I’ve been creating sad, superfluous loungewear out of old clothes for years. And that’s not my only problem. I’ve also been treating my parents’ home as a “haven for mementos”, and I have a deeply rooted book-hoarding problem. Marie Kondo has me figured out! I’m reading “The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up” and learning so much about myself.Read More
We were just walking down the street when an elderly lady handed my dad a big, wide basket full of passion fruit. The bowl was lined with newspaper and filled to the brim. She had run out of her house as we were passing by and she beamed when my dad accepted her present. We were in Sri Lanka. I was eight. According to mom, who translated the transaction for me, the old woman had known my grandfather. The passion fruit were from her tree. They were her gift to my grandfather’s eldest son to welcome him back to the island after so many years.Read More
I’m fighting a battle with my refrigerator. My cabinets are against me too. I think they’re all in cahoots together. I’m not sure who is winning. “Let’s shrink” they’ve plotted. “Let’s spit bottles of vinegar and frozen peas at her when she opens our doors!”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
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
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
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
Did you know that rhubarb grows in Sri Lanka? Neither did I. I don’t know why that's surprising to me. According to the Internet, rhubarb is probably native to Mongolia or Siberia. So if it travelled all the way to the US, why couldn’t it travel to Sri Lanka, which is pretty close, relatively speaking. But it’s kind of fascinating. Imagine the diverse landscapes of Siberia, Sri Lanka, and Maine, for example. Rhubarb can make it’s home in all of those places. She's just that adaptable.Read More
This tart is for my dad. It’s right up his alley. Come to think of it, it’s right up my alley as well. I am my father’s daughter after all.
My dad is a like a squirrel when it comes to nuts. He’s not storing up for a long winter ahead – although you wouldn’t know it. He cracks me up. When I go home to visit, I’m always rummaging around the kitchen cabinets for a snack. I could attack the chocolate drawer. (Yes, our house has a drawer dedicated solely to chocolate. It's always stocked. It's always dangerous.) But sometimes chocolate just won't do. So I turn to my dad's special cabinets. At first glance, you'll see a bunch of old Nescafe jars and maybe some big bottles of aspirin or Metamucil. If you don’t know my funny dad, you might just keep on looking for a snack thinking, "there's nothing here for me." But let me tell you, the man is sneaky. Tucked away in all those old plastic bottles are treasures. Nut treasures. Sweet. Salty. Roasted. What have you. It’s all there, hidden away behind the empty promises of supplemental fiber and pain relief.Read More
I have a dirty secret. I really love brownies from a mix. There. I said it. Don’t judge me too harshly. You know I really do like to bake things from scratch. I generally prefer homemade pie crusts and cookie doughs. But when the stand mixer is unplugged at home you'll find me in the baking aisle of the supermarket with my arms wrapped tightly around a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix. Maybe two. Especially when I’ve got a good friend to laugh with (I miss you, Jenny) and a couple of feel-good-foreign movies to watch. I would chose mix brownies over homemade any day. I know it’s a bit shameful for a baker but it’s the truth about me. Now you know.Read More
Gus and I have made it one year! That sounds a little ridiculous to say, considering we’ve been together for years, but we just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. Should I tell you all the things I’ve learned one year in? I have a lot of marriage wisdom. Just kidding. I don’t have any. This is our paper anniversary for goodness sakes. We’re highly flammable at this point.Read More
This pie made my niece cry. Not with joy or gratitude. I think it was disgust.She’s three. I didn’t take it personally. (Well, maybe just a smidge.) You see there’s a little secret to a neat, sliceable berry pie. Once it comes out of the oven it has to sit and wait for hours and hours. Too many hours. It must remain untouched for way too long, torturing all that pass with its sweet, buttery, berry smells, so that it can relax, cool down, and firm up.