Careful what you throw away

Autumn, like spring, is traditionally a time for cleaning up and casting off. This year, as I bagged clothing to give away, canned goods for the Boy Scouts, and books for the library sale, I had a few thoughts on the subject. Marie Kondo’s ruthless approach to divestiture (the things kind, not the money kind) […]

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Beans and macaroni

Not long ago, one of my high school friends hosted a retro luncheon. The assignment was to bring something that was “always on the table” when we were growing up. I struggled with this request. In our Italian-American household, there were no Jello salads or tuna noodle casseroles. Lasagne was way too heavy and rich […]

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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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Lost… and found

I promised to let you know. After writing yesterday’s blogpost, I went about my business for an hour or so, texted my cousin Liz that I’d had no luck so far, then sat down to do something or other.  I’d bothered St. Anthony enough for one day, so I tried to distract myself with some […]

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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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‘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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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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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.      

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The way it used to be

Over-idealizing the past definitely guarantees you a berth on what my witty brother-in-law calls the “bullet train to Geezerville.” Still, there’s no denying the natural human tendency for nostalgia, which, since it’s pretty selective, is always fun, especially at Christmas. The Hallmark Channel, as we all know, makes a mint on it. Except for the […]

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The jars on the shelf

Update. Yet another Bonne Maman jar has been welcomed into the family. If you read my previous post from months ago, you’ll recall my homage to these marvelous little jars and the preserves they hold—the “gift that keeps on giving,” just as Cousin Eddie observed in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. By the way, Bonne Maman […]

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