What I Miss About Portugal

Portuguese Saleswoman

I’m often asked at signings or lectures what I miss most about my near-yearlong stay in Portugal while I researched my cookbook. Honestly, the answer changes. It’s not that I’m being capricious or anything (although I can be—a lot). My response is tied to the calendar.

Ask me in October, and it’s São Jorge, one of the nine Azores Islands. It was there that my friend, Portuguese food scholar Janet Boileau, and I scoured the island in search of the finest sample of its namesake cheese: queijo São Jorge.

Ask me in March, and it’ll be the still-green undulating plains of the Alentejo, the great swath of land that cuts through the midsection of the country. In spring a riot of flowers speckle the landscape, almost in defiance of the sun that will pelt all of it into a tawny brown. The One and I spent three glorious weeks there, crawling on our bellies and eating, it seems, every living creature in sight. Read more »

Macolytes vs. PC-Lovers: What Do You Eat?

Mac vs. PC

Ever since the dawn of personal computing, which can be irrefutably carbon-dated to the mid-1980s, there’s been a fierce Us vs. Them tribal mentality to Mac and PC folks. I’d like it to be known that from the bulky-beige-box beginning, I’ve been an out and proud Macolyte. The very first computer I ever worked on? An original Macintosh 128K with a vision-destroying 9-inch monochrome monitor. (Embarrassingly, I learned how to use it from a trio of kids—all under the age of 10.)

We Macolytes were set to dominate the world, as the famous “Why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’” commercial promised. Then financial shenanigans, treachery, and corporate greed in the computer industry hobbled Macintosh, and we followers—always devout, ever iconoclastic—were marginalized to design firms and ad agencies’ art departments by a sniggering rabble of front-office PC users. Read more »

If I Were a Mother

Pink Fuzzy Slipper

A little sage advice: Be careful what you say about yourself, because yesterday’s jest could be tomorrow’s character-defining statement.

Let me explain. Seventeen years ago, The One and I were invited for a wintry weekend in Washington, CT, long before we ever bought a home there. We were guests of our then brand-spanking-new friends, Matty and Janet R. Janet had worked with The One in real estate for a few years, but this was the second time we were in Matty’s company.

How to describe Matty R? Born and raised in the Bronx, he could have walked onto the set of the “The Sopranos,” sat down alongside Sal “Big Pussy” BonpensieroPaulie Gualtieri, and Silvio Dante, and no one, not even the director, would have been the wiser. He says bootifull when he means beautiful. He’s all diamond pinkie rings, sharp suits, and combed-back hair. He hits the racetracks in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Baden Baden, Germany, in equal measure, and usually wins. Bottom line, had it not been for Janet, our worlds never would’ve collided. Read more »

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