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

COMMENTS3 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.

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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?

Read more…

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.