I was nine when my parents took us to Paris. My brother Mohan was fourteen. The trip included all the requisite sites, statues, and paintings, but I can really only remember two things vividly. One: bird poop. Two: éclairs.Read More
First impressions get a lot of press. A firm handshake and a big smile can’t hurt, I suppose, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not impossible to come back after a goof. People are kind. This tart is a testament to that. This tart is all about redemption.Read More
“You could build an empire on those fritters!” Those are the words I would quote in a court of law, proving without a doubt that my husband loved the fritters at first bite. Even after the fifth bite, he was grinning like a kid. It was only 5 minutes later, after I told him the truth about the fritters, that he tried to change his tune.Read More
I actually said “I love you” out loud to the blue and white bag of King Arthur bread flour as I pulled it down from the shelf. It just came out. I thought I was alone in the aisle. It was Monday evening in a Manhattan Whole Foods. Guess what? I wasn’t alone. I heard myself say it and then, embarrassed that my inner thoughts were out, sheepishly turned my head around just in time to catch a quizzical look on the face of a lonely looking man buying spices. I know. Lonely says the woman who audibly declared her amorous feelings for a bag of milled wheat.Read More
Reading about the referendum on Scottish independence last week really made me think about the big questions. Independence. Secession. Democracy. The Loch Ness Monster. Scones. I’m sure you’re not surprised. Besides thinking about the United Kingdom and whether or not it should stay united, I’ve been thinking about how much I like British pastry. Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish pastry, equally.Read More
Imagine a soft pudgy marshmallow. Naked and vulnerable. What would happen if you put that marshmallow on the surface of the sun? Exactly what happens when a kid plunks her baby-soft finger in molten hot caramel. How do I know? Don’t worry. I’m alright now.Read More
I just counted—between us, Gus and I have 10 pairs of gym shoes. That’s 20 shoes for 4 feet and zero closets. Are we hoarders?
Ok. I checked the bathroom. Six toothbrushes. Two faces. Confirmed hoarders.Read More
My friend Cate and I were out to dinner the other night and got to chatting about the things that we prefer to make at home instead of buying at the store. Our lists included the usual suspects. Jam. Granola. Hummus. It was only when I threw in “toaster pastries” did Cate laugh in my face. Lovingly of course.Read More
I’m so glad that Birkenstocks are acceptable again. Almost cool. Over the past couple of years I’ve seem them on fashionable New Yorkers, and I just bought a pair. I had forgotten how comfy they are. They’re still not exactly good looking, but I like them. They feel sort of age appropriate in a nice way.Read More
I spent this last week doing not a whole heck of a lot. I made two trips to the beach with dear friends, a new baby beauty, and a baby in utero. (Not my utero.) I watched another inspiring friend complete her first triathlon. I read books and drank coffee on my couch. I saw the new X-Men (x-tremely boring) by myself and drank my annual cherry coke (delicious). I went to the farmers’ market for the first time this summer (!) and bought a ton of heirloom tomatoes. And I loaded up on more currants. Lots more currants.Read More
I’ve seen the movie Titanic more times than I would like to admit. I saw it in the theater when it came out. We owned a copy on laser disc that I used to enjoy occasionally. And it’s been on TV a fair number of times. Let’s just say that I know the film pretty well. Well enough that the best way that I can explain my life is through a scene from the movie. Not that “I’m king of the world” business, either.Read More
What the heck are black currants anyway? I’ve been watching old episodes of Louie so I feel entitled to phrase all my questions really aggressively.
I was at Whole Foods the other day. I had a short list of things I needed and a long list of things I needed to do. I had a strict schedule to follow. And then I got carried away by the currants.Read More
Yesterday I didn’t step outside of my apartment once. I didn’t take a shower until just before bed. I won’t even tell you at what time I remembered to brush my teeth. It’s countdown to book deadline around here!
One week. I’m feeling great. I have a plan of action. I even have a social plan or two for the evenings to keep me sane. And I know, in the back of my mind, that my contract includes a 45-day grace period should I need it. But that’s a crutch I’m going to try to run away from with my two good legs.Read More
For a while I had a spin teacher who ended every class imploring his students to spend a second being grateful that they were healthy enough to exercise. That seems right to me. I love to jog. I like the feel of the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my hair. Once I’ve gotten oven my initial laziness, I feel glad and grateful whenever I hit the pavement. That said, I also harbor no illusions about being an athlete. I’m clumsy and not light on my feet. But that’s why jogging is so great. You can just do it your way. Any way that happens to be.Read More
Every day I confront a pressing moral dilemma. The good and evil parts of my personality are fighting it out, and I’m really not sure which side is going to win. My predicament involves fresh strawberries, a friendly church, and potential jail time.Read More
I know what you’re thinking. You probably read the title of this post and shook your head. Maybe you scrolled through the pictures disapprovingly. “My land,” you thought, “this woman is obsessed with custard.” And you know what? You’re absolutely right. It’s shameful. I am. But this week I have an excuse. This week I’m passing the buck. This week I’m blaming three other people. Custard haters, please send your complaints to John Cheever, my husband Gus, and John McPhee.Read More
Let me tell you how I’ve been spending my evenings up here in Maine. We wrap up dinner around 6:30, nice and early. It’s wonderful to sit on the screened-in porch and watch the light change and feel the air cool down. At the end of the meal, we sit around and chat. Then my father-in-law John gets up and clears the plates and starts the dishes. And it’s usually about that time that I’m struck by a genius idea. Every night it’s the same idea, but somehow it always seems fresh. And then I ask:
Anyone want ice cream?Read More
Joyce Carol Oates said that “getting a first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.” What a great analogy. My first cookbook draft and whatever masterpiece Joyce Carol Oates was referring to may not have much in common, but I can relate to her sentiment. Lately I’ve been getting a mouth full of dust bunnies on my quest to push the peanut. I write every day. I cook almost every day. But every day I wonder if the things I’m creating are good enough. I guess that’s all a part of the process.Read More
Sometimes delicious food and love can just bowl you over, knock you down.
Once, back when we went on what I would call “dates,” Gus took me to Lupa, one of Mario Batali's restaurants. He knew the pasta would win me over. Really he could have taken me to IHOP and I would have been happy.Read More
I was just thinking about middle school. The oversized LL Bean backpack that I insisted on wearing on one shoulder despite the threat of scoliosis. Braces that made me look so unattractive (the perm didn’t help) that one popular boy, who barely spoke to me otherwise, was moved enough to tell me how much better I looked the day they were removed. He seemed utterly relieved on my behalf. Keds. Dirty white Keds.Read More