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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Grand hotel: Wentworth-by-the Sea

  The greatest charm of that now-near-vintage Christopher Reeve movie, Somewhere in Time, was the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, where it was shot. As Reeve’s character explored the hotel, he magically found love in another century, to the tune of stirring romantic strain of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Pagannini. But my near-obsession with […]

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The meadow down the road

Sometimes, a pretty picture is enough. There’s a  meadow near us that’s destined to become a township park. The acreage was graded clear some time ago, but since then tall grasses, thistles, and Queen Anne’s lace have sprung up, creating an oddly lovely border. Against that what-is-so-rare-as-a-day-in-June sky, the bright green contrasts so nicely with […]

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Off the road again

In 1962, John Steinbeck wrote this: When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing.  From Travels With Charley: In Search of America (The Viking Press, 1962) In 1990, Charles Kuralt wrote this: The interstate highway system is […]

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‘Who knows where the time goes?’

Today’s title is actually the lovingly borrowed title of a  song written by Sandy Denny in 1967 and recorded by a variety of artists over the years—the signature recording, in my estimation, made by silky-voiced Judy Collins. As those of you who follow my blog (thank you!) have no doubt deduced, I have a time […]

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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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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 […]

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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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‘I write in ink.’

Dear Frances Mayes, The time I brought The Tuscan Sun Cookbook to you for signing in Chapel Hill, I remember saying, simply, “Can I tell you how much I loved A Year in the World?” You smiled sweetly. I frankly never thought anything else of yours could eclipse that smashing book—which really wasn’t about travel, […]

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Village views

We haven’t been north in nearly two years, which is atypical for us and much too long between trips. As I’m fond of saying, real life sometimes gets in the way. Hopefully, we’ll be back on track with a northward journey in the next few months. In the interim, the dry spell, I’ve gotten by […]

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The weather outside is frightful

April is more than half over, and while I haven’t kept an actual  log, it’s probably safe to say that we have had gray skies, cold rain, howling wind, and snow flurries most days this month. Tradition has it that the last snow of the season is the signal to plant the onion sets. For […]

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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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