“…you dream about food – not just any food, but perfect food, the best food, magical meals, famous and awe-inspiring, the one piece of meat, the exact taste of buttery corn, tomatoes so ripe they split and sweeten the air, beans so crisp they snap between the teeth, gravy like mother’s milk singing to your bloodstream.” –Dorothy Allison (writer, 1949–)
Thinking of the Kentucky Derby this weekend – where “Always Dreaming” made two Brooklyn boys’ Derby dreams come true – Mother’s Day next weekend and The Blue Coffee Pot restaurant where I had the best biscuits and sausage gravy I’ve ever had in my life.
What made this unexpected, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere breakfast on an Indian Reservation in Kayenta, Arizona something to dream about? The scrambled eggs and the sausage gravy were like taking a bite out of a perfectly seasoned feathery light pillow of deliciousness. Never, in all of my biscuits and sausage gravy travels, have I experienced such genuine affection for what typically is a heavy lump of a dish that favors the appetite attentions of hungry men. Read more
“You must have always a great and progressive show and also one which is clean, pure, moral and instructive. Never cater to the baser instincts of humanity…and always remember that the children have ever been our best patrons…” –P.T. Barnum’s last letter before he died (1891), written to his “well-loved” James Bailey
“Circus XTREME”, which is making its very last appearance in Providence, Rhode Island this weekend, is Xtremely entertaining and there is no doubt that P.T. Barnum would have been proud of this very “Xpert” creation for having lived up to his life motto “Excelsior”, a Latin word meaning “ever upward” and “still higher.” Read more
“I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.”
It has been quite a journey through the month of April with Bob Dylan. It was my desire to do a little piece on him as the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of National Poetry Month, and so I retrieved all things Bob Dylan – books, CDs, albums, magazine articles, etc. – and started digging in. And now, many days later, I am still going strong, ever more moved and ever more amazed by his body of work, his art, and his genius.
“He is our greatest living poetic voice, the Bard of the Age, our rock and roll Shakespeare….[t]he Nobel committee say they are honoring Dylan ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’ but he did way more than that. Dylan utterly exploded the form, enabling the simple song to become a vehicle for every shade and nuance of human thought and expression, unleashing incredible forces of creativity on this ancient sturdy folk medium – and did it with a flowing electrifying word smithery and innate, almost mystical wisdom that has created a body of mind-blowing work that will resonate for centuries to come.”Read more
For a perfect ending to April, and after a month long celebration of poetry, and in recognition of the “changin’ times” wrought by the Swedish Nobel Committee awarding, for the first time in its history, a songwriter (Bob Dylan!) the Nobel Prize in Literature, have a listen to Bob Dylan’s song “Series of Dreams” (from The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3, rare & unreleased):
“…If my thought-dreams could be seen they’d probably put my head in a guillotine”, while making “Bob Dylan’s Perfect Meatball Recipe” below.
“Today me will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant. In which case me will eat a cookie.”–Cookie Monster
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy, such as a steaming cup of hot tea and a homemade sugar cookie with buttercream frosting and sprinkles. Below are three recipes for sugar cookies, two of which are plain old-fashioned recipes with basic simple ingredients, while the third recipe adds a couple of twists and turns to a basic recipe, giving it a little extra dash of ultimate spring flair! Read more
There is a time for everything, including a time for asparagus and artichokes and cookbooks that are all about spring cuisine! Adding to the growing collection of beautiful cookbooks from the culinary world which are dedicated to seasonal cooking is one of London’s “most respected and acclaimed chefs” Skye Gyngell’s new cookbook Spring.
Ms. Gyngell, who also has published three other cookbooks*, is known “for her distinctively seasonal, elegant cooking, creating dishes inspired by what she saw growing and blossoming around her.” She also has a new restaurant by the same name “Spring” in the heart of London’s arts and culture district.
It is worth checking out her website, where you can find one of her shared recipes of the month (see below). Read more
Springtime is here, which means it is time to “lighten” the calorie load of winter heavy sticky buns and deep fried apple fritters to Peter Rabbit-like muffins filled with wholesome good-for-your ingredients such as carrots, zucchini, apples, nuts, coconut and raisins.
The three recipes below are filled with superfood ingredients that are bound to add an extra skippety-hippety-hop and touch of sweet to all of your glorious spring mornings! Read more
I was born in West Virginia and so, by birth, I am an official hillbilly. Though I have lived in New England for almost 35 years, I cannot deny the strong soulful connection to the “wild and wonderful” land of West Virginia where much of my simple childhood was spent. In my college years, I once went spelunking in the mountains of West Virginia and after a day exploring deep in a cave of stalactites and stalagmites and winding knee-high rivers, we climbed to the top of an Appalachian hill in the dark and slept. When I awoke in the fresh mountain air, my eyes opened to a pastoral delight of beautiful rolling cow dotted hills. The hills and hollows of West Virginia truly are in my blood.
And so, last August when I spotted, prominently displayed in a bookshop in New York City, Hillbilly Elegy, my heart skipped a beat (how often does one come across the word “hillbilly”?). I knew I had to read it for the mere prospect of taking me back, with a strong sense of place, to the Appalachian hills where I came from.
“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near Spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away.” –Thalassa Cruso (known as “The Julia Child of Horticulture”, 1909-1997)
While waiting for the March Lion to turn into a Lamb, for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw, consider baking one of the three cakes below (taken from “The Food52 Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, 2011). Read more
As a tribute to the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City, currently under renovation with plans to reopen with condominiums, we’re featuring our own recipe for a winter Waldorf Salad, along with a few more “official” recipes. A healthy addition to any meal, or even a meal unto itself, we hope you enjoy!
Ingredients for the salad: 1 head of Romaine Lettuce
1/4 – 1/3 cup of Roasted Salted Pecans
1/4 – 1/3 cup of fresh bite-sized chopped Parmesan Cheese
1/4 -1/3 cup dried cherries and cranberries, roughly chopped (we use Mariani brand)
1/2 of bite-sized large apple (we use Crisps Pink or any crisp firm winter apple) Read more