The family farm… an appreciation

Summer, like each of the seasons, has its own enchantments… “abundant sunshine,” lots of evening light. We can be outside morning, noon, and night without the burden of outerwear. We have the pleasure of flowers, shrubs, and trees that give us shade. If we’re lucky enough, we can read on the beach, take a boat […]

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James Beard on almost everything

I received James Beard’s Love and Kisses and a Halo of Truffles as a gift about a decade ago, when I was deep into Julia Child and M. F. K. Fisher. All this time, it had sat there patiently on the shelf. About two weeks ago, in search of a change, I picked it up, […]

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Start-of-March miscellany

Apart from wishing away what is hopefully the last of the cold weather, I can’t say that I’ve been full of ambition in the last few weeks. I can say with reasonable reliability, however, that I have hit this same slump every year of my adult life. I expect I’m not alone. On the bookshelf… […]

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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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