Tomato Harvest, Kind of

Tomato Harvest

Yesterday, before a crackingly good thunderstorm knocked out power in Roxbury, CT, for more than three hours, The One went out into the garden (well, the euphemistic garden because its no bigger than a toddler’s wadding pool) and gathered our first tomato harvest. A total of 18 cherry tomatoes; 20 if you count the two we ate. This is the fruits of our labor after weeks of carefully plucking off suckers; talking to the plants, telling them as Marlo Thomas told all of us, that they, too, were “free to be you and me”;  staking them; and generally doting on them as much as we do our two cats?

I know they’ll be more, but I remember when I was a kid and my father would bring in bushels of globe tomatoes every few days from the garden. (Not to mention corn, potatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, peach, pears, and three kinds of apples.) There were so many tomatoes, I was instantly dispatched to bring bagfuls to my aunts and uncles, our neighbors—anyone, in fact, in a 10-mile radius who liked them. Read more »

Where Do I Sign?

New Portuguese Table by David Leite

After Clarkson Potter approached me several years ago to write The New Portuguese Table (yes, publishers do approach writers unbidden, so don’t give up hope), I remember running around the apartment screaming and suddenly slamming into the side of an opened closet door. No matter, this was Clarkson Potter, home to some of my favorite authors. Facial bruises disappear, but colophons are forever.

But that T-bone collision with the door turned out to be just the beginning of my own personal Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events that, at times, made me almost throw up my hands, return my advance, and become a dog walker. At least I knew how to handle that kind of crap. Read more »

Portugal’s Wine Regions Get a New Look

Wine Map of Portugal

Portugal’s wine regions got a facelift recently. Not the actual regions—those have been literally written in stone beginning in 1756 when the Upper Douro became the first wine region in the world to be demarcated, with distinct borders and strict regulations. You can still see the shist markers drawing invisible but financially crucial lines throughout the region. I saw my first stone pillar on the grounds of Quinta de Crasto, a wine estate perched high in the mountains, when I was given a tour of the property by Tomas Roquette, one of the scions of the family. He flew around hairpin turns at a hellion’s pace in a dented old Jeep with a passenger door that wouldn’t stay shut. The ride, and the subsequent wine needed to steady myself, was worth it, though. Roquette took me to a shell of a building at the top of the estate that the family is turning into a guest house for tourists. The view alone would be worth the steep nightly price. Read more »

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