It's quite simple really. This blog was started because I wanted to share some of the Good Things that have made my life a little bit easier, a little bit nicer and certainly more enjoyable. Everyone knows the phrase, "It's a good thing", made famous by Martha Stewart many years ago. In this blog you will find not only good things that have come from Martha, but you'll also come across many that I've created over the years. It is my wish to perhaps inspire and encourage you, the reader, to try something new.
Keeping and maintaining a home should be an joyful process for everyone. I've lived in several places around the country, from a one room studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and an adorable cape cottage in the historic town of Haddonfied, New Jersey (where the world's first dinosaur, hadrosaurus foulkii, was discovered), to a late 18th century primitive colonial in Pennsylvania. No matter where I've lived, I've always tried to keep a comfortable, well-organized and clean home for my family and pets. This blog will show you how I keep my home looking its best both on the inside and outside.
Family and friends are a big part of my life. Throughout the years I've been fortunate enough to share with them many of my baked goods, delicious meals and thoughtful gifts. I hope to share with you some of the Good Things that I love giving to people on special occasions, such as baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries and the holidays. It will be nice to have you follow along.
Collecting is also something I like to do. There is something about going to antique fairs, antique stores, flea markets and tag sales that I thoroughly enjoy. I've been doing so for over a decade now and have become quite the discriminating browser when it comes to antiquing. I will share some of my finds on these pages with complete histories (when possible), dimensions and materials for you to have as a guide and source.
I do hope Good Things by David becomes a frequent stop for some of you. If you have questions or wish to share some information, don't hesitate to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to answer you in a timely fashion.
I get asked a lot of questions from friends, relatives, readers and acquaintances, so I thought it would be fun to address some of them here.
How did you come to start your blog and where do you get your inspiration for your posts?
I think I began this blog at the suggestion of some friends. I had been posting pictures of my food with brief instructions on a social website and I was enjoying that, but never did it cross my mind to start blogging. After getting over my doubts, I jumped into blogging. I don't regret it.
My inspiration has many sources. I'm very observant and tend not to miss much whenever I'm out and about or when I'm perusing through newspapers, magazines, books or online. Inspiration can come from a craving, a color, a beautiful object, a piece from my collections and of course my home. My home inspires me a lot because I'm surrounded by so much nature. The constant changes around me keep me going. Make no mistake, however, I do plan far in advance what I want to write about, photograph, bake or cook. I keep lists! I'm forever making and editing lists...
Your photographs are really good. How do you manage to capture images that are beautiful and do you have any tips?
The images I capture sometimes happen by accident. As much as I like to plan things, conditions aren't always perfect. I don't have the luxury of a studio, professional lighting or stylists. To my mind, lighting is key. Again, my home (a 1790 primitive colonial) has a good amount of windows and I get a profusion of sunlight (weather permitting) during the day. If I had to pick when to shoot pictures for food, I would have to say between the hours of noon to 3pm. That's the ideal time frame in my house. Having good props also helps.
You seem to like to like antiquing, what do you collect?
Oh my, that's opening up a can of worms. Let's see, I love collecting bowls for one thing. I also collect early American pressed glass, cake stands, British & American ironstone, silver, Wedgwood, linens, baking equipment (if you can call that collecting), yellowware, Apilco porcelain, platters and of course Martha by Mail (various things from the catalog).
What do you currently have in the refrigerator? Is there anything you have to have in there at all times?
I like to keep a well stocked refrigerator because freshness is important to me. At the moment I have 2 dozen eggs, plain organic lowfat yogurt, unsalted butter, organic pickles, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, oyster sauce, sesame oil, hazelnut oil, simple syrup, sriracha sauce, organic ketchup, kalamata olives, nonpareil capers, raspberry jam, marmalade, a few avocados, apples, pears, a head of escarole, 2 heads of romaine lettuce, Italian parsley, cilantro, string beans, a head of broccoli, carrots, scallions, celery, some leftover homemade chicken stock (no salt!), lemons, oranges, limes, soy milk (for my coffee), Vermont maple syrup with a vanilla bean (this was a gift!) and pomegranate juice.
Must haves in my fridge that I can't live without: lemons, eggs, plain yogurt, unsalted butter, capers and soy milk (I'll have a meltdown if there's no soy milk).
Do you consider yourself a foodie?
Not in the gimmicky or trendy sense. I like food and I like to eat. That doesn't mean that I'll eat anything put before me. I have to know what's in it and who made it. It isn't my style to follow diet trends that seem to crop up every now & then. I keep a well balanced diet and try not to forbid myself from eating certain items.
Where do you like to go out & eat?
I don't like to go out to eat. Gasp!
You don't eat out??
I know, right? Most people for some reason are often shocked to know that I don't like going to restaurants. I find a homemade meal to be much more fulfilling and nourishing (not to mention cheaper). There's something about having a plate of food prepared by someone at home that connects me to it in a deeper sense. Without getting too analytical about it, food prepared with honest ingredients that comes from the heart is my preferred way to eat. I was brought up that way by my parents and my partner had the same experience with his family. I don't even think twice about it to be honest. I cook dinner from scratch every single day, no exceptions (well, OK, when I'm traveling I don't always cook).
Well then, what types of things do you cook at home and do you have a go-to recipe that gets made a lot at home?
We eat a lot of legumes, vegetables, poultry, eggs, some fish, all types of pasta and the very occasional lamb chop. One of my go to recipes has to be My Favorite Roast Chicken or a variation of it. I probably make that on a weekly basis because it gives us generous portions and there are always leftovers. We're big on leftovers at home. By the way, our lunches are also made every single day. We don't "grab something" from a fast food chain or the supermarket for lunch. Never.
What about wine? Do you drink it? Do you have any favorites and are you a snob about it?
Ah, wine. I love wine, but not just any wine. I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, it's very very rare for us to spend more than $15 on a wine. There's no need to when there are so many well made wines out there in the $10-$15 range. I've had expensive wines that were great disappointments in the past and they're experiences I don't care to repeat. I've also had some amazing wines that were under $8! Yes, they do exist. At the moment, I like pinot noirs (from France, California & Australia), pinotages (from South Africa), chiantis, riojas, garnachas, Daos (from Portugal) and of course malbecs. I also like pinot gris, vinho verdes and sauvignon blancs. And NO, I'm hardly a snob when it comes to wine. Just don't serve me any that comes from a large jug or a box.
As for desserts, do you have favorites? What do you like to bake?
Just about any dessert is good. I like pies, tarts, cakes, cookies, sweet yeasted breads and of course, anything lemon! Lemon has to be my favorite flavor in desserts. Don't get me wrong, there are certain desserts I don't like, but I'll keep mum about those.
I love baking cakes, cookies and pies. There's something soothing about measuring, mixing, baking and decorating a baked good. Again, I have my mother to thank for this love. I can't imagine having a store bought cake or cookie. At my home it borders on heresy! Currently, my favorite cake probably has to be the Coconut Cake with Orange CurdI made for our aunt Marg's birthday. Very very delicious!
How do you manage to keep a good weight with all that baking and cooking and your love of food?
The secret to maintaining a good weight is... There is no secret. I eat things in moderation and get exercise every day. I don't do a rigorous workout at the gym, but I do like to spin on my bike at home and take long walks around the property. At our former home I didn't have a car, so walking was the only option. Walking is good for you.
Your home seems to be surrounded by a lot of trees, are you in the "country"? How big is the place?
It does seem like we're in the sticks doesn't it? Well it isn't; we're very close to center city Philadelphia. The house does have a lot of trees and it does make it feel like we're in the country. As for how big the place is, I won't tell you exactly, but I can say that it's large enough to feel like we don't have any neighbors right next to us.
Do you have a favorite spot around the home?
I have several. I love the meadow. It's my favorite place to have a walk in the afternoons, but I also love one of the small bridges that overlooks a small brook behind the house. That's my spot.
Do you have pets?
I did a post called My Pets in which I introduced my 2 adorable cats. They're my babies and they get spoiled quite a lot (they have their own pantry!- I may blog about that soon). In fact, I just think of them as people. They're members of the family.
What can we expect in the future from Good Things by David?
I'm not going to tell you exactly what I'm planning on, but there are changes on the horizon. You'll just have to stay tuned and see what happens.