April 2013

John Barrymore —
The good die young—because they see it's no use living if you've got to be good.
Dish 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.12.13 In Memoriam

Ten years ago today, the man I was married to died of cancer. Adenoid cystic carcinoma. Diagnosed when he was 19, it had spread over a period of many years from his parotid gland to bones and organs throughout his body. Ultimately it went to his brain, causing a stroke from which he never recovered. I can't forget how he was in death, but I prefer to conjure him up in all his vital glory. He was a man of great appetites that ranged toward the high-brow: foie gras, foreign travel, fine cashmere. When I met him, I had left my glamorous life as a freelance writer in New York for what I imagined would be an even more glittering Hollywood phase, but things hadn't really turned out that way and I was a little lost. My thirties were rapidly running out, my second divorce was nearly three years behind me and I had a sneaking suspicion I was wasting valuable time on a number of fronts. But then I fell in love and the world turned. There were trips to China and Africa, pilgrimages to the French Laundry and Babbo, and a wedding—followed less than two years later by a funeral.
Orson Welles —
Living in the lap of luxury isn't bad, except that you never know when luxury is going to stand up.
Towels 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

4.10.13 Hot Links: April Discoveries

I'm feeling a little self-conscious telling you about these beautiful Charvet linen dish towels I just got ($100 for a set of 6 at The Future Perfect) after the shitstorm that has recently rained down on Gwyneth Paltrow. Her new cookbook, It's All Good—described as recipes for the foods Gwyneth eats when she wants to lose weight, look good, and feel more energetic—is accused of being elitist, faux populist, full of "quack science" and completely out of touch with what "regular" people can afford to eat. (Here is Mark Bittman on the subject; the Eater review has some amusing lines as well.) But I reason that this investment will save me at least $100 in paper towels. And though I have admitted to my torrid love affair with rarified (aka expensive) ingredients, this blog really does strive for a sensible balance. It's about creating quality of life within your means and the idea that truly shameless indulgence is never thoughtless or irresponsible. And so on to the many, many links I have stored up for you. Things to try, ponder, taste and discover, at your leisure...
Adlai E. Stevenson —
A hungry man is not a free man.
Lange 790 xxx
photo by dorothea lange

4.8.13 The Hunger Games

Do you know this famous photograph by Dorothea Lange? It was taken in 1936 at a camp for seasonal agricultural workers north of Los Angeles. The woman was the 32-year-old mother of seven children, all of them living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds that the children killed. They were on the brink of starvation. After returning home, Lange alerted the editor of a San Francisco newspaper to the plight of the workers at the camp, presenting him with two of her photos. The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included Lange's images. As a result, the government rushed a shipment of 20,000 pounds of food to the camp. It's hard to imagine that such acute hunger could still exist in America, but it does. Today I'm joining bloggers around the nation in drawing attention to the food insecurity that is rampant in our country, in the hope that we can come together to put an end to hunger.

Gerard Manley Hopkins —
What is all this juice and all this joy?
Bud 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.3.13 Spring's Awakening: Portland Apothecary

We awoke to a light dusting of snow yesterday, like the last faint, frosty gasp of winter exhaled over the awakening landscape. The snowdrops— always the first sign of spring, along with the red-winged blackbirds—have come up under the river birch. The perennials are stirring and we've begun to plot this year's garden narrative: eggplant here, squash there, less shiso, more chervil, perhaps one more raised bed...The blood quickens, strange dreams visit us in the night and our skin itches with the change of season. To ease myself through this transition, I signed up for a share from Portland Apothecary's Spring CSH (Community Supported Herbalism). A big box was awaiting me upon my return from vacation, full of medicinal tinctures and elixirs to help me "move through the seasons with health and awareness." Everything is lovingly handcrafted by Portland-based herbalists Elie Barausky and Kristen Dilley, and the products are accompanied by thorough and beautifully written instructions and recipes. I can't wait to see what they have planned for summer!
John Donne —
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.
Banana flower 790 xxx
photos by george billard

4.1.13 Sun Salutation

Just back from Antigua (also known as Wadadli), the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, where I enjoyed the annual family vacation, courtesy of my very generous in-laws. The island was spotted by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493. The land and native people were ultimately colonized by Europeans. Some historians believe that the psychological stress of slavery may have played a part in the massive number of native deaths. Others hold that the enforced starchy, low-protein diet contributed to severe malnutrition of the indigenous residents who had been accustomed to a diet fortified with protein from sealife. Now largely dependent on tourism, Antigua is a stark, poverty-riddled landscape peppered with luxury resorts. The beaches are undeniably beautiful, with crystalline turquoise waters and white sand the texture of cake flour. I'm not into tanning, but I can lie on the beach in a shady spot and read to my heart's content. And I'm always interested in the local flora and fauna. On those fronts, Antigua did not disappoint.