The Label Story

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by Lori Sherwood

montepulciano_sm.jpgA few weeks after I met my future husband, he invited me to a fancy dinner party for some very dear friends of his from Milan – Neil and Maria Empson, exporters of great Italian wines. It was the early 80’s, Northern Italian cuisine and wines were just catching on and many of the ingredients he wanted for the dinner, including the wines, were hard to find. We spent almost a week shopping for the food and a variety of their wines to serve that Saturday evening.

A Love Story in Meatloaf

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by Melanie Chartoff

mantilini.jpgThat night, we met over Kate Mantilini’s meatloaf, a generous slab of mixed roast beasts—beef, pork, and veal, seasoned with onions and garlic and the perfect soupcon of pepper and salt, and the conversation was delicious, too.  It was mid winter 1987, and in terms of warming, filling, non-carb comfort food that goes down easily, meatloaf is probably the best darn thing one can ingest.  Intellectual rapport is always an ideal accompaniment.

Two Hearts

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by Rebecca Bloom

two_hearts.gif I am not a social butterfly.  I can dress, dazzle, chat, and spin with the best of them, but by nature, I am a loner; it’s who I am and I embrace that label.  I relish my solo evenings.

I work, I write, I visit E-bay checking in on the gold and white pottery auctions, tearing pages from magazines, cataloguing the furniture I will buy in my next life. I eat pasta doused with weird combinations of toppings I dig out of the pantry and eat it in front of the TV watching back-to-back episodes of any Law and Orders I have tivoed. I like to hang alone, finding peace in the quiet, finding my voice in the empty air of my house. Even after J-date, after tapas and wine and a dance that never slowed and still hasn’t with the man I now love, I still longed for time away. Even when everything became more entertaining with him there, and the funny things I saw and did had weight because I finally had someone to share them with, I needed my time alone. While the kisses on the Ferris wheel, the late night phone calls from LA to Idaho, the electricity when we touched excited me and made me happy, I still needed to lack, to be without. 

The Life of a Foodie

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by Agatha French

buffet-food.jpg I considered myself a food lover: a zealous, open-minded, and studious consumer of food.  My tastes ran the gamut from Chex Mix to Chez Panisse, and I felt this to be charmingly, almost wittily, indiscriminate of me.  I read cookbooks, restaurant reviews, and food writing.  I cooked.  I baked.  I ate out.  I would have, without hesitation, claimed to be well versed, at the top of my game even, in the Art of Eating. 

I was, needless to say, a recent college graduate and an unfounded know-it-all.  I look back on those days with an indulgent fondness for my younger self, and her survey-class approach to eating.  There she is, I think in my memory, burning garlic and liking it.   I smile, knowing that soon enough she will be introduced to someone so enamored of food that in his presence one begins to question their own passion for almost anything else.  To my student’s eye, meeting Ryan was like being introduced to Edward Said after a steady diet of Cliffs Notes: there is, after all, much more to be found in the details.

Not Pink

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by Joey Power

bambin8.jpg At some point during college, probably while I sat drunk moribund glued to a booth in a club birthed by a pomade-slick headed Philadelphian, a forgettable hip-hop jam shivering my sternum, at some point I realized this is not the best arena to showcase whatever it is I have to offer women. Now, a couple of years later and back in Los Angeles, those clubs and plenty of overcrowded, overloud bars in my rear-view mirror, the thesis hasn’t changed.  I have friends1 who, god-bless them, don’t require that (trivial) intermediary step of exchanging coherent words in between seeing a girl and kissing her.  Some sort of atavistic ceremony played out to the new Kanye.  I don’t know.  Maybe I should let more chest hair peek out of my button-down shirts. 

The point is—I know I’ve missed the generational hover-craft—if I’m trying to win over a girl, I’d much rather go on a date.  Like, take her out to dinner.  Talk to her. Impress her with my knowledge of wine.2  Which defense of an increasingly archaic3 form of courtship is probably making you think either a) what a chivalrous young squire or b) kids still watch Woody Allen movies? What you aren’t considering is how many variables have to be weighed when deciding what place of repast will translate into the appropriate setting for a first date.

Double Dip Icon

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by Alan Sandler

06-17-00_soda_jerk_sign_at_beerfest.jpg  She leans in toward me, her elbows on the counter. She is tall, blonde, and very slender. She’s wearing a tight black skirt and a white blouse open one button just past modest. A maid’s apron circles her waist. She begins to speak but I raise my hand and gesture for her to wait. I am listening to the teenage girl with the long legs and short shorts standing to the blonde’s left. She is a regular but, tonight, she wants more than usual.

“I want my pint of chocolate chip but I also need a cheese steak, to go and a regular hoagie without onions. They’re so busy at the sandwich counter, can’t you take my order?

Small Talk

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by Hope Stranger

mono_large.jpg I have yet to go on a date in New York without breaking into a mental sweat.  When scouting for potential mates, I have learned pretentious is better than shallow, irritatingly intelligent better than vapid.  But every time I find myself two blocks away from any appointed date destination, panic ensues.

I literally go through the syllabi of every course I can remember from NYU and every legitimate news article I have come across in recent memory.  A friend of mine once told me she discovered the best conversation starters from a semester seminar she took called 'The Darwinian Revolution.'  To this day, I regret not enrolling in that class.  I could be married by now. 

Recently, I went on a second date at Casa Mono in Gramercy Park with a screenwriter.  As we sat at the crowded bar, reviewing the tapas menu, all I could think of was the impending birth of the "Brangelina" twins.  

Sugar Baby

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by Emily Fox

emily_fox.jpgCongratulations, you’re pregnant – and for the first time since you were eight, you can eat whatever you want! Because you’re with child and therefore eating for two! And you are supposed to be a little insane from the hormones! So when you decide you must have half a jar of peanut butter for a snack, you only have to shrug helplessly and say, “I can’t help it – the baby loves peanut butter!” as though the kid were tapping out some kind of Morse Code on the inside of your belly.

 Juliet Maeve Scott,
December 28th, 2007
6 lbs 2

Everyone smiles indulgently at you and touches you kind of inappropriately on your belly area and tells you what a blessing the whole thing is and you agree because it is indeed nothing short of a blessing to be able to order rice pudding after lunch with no pangs of guilt whatsoever.

Sure, you can’t have sushi, but there are so many other perks: cookies and pizza and macaroni and cheese (for the calcium, of course) and real soda and cupcakes, glorious cupcakes, which you can even have for breakfast if you want and nobody bats an eyelash. I was thrilled for many reasons to learn I was pregnant, but I cannot deny that chief among them was the Get Out of Jail Free card that I’d been looking for my whole adult life.

Tacos with a Twist

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by Ben Chinn

cocktails.jpgSince I've recently become single, I find myself going places and doing things that I normally wouldn't do all in the name of meeting women. This usually means after a long tiring day of work I'll force myself to visit a bar or a party that I normally wouldn't go to. The most recent of these events was when my work hosted a networking event called "Girls in Tech." As you might have guessed, it's for women in the tech industry.

When I first heard we were hosting this event my first thought was "Oh God, am I going to have to help set it up?" Then, I decided that I wasn't going to go until I found out two things. The first was the promise of free alcohol and the second was that there would be many girls, in tech. Now I'm in the tech industry so I figured this would be a gold mine to use my newly realized skills of seduction.  I could say things like "so, um, are you in the tech industry?" and "sooo, what's the deal with dialup? Am I right?"

The night came and after about 15 minutes they ran out of alcohol... This should never happen at a networking event. Liquor is the key that opens the door to networking. After talking to a few women – I was really happy because I got all their numbers and they seemed interested in me. Then it dawned on me that, of course, they were friendly and gave me their numbers, this is a networking event. After realizing this sad truth I was ready to leave but then a co-worker ran inside and said, "There's a taco truck outside bringing in food!"

Autumn Awakening

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by Hartley Casbon

fall-leaves.jpgI remember it like it was yesterday – laying in bed, completely entranced in the fiery excitement of it all. It was nothing I had ever experienced. My senses were heightened, an obsession had begun.

I was experiencing my first real autumn. 

Growing up in New Orleans, fall was something that just … happened. The days went from excessively hot, to a little less hot, to bearably warm with the occasional jolt of cold (Cold, of course, being temperatures in the 50s. Brrrr). The leaves bypassed that whole color-change thing everyone always talks about. It was green to dead and that was that.

That is, until I began my freshman year in Maryland at Goucher College. As I plucked away at my snooze button, cursing the existence of a 9:30 am class, I rolled over and froze. There they were – red, orange, yellow and every combination between the three.

Once I was able to tear myself away from the window, I sprinted down the hall. “Have you seen them? They’re beautiful!”


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