Giving Thanks

Pumpkin

I don’t want to be funny today. I don’t want to be even remotely witty, as our tagline promises. I want to be direct and sincere in expressing thanks.

This Thanksgiving, I have it easy. All I have to do is make a pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting and bring it to dinner at a friend’s home. So instead of making, or singing, a grocery list (yes, I like lists), I decided to write up a gratitude list of what I’m thankful for at LC, and asked many of our folks to do the same. (Please indulge us this ridiculously long post. Won’t happen again, I promise.)

1. First, I’m thankful to you, our loyal readers. Thank you for the small notes of encouragement (people actually still do write notes!), holiday gifts, get well cards, compliments and complaints, comments, and eagle eyes that have caught errors that slipped our glassy-eyed gazes. You’ve had a firm hand in shaping LC because many of your suggestions became policy. But most of all, thank you for being there. Some of you have been reading and cooking with us for almost 12 years. (That’s longer than many marriages I know.) Read more »

Emotional Baggage About a Bag of Holiday Nuts

Diamond Mixed Nuts

I don’t know about you, but I’m very careful with my nuts. I have to be. I’m not allergic or anything, but I hold dear a cabal of prejudices stemming from what amounts to early childhood traumas. And my particular brand of nut crazy kicks in big time at this time of year.

It started in November 1966, when we moved into our new home, which my dad built. My mother had a holiday tradition of setting out a bowl of Diamond mixed nuts in the shell on the low-slung living room coffee table. (Momma Leite was mightily influenced by mid-century Danish design.) My dad had his own ritual, which he brought over from Portugal: making an “X” in the bottom of a dozen or so chestnuts and tossing them in the oven.

Surrounded by mixed nuts, I grew curious. I grabbed the heavy etched nutcracker, the kind that could do damage to a two-pound lobster, and had at it. It was then I began to understand that not all nuts are created equal.

Let me break it down for you:

Walnuts were the hardest nut to crack. Anytime I tried to get one into the cracker, it ricocheted off glasses, vases, or the hi-fi, and eventually wobbled under the furniture, only to be found by my panic-stricken mother sometime in February. Read more »

Love Food

Love FoodToday marks 17 years that The One and I have been together (which is actually more like 30 in straight years). The way he tells it, it was my linens that clinched it for him.

In 1993 I bought my first bed. Before that, during college and just after, I made do with a futon or, on occasion, a pile of dirty laundry on the floor. But when I turned 32, I decided it was time to have a proper place to sleep. Bereft of the design gene my people are supposed to possess, I chose a ridiculously large model with massive head and foot boards. To camouflage this Victorian monstrosity, I purchased tons of pillows and one of those all-in-one matching linen sets that no matter how you use it, you can’t screw up—kind of like Garanimals for beds. Gold sheets with a barely perceptible floral pattern contrasted with a deep brown and burgundy coverlet and matching shams and neck rolls.

One look and he was smitten. All of his life The One wanted a bed with a headboard and lots of pillows so he could prop himself up, eat caviar, drink champagne, and read, “like Joan Collins,” he’s wont to say.

For me, it was his cooking that sealed the deal. Read more »

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