Favorite quotes from a few days in and around Kansas City, Missouri:

1) "Without beer, things do not seem to go as well."
--Slogan of Lawrence, Kansas's Free State Brewing Company, which makes delicious hand-crafted beers like oatmeal stout aged in bourbon casks, and daily specials (I had a terrific lemongrass rye there last weekend). The quote comes from the 1902 diary of Brother Epp, a Capuchin monk at a nearby monastery.

2) "It's called a cheese slipper."
--Fred Spompinato, owner of the tiny Fervere bakery, reminded me (er, informed me) that ciabatta means slipper in Italian, as he handed me a loaf of the sublimely crusty cheese ciabatta he makes with organic wheat flour, garlic curds and smoked cheddar.

2) "Surprisingly, or not at all surprisingly, there are a number of occasions when to further a courtship, you might choose to cook very badly or refuse to cook at all. However you do it, hold off revealing your cooking skills until the moment is ripe. Allow a world to come into being which does not include you making any meals. Then, when your opponent, your target, your mouse, your love is absolutely sure of you and sure they adore you and have forgotten entirely that you do not cook....when they have taken to complimenting your offerings of toast and sliced fruit, admiring your ability to find the best restaurants and your skill at ordering from menus, this is exactly the moment to spontaneously and effortlessly cook something...magnificent."
--From Cooking as Courtship, a cookbook (sort of), kitchen guide (sort of) and philosophical treatise on food as a way of communicating with friends, lovers, relatives and enemies—written by the hilarious Susan Weigand, with whom I spent a few hours drinking wine and talking about cooking (and not-cooking) at KC's laid-back Aixois bistro.