Category Archives: food

White Lily

White Lily (Home of the Brave) (Live) by laurie Anderson



There is something about this clip from Home of the Brave that strikes me every time I hear/see it.  The question and answer.  The sense of days going by, pulling us into the future.  It is almost a month since we’ve been asked to shelter in place in Massachusetts.  Spring tosses its head, allowing rain, wind, gust, and sun, without pattern.  The trees are budding, first pink, then in the diustant cardinal red.  There are green leaves, and have been appearing since March began. Somehow, the garbage men still arrive to take away the bins every week, and this always reassures me, somehow.  So far, in my town, anyway, we still have recycling being picked up as well.  A headline caught my eye: it’s not all cooking and quality time.  A poem by teacher and writer Jessica Salfia composed of first lines of emails she received while in  quarantine  went viral:

I spend more time on instagram and face book than before.  My schedule each day is wake, eat, read, eat,write, eat, television, sleep, punctuated by a conversation on the phone now and then, sprinkled with social media throughout.

There have been happy discoveries: Goldie Hawn silly-dancing on instagram. A breathtaking video of steamed bread-making:

Recipes that turn out well.

Roses that arrived in the mail, now planted, which might grow well, maybe.

Zoom meetings with friends.

The occasional egg cream.

The cats who interrupt my staring into space.

These are a few of my favorite things during this period in time, our 2020.


Pockets of Comfort

Indira Ganesan, Filter Coffee at IIC, 2017

This is a snowless, sunny Christmas eve, with the trees bare. Red winterberry peek through the liched-laden branches, though, and sky is a mix of soft grey and blue.  Days like this in Cape Cod make me glad for my pockets of warmth.  On my coat, certainly, for as Coco Channel said, women need pockets, and female clothing hardly included them.  My pockets are also the tiny shops I frequent, for chocolate, for coffee, for a sandwich, and a pastry.  They are scattered throughout the Outer Cape, run by genius chefs and hosts, who remember my name, even if I generally don’t remember theirs. They are like gems in a place that frankly favors fish, and why should it not, being on the coast, a handmade island, but an island hard for a vegetarian to accommodate herself.  Unlike Santa Cruz CA, the chai does not flow on tap, as a friend once put it,  but it is starting to  trickle in, the kind that is strictly made with cardamom, and not pumpkin-flavors.

The December holidays though, make me nostalgic for date-nut bread spread with cream cheese.  I can’t find them at the supermarket, and apparently, neither can anyone else who hankers for a taste of 1970’s packaged, seasonal, sweets.  Thomas, of the muffin fame, made them, but I don’t remember that.  And the internet tells me it wasn’t enough to spread (not, note, “slather,” a lovely if trendy term I see everywhere suggesting to me, at least, English countrysides and lots of money, and not the gas-lines in suburban New York ) a slice with cream cheese; true authenticity demanded an another slice on top, a date-nut bread sandwich.  Again, intriguing, but not my experience.  I just remember moist, nearly black bread. Maybe the cream cheese wasn’t the silver foil-covered block, but the then new container of whipped.

It’s nearly 40 degrees farenheit, and the sun is out.  It must be snowing somewhere.

So where’s it snowing?  Right here, right now.  Go ahead, slather away!

And Happy Holidays!

Three Whistle Potatoes


For a few weeks now, I’ve harbored a craving for alu mutter, that glorious Punjabi dish of potato and peas soaked in a tomato based sauce tinged with cumin, coriander, mustard, asafeodita, red pepper, garlic, ginger, and onion.  There you have it, the ingredients for a dish to be sopped by handfuls of poori, that delicate wheat bread that puffs up to a golden pillow in hot oil.  I looked for a recipe online, and found one that began with ” cook the potato in the pressure cooker for three whistles.  I looked for another, and made do with a curry I assembled quickly from an Australian transplanted from India and naan from Shop Rite.  Then I settled in to watch the new BBC War and Peace, in which Natasha dances at the ball.