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Margaret McCormick
Syracuse, NY
I'm Margaret McCormick and in my past life I was the Food editor at The Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY. I love food, words and my home turf of Central New York. This blog combines my loves.
Interests: travel, cooking, baking, cookbooks, locally grown produce, locally made products, locally owned restaurants and specialty food stores.
Recent Activity
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Photo courtesy of Post St. Farm, Franklin Springs You’ve heard of the farm-to-table movement. But are you familiar with the farm-to-vase movement? An estimated 80% of the flowers sold in the United States are imported. But a small but growing number of farmers are pursuing their passion for flowers – growing them, selling them at markets, offering flower CSA shares, creating custom arrangements for life’s special moments and inviting customers to pick-your-own parties and “bloom bars,’’ where you can purchase flowers by the stem and build your own bouquets. Flower farms are popping up all over Central New York. Since... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2024 at Eat First
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I don’t do Grubhub and I don’t do DoorDash and I don’t do Uber Eats. But I do order takeout food sometimes and I did order dinner from a local ghost kitchen, so don’t say I don’t keep up with the times. What is a ghost kitchen? It’s a sort of virtual restaurant/food hub that offers pick-up or delivery only: no dining room, no bar, no reservations, no walk-ins. Orders are placed online, usually, or by phone. Delivery is sometimes available, but not always. After following the Nothin’ But Noods account on Instagram and seeing the weekly menus, I was... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2024 at Eat First
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I recently spent a week dog sitting in Fulton (Oswego County, NY), about 25 miles from our home in Syracuse. What did I do while I was there? I worked on three story assignments, binge-watched season two of “The Bear’’ (so good!), made scrambled eggs for and snuggled with two dogs, and ate like a local. The local do-list got me out of the house to explore my temporary surroundings and interact with other humans. Some places I patronized during my stay: Wade’s Diner, Oswego: The diner, open since 1937, suffered a fire several years back and it has been... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2023 at Eat First
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We all scream for ice cream this time of year, but in my world, nobody screams ice cream more than my friend M.F. (Mary Frances) Piraino. M.F., better known as Fran, is a freelance writer and social media manager who lives in Syracuse. We used to work together at The Post-Standard and have been “freelance friends’’ since we left the newspaper in 2009. Fran is also a major league ice cream enthusiast. If you follow her on social media, a highlight is her posts using the hashtag #franniepicecreamtours. When the weather warms up in the spring and until the snow... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2023 at Eat First
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For many wine-loving daytrippers and tourists, a trip to the Finger Lakes isn’t complete without a pilgrimage to Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. And for good reason. The winery was founded in 1962 by Konstantin Frank, an immigrant from Ukraine who introduced the classic vinifera grapes of Europe – Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir – to his new cold-climate home. In doing so, he sparked a grape-growing and winemaking renaissance. There are several ways to experience this pioneering winery on the west side of Keuka Lake. You can order wine by the glass, flight or bottle in Eugenia’s Garden, named for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2023 at Eat First
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Have you ever tried a food that rocked your world? I'm talking just-brewed, locally roasted coffee. Squeaky cheese curds fresh from a dairy farm. Sourdough bread made by master bakers. It’s the little things. One local food that recently rocked my world – and makes me want to eat a breakfast taco every day – is the tortillas made by Caz Tortilla Company. Caz Tortilla is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Casey and Katie Masters. Despite its name, the company is based in Syracuse. The Masters’ served in the U.S. Air Force and moved to Central New York from... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2023 at Eat First
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Well, it happened again: The holiday season is here. Where to shop is a no-brainer: Shop small and local Central New York businesses to find tasty gifts and stocking stuffers the food (and drink) lovers and cooks on your list will enjoy year-round. Following are 11 suggestions. Hot Crispy Oil: This fiery and flavorful condiment, similar to chili crisp and other chili oils with crunch, is made in the Albany area by John Trimble, a former restaurant owner who created the oil in his home kitchen during the pandemic. The product is made with blended olive oil, fried garlic and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2022 at Eat First
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It’s not every day you visit a farm stand filled with butter and cheese instead of fruits and vegetables. Kriemhild Kupboard is a self-serve stand on state Route 12B, three miles from the village of Hamilton. It’s owned and operated by Kriemhild Dairy Farms, which uses milk from its own grass-fed herd and other grass-fed milk suppliers in Central New York to produce its full-fat and cultured dairy products. The name is pronounced CREAM-hild, fittingly enough. Kriemhild’s flagship product is meadow butter, which is made by slowly churning fresh sweet cream the old-fashioned way – in barrel churns. The end... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2022 at Eat First
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Adam Carvell in the tasting room at Old Home Distillers Sure, visiting a winery is fun. But have you ever visited a distillery? That’s fun, too. And educational. We hadn’t been to Old Home Distillers, a family-owned spirits operation tucked away in the Madison County countryside, since around the time of its opening in 2015. We visited again with a couple friends in August and found that it has grown considerably, both physically and in terms of production and distribution. That was nice to hear and to see. Old Home is a small-batch craft distillery. Brothers Aaron and Adam Carvell,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2022 at Eat First
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It was lunchtime and I was hungry when I saw a sign on Route 20 between LaFayette and Marcellus for a cafe in a barn. You know I had to check it out. Burrell’s Navarino Orchard, a third-generation, family-owned U-pick farm noted for apples and strawberries (and a country store with pies, jams, jellies and other treats), now offers a dining option: The Barn on the Farm Cafe. It’s open for lunch and supper Thursday to Saturday and brunch and supper on Sundays. More hours are coming soon. The menu is casual and includes starters, like hummus and charcuterie (with... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2022 at Eat First
Thanks for visiting, Chris -- and have a great time! I'm so glad I finally made it to Sweet Life of a Baker. If I lived closer, I would be there all the time!
Toggle Commented May 26, 2022 on Sweet Life of a Baker, Sherrill at Eat First
1 reply
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Do you ever wonder what becomes of the contestants on competition shows like “The Great British Bake Off’’ and its stateside spinoff, “The Great American Baking Show,’’ after the cameras stop rolling and all the episodes have aired? Andrea Maranville, of Sherrill (Oneida County), a self-taught home cook and baker who appeared on season four of “The Great American Baking Show’’ in 2018, has been immersed in both the art of baking and the hard work of getting a small business up and running. She was named “star baker’’ on the first week of the show -- when she impressed... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2022 at Eat First
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Leah de Rosa and Mark Pawliw inside the future home of the Eden Fresh Network food hub Join Mark Pawliw for a visit to the Central New York Regional Market on a Saturday and you’re going to be there for a while. He knows the market inside-out and has cultivated relationships with many of the farmers and producers who set up shop there each week. “It’s my happy place,’’ Pawliw says. “He’s like the mayor of the market,’’ adds Leah de Rosa, Pawliw’s partner in a new start-up, the Eden Fresh Network hybrid food hub. Pawliw’s and de Rosa’s connections... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2022 at Eat First
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Here’s some grate news: The Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse now has a cheese shop. That cheese shop is The Curd Nerd. For months, Sarah Starace and her fiance, Matthew Simiele, have been renovating the wedge-shaped storefront at the corner of James Street and Collingwood Avenue into a bright and welcoming space. The walls are painted a buttery yellow and the space is filled with greenery from Found Things Co., a plant shop that has taken root a couple doors down Collingwood. One of Sarah’s goals with her shop is to stock as many local cheeses as possible and support local... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2022 at Eat First
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Do you have a favorite condiment? My favorite condiment of late is Hot Crispy Oil, a combination of olive oil and fried garlic, shallots and hot chili peppers. I’m kind of obsessed with it and keep exploring new ways to use it. Hot Crispy Oil is produced in the Albany area. It’s a pandemic project turned entrepreneurial success story for chef and former restaurant owner John Trimble. Trimble created Hot Crispy Oil in his home kitchen when his family’s restaurant, La Serre, was shuttered and he was home cooking for his family, according to the website. When the Trimble family... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2022 at Eat First
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Make ramen bowls at home with ramen kits from Kasai Ramen, Syracuse. Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2022 at Eat First
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Are you looking ahead to the holidays? One of the best ways to enhance your gift-giving is to think local and shop small for memorable, one-of-a-kind gifts. Besides, when you buy local, you keep dollars in the community and support someone’s business and dream. Following is a list of 10 local “foodie” things that make great gifts for family, friends and party hosts. Enjoy the holiday season! P.S.: My monthly local food newsletter, coming out soon, will focus on local places to shop for items like this. To subscribe, leave a comment below. Your email address is required to leave... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2021 at Eat First
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I love cheese. So, when I heard there’s a new cheese shop and tasting room in downtown Oneida, I thought: What a gouda idea! (Sorry, I can’t resist a pun.) The shop, Callee 1945, opened in September and is owned and operated by Abbey Woodcock and her husband, KC Baney. The business got its start last year as a two-day Black Friday cheese pop-up shop at the Oneida Freelance Co-Op. The couple was looking for a storefront, and eventually decided on the space at 134 Main St. The shop is a roomy space with a cheese counter, a high-top table... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2021 at Eat First
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You've heard the expression "grow food, not lawns.'' That's what Chellsea Jones does at her home off Teall Avenue in Syracuse, a couple blocks from Henninger High School. Jones and her partner, Jacob Eichten, bought their house on Robinson Street in 2009 partly because it has a big kitchen and partly because it's on a double city lot. There, Jones has established Sweet Venus Farm. Some would call it a micro-farm, farmette or city farm, but Jones calls it an urban homestead. It’s a magical place where she raises enough produce to feed herself, Jacob and their three children --... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2021 at Eat First
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Planning a trip to the Finger Lakes is easy-peasy. The hardest part, always, is deciding where to visit. For those of us who live in Central New York, the country’s third-largest wine producing region is a go-to day trip. Some of the wineries that dot Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake are an hour away. For our latest Seneca Lake outing, we stayed overnight and didn’t have to make the drive home. A friend invited us to enjoy the apartment upstairs from her house, about five miles south of Geneva, which she plans to list on AirBnB. It was relaxing to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2021 at Eat First
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I've been using CBD oil, also called tincture, for a couple of years now. I take the dark brown oil via a dropper, under the tongue, several times a day. It brings some relief to my achy joints and helps me get a better night's sleep. In Central New York, we're fortunate to have several companies that produce CBD products from seed to bottle. CBD, a derivative of the hemp plant, is something that people seem to have a lot of questions about. I know I did when I started using it, and I'm not sure I would have started... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2021 at Eat First
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I grew up on Hofmann hot dogs and have been eating them my entire life. In moderation. I like the German franks and beef franks with natural casing. Grill 'em up outdoors or on the stovetop and add a thin stripe of German-style mustard -- I don't even need a bun. It's a true taste of Syracuse. The Hofmann Sausage Company has been around for more than a century and continues to evolve and reach new customers by introducing new products, like beef jerky, hunter sticks and condiments. The company recently introduced a line of chicken sausages and asked Central... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2021 at Eat First
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The holiday season looks different this year. Very different. Online shopping grows in popularity every holiday season and is expected to be huge this year, as a result of COVID-19. But now, more than ever, is a great time to shop local and support small businesses. If you don't want to visit retail establishments in person, curbside pick-up makes shopping safe, easy and convenient. Shopping local has many advantages. Studies show that buying local benefits local economies: Independently owned businesses tend to invest a greater share of their revenues in the local economy than chain stores do. Shopping local can... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2020 at Eat First
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The 1988 Grumman rescue vehicle that chef Gerald "Jerry" Bolton and partners rolled out as a food truck this summer had a long life traveling to fire scenes a couple counties away, in Geneva. Now it's a state-of-the-art mobile restaurant kitchen, serving upscale, firehouse-themed food at public and private events around Syracuse and Central New York. "It's fun,'' says Bolton, who is best known as the executive chef at The Oncenter in downtown Syracuse. "We have a good following. We change the menu up every time we go out.'' Partners in the project are Bolton, his wife, Susan, and Chuck... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2020 at Eat First
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There are many small, artisan wineries in the Finger Lakes region, but perhaps none so small as Randolph O'Neill Vineyard, on the west side of Cayuga Lake. It is literally a one-man operation. The winery is owned and operated by Kelley O'Neill (above) and his wife, Angela. Kelley grows the grapes, manages the vineyard, makes the wine, bottles the wine and brings the wine to market -- he's a multi-tasking solopreneur. Angela, a financial consultant, manages the business end of the winery and helps out with the harvest -- which is coming up quickly, early October, Kelley believes. Randolph O'Neill... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2020 at Eat First