On my recent trip to Sicily, I was determined to visit Santa Ninfa and Partanna where my grandparents were born. At the last minute, the agriturismo we had booked in Santa Ninfa cancelled our reservations (they were having serious mechanical problems) so we decided to stay in Sciacca, a small fishing village that was a reasonable driving distance south on the Mediterranean coast of Sicily. Continue reading
Working in my yard this weekend, pulling weeds and mulching the flower beds, I found myself humming this old folk song “Yellow is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair”. Not because my love’s hair is blonde in the morning (it is salt-and-pepper all the time), but because EVERYTHING was yellow, dusted with a thick coat of what my botanist friend calls tree sperm.
Pine pollen — we all more or less hate it. Everything looks dull. It clings to all surfaces; cars seem to be a particular magnet. With a small gust of wind, you can see it billowing in sulfurous clouds of gold. Despite our general annoyance — guess what? Pine pollen is supposed to be good for you! Seriously.
Holidays and entertaining go hand in hand. Over the next few months, there is a good chance you’ll be invited to someone’s house to celebrate. Most likely they will serve food. Lucky you… it means that you will be a dinner guest!
I’ve thrown many dinner parties myself, been a guest at dozens more, and participated in a slew of pot-luck dinners. Here are my top 10.5 DOs and DON’Ts for dinner guests. They fall in the realm of common sense but they are definitely worth repeating.
In 1993, I transferred jobs within IBM and moved from New York to North Carolina. Not only did I find a much better work environment, I found a better hardiness zone for growing plants. As soon as I bought a house, I planted 2 fig trees in honor of my grandparents and all the Italian immigrants who struggled to grow figs in the northeast.
This is a step-parenting horror story that became one of our family’s favorite anecdotes. I remember it as our Thanksgiving Meals-on-Wheels. My boyfriend/future husband and I had been dating for over a year and had spent much of that time doing group things with some combination of our children…his 5 and my 2. This “memorable” Thanksgiving was the first holiday in which we both had our kids with us, all 7 of them in an age range from 7 to 17. We were thrilled to spend it together as a blended family and didn’t foresee the problems ahead.
When I learn that family, friends, or passing acquaintances are trying to lose weight, I know I am about to be educated, again. I involuntarily receive all kinds of information about foods I eat and don’t eat. Information such as calorie counts, amount of fat, and grams of carbohydrates. Fiber and gluten are also brought to my attention. Everything — on my plate, in my refrigerator, at the grocery store — suddenly develops a dietary sub-text. This is very helpful because, being I am rarely on a diet, I forget that the light cream I put in my coffee has four times the fat of 2% reduced-fat milk, and that packaged gravy mixes have practically no calories (because they are made from unpronounceable chemicals). Sometimes, I am treated to a new recipe for a low-cal, low-fat but tasty entree or dessert, often using low-cal, low-fat, tasty ingredients I don’t have in my pantry.