Author Archive | Jessica Tunis

FEATHERED FLOCK

From coop to soup, the joys of raising backyard chickens

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CRYSTAL BIRNS

The chickens cluck and chuckle to themselves in the slanting afternoon light, scratching for bugs and seed with their fat feathered legs in the grassy backyard. They aren’t startled by our presence, as they know us well enough.

Chickens are smarter than people give them credit for. They can recognize up to 40 individuals and are especially fond of those who bring them food every day. They greet us with the calm, contented chortles of tame birds, as the kids toss them handfuls of scratch. The flock I visited with my daughter for this story was a mixture of fancy breeds with intricate plumage, and backyard mutts whose broody mothers laid a clutch of eggs in … Read More

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Beet Deviled Eggs

Photo by Jessica Tunis

These ravishing beauties are worth the effort. While deviled eggs have long been a staple of the season, these bright snacks are something special, with an added piquancy from the vinegar, balanced by mild sweetness and salt from the brine. And the color! A deep, rich magenta, that does not impart any beet flavor to the eggs.

Play with the infusion times; even 2 hours will give a lovely pink color to the outside of the egg, but a bit more time will allow that luscious color to bleed slowly into the center of the egg, like a drop of watercolor paint that spreads gracefully across a page. An overnight infusion will give you color all the way to the yolk; a two-day soak will yield … Read More

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MUTUAL MEDICINE

Cooking for friends in need has unexpected benefits

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CRYSTAL BIRNS

My heart cracks when I hear the news; her cancer has come back. I read the words on a screen, so she doesn’t see the way my eyes fill and sting immediately, blurring the text with grief, but she knows me well enough that I think she must guess. We have been here before, we friends, and it is likely we will be here again. So we discuss, as the days pass slowly one after another, how the treatment will unfold. Where is the cancer? Will there be surgery, or chemotherapy or radiation? Doctors take scans and outline plans. Insurance companies haggle over drug benefits and treatments. I take down a pan and brown onions. It is my … Read More

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