The Allotment

September 8, 2014

I’m getting emails and calls from friends wondering where I disappeared to this summer.

Nana's Plum Cake

“I’m holed up in Ireland and the UK writing my novel,” I told one, who tracked me down when I’d inadvertently left my phone on. Roaming charges, you know.

“And I’m writing mine on the Great Wall of China,” she joked in return.

Only I’m not joking. Where I’ve spent the summer of 2014 is at desks, in rooms. Not quite a room of my own, but empty rooms nonetheless, loaned to me by generous friends who, in an unspoken barter, know that when my fingers are not tapping unedited gibberish on this laptop, they will be fiddling with ingredients in their kitchen.

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RECIPENana's Plum Kuchen


COMMENTS3 comments.


May 9, 2014

I’ve been looking for you. Where have you been?

brussels sprouts

Seat 21A. I like the window.

Oh, so you mean you’re in Limbo.

That’s one way of putting it.

How’s the food in Limbo?

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RECIPEBrussels Sprouts with Bacon and Blue Cheese


COMMENTS6 comments.

Crack Cauliflower

April 5, 2014

It’s everywhere.

Rafele cauliflower med

My mother. My daughter. They’ve been talking about a cauliflower mash they recently made. They text about it.

At a Lilliputian shared-plate outpost in Providence, Rhode Island—curiously named North despite being located in the southwestern section of the city—as our group’s bottoms are just nestling into five of the eighteen coveted seats we’ve been on our feet almost an hour waiting for, my son, a regular, pronounces that first and foremost we will be ordering the Spicy Cauliflower in Various Forms. It sounds like a camp-ey horror film. Read more…

RECIPERoasted Cauliflower with Pine Nut and Currant Crumble


COMMENTS7 comments.

The James Beard House

February 5, 2014

Asparagus JB

I was a sous-chef at six, at the James Beard House no less. Don’t believe me? That’s because you haven’t met my mother. As one of Mr. Beard’s cooking school graduates, she deployed what she learned from the culinary giant to transform our tiny townhouse kitchen into a battlefield canteen, and conscripted my sister and me as soldiers in her years-long campaign to outperform every dinner and party hostess in Manhattan. While you were watching Gilligan’s Island, I was tearing from peeling onions, or dressing an oven burn. While your parents were prattling to their friends about your precocious choice of kidneys off a French menu, my mother was persuading Oscar, our reluctant Madison Avenue butcher, to order the succulent morsel of lamb that we would wield to floor a visiting London gourmet. No, we didn’t cook him the brain, or some gland. We fed him the fetus.

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COMMENTS10 comments.


January 27, 2014

Did you just eat tongue?

Tacqueria El Bajio

I did, at Taqueria el Bajio on Milpas Street. It’s digesting now.

Why can’t they do tacos like that in New York?

Dunno. I don’t get it. What’s so complicated about a soft corn tortilla, chunks of spongy tongue meat, onions, and cilantro?

I hate cilantro.

So does my mother. It’s genetic, you know.

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COMMENTS5 comments.