On holiday ‘table talk’

It’s way too early to be obsessing about the complexity of timing that a full-tilt Thanksgiving dinner requires, so I’ve been obsessing instead with the need to keep the day pleasurable and comforting. Translation: No heated discussions about politics or anything else (including tasteless jokes) that makes volume escalate and tempers flare. By nature reasonably […]

Read More…

A luscious bite of Red Kite

Last summer, our Vermont family came to visit bearing a gift… a sweet (pun intended) looking container filled with what my beau-frère* pronounced “the best caramels and toffee you’ll ever eat.” As you read this, keep in mind that I am by no means a candy addict, unless we are talking Neuhaus chocolates, which we […]

Read More…

The birthday brunch

It isn’t easy to be a Christmas baby. It’s a lifetime of competition with much of the world’s very favorite holiday when your birthday falls on December 23 or thereabouts. When my daughter was tiny, we had half-birthday parties for her in June, after school was out. In adulthood, she’s mostly enjoyed her own celebrations […]

Read More…

Our cousins, our elves

My cousins Liz and Dorothy*, Liz’s husband Buddy, and their Shih Tzu Bella came all the way from Maine and New Hampshire, in December, to exhaust themselves decorating our house for Christmas. I helped, of course, but mostly I just let the elves have at it.  When the Good Lord was doling out talents, Dorothy […]

Read More…

Ramp up to Turkey Day

I woke to this early AM text: I’m supposed to be brining the bird right now. Know what I’m doing? Playing solitaire on the computer! What’s wrong with me? Apart from a good chuckle, that text reassured me (as I did its author), that I’m not the only one who bogs down in the hoopla […]

Read More…

Martha Pearl to the rescue

When I volunteer to “bring something,” my contribution is invariably an “old chestnut” whose outcome is never subject to question. For July 4th, a chocolate cake seemed the logical all-American choice. Given a miserable heat wave and the three loads of wash in progress, you’d think I would simply have thrown together my go-to, never […]

Read More…

‘Celebration’ cookies: a memory

Many moons ago, in another life and after something of a rough patch, I rang the doorbell of a modest, flat style home to present myself to a prospective landlady. I’d just seen the listing for a three-bedroom apartment in a solid city neighborhood, with church and school and people I knew all within a […]

Read More…

Sunshine on a cloudy day

Spring is being to seem like the “skipped season.” Winter stalked us right through April. Since then, the temperature has been fluctuating wildly: high 80s one day, then plummeting 20 to 30 degrees the next. I hate those wild swings. They’re as hard on my temperament (sorry, everyone I love) as they are on my […]

Read More…

Easter bread woes

For all but a few of the last 20 or so years, I have faithfully used the same recipe for Easter bread, from my beloved Roseto Cookbook,* Anna Marie Ruggiero’s culinary homage to the life and times of the Italian immigrants, their children, and their children’s children, in a tiny town in the Slate Belt […]

Read More…

Letting the light in

This morning, our low here broke a 100-year record. Thus, I’ve decided that my blogging anniversary week will be dedicated simply to — in the immortal words of the Temptations — “…sunshine on a cloudy day.” This particular sunny light is Italian… in Monterosso al Mare, in the Cinque Terre.      

Read More…