You all know that I love to cook and bake. I read food blogs and websites. Cookbooks as bedside reading are a given. Cooking is not only how I nurture and delight my family and friends, it’s how I explore, travel and taste the world right in my own home.
Lately, people have been after me to compile a book of the recipes I’ve cooked over the years that have become family favorites. Now I’m not a recipe writer. Whilst some of my recipes have come from my mother and grandmother…other family favorites have come from famous chefs, cookbooks and websites.
Nothing like ashes to remind me to live harder, better, more lovingly, more joyfully.
Yesterday we planted a Ceiba tree with the ashes of a lifelong friend of mine who lived ill for such a long time it was just a part of him, and then died suddenly before anyone had time to say goodbye.
Eating out of a bowl is nothing new. Asian cuisine and many others, have been served out of bowls for centuries. In 2017, bowls have become a cultural and gastronomic moment. If you’ve ever eaten a bowl of ramen, or a burrito bowl at Chipotle, you’ve had a bowl.
The millennials appropriated bowls into a lifestyle. It turns out millennials don’t want to sit at a table and use a knife and fork. They want easy, attractive, fork food that you can pick up and carry to the couch and watch Netflix, or to the computer and keep working or Skyping.
First of all…I’m back. I was in Chicago taking care of a toddler whilst her mother (my cousin) was on a business trip.
Well. That. Was. Exhausting.
My friends warned me, but I thought, oh I can do this, I raised my own children didn’t I? Ahem. Within minutes of my cousin’s departure I was drawn back to the days of not being able to think a complete thought, to finish a cup of tea or read the newspaper. And: Not just a toddler, but a “missing her mother toddler.” Use your imagination.
I’ve cooked it all. Legions of cookies and cakes. Gallons of egg nog and mimosas. Baked hams. Beef Wellingtons. Roasts of pork and lamb. So many turkeys I can’t even count. Creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, Sacher Tortes, Buches de Noel.
I asked myself, what do I really feel like eating at Christmas this year? The answer was: not complicated elegance. More like sexy bistro food. I have visions of pulling a bubbling casserole from the oven, served with a glass of seriously fabulous wine. My DD tells me I’ll be everyone’s new best friend by bringing a large Spanokopita, a Greek spinach pie to a Christmas eve supper I’m invited to.
It’s official now. “The hols are coming, the hols are coming.”
I need to do things differently this year. Have you ever felt this way? For years, I rejoiced in all the traditions I created for my family that made our Christmas such a happy, cherished time.
But I don’t need to be the magic maker anymore; I’m not responsible for anyone’s happiness anymore. I can change how I set the scene and observe the holidays, knowing that I create intimate, compelling magic whatever I decide to do. Because that’s my style.
Fall in Tropica. The tourists are gone. Kids are in school. The hotels on the Riviera Maya are empty and prices are the lowest they’ll be all year. The snowbirds haven’t arrived yet. The air has finally cooled down to 80F/26C. The Tropicans are in bliss.
I’m filled with nostalgia for crisp air, sweaters, and the flaming colors of leaves. How I miss the autumn of my childhood in the U.S. Palm trees are always green. Halloween, which isn’t a Mexican custom, has drifted in nonetheless and is fighting with Christmas for floor space in Costco. Not a pretty sight.
It’s steamy in Tropica right now. Meriland empties out like Paris in August. It’s too hot for even the Tropicans who have deserted Meriland and moved lock, stock and servants to the beach. I adore Meriland in the summer. A quiet city to myself, lost in the heat. I swim in the morning and drift through the lazy days.
The world news in the past few weeks has left me sacudida. That’s a Spanish expression which means, “shaken like a rag doll.” That’s about right. Exhausted, trembly, heartbroken, shaken inside and out. So much evil, sorrow, hatred, sadness. In addition, I have a friend who is suffering greatly with his health.
One of the nicest things you can do for yourself, or a friend, is to make a pot of soup. Clever soup has the power to comfort, nourish and inspire.
I first met potage (pronounced poh-tahj) when I lived in Paris. I was thrilled to be living on Gertrude Stein’s street, at 16 rue de Fleurus in the 6th arrondissement, off the Jardin de Luxembourg. My hostess, an extremely religious spinster, Mademoiselle Ley, served potage to Mary, Chris and me every evening as our first course. We never tired of it. It warmed us and settled our tummies for the meal to come.