kuerig.jpgamy ephron colorI have a complicated relationship with my Keurig. It was given to us at Christmas by my husband’s children. It was an amazing gift, thoughtful, inventive, and big. It is big. It is also streamlined and beautiful. I’d never seen anything like it before, which made them laugh hysterically (as it did half my friends). Confession: I don’t work in an office and when I do go to offices, they don’t usually invite me into the kitchen. The fact that I’d never seen anything like it before made me feel a little bit like Abe Simpson.

I also felt a little bit the way someone probably felt in the ‘50s when they got their first blender. “Wow, I can actually make a margarita at home. I can make a milkshake. I wonder if I can make gazpacho?” The Waring blender was probably invented in the ‘30s and someone is probably about to correct me. Yep. I just looked it up, the blender was invented in the ‘30s and the waring blender was named after Fred Waring, a musician who financed the fine tuning of the Hamilton Beach invention. (Don’t ask me about the patent rights.) But I wonder if my Grandmother wanted to buy stock in the Waring company. (My Grandmother bought stock in Campbells’ Soup when they invented Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup – I don’t know how she did with that, but there was no way you could get her to sell that stock.)

I have a friend who wanted to buy stock in Keurig and is mad at her husband because they didn’t. Apparently it was a good stock buy. I’m not sure I would want to buy stock in Keurig because I’m not sure it’s ecological and I have an issue with that. Also, I missed the boat. The time to buy the stock was when the Keurig came out, not when it arrived in my kitchen last December.

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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.

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ImageI always know the exact moment love officially strikes me clear and hard. The world actually goes silent. I can’t help but smile. My eyes light up. And most importantly, I shut up. Because in that very moment, no matter how ridiculous it sounds, I’m rendered speechless since there’s only one truth: I’m alive and I love you and I know it and that’s all there is to it.

I fell in love last year. It’s pretty hard to shut me up but then again, I think almost everyone would become as smitten as me around this man. You know those people that make you feel like the very best version of yourself? Now imagine that person but also make them an incredible cook, a fantastic writer, a brilliant designer, a true gentleman, and too handsome for anyone’s own good in a George Clooney type of way. This isn’t a romance I’m talking about. It’s even better. When you’re having a really bad day or you’ve just returned from a long out of town trip, he’ll cook an amazing dinner for you and make you coffee and talk to you about books and art. When you’re heartbroken and nothing seems to make sense, he’ll bring dark chocolate gourmet pudding and hugs to your door and make you laugh till you cry better tears. This isn’t a joke. This is the universe showing off when it introduced me to one of my best friends. I wish everyone had their own Oualid. But fortunately and unfortunately, there’s only one of this man.

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littleindia.jpgYou gotta love a guy like my friend Howard. On Memorial Day Monday at 10:30 a.m., I called him in Santa Monica from my bed in Sherman Oaks and said, “Whatcha doing today?”

“Don’t have anything until 4 o’clock,” he said.

“I don’t have anything till 6 – wanna go to Artesia and check out some of the Indian restaurants?”

“Oh yeah,” he said, “meet ya at the corner of Artesia and Pioneer Boulevards at noon.”

“Fab, see you there.” Jumped out of bed and hit the shower.

Next to the joy of eating a long, festive meal at a giant table surrounded by family and friends, my favorite culinary ritual is the food safari, an expedition off the beaten track in search of something new and delicious. My sister Jo will drive to the four corners of the earth with me to try a new pizza joint that we’ve heard is good. There was the 2-hour car trip up to Hartford with the old boyfriend, because we’d read great things about an old diner. And my very busy bud Peter managed to keep a lunch open last week so that we could go sample the hot dogs (five different ones!) at the new Papaya King in Hollywood.

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mainlogo1.gif I am addicted to chocolate. I don't mean that I just like to eat chocolate, I have to eat  chocolate. There is no twelve step program, there are no support groups but I know it is genetic. My mother is also addicted to chocolate as are two of my six little nieces. Sometimes the four of us sit around the kitchen table in silence eating chocolate. I am the enabler. I buy chocolate every time I pass through a duty free store in an airport. I stop in every bakery I see to buy anything chocolate they have. I know exactly where all the nice chocolate shops are in New York City. You get my point?

 Tell us your favorite candy...and where we can get it.

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