On Saturday, January 28th, 2012, Caitlin and I got engaged. I proposed as we sat in adjoining arm chairs, as we watched the sun slowly setting over the Chesapeake Bay. Later that night, we had dinner in the town of Easton to celebrate the occasion.
The next day, after a warm breakfast with our innkeepers, we strolled about the towns of St. Michael’s, Easton, and Annapolis, hands in tow. Later that evening, we shared the news with our friends and family. And then, on Monday, I got ready for work, and Caitlin boarded a plane for Europe, for what has become an all-too-regular business trip. I haven’t seen her since.
It’s been over two weeks since we got engaged. But in that sixteen-day span, only two have we spent together. And with the time-difference and our own demanding schedules, even the passing phone call has become a challenge. This past weekend, Continue reading
Whenever I’m in a sour mood or feeling down, I reach into my fruit drawer, and pull out my lemons. For me, lemons are not synonymous with problems – lemons are the solution.
I had been wanting to make a lemon soufflé for several weeks now. The first recipe I tried had a good lemon flavor, but did not puff as much as I would have liked. It also had a faint taste of the corn starch that figured prominently among the ingredient list.
I scrapped that recipe, and created my own, Continue reading
I must have read Shoeless Joe sometime in grade school, no older than eight or nine. At the time, I loved baseball and everything about it. But even more than watching it or playing it, I enjoyed reading about the game. Between all my baseball books, W.P. Kinsella’s debut novel held a special place on my young bookshelf.
Of all the great writers, from James Thurber to Ring Lardner, to have tried their hand at a baseball story, none captured the magic and drama of the game like Shoeless Joe. And as wonderful as the book was, the movie adaptation Continue reading
Optimism can be over-rated. Optimism is hard-work, often requiring an ability to overlook the obvious or turn a blind-eye to the reality staring you straight on. Optimism demands unnecessary devotion and adherence, a sunny disposition in the face of an oncoming hail storm.
Pessimism, as George Will has triumphed, is the ultimate solution. You are either constantly being vindicated or, on the other hand, pleasantly surprised.
For those sour moments, those hail storms of bad news and despair, I Continue reading
French recipes are, understandably, often steeped in history. The nation is as proud of its culinary traditions as it is of its epistolary and philosophical ones. It’s why the incursion of soft drinks and hamburgers are as noxious as the incursion of English words like “le leader,” “le power” and “le hot-dog.” It’s why Jose Bove can become a national icon for burning down a McDonalds, and why Maria Antoinette’s remarks about brioche could topple a monarch. The evolution of French culture and identity can be easily traced along the x-axis of language, and y-axis of cooking.
The center of this graph, the 0,0 point, might well be Marcel Proust’s A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, or The Remembrance of Things Past. In one section Continue reading
In 1934, a day after meeting her, Lyndon Johnson, a 26-year old congressional aide, asked Lady Bird Taylor to marry him. A few months later, Taylor yielded to Johnson’s pressure, and the two were married. Sam Rayburn, the Speaker of the House and a long-time friend to Johnson, later told him that marrying Lady Bird was the wisest decision he ever made.
Indeed, Lady Bird Johnson was a quick study. She graduated from high school at the age of 15, and the University of Texas at 20, finishing in the top 10 of her class. She stayed another year at Texas, earning a journalism degree. In 1943, with her husband (now a Congressman) off at war, Johnson used her inheritance to buy a small Austin radio station. In a matter of years, she transformed the debt-ridden radio station into a media empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars. According to one biographer, Lady Bird was the only first lady to have built and sustained a fortune with her own money.
Her business acumen extended into the legislative arena as well. When President Kennedy won Texas in the presidential election, Continue reading
Pancakes are universal – nearly every culture has a griddlecake of some kind. But not only are pancakes universal, they’re classical – literally. The Ancient Romans collected pancake recipes in the Apicius, their 5th Century cookbook.
From these early origins, the pancake has evolved into a quintessential American comfort food, a part of almost every family’s Sunday brunch.
This recipe Continue reading
Unlike most of her recipes, Ina Garten jokes, this one does not start with a pound of butter. And yet, her lemon yogurt cake is no worse for the wear. In fact, I’ve made this recipe countless times without ever growing tired of it. And because it’s so good and so easy to make, it’s become my recipe of choice for pot-lucks and parties.
Over time, I have made my own small changes Continue reading
This recipe is quite possibly my all-time favorite. Any time I have friends over for dinner, I make sure this figures into dessert plans. Often times, no dinner is necessary — I just tell guests who happen to be over that they’ve got to try this! And now that they’ve tried my lemon ice, I make sure to always have a pint stockpiled in the freezer – just in case I have an unannounced guest.