Sunday, March 30, 2008

What's cooking in our print editions

It was during my second helping of roasted pork butt, cheesy potatoes and pretzel Jell-O salad when the question formed in my mind. (Actually, it came straight from my stomach):

Can I come back here again soon for dinner? How about tomorrow night?

The occasion was Easter, the setting a picnic table on the back patio of Bob and Diann Greene's Bradenton home. Family members shuffled in and out through the kitchen screen door to replenish their plates and drinks. Festive music filtered through the mounted outdoor speakers. Late afternoon sunshine flashed along with cheerful smiles.

I've known the Greenes for only two years, a friendship born out of a mutual admiration for guitars. Bob, a house painter and handyman by trade, has a vintage guitar shop on 26th Street and plays guitar like many of us only dream of playing (but we're working on that). Diann keeps the company books for both businesses and, as I quickly learned, cooks the heartiest mouth-watering meals you can imagine.

The Greenes ran a restaurant outside Buffalo, N.Y., before returning to Diann's Bradenton roots in 1994, so whipping up a dinner for a gathering of friends and family is no big deal for them. And they love to talk about food and cooking almost as much as they enjoy preparing the meals. When they reminisce about bustling Friday night fish fries at Lulu's, you wish you could have been there. Then you realize: It's even better to have a spot at the Greenes' picnic table.

And now, without much coaxing, Diann Greene is bringing her culinary passion and homespun wisdom to your kitchen in a weekly column, Down Home Cooking. Beginning Wednesday in Accent: Taste, the fifth-generation Floridian will share her experiences and tips on cooking. I promise you'll enjoy this new addition to the Herald.

The cooking column represents just one of many changes you'll see beginning today in the Herald. Remember the word "Accent'' — it is the thread that binds together our newly themed features sections.

We've mentioned our commitment to building a vibrant and vital Web site,, for Internet users, and that mission is well under way. But we're also firmly committed to the future of our print editions. To that never-ending challenge, we're making significant changes and enhancements.

A few highlights (you can read more details on today's A&E cover):

-- The daily comics and puzzles will move into our new themed Accent features sections, beginning Monday.

-- Most of our features sections are changing in size from tabloid to the bigger-canvas broadsheet (the one exception is Thursday's Weekend, which readers prefer in tab form).

-- A new section, Friends & Family, debuts Monday, offering family features, school news, advice on raising kids and related content.

-- Religion news, which had been published inside Saturday's Local section, becomes part of a new Faith & Values section.

-- Two existing features sections have been re-energized and moved to different days: WellBeing, which appeared on Saturdays, becomes Health & Fitness and moves to Tuesdays; Neighbors moves from Tuesdays to Fridays.

-- A stronger emphasis on community news — including ''hyperlocal'' content provided by you and your neighbors, both in print and online — will be evident when you see our new page, "Your Community. Your Town,'' on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

-- We're expanding our popular People society page and Susan Wilcox's social column to five days a week. Each day, Tuesdays through Saturdays, you'll find Susan's "The Social Scene" and photos from galas and social events.

Virtually all of this content will also appear, and often be expanded at, with supplemental photos, slideshows, video and audio clips, and a growing lineup of blogs.

You could say we're cooking on all burners here at the Herald. It's a hectic time, but probably no more chaotic than a busy night in Diann Greene's kitchen. I just wish we could deliver some pretzel Jell-O salad along with your morning paper.


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