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In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of the online newsletter, The New Orleans Menu notes food facts and sayings.
New Year's Eve: 26
Make those reservations now!
Today is the official birthday of the microwave oven. It was patented on this date in 1945 by the Raytheon Company, whose main business was making radar devices for fighting the Nazis and Japanese. Its essence is the magnetron, a tube that emits microwave-frequency radio waves. Percy Spencer discovered that anything containing water (among other things) had its molecules stirred up by the waves. Water molecules have a slight polarity, and are about the same size as the microwaves. So, as the waves pass around them, they move. Movement=heat. That's all there is to it. I've had a microwave oven since the mid-1970s, and the great miracle in them now is that you can throw a bag of popcorn in there and press just one button to pop it.
Homemade Vegetable Soup Day sounds delicious in the current cold weather. What could be more heart-warming? I have half a brisket I can boil to make the stock. We need some potatoes and tomatoes and carrots and Brussels sprouts and green beans... and...
Blueberry, Wis., is on US 2 in the northernmost part of the Dairy State, just south of the tip of Lake Superior and thirty miles from Duluth. It's just a crossroads with a few houses in dairy pasture country. A former railroad through there is now a long bicycle trail (in winter, snowmobiles use it). The nearest restaurants are about five miles away in Lake Nabagamon: The Village Inn and Sharon's Lakeview Café.
barbecue, n., adv. — Any attempt to define barbecue creates an instant argument among its practitioners. But we think this definition captures its essence: the cooking of meats, birds, or seafood in an outdoor pit (open or closed) with a wood or charcoal fire, using either direct or indirect heat, or a sequential combination of the two, at a temperature higher than for smoking but lower than for grilling. That would be in the mid to high 200s. The word is frequently misspelled "barbeque" or "bar-B-Q." It derives from Spanish and ultimately from a Caribbean Native American word, barbacoa, describing the roasting of meats over an open fire.
Today is the birthday of the modern Domino's Pizza. Tom Monaghan opened the first one in 1960 in Ypsilanti, Mich., a Detroit suburb. It's an ordinary pizza, made in a conveyor belt oven. But for all that, you could do a lot worse, and they set the standard for the mass-marketed pizza. Years before that Domino's came on the scene, there was a Domino's pizzeria in New Orleans, on the corner of St. Charles and Girod, where Herbsaint is now. It was a dumpy place of the kind that all old pizza joints used to be.
Annals of Food Poisoning
Today in 2006, a widespread outbreak of E. coli contamination was announced. It appeared mostly in the Northeast. It was traced to green onions that had been grown in a field irrigated by suspect water.
Otto Graham was born today in 1921. He was a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in the 1950s... Mass murderer Richard Speck was born today in 1941. "Speck" is a common European term for the smoked version of prosciutto. We're only lately starting to see it in use here... Joseph Lamb, composer of songs in the peak of the ragtime years, was born today in 1887.
Words to Eat By
"I went to this restaurant last night that was set up like a big buffet in the shape of an Ouija board. You'd think about what kind of food you want, and the table would move across the floor to it." — Steven Wright, the deadpan comedian, born today in 1955
"I saw a cavalry captain buy vegetable soup on horseback. He carried the whole mess home in his helmet." — Aristophanes, ancient Greek playwright
Words to Drink By
"Before Noah, men having only water to drink, could not find the truth. Accordingly... they became abominably wicked, and they were justly exterminated by the water they loved to drink. This good man, Noah, having seen that all his contemporaries had perished by this unpleasant drink, took a dislike to it; and God, to relieve his dryness, created the vine and revealed to him the art of making le vin. By the aid of this liquid he unveiled more and more truth." — Benjamin Franklin
Food History Jottings
However, the eighteenth century archival record is curiously silent on this matter. There does not seem to be anything on the story in any of the nineteenth century records either. It is not until the twentieth century that the story surfaces. And it surfaces with a clamour, with many leading food writers telling the story of the Pudding King, some claiming that it was George himself who was actually responsible for making it our national Christmas dish. So if there are no eighteenth century primary sources for the story, where on earth does it come from? Many food authors cite the recipe and the legends attached to it, including worthies like May Byron (1929) Florence White (1932), Dorothy Hartley (1954), and Elisabeth Ayrton (1974). However, all are unanimously silent on one important matter – none of them give their sources.
|Plum pudding is liberally steeped in myth as well as brandy|
|If George I ate plum pudding at Christmas, it would have been boiled like this, in a cloth|
|Plum puddings were boiled in fancy moulds in the 19th and early 20th century. However, in 1911 the word mould could also mean a plain basin like those used by most cooks today|
|Dr Johnson's alternative definition of 'plum'|
This is absolutely brilliant! I've seen one 19th century King George pudding recipe, which is a rather plain plum pudding, but it isn't repeated in any other source. There are numerous recipes for "George Pudding", but this is a rice pudding. There was a popular 18th century song that had the lines:
"When George in Pudding time came o'er,
And Moderate Men looked big, Sir,
My Principles I chang'd once more,
And so became a Whig, Sir.
And thus Preferment I procur'd,
From our Faith's great Defender
And almost every day abjur'd
The Pope, and the Pretender."
"Pudding Time" is "in good time" or "in the nick of time".
Beyond this, there is no real association of any of the Georges with puddings. Given the huge amount of 18th/19th century English cookery books produced, I wonder why none of the 20th century writers checked their story?
We would be very interested Adam to see the 19th century recipe for King George Pudding you have seen. Is it British or American. Plumcake has found a number of 19th century American recipes for King George Pudding. There may be others. They occur in the following texts -
A new daily food: A collection of tried and reliable recipes, brought forth from the store house of things new and old Morrisania, N.Y. St. Paul's Church Lydia Shillaber Press of Bedell & Brother, 1885, p.79.
Centennial Cookery Book, Ohio (1887) p.101
The Universal Household Assistant, S.H. Burt, New York (1884) p.374
We doubt very much if these US recipes are relevant to our argument. Also they do not tell us which King George.
The recipe I have seen is in the Burt book.
I wonder if the mythology of "The Pudding King" developed out of desire to make the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family more British restrospectively?
Brilliant - Thanks for this great blog
I was under the impression that candied peel was going into these boiled puddings about 50 years before 1801, the date you have in your posting. Mrs. Raffald does not include a Plum Pudding in her book but her ‘A Hunting Pudding’ is certainly what we would call a Plum Pudding or Christmas Pudding today. It includes both candied citron and candied orange (and cream, oddly enough).
I can’t find any similar puddings before her time with candied peel, although recipes for plum porridge, plumcake, and mince pies include candied peel at least a few decades before Mrs. Raffald’s book.
Both Plumcake and I have searched pretty deeply for eighteenth century plum pudding recipes in terms of the included ingredients, but as with all surveys of this kind, we cannot pretend that it has been an exhaustive search. It is however ongoing and we realise the area that really needs to be examined are recipes in unpublished manuscripts. But looking at the printed recipes before 1801, which are given the title 'plum pudding' (sensu stricto), we noted a definite lack of candied or preserved peel in the mix. We decided to exclude other baked and boiled puddings from this analysis, including various 'bread puddings', which could be argued were close plum pudding relatives, but were not called 'plum puddings' by the authors. The generic definition of these puddings was rather elastic. So we just confined ourselves to 'plum puddings' in the strictest sense. Hunter's pudding is of course a close relative, but it was not called 'plum pudding' by the various authors who offer recipes for this rich dish at the luxury end of the plum pudding spectrum. We would have ended up including a vast multitude of oatmeal puddings, Richmond puddings, George puddings, Oxford puddings,brown bread puddings etc., so we limited our search.
One of the most influential cookery texts of the eighteenth century is The Lady's Companion (London: 1751 5th edition). An earlier edition was Hannah Glasse's main source for many of her recipes. The 1751 2 volume edition has a massive chapter on puddings, probably the largest of any Georgian recipe collection. Scattered throughout its pages are six recipes for plum puddings, none of which names preserved citrus peels as an ingredient. though one entitled 'A very good Plumb Pudding and not expensive' indicates that the cook could include 'a few Sweetmeats' in the mix. Sweetmeats here could mean candied citrus peel, but it could also indicate any preserve or dried fruit.
It is interesting to note that The Lady's Companion also includes an early recipe for A Hunting Pudding, which is close to Raffald's in that it contains both currants and raisins as well as cream, brandy etc - in fact all the ingredients that Mrs Raffald lists. Except for one thing - instead of candied citron and candied orange, the anonymous author just tells us to include 'a little Lemon peel shred', which could mean fresh lemon peel here.
I am sure that eighteenth century plum pudding recipes will turn up that do include candied or preserved peels, but in the printed sources they seem to be exceptionally rare.
In the 'Pudding King' essay, we were attempting to demonstrate that the myths that arose regarding George I's relationship with plum pudding evolved from a messy understanding of an early twentieth century magazine article. Our statement that candied peel was not used in the eighteenth century in plum puddings was one item of evidence we used to show that the recipe quoted in the article was modern, or a modern reworking of an old one.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Valentine's Cocktails Courtesy of Sparkling ICE and VOGA Italia Wine
The Frozen Strawberry Lemonade ICE from Sparkling ICE features the sparkling lemonade and fresh strawberries (with a vodka kick!), creating a perfect balance of sweet and tangy for a yummy drink for Valentine’s Day. If you have a few extra strawberries lying around feel free to dip them in some melted chocolate for dessert!
If you are looking for a dessert idea to really impress the one you love (without slaving over a stove for hours!) then this sorbet recipe is perfect. The recipe for Sparkling Blackberry Sorbet is a simple “make-ahead-of-time” dessert that will impress and delight your loved one for sure. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce for an ultra decadent treat.
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade ICE
4 ounces of Sparkling ICE Lemonade
1 ounce of vodka
5-6 strawberries (hulled)
Berries for garnish
Add Sparkling ICE, vodka, strawberries, and 4-5 ice cubes into a blender. Pulse to get it started and then blend on high for a few seconds until a slushy consistency is reached. Pour into a chilled hurricane glass and garnish with fresh strawberries.
4 ounces of VOGA Italia Premium Sparkling
1 ounce of vanilla flavored vodka
A splash of pomegranate juice
Berries and pomegranate seeds for garnish
Add VOGA Italia, vodka, and pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake gently. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with pomegranate seed and fresh berries.
Sparkling Blackberry Sorbet
Yield: Approximately 2 ½ cups
Cook time: 15 minutes
Inactive chill and freeze time: 3 hours
Ingredients for the Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 bottle of Blackberry Sparkling ICE (chilled)
2 (6oz.) packages of fresh blackberries
Ingredients for the Puree
1 cup sparkling ice blackberry (chilled)
1/3 cup cold water
Directions • Place 2 cups of Sparkling ICE, sugar, and blackberries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
• Reduce the heat to a simmer. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the syrup sit until it becomes room temperature.
• Pour the syrup into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator until chilled (Approximately 30 – 60 minutes).
• After the syrup has cooled scoop out the fresh blackberries from the syrup and combine with 1/3 cup of cold water in a blender. (Reserve the leftover syrup, this will be used next). Pulse the berries and water together to make a puree. This should take approximately 30 - 60 seconds.
• Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds, and then return the puree to the syrup and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Add the remaining cup of Blackberry Sparkling ICE to the mixture for some extra fizz, and the sorbet base is ready.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer instructions.
The Battle for Food.
Today, December 29 …
Legend has it that on this day in 1777, “Philadelphia Pepper Pot soup” – “the soup that won the war”, was invented by a cook in the American Continental Army. They had failed to repulse the British, who were in Philadelphia, and George Washington decided to set up winter quarters 20 miles away in Valley Forge, which had good natural defences.
It proved to be a harsh, miserable winter for the raggle-taggle band of 10,000 troops and associated women and children. Many were, quite literally, half-naked, and disease was rife. Officially, the basic ration per man per day was a pound of bread, a pound of meat or fish, a quart of beer, and a pint of milk. In reality the army often went days without bread, or meat, or both. In late December, the absence of meat almost caused a mutiny, and – the story goes – Washington instructed his cook to make a soup “that will warm and strengthen the body of a soldier and inspire his flagging spirit.” Supposedly, he came up with one made from tripe, scraps of meat, and a lot of pepper - the soldiers were warmed and made war-ready, and the British were finally routed.
“Pepper pot” is a dish with West Indian roots. In the Caribbean is a very spicy stew (a “Pallat-scorching Devil’s Broath”) which can be made with any available ingredients, but preferably sea turtle. Tripe would have given a similar desirable gelatinous texture to turtle meat. The interesting thing is that two-thirds of the Continental Army were foreign born, and many of these were African Americans - who would not fight in the same regiments alongside white Americans again until Korea. The cook responsible for the soup must surely have had African roots.
Strangely, for a dish with supposed eighteenth century origins, there is no recipe in the “Boston Cooking School Cookbook” before the 1918 edition.
Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup.
Sliced onion, 1/4 cup each 1/2 lb. honeycomb tripe, cut in cubes, chopped celery, chopped green peppers, 11/2 cups potato cubes, 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, finely pounded, 31/2 tablespoons flour, 5 cups hot White Stock, 3/4 tablespoon salt, 1/2 cup heavy cream.
Cook vegetables in three tablespoons butter fifteen minutes add flour, and stir until well mixed then add remaining ingredients except cream. Cover, and let cook one hour. Just before serving, add cream and remaining butter.
Jane Grigson Trust Award shortlist revealed
The Rangoon Sisters Cookbook, Seafood Shack and Food Almanac are in the running for the Jane Grigson Trust Award for New Food and Drink Writers.
The Rangoon Sisters Cookbook, Seafood Shack and Food Almanac are shortlisted for the Jane Grigson Trust Award for New Food and Drink Writers 2020.
Now in its fifth year and open to UK citizens or to foreign nationals who have been resident in the UK for more than three years, the £2,000 prize is awarded to a first-time writer of a non-fiction book about food or drink which has been commissioned but not yet published in memory of British food writer Jane Grigson.
The Rangoon Sisters Cookbook (Ebury, July 2020) by Amy Chung and Emily Chung features 100 recipes “celebrating their Burmese heritage in what will undoubtedly become the go-to book for anyone wanting to make delicious, simple, authentic Burmese food at home” according to its synopsis.
The shortlisted Seafood Shack (Kitchen Press in Spring 2021) sees Ullapool food business owners Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick mix their “most popular recipes with their story, a look at the Scottish seafood and fishing industry and a reflection on the lives of the fishermen at its heart" from the book's description.
Founder of creative platform celebrating British food culture Miranda York’s The Food Almanac (Pavilion Books, October 2020) is described as “legendary food writers and lauded chefs to up-and-coming poets and debut novelists looking at the gastronomic world through memoirs, essays, short stories and poems alongside recipes, menus and monthly reading lists.”
Chair of judges Geraldene Holt said: "In March this year, the Trust marks 30 years since Jane Grigson died. The impressive shortlist for the 2020 award founded in her name reflects the great advances in food writing that Jane initiated.”
Joining Holt on the judging panel is chef Angela Hartnett, Delicious magazine editor Karen Barnes, Oxford Cultural Collective director and JGT trustee Donald Sloan and editor, food writer and JGT trustee Jill Norman.
The winner will be announced on 24th March at Quo Vadis, London. Runners-up will receive £100 book tokens and all shortlisted authors will receive copies of The Best of Jane Grigson.
One sandwich rules the roost when it comes to comfort food: the Monte Cristo. Inspired by Parisian café offerings, this Gruyère, smoked ham, brioche, and Dijon mustard combination is dunked in an eggy batter and skillet fried in butter, then showered in powdered sugar and served with raspberry preserves on the side. Needless to say, it's pure comfort with a touch of sweet and a whole lot of savory.
Vintage Christmas Recipes.
To make an Egg-Pye, or Mince-Pye of Eggs.
Take the Yolks of two dozen of Eggs hard boyled, shred them, take the same quantity of Beef-Suet, half a pound of Pippins, a pound of Currans well washt, and dry'd, half a pound of Sugar, a penny-worth of beaten Spice, a few Carraway-Seeds, a little Candyed Orange-peel shred, a little Verjuice and Rosewater fill the Coffin, and bake it with gentle heat.
Shred a Pound and half of Suet very fine, and sift it add a Pound and half of Raisins of the Sun, ston’d, six spoonfuls of Flour, and as many of Sugar, the Yolks of eight Eggs, and the Whites of five, beat the Eggs with a little salt, tye up close in a Cloth, and boil it for four or five Hours.
Take a Pound of Suet cut in little Pieces, not too fine, a Pound of Currants, and a Pound of Raisins stone, eight Eggs, one half the Whites,the Crumb of a Penny-loaf grated fine, one half a Nutmeg grated, and aTea Spoonful of beaten Ginger, a little Salt, a Pound of Flour, a Pint of Milk beat the Eggs first, then one half the Milk, beat them together, and by degrees stir in the Flour and Bread together, then the suet, spice and Fruit, and as Milk as will mix it all well together and very thick boil it five Hours.
Take a large fat goose, split it down the back and take all the bone out bone a turkey and two ducks the same way season them very well with pepper and salt, with six woodcocks. Lay the goose down on a clean dish with the skin side down and lay the turkey into the goose with the skin down. Have ready a large hare, cleaned well cut in pieces and stewed in the oven with a pound of butter, a quarter of an ounce of mace beat fine the same of white pepper, and salt to taste, till the meat will leave the bones. Scum off the gravy pick the meat clean off and beat it in a marble mortar very fine with the butter you took off, and lay it in the turkey. Take twenty-four pounds of the finest flour, six of butter, half a pound of fresh rendered suet, make the paste thick and raise the pie oval roll out a lump of paste and cut it in vine leaves or what form you please rub the pie with yolks of eggs and put your ornaments on the walls. then turn your hare, turkey and goose upside down and lay them on your pie with the ducks at each end and the woodcocks at the sides, make your lid pretty thick and put it on. You may make flowers, or the shape pf folds in the paste on the lid, and make a hole in the middle of your lid. The walls of the pie are to be one inch and a half higher than the lid. Then rub it all over with the yolks of eggs and bind it round with three-fold paper and the same over the top. It will take four hours baking in a brown bread oven. When it comes out, melt two pounds of butter in the gravy that came from the hare and pour it through a tun-dish, close it well up and let it be eight or ten days before you cut it. If you send it any distance, close up the hole in the middle with cold butter to prevent the air from getting in.
This mixture must likewise be put into a crust or covering made of the following paste, viz. steep two ounces of gum-dragon [gum traganth] in twice its volume of orange-flower water, and put on your marble slab fourteen pounds of pulverized sugar, and six pounds of fine starch add your gum, and strain it through a cloth like the paste for drops form a malleable paste by adding a little white wine make your crust, put in the above ingredients, and cover them with a large wafer paper make them an inch thick. You may have wooden moulds representing different subjects, into which you may put your paste, and fill the moulds as above, covering them with a wafer paper. They must be kept in a stove in a gentle heat a day before they are baked, in a slack oven.
[From: The Italian confectioner or, Complete economy of desserts. William Alexis Jarrin London, 1829]
Take the usual quantity of meat, and substitute beets for apples put in only one third the quantity of the latter boil the beets, pickle them in vinegar twelve hours, chop them very fine, and add the vinegar they were pickled in. Add one eighth of grated bread and spice to suit your taste.
[From: Modern Cookery for Private Families. Eliza Acton, 1845]
These buns, weighing from four to eight, ten, twelve, and sixteen, or more pounds, are still sent from Edinburgh, from the depots of Littlejohn and Mackie, to all parts of the three kingdoms. Every country town, rural village, and neighbourhood in England, Scotland, and Ireland, has its favourite holiday-cake, or currant-loaf, under some such name as " Lady Bountiful's loaf," " Mrs. Notable's cake," "Miss Thrifty's bun," &c. &c. We do not pretend to give receipts for all these - the formula is endless - and they are all good. … That they be well raised and well fired is all besides that is of any importance. They should be baked in a dome-shaped fluted mould or Turk's cap, but look still more imposing at holiday-times, formed like large, respectable, old- fashioned household loaves. Leavened dough should be bought for them.
[From: The New Hydropathic Cook-book. Trall, R.T, New York, 1854]
A tablespoonful will well sweeten half a pint. A little spice, or a few drops of any essence, or lemon, or peel chopped a little brandy, rum &c, &c, will be an improvement.
[Galveston Daily News,dec 17, 1911]
Sift together two cupfuls of flour, a pinch of salt and three teaspoonfuls of baking powder add sufficient sweet milk to make a soft batter, one cupful of sugar, one and a half cupfuls of chopped cranberries dredged with flour and two well beaten eggs. Pour the mixture into buttered pudding cups, and steam for two hours. Garnish with sprigs of holly and serve with hard sauce.
We are using dates as far as possible in our puddings to replace raisins, and also in mincemeat as the supply of raisins in the country appears to be getting low. We have a cheap recipe for a war Christmas pudding in which we use dates. To make a 4 lb. pudding the ingredients are:- ½ lb. suet or dripping, ½ lb flour, ½ lb. breadcrumbs, ½ lb dates, 1 lb grated carrots, ½ lb currants, 4 oz. mixed peel, grated rind of lemon, 4 oz. sugar, one egg, and spice to taste. Figs are not much used to replace raisins as the seeds give away the substitution.
A Very South Coast Thanksgiving
We are so grateful to live in a place where we know where our food comes from, where we can put a face and name to our farmers (and vintners) and where we can actually visit the farms. Check out some of the places that can help make your Thanksgiving plate shine with South Coast goodness.
Copicut Farms, Dartmouth — In addition to their chicken, pork and eggs, Beth & Vince Frary raise turkeys for Thanksgiving. The turkeys are just a day old when they arrive at Copicut Farms and they become very attached to the Frarys. Check them out here having a conversation with Beth. It may be too late to order a turkey for this year, but you can always let them know if you want to order one for next Thanksgiving by emailing [email protected]
Lees Market, Westport — We love an independent market that stresses local products. Lees is that place. When we have to find a macomber turnip for our turnip hash, we know they’ll have it. (Click here to read about our unexpected introduction to this special Westport turnip.)
Sid Wainer & Son, New Bedford — Everyone knows Sid Wainer & Son stands for great produce. Its New Bedford gourmet outlet store is a great place to pick up your vegetables. But it’s also a place for inspiration where home cooks can learn about new ingredients and enjoy cooking demonstrations. Pick up their special white truffle butter (as seen in “Stocked,” in the 2016 edition) and use it to glaze your turkey a la The Barefoot Contessa (recipe here).
Travessia Urban Winery, New Bedford — Marco Montez has created a wine which totally represents the celebration of a fresh harvest — perfect for Thanksgiving. His Fresh Vidal Blanc is made from grapes picked a few weeks ago in Dartmouth by Montez and his wine club members. It has been fermenting for a few weeks but it hasn’t yet been filtered and finished (so there’s no added sulfites). Available for only a few short weeks in November, Montez pours it straight from the tank right in front of you. Shortly after Thanksgiving, Montez will begin the next stage of the formal winemaking process for the vidal blanc so you’ll no longer be able to get it this way. He’ll be open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to give folks a chance to get their holiday wines (see here for his usual hours).
Stone Bridge Farm, Acushnet — You can hardly go a mile on the South Coast without seeing a cranberry bog so finding local cranberries is a breeze. This year, we found ours at Stone Bridge Farm because we love their cute little farm stand. We’re looking forward to checking out their Saturday markets next summer which feature live music on that sweet porch.
To all of our South Coast farmers after a busy season, we hope someone else is cooking a tremendous and delicious feast for you on Thursday.
If you have a special local treat on your Thanksgiving table, let us know in the comment section!
Click here to join our email list for updates from South Coast Almanac.
I’ve got a new episode of HOMEWORK up this week and it’s all about the cider! Tomorrow (Thursday) at 4 PM Eastern, I‘m doing an Instagram Live Happy Hour with Southern Living Magazine with editor-in-chief Sid Evans where we’ll be chatting and answering questions about the 2020 Southern Living Idea House! We’ll both be […]
I can’t believe it’s finally here but the Southern Living Idea House (in Asheville, NC) issue is hitting newsstands this weekend!! Here’s a peek at the library during install week: It was such a fun project to be a part of and I just really loved working with our team. Architecture was by Beau […]