Stories

nycmh_phototour10.jpgWhen you’re in love, sometimes you fight. It can be said an altercation or two is inevitable. It is as natural as bugs dying in your bathroom, flowers losing their bloom in the winter, and  food cravings when you're pregnant. Even domesticated animals like cats and dogs do it!

Fighting, arguing, disagreeing or whatever suits the fancy of the debater can be as unpleasant and that is why, after an elongated tête-à-tête was resolved I wanted nothing but a slice of pie à la mode to ease my emotions.

In a city as big as New York, this shouldn’t have been a problem but verbal combat can leave gaping wounds and with vital emotional juices still oozing decision making, never my strong point to begin with, took the rear seat.

We went wandering. Anger aroused, wagers were placed. I bet you can’t find apple pie. I bet I can. We fought some more, in the streets like immature children, found some pie, argued some more, I ate the pie, wretched pre-packaged pie, silent treatment. That didn’t last long. Tears and all the rest before temporary resolution occurred. Circle game.

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ImageIt is snowing briskly outside my window for the third snow storm in 4 days! The winter snow has collected halfway up my windows, but today is the day to order new baby chicks, which will arrive via delivery in less then a month. Placing my order should make the sun come out or at least make the snow stop. We always order our baby chickens from Murray McMurray because their quality is the best and they have an unbelievable selection, from the mundane to the most obscure. What is a mundane chicken? That is a chicken bred for laying eggs, not exotic and not really a bird that would be too good for later becoming a broiler or roaster. Just a good egg layer for 4 to 5 years. The consensus wants a large breasted chicken for a meat bird like Cornish Rock, which to me seems very sadly industrial and a statement of our eating public that they prefer to breed meat birds that fall over after eating and aren't able to get up until the grain in their bellies has digested.

So, what is so wrong with a chicken that is a normal size all over? I seem to remember broilers when I was a kid being normal in size - not super-sized - and oh were they flavorful! You determine what kind of chicken for laying based on what your weather is like - cold or warm. As I live in Maine I prefer old English varieties for their hardiness like Silver-laced Wyandottes, Speckled Sussex or my favorite the Buff Orpington for their very sweet nature. These all lay brown eggs which I prefer. Then I might add half a dozen obscure varieties, that's why you must get your order in very early in the season because some varieties are limited and on a first come first serve basis.

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summer-dinner-party.jpg There are as many ‘personal chefs’ in Palm Beach as there are swimming pools.  I see them in their white chef coats and Mario Batali crocs at Publix Super Market chatting each other up as they fondle the passion fruit.  I have had to resist the urge to run up to them and say, “I personally know Wolfgang Puck … personally!”

Palm Beach residents love to dine together.  Restaurants flourish, but elegant dinner parties reign! They always have.

So, what does one do in a town where an intimate sit down dinner is for forty people? If one is a Texas DNA challenged, Left Coast Malibubi, “Y’all come on over and I’ll cook up something” works. During the season of Madoff, a small home cooked dinner - while not the rage – does earn a few sophisticated nods of approval. Besides, it gives me a certain pleasure to psychically push aside the personal chefs at Publix so that I too can fondle the passion fruit with the same sense of authority!

Trying to find something different that is relatively easy to do at the last minute and actually tastes good is the goal.  I have gone through the various BBQ and Mexican dinner menus, all of which were adored by my if-I-see-one-more-beef-tornado-on-my-plate-I-will-scream friends. And, I do relish their fawning looks of gratitude over the unexpected but delicious déclassé fare!

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summerveg.jpgSummer is my least favorite season. I am a ghostly pale person, I sweat easily, and I do not garden successfully. I am allergic to chlorine and can’t spend days by the pool without breaking out in hives, and I am not generally given to hiking, camping, kayaking or doing any of those other things that involve being outside, sweating, and getting burned. I complain a lot about the heat, which may explain why I often find myself alone in my air conditioned house drinking iced tea and reading.

Today, though, today it was 80 degrees after an interminable and bitterly cold winter. Stepping outside tentatively in my cotton skirt and flip flops, I was overwhelmed by sense memories, good ones, the kind that made me sit down on the peeling porch steps and savor them. As the hair at the back of my neck coiled inexorably into ringlets, and the warm air extended its seductive fingers to touch parts of me that have not been unwrapped in public for five months, it seemed that maybe I didn’t hate summer any more.

I remembered all of the Only Summer things, the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning, bags full of vegetable love in the form of tiny Patty Pan squash, gritty zucchini, scallions with shining white bulbs, garlic scapes, baby eggplants, tiny and fiery Hmong peppers, and the tomatoes, oh Lord the tomatoes in their juicy, flashy glory.

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growth_chart_girl_web.jpg“Do you see this chart, Lynne? This is your height-weight percentile chart.  And do you see where you are? You’re waaaaaay up here. Waaay past the 90th percentile. Do you see that? How would you like a shot to suck all the fat away?”

Ok. So Dr. Salvo didn’t sound quite that evil, but it’s not too far off.  To this day, whenever I hear the word “percentile,” no matter the context, I cringe a little, remembering the good doctor showing me my elevated, childhood status on the red-lined chart.  And why did it have to be red?  As if being a chubby little kid were cause for dire emergency.

He really did ask me if I wanted a shot that would “suck all the fat away.” At the time I remember shuddering and saying no, needle-phobic as most little kids are.  Then, down the road a little bit, in my pubescence, I remember regretting telling him I didn’t want the shot. What if he really did have one? What if I could have saved myself all this pain? All this praying at night that I’d wake up thin?

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