It is spring in Michigan, the time of year when I get a bit of a green tinge from eating too much local asparagus. And, since I planted my very own crop last year, this is a special season as I had the chance to savor a few of my own spears – but just a few. Asparagus, a perennial, cannot be harvested in the first two years after planting. This allows the shoots in years one and two to grow into tall lacy plants which send lots of nutrients to the roots for later harvests. But, of course, I couldn’t bear to wait until year three. So, I cheated and picked just a few spears. They were a true guilty pleasure!Continue reading
Growing up in my family meant time out for a cocktail at the end of the day. I knew Dad was home from work when I heard the clink of the glass rod against the wall of the cocktail pitcher. He was definitely a stir-don’t-shake kind of guy when it came to his evening Manhattan (although the shaker was always on hand when needed).Continue reading
Last week our bridge group (16 of us) descended on our kitchen to make tamales – with time off for a bit of bridge, loads of fun and, of course, some serious eating and drinking. How did a group of bridge-playing gringos end up elbow deep in masa? It all started with a side-conversation around Friday night bridge:Continue reading
A group of busy women were looking for efficient ways to raise money for our favorite charity: the Constance Morris House, a Chicago area shelter for victims of domestic violence. We had tired of exhausting raffles and holiday events. But what else could we do?? “Perhaps a second-hand clothing shop?,” someone suggested — “something sustainable rather than multiple whirlwind events?” We thought it was a fabulous idea! Continue reading
If the word “ramble” brings to mind someone droning on without focus, you are probably not English. In England and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, a “ramble” is a walk. One “rambles” the public rights of way that lace through the UK countryside – paths established before the days of Downton Abbey. And, like many things English, time has done little to change them. Continue reading
Wandering the streets of Lille, you begin to wonder how this small French city sustains a patisserie on virtually every corner. Are the locals required to eat in a patisserie as least once daily? Or is it because the window displays look so good that it is impossible to resist the treats within?? Or is it that Lille is the home of Paul, the famous French pastry shop? Or is it the colorful and ubiquitous macaron that weakens ones resolve?? Continue reading
Years ago, a friend walked into my office at lunchtime and promised to take me to the world’s best carnitas. “The best? Really?” (Now who could argue with that offer?) Continue reading
When I lived in England, my American friends often inquired about our home across the pond. My response was that “I live in the Shire” – J.R.R. Tolkien’s magical green land, bordered by rivers and fertile valleys. The statement, inspired by my mental image of the land of the Hobbits, was in fact remarkably close to the truth. I later discovered that Tolkien modeled his Shire after rural Worcestershire, where he spent his childhood and where I lived more than a century later.
Mr. Tolkien, you were so right – it was and still is a lovely green land. Continue reading
Life lessons from a dog, you wonder?? Yes, absolutely.
Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading
What could be a better finish to our seasonal party than a shortcake with peak-of-season local berries? Since our party was in June, strawberries were just the ticket. It is August now and, at least here in Michigan, local strawberries have moved over to make room for our luscious blueberries and blackberries. No worries. You can use any seasonal berry or mix of berries in this easy dessert.
There are a number of reasons why this dessert is so easy for a party menu: Continue reading