Cooking & Entertaining

Chapter 1. Coronavirus Cooking. The End.

May 7, 2020
beef taco with picante cream

Last night was my fiftieth dinner in Dallas—a record I hope I never break. After seven long weeks in almost complete isolation, I am ready to get home. I have cleaned out the refrigerator and organized my papers, including a fat file full of new recipes and menus. What have I accomplished? What have I learned? I said at the beginning that we each need …

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130 Meals and Still Counting

May 2, 2020
Sheet-Pan Sausage

If you are in Texas or another state that is opening up again, perhaps you have mixed feelings like I do. While I love the concept of dining out with family and friends, I have no confidence that it’s safe. To the contrary, I think May might turn out to be the riskiest month of all. I am looking forward to getting home to my …

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100 Home-Cooked Meals and Still Counting

April 22, 2020
chalupa compuesto con pollo

Today is Day 35 of mostly sheltering in place on the 15th floor of a large apartment complex in Dallas. Even with four takeout meals, I have prepared more than 100 meals at home alone in the kitchen. On Wednesday, March 18, I flew to Dallas with my son in time for takeout Whataburgers for lunch. The trunk of my daughter-in-law’s car was stuffed with …

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Coronavirus Cooking—Winners and Losers

April 18, 2020
sausage with red cabbage

Home Alone in the Kitchen Friday was Day 30 of making do with what I have to cook three meals a day. A few meals have been memorable, a few have been miserable failures and most are simply nothing worth mentioning. Nutrition, flavor and easy cleanup all matter. My favorite meal is the easiest: Italian sausage with Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato fries, success guaranteed, …

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Making Do With Leftovers

April 1, 2020
Preparing barbecue brisket

I cooked up a storm in Week 1 of sheltering in place in Dallas. Most of the time I was waking up every day deciding what to cook. When it was time to restock a week later, stay-at-home rules were in place and it was obvious things were going to get worse before they got better. I took inventory of food on hand, went through …

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Making Turkey Gravy Without the Turkey

November 25, 2019
turkey legs

More and more people I know, including me, are forgoing the ritual of roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s too easy to order one in, whether roasted or smoked. The problem, though, is the side dishes. Dressing isn’t a huge deal; it’s probably safer to make it in a casserole than stuff the turkey, though getting it moist enough without drippings can be a challenge. …

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Home Alone in the Kitchen

March 9, 2019
cucumber finger sandwich

After three weeks of travel—eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in restaurants—I was glad to get home to my kitchen. The refrigerator was empty; the pantry shelves, bare. Without taking time to find recipes or make a grocery list, I headed to the store because I was committed to bring finger sandwiches to a meeting the next day. It’s been years since I’ve made finger sandwiches …

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You Don’t Have to Be Home Alone on the Holidays

November 23, 2018
December anniversary dinner

How do you handle life’s transitions as the older generations age and the young ones grow up and marry? How do you maintain family connections, especially those time-honored holiday traditions and rituals? The aggrieved, widowed sister wrote Carolyn Hax, Washington Post advice columnist: Our extended family—siblings and kids—has always gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week I got a text from my sister saying she …

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Ready to Party?

November 15, 2018
Dinner for 3

Tennyson may be right that “In the Spring a young man’s [and woman’s] fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”[1]; but in my stage of life, fall too often turns my mind to thoughts of loss. The shortened days depress me. While I thought nothing of going out after dark with Lev, nine autumns later I am still uncomfortably surprised by the darkness when I …

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Back Home Alone in the Kitchen

September 18, 2018
Celebrating Joy

I don’t know about you; but when I am tired and stressed, I eat—preferably carbs. And between staying in a hotel for four nights, the stress of giving a speech at my Baylor book launch September 14, parties and lots of quality time with family and friends, I ate whatever I could lay my hands on, including a dinner plate-sized nine-layer chocolate cake with whipped …

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