Nutty as a …*

The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. ~~ Johnny Carson ~~ It’s like liver: either you love it or you hate it. What? Fruitcake, that’s what. Just to prove a point, a few years back some enterprising journalists conducted a…

Cooking with Wolves (Or, Keeping the Wolf Away from the Door)

There’s a whining at the threshold, There’s a scratching at the floor. To work! To work! In Heaven’s name! The wolf is at the door! ~~~C. P. S. Gilman The season of gift-giving will soon be upon us, with the mail deliverer knocking at our door, bearing credit card bills, not gifts. The holiday season hovers…

STONE CRABS: Clawing Their Way to Legend

Menippe Mercenaria: Menippe-Greek, meaning force or courage and Mercinaria-Latin, something of value Formerly known as “Morro crabs of Cuba”, stone crabs delight the gourmet’s palate and strain his or her wallet. Weighing in at nearly twelve dollars a pound for the larger size, stone crabs are not to be taken lightly. Don’t waste that exquisite…

Relishing the Cranberry: A Real American Original

Bad cranberries don’t bounce. Bad cranberries don’t float. Bad cranberries sink. In fact, cranberry growers bounce their cranberries seven times over a four‑inch high barrier before packing. Imagine buying unbagged cranberries in the grocery store, with savvy shoppers chasing after red berries boomeranging all over the produce section! Who has ever seen fresh cranberries sold…

Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars

(Note: The italicized portion of the following article is an excerpt from something I wrote for an encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining, Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl, Greenwood Press, 2008.) In Mexico, the Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos) (Day of the Dead/All Saints’ Day) resembles the norteamericano Halloween…

Muscling in on Mussels

In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone As she wheel’d her wheel barrow Thro’ streets broad and narrow (Chorus) Crying “Cockles and Mussels alive, alive O!” Alive, alive O! Alive, alive O Crying Cockles and Mussels Alive, alive O! She was a fishmonger,…

The Harvest Months

The frost descended on the pumpkin the other night and in the early morning light, as I drove around the curving roads of rural Virginia, a dozen cows stood silhouetted and blanketed in thick white fog. Eerily outlined against the fading green of the sparse grass they munched, for some reason those cows reminded me…

Women and the Building of America: Reflections

Last night, I stayed awake far longer than I normally do, reading Gayle Forman’s new novel, Leave Me. The hook for me was “Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train…