Lydia Walshin

Instant Gratification

It all started with a family recipe for lentil soup. Now, twenty-five years later, Millie’s Soup is the queen of just-add-water mixes.

Water plus heat equals lunch—not just any lunch, but a nutritious bowl of soup, low in fat, cholesterol and salt, and completely free of meat and meat derivatives, monosodium glutamate, preservatives and pesky trans fats.So, water plus heat, minus unhealthy additives and ingredients, equals lunch, though sometimes it also adds up to dinner or an afternoon snack.It’s not molecular gastronomy,…

At Your Service

Amos House’s More than a Meal caters to their clients’ every need — and offers workers a side order of on-the-job training.

SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION walks right up to your door, rings the bell, and stands there until you say, “Now, that’s a terrific idea!” Next thing you know, you’re in the catering business. Just ask Eileen Hayes, executive director of Amos House, a Providence-based multiservice agency providing food, housing assistance, job and literacy training, and other critical support to people…

Dream Kitchen

The Dartmouth Grange’s incubator kitchen helps turn favorite family recipes into market-worthy products.

ON MY WAY FROM HOME to almost anywhere, I drive past one of three beautiful grange halls. Each wood-framed building dates to the nineteenth century. Each has a hand-painted sign above the door. And, except on meeting nights or pancake breakfast mornings, each grange spends most of the time with its doors shut and the parking lot empty.Not so the…

Sweet Success

Roba!Dolce has won loyal followers one lick at a time. Now they’re dreaming big — and hoping to become the Ben and Jerry’s of the gelato world.

BASEBALL FANS ALREADY KNOW about the sweet spot. The center of percussion. The place where, when the ball strikes wood, the force drives a perfect hit.There’s another sweet spot, one you won’t find at Fenway Park or McCoy Stadium, and you don’t need to be a sports fan to love it.The sweet spot I’m talking about is in Olneyville, in…

The Cheese Course

Selling cheese wasn’t in the original plan. But now the owners of Milk & Honey Bazaar are the local authority on this delectable nectar of the cows.AS I DROVE ALONG Main Road heading south toward Tiverton Four Corners, I wondered if I would recognize Milk & Honey Bazaar. I had stopped in nearly a year earlier on a late summer…

A Saucy Venture

A Saucy VentureTwo guys from Bristol turn a popular Rhode Island catch phrase into a “wicked good” condiment company.MY PHONE RINGS at 7:45 p.m. “I’m just getting into my car to head home now,” Bart Ferris reports at the end of an impossibly long day bottling a new batch of caramel mustard. And in an excited voice that shows no…

Sound Bites

WEDNESDAY MORNING AT NINE O’CLOCK, as the day begins, I’m glued to my computer.I’m not working. Well, let’s say that I am not giving work my undivided attention. Instead, I’m listening online to Andrew Garrison Shotts — cookbook author and owner of Garrison Confections in Providence — describe how to make chocolate truffles, on Jen’s Dish, a weekly, hour-long radio…

The Wine Lover’s Companion

SOMEWHERE IN JOHNSTON, in the middle of winter, three of us huddle around an oak barrel in Jim Verde’s bottle room (read: garage), tasting wine pressed from the St. Croix grapes he grows in his backyard vineyard. The 2005 and 2006 wines are still too young to bottle, but the 2004 has already won awards, and wears the ribbons to…

Fire Works

WHEN WE LIT THE BEEHIVE OVEN with a strand of spaghetti, Ted and I sensed we were in for an evening a bit out of the ordinary. Later, after the fire had burned down, the embers were raked, and the steel door was removed, we pulled Thomas Jefferson’s rich, brandy-laced bread pudding out of that beehive. It was the end…

On Fertile Ground

OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM, but it wasn’t in a recycled jewelry manufacturing plant in Warwick. Lauri Roberts has a farm—in an industrial area off Jefferson Boulevard, a paved paradise of parking lots frequented by the rumble of truck traffic. Her place is called Farming Turtles, and when I heard about it, I couldn’t help but wonder: could this really…