Category: Cooking, Kitchen and Table

Black Jelly Beans

Posted April 7th, 2018
Black Jelly Beans

What is it with making ordinary treats seasonal? I already went cuckoo when I nearly couldn’t find peppermint stick ice cream for my Christmas dinner menu—and I don’t see why the flavor should be available only from late November to late December. When I was a child and subject to terrible carsickness—okay, I’m an adult…

Book #3 in 2018: “How To Bake π” by Eugenia Cheng

Posted January 14th, 2018
Book #3 in 2018: “How To Bake π” by Eugenia Cheng

How To Bake π: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics, by Eugenia Cheng. (Basic Books, 2015) is a disappointment. Cheng is, I am sure, a fine mathematician and probably an excellent teacher, but she needs help writing, especially the help of a copyeditor. The jacket cover features lavish praise from five professors of…

Christmas Letter 2017

Posted December 19th, 2017
Christmas Letter 2017

Dearest All, A single Japanese eggplant plunked in a pot parked on the edge of the driveway around the first of July was still producing beautiful purple fruit at Halloween. Eggplant parmesan. Ratatouille. A whopping lot of pasta alla Norma. Dan reaped the final bounty on 9 November while mesclun lettuce, radishes, beets and oh…

Based in Batignolles 5: Same Dish, Different Preparation

Posted May 30th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 5: Same Dish, Different Preparation

We once taste-tested lobster rolls in Maine and coastal New Hampshire. Somewhat to our surprise, the most famous joint did not provide the best. A few days into this trip, we realized a similar project was underway. Having shoehorned ourselves out of those coach-class seats on American Airlines and fidgeted for two hours in gridlock…

Based in Batignolles 3: Beyond the Pale

Posted May 13th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 3: Beyond the Pale

Apparently, our neighborhood does not exist. Consult a tourist guide like Eyewitness Paris and there is an empty white space where one might expect to find Batignolles.  The teal-green blob of Montmartre floats in a void separate from the colors that identify the other quartiers of the city. There is the 8ème and not much of…

The Naples Jaunt 5: It’s My Birthday

Posted April 25th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 5: It’s My Birthday

Everyone was celebrating my birthday. That morning bagpipes skirled nearby. When I logged in on the computer, I noticed that Google had lit eight candles in my honor. Or maybe for Hanukkah. And just as I started making notes for this post, fireworks exploded in the vicolo Pietro del Pesce, right by our front steps….

The Naples Jaunt 3: Swiss Army Knife Cooking

Posted January 5th, 2017
Swiss Army Knife cooking

I don’t want to be unduly critical of Casa Futura Retrò at vicolo Pietra del Pesce in Salerno, 2. It’s charming, decorated with a modern sensibility (and old photos of kissing couples in the bedroom). I love the gated stair with terracotta tiles that leads to the front entry. The space is lovely, with a large…

The Naples Jaunt 2: Downpour

Posted January 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 2: Downpour

Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh!… Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! … Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! What the hell was that? Oh god. The doorbell. The guy from the bar downstairs with our double espresso, cappuccino, and a couple cornetti. What time was it? Must be eight o’clock, that’s what I told Francesca when she said first breakfast was a freebie. I felt around…

The Naples Jaunt 1: Getting There

Posted January 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 1: Getting There

Surely these aren’t streets one drives a car down? I mean, it looks like this whole part of Salerno, the Storico Centro, has been pedestrianized. It was late, after 4:00. I texted Alessandro that we could be at the apartment Casa Futura Retrò around 3:30. Then got a message back that he was sick in…

Copper Pots and Dad

Posted July 17th, 2016
Copper Pots and Dad

Dinner time in Cleveland Heights was always a well-orchestrated event. Ma had dinner well in process by the time Dad arrived. My sister and I set the table. After dinner, while my mother wrangled my brother into bath and bed, my father washed the dishes, which is to say he washed and P and I…