My Memoir: The Cover Revealed

Notes on a Banana Cover

I’m out of my mind with excitement! Here’s the brand-spanking new cover for my soon-to-be-published memoir, Notes on a Banana. I’m in love, love, love, I tell you.

It was a long process to create the cover. I saw the first iteration way back in June. Since then, the extremely talented art director Mumtaz Mustafa worked closely with hand-lettering savant Joel Holland, and a week or so ago, this neon beauty finally hit all the online bookstores the day my memoir was ready for pre-order. (Hint, hint.)

I’d like to thank everyone at Dey Street Books for making this happen and for graciously letting this old graphic design student have some input. (Yes, I had a life before I was in food, which you’ll discover when you read the book. And yes, that’s a not-so-subtle hint.) Read more »

Grandma’s Silver Spoon

Grandma's Spoon

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. In fact, when I was growing up, I often heard adults say that I had a difficult childhood. I somehow understood what they were saying to be true, but heck, it was all I knew. When I first told David, my partner of nearly 20 years, about my tumultuous upbringing, he was shocked. You see, my emotionally volatile mother, whom I loved dearly, was seemingly strong on the outside but fragile inside. My father, who was legally blind, was severely limited in his ability to play the role of dad as I longed for it to be played. Both of them had hot tempers that often led to loud and sometimes physical confrontations. When I was seven, they separated, and they divorced soon after. Much of the rest of my childhood was spent consoling my mother, helping her find happiness not only in her own life but in mine. My father, meanwhile, depended on me to take care of him. I learned to do his shopping, make his meals, clean his house, pay his bills, and balance his checkbook by the age of nine. In many ways, the roles of parents and child were sadly reversed. Finally, when I was 14 and life with my mother and her third husband in their horribly tension-filled household became unbearable, I left.

But there was one person I could always depend on to be there for me: my beloved grandmother. She didn’t need me to give her emotional support or take care of her. She just needed me to be her grandson and accept her unconditional love. Read more »

How to Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey Labels

This month, millions of us will find ourselves standing, dazed and confused, at butcher shops, supermarkets, hoity-toity gourmet stores, and farmers markets, wondering how to buy a Thanksgiving turkey. Once again we’ll be confronted, as we are each November, with every conceivable type of turkey, each labeled with terms that may seem straightforward but in fact don’t always mean what you’d think. Fresh. Frozen. Free-range. Organic. Kosher. Natural. Heritage. Self-basting. Wild. With such a litany of ill-defined information bombarding us, the task of choosing a bird for that holiest of holy food days can range from haphazard to hand-wringing. So I decided to find out once and for all what these dagnabbit terms mean and which few will cause spontaneous choruses of “We’re having Thanksgiving at your house again next year!” from your guests. Read more »

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