Waiters Say the Darndest Things

April 22, 2015

From the Annals of (mostly) True and Truly Mortifying Moments during My Life in the Restaurant Business, I bring you this story. Yes, my waiter really did ask a guest if he was a …….

Roasted Cashews

Once upon a time there lived a hobbit in a far away land called Middle Earth, and a great and powerful movie director named Peter Jackson journeyed to this land because he had read its histories as chronicled by the great scholar JRR Tolkein, and thought it might make a compelling documentary. He managed to locate the famous hobbit in Middle Earth, a short and hairy-footed fellow named Frodo who, amazingly, was still alive and didn’t look a day over twenty-five. He asked Mr. Frodo if he might return to Middle Earth with his crew to film the documentary, and would he mind checking if his hobbit neighbors in the Shire, along with the ents, orcs, trolls, fairies, dwarfs, dragons, and wizards were available for a few years of re-enactments, as the film was sure to inspire viewers and sell barrels full of tickets and co-branded merchandise with its themes of heroism, and loyalty, and the actual triumph of good over evil so rare in the part of earth from which he hailed, known as Hollywood, Earth.

“No, not Middle Earth, just plain Earth. That’s where Hollywood is,” Mr. Jackson corrected an incredulous Frodo, who, true to his congenial and impulsive hobbit nature had no sooner replied, “Sure, why not?” Read more…

RECIPESpiced Cashews


COMMENTS4 comments.

Turkey After Birth

February 6, 2015

mh and flatbread crop retouch

I have to warn you that while this is more or less a conventional food blog, I’m going to be talking to you about placentaphogy before I give you my rendition of Muhammara, the Turkish red pepper and walnut dip my son and I ate in Istanbul last month. Muhammara blows humus back to the Middle Ages. But don’t worry. Muhammara is vegan, and if it means you’ll keep reading, I’ll reveal, right here from the outset, that I never went through with my faint-hearted plan to consume my children’s afterbirths.

Though would you believe during my first pregnancy, I was one of those expectant women weighing its merits, considering either braising the endocrine organ with fortified wine, or desiccating and pulverizing it into a shelf-stable supplement powder. Either method would have provided me with no-second-chances custom nutrients, or so the alternative San Francisco maternity journal that printed the article I read claimed.

The more compelling in-favor argument that struck this home-birthing mother-to-be, bandied about along with other theories of what constituted natural at the Thursday evening Noe Valley birthing class my Balinese husband and I, the only heterosexual married couple in the class, attended was this: humans are just about the only land mammals who don’t eat their placentas.

“Exactly, Karen,” my otherwise open-minded but thoroughly grossed out mother rebutted over the phone when I solicited her opinion. “Humans are the only land mammals who do not eat their placentas.”

As it turned out I was let off this afterbirth hook by the gods almighty because Read more…

RECIPETurkish Walnut and Red Pepper Dip


COMMENTS7 comments.

The Big Apple, My Little Grape

November 15, 2014

My daughter moved far away last month, and since I dropped her off at LAX, I keep thinking of her as a piece of fruit. A little grape, to be specific.

grape and MLG hand med

I mean, the weekend after she left New York we did a dual mother/daughter retreat in Santa Barbara and bought some tiny Thompson organic grapes at the farmer’s market. Could that be it?

I asked a writer friend, who got no closer than me to the curious source of my flora-fication. She urged me to make it art.

It all happened so fast. One minute My Little Grape and I were lugging her leaden suitcases to the car. Then, on the way to Venice Beach for lunch, we visited the tennis-court sized AT&T store on Lincoln Boulevard to unlock her iPhone, where the specialists were pretty useless and looped her back to the phone operator who’d sent her to the store in the first place, leaving My Little Grape so preoccupied with reaching 611, and listening carefully because the options may have changed, that, as she was stepping back into the car, her ankle gave way and instead of landing in the seat, next to me where she belonged, she crumpled down into the curb and vanished Read more…

RECIPESavoy Cabbage with Apples and Grapes


COMMENTS4 comments.

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.

Read more…

RECIPENana's Plum Kuchen

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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?

Read more…

RECIPEBrussels Sprouts with Bacon and Blue Cheese


COMMENTS6 comments.