Cooking & Entertaining

Want to Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain?

November 19, 2016
bathroom scales

When I first started gaining weight in my 40s, I commented to an older, fatter friend, “It’s only five pounds.” “Yes, and if you gain five pounds a year, in seven years it will be 35 pounds. Look at me.” For most of us, the Holidays are to blame for the typical annual five-pound weight gain. How can we enjoy all the parties and special …

Continue reading

Home Alone at Dinnertime

September 29, 2016
flounder with vegetables

Being home alone still seems new to me, but I am approaching my eighth Christmas without Lev. While I did not choose this lifestyle, I have grown accustomed to it. In those early years as a widow, I couldn’t stand the solitude so I swung between filling the house with people and escaping. I am still seeking the right balance of home alone, home with …

Continue reading

Obsessing Over Omelets

September 15, 2016
omelet pans

For more than 50 years I’ve cooked omelets–and nothing else–from the original 8-inch French Chef Omelet Pan, designed by the Boston Pot Shop for Julia Child in 1962. My copy of her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, dated 1963, devotes more than five pages to how to make omelets and what to cook them in. I mastered omelets, and for many years they were our standard Sunday …

Continue reading

Starting Over

June 2, 2016
diet handbook

A year ago, I began a diet that called for eliminating carbs and fats for two weeks, while eating large amounts of lean meat and vegetables plus a small amount of low-fat dairy products. Gradually, I added small amounts of fruits and carbs, while reducing the protein. It worked. I was never hungry, and I lost about three pounds a week at the beginning, 20 …

Continue reading

Friends: An Unexpected Loss

April 21, 2016
with friends in Nantucket

The Social Aspect of Grief Ours had been a social world of couples, and our friends and acquaintances called within a month or two after Lev’s death to invite me out to dinner. Sometimes, these turned out to be one-time obligatory gestures. Just as we had not thought to mix singles and couples in our social life, not all of our old friends continued to …

Continue reading

Celebrating the 12th Day of Christmas

January 5, 2016
Traditional King Cake

Tomorrow is Epiphany…Twelfth Night…the Twelfth Day of Christmas on the liturgical calendar, when the Church celebrates the coming of the Kings to visit the baby Jesus. While scholars tell us that it is more likely that Jesus was a toddler living in a house with Mary and Joseph when the wise men came, my mental picture is still that of the kings with their gifts, …

Continue reading

Two Traditional Christmas Pies

December 22, 2015
pecan pie

Lev’s aunt lived in nearby Rockport, and whenever she came to see us, she brought two pecan pies and an old-fashioned date cake. Her pie recipe is the best I’ve ever had, rich and custardy, with more butter and eggs than most. It calls for a full cup of butter, four times the typical recipe. Oddly, my daughter-in-law makes a better pie than I. When …

Continue reading

Baptists and Bourbon

December 10, 2015
eggnog

We moved to Texarkana from New Orleans in March 1947, and that first Christmas Eve my parents gave a little party for their new friends, serving eggnog in punch cups. In the rush to get Santa out for me afterwards (I was six), Mama did not take time to wash the dishes. Housing was scarce after World War II; and we were renting a turn-of-the-century, …

Continue reading

Memories of Christmas Past

December 3, 2015
Christmas 1967

To Grandmother’s House We Go In the early years of our marriage, we alternated between Lev’s parents in San Antonio and mine in Texarkana, a not completely satisfactory arrangement. Christmas in San Antonio was a very formal, adult affair, traipsing from open house to open house on Christmas Day. The tree was artificial, on a small table in the dining room, decorated by the housekeeper. …

Continue reading

Reminders of Jean: Pumpkin Bread & Forgotten Cookies

November 24, 2015
Jean Storm

Jean Storm was one of the saints of First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; wife of Lev’s long-time partner and friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm; mother of Susan and Kathy; grandmother to Morgan, Sarah, Julia, David and Mary. And my friend. I counted myself blessed to be on the receiving end of the Storms’ generosity. Chief among Jean’s many gifts were her hospitality and her ministry to the …

Continue reading