Wiggle It, Just a Little Bit—Duck Stock, That Is

Duck Stock Recipe

Quick. What comes to mind when you think of stock?

Sadly, a lot of us think of tin cans or waxy boxes. From their shiny, happy faces, the packages shout “All-Natural,” “Lower Sodium,” Rich-Tasting.” But then I take a swig—yes, I swig broth—and the truth is revealed. Sure, some are, indeed, lower-sodium—when compared with a salt lick. But the murky liquid inside is a flatliner, one with nary a pulse of flavor, despite being riddled with octosyllabic ingredients that sound as if they belong in automobile lubricant.

Shame, shame on us.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Homemade stock, simmered for hours with as many bones as you can cram into the pot, isn’t only trés facile to make, it’s a thing of beauty, filling the house with the unmistakable scent of nostalgia. Standing in front of that burbling pot, the steam opening your pores and filling them with its animal essence, you have a sense of purpose. You feel like one of those earnest people in wartime posters, wrench in hand, ready to defeat the Axis powers and be back at the table in time for dinner. Read more »

A Very AARP Valentine’s Day

A Very AARP Valentine's Day

Maybe it was discovering that just about every musical and movie reference I knew was lost on anyone under 30. Perhaps it was passing the half-century mark and seeing that not only had some of my dreams gone missing, some even remained unpacked. Maybe it was the arrival of my complimentary copy of AARP Magazine and knowing I could now get discounts at movie theaters and select restaurants such as Olive Garden and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (I saw The One and I, slumped in a booth in Denny’s, gumming our Grand Slamwiches on Valentine’s Day when we’re in our 80’s.)

Whatever the cause, late last year I began having what life coaches—and Cosmo Magazine—are fond of labeling a midlife crisis. Read more »

Zen and the Art of Cooking for The One

Smiling Buddha

I was abandoned on New Year’s Day by The One.

Yes, I was left to kick off 2012 by my lonesome. Just me and the kids. He was on his way to a five-day respite at Kripalu, a center for yoga and health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Far be it from me to stop him from bending himself into a human challah braid every morning at 6:30 and eating Tofu Surprise three times a day. We each have our own path to enlightenment. Mine just happens to be slicked with butter and duck fat.

His hope was to get centered, cleanse both body and mind, and sort through some things that have been weighing on him. Being the immensely insecure–and let’s just say it: self-centered–person that I am, I immediately thought it was all about me. So at the front door, I flipped up his collar, tugged him close to me, and warned, Don Corleone-style, “Don’t talk to anyone thinner, richer, or cuter than me.” He simply smiled, long ago inured to my threats, protestations, and tantrums. “I mean it!” I added.

And I did. This idea of giving someone you love so much undisturbed time to think can be dangerous. Thinking turns into analyzing. Analyzing turns into realizing. Realizing turns into acting. Acting turns into divorce. Or something like that. Read more »

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