Friday, April 10, 2009


It took a while for me to start a blog because I had to come up with a name first. If I'd written a book, I could have waited until I was done to pick a title. Not with a blog.

So why 'Giovanna's Trifles'? One reason--maybe a big one--is I love custard, leftover cake, and fruit. A few drops of sherry don't hurt. Maybe one of these days, if there's ever any leftover cake around here, I'll make one.

But I also love things that many people would consider inconsequential. Recently I read a wonderful book, So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell. In it, one character summed it up for me: "All little things are nice." Okay, maybe not fleas, or dust mites.

What kind of small things? The small niceties that come up through a day spent in your community. The short conversation with a barista, or with the guy stocking lettuce. The door held for you by a stranger. Or the door you hold for a stranger.

I'm not suggesting local businesses are trifles. Here in Portland they supply most of what I hold near and dear (coffee, books, bread, and chocolate). But they also supply me with many intangibles, the ones that I think make life such a pleasure.

So I was excited to hear about the 3/50 program over on the blog, Reading Local. Money spent at local businesses stays in the local economy at a greater rate than money spent in chain stores. Why not put your dollar to local use? The idea is pretty simple. Pick three local businesses and pledge to spend $50 each month at the three. That's $50 in total, spread across the three.

I gave it a little thought (not too much, remember, I like trifles!), and figured it would be lame to pick a cafe (since we all know I'm not stopping going there anytime soon). I decided to go with 3 business within walking distance of my home, businesses that I would hate to see go. They are:
  1. Twisted My local yarn store, owned by two warm, generous, and truly nice young women.
  2. Broadway Books I can't imagine what would become of our neighborhood without our local bookstore.
  3. Foster and Dobbs My neighborhood fancy food shop--cheese, bread, salami, good tonic water... you get the idea. Some might consider it a splurge, but why not have a delicious piece of cheese with a salad for dinner? I bet it's cheaper than a fast food meal. I just wish Foster and Dobbs sold lettuce for salad...
I hope you'll all consider joining in--and I'd love to hear about your choices. Here's one, Jaya at Knitsarina.


vanessa said...

good, now i have an excuse to but some delicious bread at gran forno, my local bakery :-)

Giovanna said...

Glad to help. If I ran the world no one would ever need an excuse to have delicious bread.

helen said...

Not sure what a 'trifle' is but your banner is very pretty. I like to buy gluten free bread from Cascadia Traditional Breads (at PSU farmers market and NW 21st at Glisan.) Customers who shop there say they are 'very European'. I just like them for the taste.

Giovanna said...

Helen, I suppose it would have been helpful if I'd thought to explain the trifle! It's basically a dessert made by layering cake, custard, and fruit. Wikipedia has a more in-depth description, and a few pictures.

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