Love

beans_wax.jpgMy food store in Maine is overflowing with locally raised vegetables, but the small half bushels of yellow bean always stops me right in my tracks. The sight of  freshly picked, ultra-thin, bright yellow beans always brings to mind memories of my dear sweet Mother. When we were kids we visited a farm market on the way home every day to get vegetables for dinner and fruit for the 3 mile ride home. Our parents loved fresh vegetables, but my Mother's face would light up at the first appearance of yellow beans and we ate them every day until the last bean was picked for the season.

Yellow beans make me sad, make me happy and make me miss her again and again, year after year. The first thing that she would cook was yellow beans with pork chops, small white potatoes, oregano and tomatoes. The whole house was filled with the smell of garlic and oregano, filling us with anticipation. We stayed close to the stove talking about our day and snipping the beans. Sneaking small spoonfuls of juice out of the simmer pot to taste without ever being scolded because she always made extra. Being her daughter was as sweet as it gets.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

hôtel ritz parisI admit it – I have a soft spot for hotel bars partly because the first time my present husband declared himself to me was at a hotel bar – albeit it was coming on the heels of “I think you have another girlfriend (true) and if you want to keep seeing me, you’d better tell her good-bye....” In fairness, we’d only been dating for a week and we hadn’t kissed yet. And my version of the story is way more dramatic than his. In my version, I exit the table and he runs after me and says, “Wait, wait...I think I’m falling in love with you.” In his version, the dialogue is the same, but he claims he didn’t run after me in the patio of the bar at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills and dramatically stop my exit, he simply said it at the table. (I’m right, by the way....)

Neither of us dispute the second part – that the first time we kissed was in the driveway of the Peninsula (about three minutes after the declaration) as we were both waiting for our own cars and the possibility that we might never see each other again was hanging in the air. The valets all started laughing and smiling, and in my writer’s mind, there was also applause (this is potentially debatable) but the valets were pretty sweet since basically it was sort of old people making out and could have elicited a slightly different reaction, like yucch, and if this is “too much information” for my children, I apologize about that....

Read more ...

portwaterdog.jpgDear Mr. President Elect Obama,

Senator Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, had the right idea.  As he convalesced on his boat in Hyannisport I saw him beckoning to his dog Splash, a Portuguese Water Dog.

If you’ve never heard of this breed, they have a remarkable story.

Bred as working dogs, they carried messages back and forth between boats for the Portuguese fisherman. But what was even more impressive was that they were trained to herd fish into the nets and could dive under water at considerable depths to retrieve tackle and pull the nets in.

This breed is very old and although they are often mistaken for Standard Poodles, Porties (as we owners like to call them) are the source of the Poodle breed. They can be black, brown or white with either a curly coat or a wavy coat. They have hair, not fur, and that’s why we have two of them.

Read more ...