bourbon and brown sugar
bourbon and brown sugar
wander. feast. share. (repeat).

Welcome to the Bourbon and Brown Sugar blog.

Many years ago, after a particularly amusing annual Christmas letter had been mailed, I got several notes, comments, texts or tweets saying some form of: "That was hilarious! you should write a book!"  On other occasions, people have said to me (often with a Salted Alfajores Bar in their hand) “When are you going to open a bakery?”

(I should note some of these people are not actually blood relatives, or otherwise paid to say these nice things.)

Writing a book or opening a bakery both seem rather ambitious, especially given the fact I love my day job as a school media specialist (that would be the hip 2019 title for a children's librarian).  I struck upon writing a blog to fuel the creative and culinary corners of my brain.

This is my space to share my favorite recipes and travel tips and reminisce a bit about my crazy, unpredictable life through food (this food-focused life has included extensive travel and multi-year stints in Brazil and London… and has been influenced by the real chef in the family, my brother John).

It’s been a bit neglected lately, but I’ve been sitting on a trove of memories and recipes from my “Grown-up Gap Year”, and it’s time to start sharing them.

What is a “Grown-Up Gap Year” you may ask?

Last year I had the opportunity to accompany my husband on a few international trips for his work, so what started as asking for a few weeks off evolved into leaving my job for the entire school year. I decided to spend the year exploring a dreamy, crazy list of places I’d had on my list forever. Hey, my nest is sorta empty and we had a lot of frequent flyer miles.

I went on adventures with my parents to the Caribbean, my son to Athens and Jerusalem, and my daughter in Mexico City. The whole family celebrated my husband’s 60th birthday in South Africa. I visited college friends in Milwaukee, my brother in Chicago, and dear friends in Melbourne and Mumbai. I spent time with my cousin and my parents in Florida, and explored Tasmania. My husband and I did big hiking trips in New Zealand and the Balkans - Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. I gave my passport a workout, depleted the stash of frequent flyer miles (and my bank account) and had the time of my life. Carpe Diem (or, for you millenials, #YOLO?)

A few facts about me, if you’re into that sort of thing:

Day Job: School Librarian/Media Specialist at a PreK-8 school.  I love spending my day inspiring hobbit-sized humans to love reading. 

Fueled by: Coffee. Lots of it. Often from Baked and Wired.

My literary weakness:  Cookbooks.  I’m hopeless… I have dozens and dozens of them. But it's possible I have more children’s picture books.

On a rainy day, I head to: Politics and Prose.

Favorite International Destination: London. Specifically Borough Market.  Even more specifically, Monmouth Coffee at Borough Market.  Or perhaps Buenos Aires. Or Melbourne. Or Mumbai.

Most Obscure Place I’ve Been: Noaukchott. (Mauritania). Long story.

Favorite US City (beyond DC): Chicago. Specifically Hyde Park and the Fulton Market neighborhood.

Favorite Restaurants in DC: Et Voila1789,  Le DiplomateRose’s Luxury and Masseria.

Favorite Foods:  This changes constantly, but among my favorites (in no particular order) are dulce de leche, empanadas, fresh baked cookies and/or brownies, spaghetti bolognese, and my brother’s moqueqa.

About the name:

Bourbon and Brown Sugar.  Honestly, I decided upon it on a whim. I liked the ring. I have a crumpled 10-year-old recipe from Cooking Light titled Bourbon and Brown Sugar Flank Steak that is rather fabulous. Not only is bourbon a favorite drink, but Bourbon Steak is one of my favorite restaurants in DC (bit of a splurge but practically perfect in every way.  I mean, they serve truffled mac and cheese and duck-fat fries - what else is there in life?), and who doesn't love Brown Sugar? In everything?  Oh, and now, people bring me bottles of bourbon when they come round for dinner… which is kinda brilliant.

Thanks for joining my adventure!

MB Manion Morell 

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