 2011 filled with even more delicious adventures!

Before the recap, here is the overdue announcement of our first Good Cook Doris giveaway winner! Congratulations to Joanna from The Hungry Crafter who said...

"I think what every man should know can be summed up in two words: "Yes, dear." One of the first things I taught my fiance. Now if I win this book, I can teach him something else ;)"

I hope your fiance enjoys this book and cooks you some delicious meals!

Good Cook Doris' 2010 Recap

The year started by celebrating Tim and MaryBeth's engagement and bundling up for the BU v. BC hockey game at Fenway Park.  Shortly after, our newest nephew came to visit from sunny LA (with parents of course).  Just look at how happy he was to be in the freezing Boston winter!  We celebrated the one year anniversary of Good Cook Doris and continued to create new dishes in the kitchen.  Winter Market season kicked off in the suburbs and we were able to buy local foods year round.

February and March
Always the longest short month of the year in New England, typically full of snow and gray days. My February was brightened with a 30th birthday surprise! While I was in on the party planning for my big birthday, I was not in on the special surprise. The hubby surprised me by arranging for my mom to come in for the party!  I thought that was all, but when he picked me up at work the next day my brother was in the car too.  We had a wonderful weekend together and they cooked a fantastic Spanish feast as a preview of our trip to Spain.

Our Spanish adventure was a combination celebration of our 30th birthdays and our 5th wedding anniversary. We started in Madrid with a day trip to Toledo. After eating our way through Madrid, we jumped on the train and headed south to the beautiful city of Seville. We enjoyed the architecture, people, food, and pretty much everything about the trip.  Thanks to recommendations from a friend we visited local favorites, saw lesser known museums, and explored different neighborhoods in each city.  One unexpected highlight was the Roman ruins outside of Seville in Italica. The amphitheater was the third largest in the Roman Empire! There were original tile floors, a bread oven, and outlines of most of the buildings in this ancient city.

Despite not eating jamon, we managed to eat a lot! From the Mercado de San Miguel with aceitunas and queso to the leg of lamb at Botin (oldest restaurant in the world, est. 1725) we enjoyed the local cuisine. Some places we even visited twice - like Chocolateria San Gines for churros con chocolate and the market for huge plates of pickles and olives.  

The month of March finished off with a trip to Kansas City to surprise my oldest friend Mara for her 30th birthday! Her husband asked me to fly in to surprise her, how could I say no? Our moms were sorority sisters in college and we were born exactly 3 weeks apart. She grew up in KC and I grew up in St. Louis, but there were a lot of trips back in forth. And there were often matching outfits.  In honor of our matching fashions during our elementary school years, I brought along outfits for us to wear for the birthday weekend.  During the trip I also got to spend time with my aunt, uncle, cousins, and their cute dog Sam.  

In April we took a quick trip to St. Louis to visit my grandmother and family.  The rest of the month was busy finishing up class work and projects around the house.  The hubby has been working at his job for over seven years, which meant an 8 week sabatical.  He used his time off for our trip, to paint the bedroom and bathroom and take a class to learn how to lay ceramic tiling. This summer I'm looking forward to a freshly tiled back porch.

May marked the start of summer farmers market season in Boston with the opening of the Copley Square Farmers Market and the SoWa Food & Produce Market. I started my weekly visits to Copley and was excited to get to know some new vendors this year.  Mara came to town for a visit and we explored the SoWa market on its first day of the season. Our friend Avi threw a gourmet dinner party and we dined in style and caught up with some of the hubby's old friends from college.

May also marked my return to running. After running the Disney Marathon in January 2008, it would be fair to say that I have not laced up my sneakers very regularly.  Thanks to my unexplainable ability to win contests on twitter, I "won" two entries into Boston's Run to Remember. I picked the 5-mile option and signed up my dining partner Renee to run with me.  We survived the race and celebrated with ice cream!

In addition to seeing all my old friends, I also got to meet some of my favorite bloggers in person at a wine tasting hosted by Michelle and Megan. It was the first of many delicious meetings over the summer and fall.

The celebrations continued in June! The hubby's parents bought him a cake that suggested "3" more than "30", but it was just as delicious.  We hosted a backyard party with lots of delicious meat and good friends. While the 80's trivia game proved too challenging for those of us born in 1980 we still had a blast.  

This year I am honored to be the president of my sorority's Boston Alumnae Chapter. I represented our chapter at the International Convention held in sunny Orlando.  It was an amazing experience with over 800 women, both alumnae and collegians gathering together for a week of fun.  Of course I had to take a quick detour to my favorite park - Epcot.  I flew straight from Florida to New York for wedding number #1 of the season. We met up with family from all over the country for a fabulous celebration.

No surprise - July was full of more fun! We hit the road and headed south to Westport, CT to see our LA family who was visiting for a wedding. All of the MA family headed down too. It was quite a party!  Our nephew Sammy was a perfect beach baby and we also toured the aquarium and downtown Westport.  On the way home the hubby and I stopped for my first trip to the drive-in (in Mendon, MA).  Later in the month I joined my mom and brother for wedding #2 of the season in St. Louis.

Tomatoes! My little tomato plants that I bought on the first day of market season grew into tall, healthy plants covered in little green zebra tomatoes.  But before I could harvest them all, some furry creature (or hungry neighbor) took them all. Not to worry, they eventually came back.

I met up with my Boston blogger friends for a wonderful restaurant week dinner at Sportello. A fun bonus? We got filmed for a promotion with Southwest Airlines!  A lovely foodie from Philly did a 'dish trip'  on Southwest - flying to Boston for one day to take in the cities best dining.  We were her dinner stop before she headed back home. While our dinner is just a quick toast on the video, you can see some of my new friends in the earlier parts of the video.

Local in Season hit the market scene in August at the Roslindale Market. I joined Jon and Michelle for the Tomato and Zucchini day at the market. It was a lot of fun chatting with farmers market shoppers about local food and sharing the Local in Season message.

September was jam packed! The LA family headed east again for Rosh Hashana and a beautiful wedding  of Josh's cousin (#3 of the season).  The wedding was on the pavilion at the Museum of Science looking out onto the Charles River.  The following weekend we packed up and flew south to Virginia for Tim and MaryBeth's big day (#4 of the season).  Their wedding was a blast - held at a winery in Virginia Wine Country.  The weather was spectacular and we had a wonderful time toasting the newlyweds.  As a bonus, we got to stop and see two other good friends on our way back to the airport.

One thing that is different about my gastronomy classes is the amount of reading!  I spent a lot of hours reading about the sociology, philosophy, and anthropology of food this fall.  It was fascinating and I'm looking forward to another class this upcoming semester.  When I wasn't reading, we were out enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  We started the month with wedding #5 of the season, one of the hubby's high school friends. Renee and I laced up our shoes and met up with our sorority sisters for our second race of the year, the Tufts 10K.

I spent a day in the glorious sunshine at the first annual Boston Local Food Festival with Local in Season. The crowd was huge and it was wonderful to meet so many readers and local food companies. That's where I met Joanna, the winner of the giveaway!

November marked the end of the 'summer' market season. I closed out my share at Atlas farms and started to get ready for a big Thanksgiving in St. Louis with my family.  This year almost everyone came into town and we stuffed ourselves with Turkey day favorites, White Castle, Frank and Helen's (best hamburger & onion pizza anywhere), and more.

We followed our family Thanksgiving trip with a visit to the hubby's parents in Columbus. We had a low-key weekend full of delicious eats.  I posted a recap of our dining adventures and couldn't figure out why my traffic was so high. Turns out the market we visited and a number of the vendors posted links to my post on their sites! What a wonderfully supportive food community!  Next time you're in Columbus, be sure to visit them all!

I spent a lot of hours working on my first research paper for the gastronomy program. I am working on a shorter version for the blog - while it was a fascinating topic I don't think that you all want to read my 17 page paper! I researched Boston area farmers markets and the increasing participation by female food entrepreneurs. Since I spent a lot of time at markets this season it was a fun topic to research. Thanks to the lovely food entrepreneurs who helped provide insights and information for the paper.

There could be no better way to end the year than with family and friends! We spent Christmas Eve with my sister- and brother-in-law and our three nephews. I will admit, it's hard to answer questions about why Santa doesn't go to Auntie Lara and Uncle Josh's house too.  I just hope we aren't the ones to blow Santa's cover.

Christmas Day we packed up half a dozen KO Catering and Pies frozen meat pies and a few sausage rolls and flew to DC to meet up with Mara and her Aussie husband Mark.  We spent four days touring the historical sites, eating at unique local eateries, and taking it all in.  Thanks to my twitter friends for all of the delicious food recommendations. There will be a separate post on our DC dining.

Here's to a fabulous 2011! Happy cooking to all!  Cheers!

A few fun blog facts for 2010, in honor of my second blog-a-versary!

How many visitors?
4,559 Unique Visitors
9,821 visits
16,283 pageviews

Where are they from?
80 Countries
52 States (thanks Google analytics)
The country with the longest average visit time: Switzerland

How did they find the blog?
14% Direct visitors
Top Referral Sites:
1. Facebook
2. Twitter
3. Foodbuzz
4. Blogger
5. Hootsuite
7. Google
8. Refrigerator Soup
9. Foodie Blogroll
10. Local in Season

Top Keywords in Search Engines (excluding Good Cook Doris)
1. Slow braising roast beef
2. Comida de Espana
3. Quick Friday night dinners
4. In the kitchen where I'm cooking where its good for me -- this one is my personal favorite (it resulted in 30 page views!)

Top Content
1. Main page
2. About Us
3. Not Such a Simple Stew (Project Food Blog entry #2)
4. Reading List
5. Good Cook Doris' New Adventures (Project Food Blog entry #1)

Thanks for joining me on my adventure!


  1. Very interesting reading, Doris! Keep up the good work!

  2. I love this post! What a great year for you, can't wait to see all the good that 2011 has in store for you! Let's meet up soon!

  3. Looks like an amazing year! Loved seeing all the highlights. Happy 2011!

  4. I just LOVE reading posts like this! Sure sums up your fantastic year! Great pictures too. I know how long it takes to put a good post together like this, so thanks for taking the time to do it :)
    May you prosper in 2011~!~!

  5. Megan and Katie - great to get to know you this year! Ann and Amy, thanks for your kind words. Hope you have a tasty new year! :)

  6. This is such a neat post... I really like how you compiled all of your blog stats. And now I know if I ever forget the name of your blog, I can just google "In the kitchen where I'm cooking where its good for me"

  7. Yay! What a great wrap of your year, and THANK YOU!!! I hope that 2011 is an even more wonderful year (although if you do much more, I think you may keel over from exhaustion...). I'm also back on the eating healthy bandwagon (I have a wedding dress to fit into this fall -- eek!), so I look forward to reading more healthy local recipes as the year goes on. Thanks again!

  8. This is such a neat post... I really like how you compiled all of your blog stats. And now I know if I ever forget the name of your blog, I can just google "In the kitchen where I'm cooking where its good for me"


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