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 […]

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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 […]

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‘Scratch’ applesauce

It’s a great thing that so many young cooks are taking up the “fresh and from scratch” cause. Some of the best recipes and tips I’ve found in food blogs have come from folks with far less “kitchen history” than my own. All that being said, I can’t for the life of me understand why […]

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The baguette experiment

It’s fall, and I’m back to making bread. I know I’m like a repeating decimal when it comes to the joys of home-baked bread, but few activities in the kitchen give me as much pleasure. l love the pungent smell of yeasty dough bubbling under the light at the back of the stove as much […]

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What I did this summer

I’ve been erratic about writing these last few months. That tendency, to be erratic, is probably one reason why I’m never likely to write the Great American Novel. Serious writers, in my experience, are highly disciplined and highly routinized—and that’s never been quite my cup of tea. First of all, I probably ate too much ice […]

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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 […]

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‘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 […]

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On meatloaf… yes, meatloaf

Truthfully, of my 100+-volume cookbook collection, there are only a few I actually use with regularity, primarily for baking.  I’m not precise or patient enough to use recipes for everyday cooking.  But one that I do use is The Roseto Cuisine Cookbook. I love this modest but mighty cookbook, last mentioned in my Easter bread […]

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The easiest chocolate cake

The easiest chocolate cake, from my college roommate Suzie. That’s my notation on Midnight Cake in my messy binder of recipes collected over decades from friends, magazines, newspapers, and various online sources. I  lost track of Suzie, one of my short-term roomies, long ago; but this chocolate cake, otherwise known as “that black one with the […]

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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 […]

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Open concept

If you’re anything like me, you fairly gag at the monotonous “one script is all” banter that occurs on House Hunters and all of its variations: “It’s a good size.” “I love the granite counter tops.” “It’s pretty small for a master.” (What would you expect in a house built in 1920, folks?) “This would […]

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