Almanac: Labor Day 2022

Well, the sun’s not so hot in the sky today and you know I can see summertime slipping on away. James Taylor, September Grass Another birthday week has come and gone with relatively little fanfare (although it was a significant year for one of us), but it included plenty of inspired cuisine as always. The Chef has returned to pastry, not professionally yet in this … Continue reading Almanac: Labor Day 2022

Family Reflection: Bastard Son of a Woman Named Minnie

You probably got it from Granddaddy Eddie, mom opined over the phone. It doesn’t matter, I have it and now I’ll deal with it, I returned. High blood pressure. Maybe it runs in the family, maybe not, who knows. My doctor put me on some meds, told me to shed a few pounds, and then asked me to check in with her again in a … Continue reading Family Reflection: Bastard Son of a Woman Named Minnie

Sunday Almanac: Distractions for Weeks

Art has something to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction. —George Plimpton And what is writing after all, but art. Betcha Mr. Plimpton’s right. It’s as plausible an explanation as any for my utter unwillingness to sit down on a Sunday and put pen to paper, as I’m wont to do most Sundays: distractions. Just ask any self-respecting dog about … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: Distractions for Weeks

A Memory: When Fresh Food Still Had Flavor

However you think of Garrison Keillor’s indiscretion, the one that got him dismissed from NPR, no bad behavior can eclipse his storytelling talent, and that is the truth. Who among us has never been lost in a news monologue from fictional Lake Wobegon, who hasn’t nodded along silently or smiled at a yarn about some character’s ill-wrought decisions and the unfortunate but hysterical consequences of … Continue reading A Memory: When Fresh Food Still Had Flavor

July 4th Weekend 2022, in Which I Bake Bread

Some of my readers were surprised to learn I baked my first pie, ever, last Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I baked my first bread, ever. It’s true. I announced to The Chef whilst we were on our weekly shop on Saturday I intended to bake bread. Great, he said. Go for it! Just don’t forget to bring your patience. And so yesterday while he was at work, … Continue reading July 4th Weekend 2022, in Which I Bake Bread

Sunday Almanac: Moving Is Brutal

I’m still here. —Elaine Stritch, et al. Which is to say, I’ve had a tough time carving out a minute to sit down and write. Chef David has done the lion’s share of work, haltingly, painstakingly, one box at a time, and one carload at a time (with one rental truckload for the stuff that wouldn’t squeeze), until now all that’s left to do is … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: Moving Is Brutal

Afternoon Miniature 5.30.22

It takes time for the world to teach a child to discriminate, for better or for worse. And so it never dawned on this child, at the tender age of six, that she should not fraternize with her young peer in the adjacent house, where cars perched like relics atop cinder blocks out front and in the drive, where the dallisgrass sent feathery shoots up … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 5.30.22

Sunday Almanac: The Myth of the Perfect House

Here is the list, I explained less than one month ago to our patient realtor. 1. It must be a pure architectural style—preferably Arts & Crafts, but we’ll keep an open mind. As long as the style represents an authentic design movement, we won’t rule it out. And naturally, the home’s interior should possess character in keeping with its style. 2. The finishes and building … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: The Myth of the Perfect House

A Mother’s Day Reflection: Great-Grandmother Grace

My Great-Grandmother Grace was born in 1899, died in 1991, and lived her entire life, as far as I know, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was not so much a Southerner as an Appalachian, a flavor of Tennessean native to the eastern region of the state known as ‘hill country’ (hence ‘hillbilly’) because of its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains—the particular stretch of the Appalachian … Continue reading A Mother’s Day Reflection: Great-Grandmother Grace

Sunday Almanac: House Shopping Begins

Here is the truth about buying a home in this here economy. First, forget about anything represented in the glossy home-flipping/buying/renovating shows on HGTV, et al. I’m just about convinced the couples on them are made-up people. Avatars. Meet Mr/s. and Mr/s. Dewy-Faced & Well Dressed. S/he sharpens pencils for a living and s/he catches butterflies. The reno specialist smiles into the camera on a … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: House Shopping Begins