Why this blog?

Once upon a time, I printed a little newsletter called The UpBeet Gardener. This was before e-mailed newsletters, mind you. It was fun to publish, though printing, folding and applying all the stamps took a full day. Topics included organic gardening and photography tips, unusual recipes, lifestyle ideas and inspirations. The newsletter reached people in 70 countries and was part of my www.plantea.com, a website featuring PlanTea (plant + tea), a tea bag-size, organic fertilizer I developed and patented.

Yes 1996 seems like ancient history in web-speak, yet the site did reach people. It soared to a Number One position on Google, and stayed there for three years–mostly due to the numerous articles I posted.

But things change. In 2003 we started Galley Gourmet, a gourmet dinner cruise business on our 42-foot yacht, built a new home and opened the Cliff House B&B here in Kodiak, Alaska. So while I no longer sell PlanTea (though I’m still looking for an interested buyer), folks still asked about the newsletter. Subscribers sent emails wondering what I was up to. “I’d like to receive your newsletter,” they wrote. And I wanted to stay in touch, too.

I’d always loved the term, lagniappe, so that’s how I transitioned from newsletter to blog. But, you might wonder…

What is Lagniappe?

A lagniappe (lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th potato when buying a dozen).

The word is derived from the South American Spanish phrase la yapa or ñapa (referring to a free extra item). In Andean markets it is still customary to ask for a yapa (translates as “a little extra”) when making a purchase. The seller usually responds by throwing in a little extra. Although this is an old custom, it is still widely practiced today in Louisiana. Street vendors, especially vegetable vendors, are expected to throw in a few green chillies or a small bunch of cilantro with a purchase.

The word is chiefly used in the Gulf Coast of the United States, but the concept is practiced in many places, such as the Spanish-speaking world, Southeast Asia, North Africa, rural France, Australia and Holland.

So, that brings us to the present…

Thank you for being here,

One Response to Why this blog?

  1. Tanya says:

    Hi Marion –
    I just happened upon your old website (bummed to have been too late to try your praised PlanTea). How you wrote and especially how you shared You is why I came to visit you here and am so completely thrilled I did. You are just the coolest person and that is a gift (a lagniappe – a bonus for having stopped by!). I’ll think of you & your educating us on the meaning of that word every time I get Mexican food now (I know they wrap up the cost in the food but still…)

    Thank you for your recent posts – loved the fridge pickle recipe, the 7 prayers (made me tear up instantly, very overwhelming), and then the hoot of a pic + story about the otter was The Best.

    Will visit again when I have more time to explore older posts. Will also keep your B&B info for just-in-case. Friends from New Zealand will be taking a cruise to Alaska this coming summer – I don’t know their exact plans but I’ll make sure they know about you and what you offer.

    (I can tell your days must be QUITE full, there is no need to worry about replying (truly) to this message, I just wanted to remind you that you make a difference.)

    Kindest regards,
    T.

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