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“Emerald City”

Jennifer Egan, who wrote the Pulitzer prize-winning novel “A Visit From The Goon Squad” published a collection of short stories under the title “Emerald City” in the UK in 1993, but did not release the book in the US until 1996.  Sixteen years later and I feel like the kid who overslept and missed the exam or the athlete that got a late start because I didn’t know who Jennifer Egan was until recently. And, now I can’t get enough of her work. Read more »


Gagne’s Blueberry Petite Pie

When I think about Maine, I am reminded of rocky beaches, the cold salty ocean, lighthouses, lobster, and blueberries. In fact, the wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine and is as much a symbol of the state as the lobster or the lighthouse.

Some people like to say the beacon in the lighthouse and the promise of lobster bring tourists to Maine but the possibility of eating deep blue pea-sized wild blueberries bursting with sweetness is also a draw. So, it’s no surprise that Gagne Foods of Bath, Maine combines their skill at pastry – the company’s 24-layer cream cheese biscuits are award winners – with wild blueberries to produce one amazing Blueberry Petite Pie that is also referred to as a Blueberry Turnover. Read more »


Thoughts on Fashion

Most dresses look better on models than real women but when a dress looks awful on a model, then something has to be wrong. In our fashion conscious society, every woman over the age of sixteen knows that solids generally look better than stripes on the female form, especially when it comes to a dress; the exception being the traditional french sailor top paired with a solid skirt, pants or shorts. When I came upon this striped dress, I did a double take and couldn’t help but wonder “what was the designer thinking?” followed by “what was the buyer of the store thinking?” Even a 5 foot 10 inch, 120-pound, size 4 model doesn’t make this dress look good.  Stripes – especially the large bright variety – belong in Dr. Seuss books, not on our bodies. Read more »


Purcell Mountain Farms Lentils

For many years, the extent of my relationship with lentils was limited to lentil soup which never seemed to have as much flavor as a  bean and vegetable soup and was certainly not as appetizing to look at. Then, while shopping in a small grocery store, I noticed bags of multi-colored lentils which intrigued me as I always thought lentils were limited to either the little French dark green puy variety or the big hearty American version. Read more »


“The Hundred Brothers”

Brothers, brothers, and more brothers. I have six brothers that range in age from 30 to 52 whom I was reminded of when I read the book “The Hundred Brothers” by Donald Antrim. Published in 1997, I had never heard of the book until I read an essay in “Farther Away,” a collection of 21 essays by Jonathan Franzen. The essay, “The Corn King” which also serves as the introduction to “The Hundred Brothers” touts the book as “possibly the strangest novel ever published by an American” and yet, “it’s often hilarious, but there’s always a dangerous edge to the hilarity.” Read more »


I Heart Keenwah

Quinoa (pronounced as Keenwah) is a grain-like crop whose edible seeds are being touted as a superfood: the only “grain” that is a complete protein source with all nine amino acids. In recent years, quinoa has grown in popularity as an alternative food for those on gluten-free diets and for those who want a crop with a high protein content (18%).  High in carbohydrates and a good source of dietary fiber, quinoa has a light fluffy texture and a slightly nutty flavor when cooked but is crunchy and nutty when baked with a sweetener. That quinoa is also high in magnesium and iron also adds to its appeal. Read more »


Theo Chocolate

Touted as the first organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the US, Theo Chocolates is a Seattle-based company that makes a variety of chocolate caramels, cream-based ganache chocolates, bars, sipping chocolate, and nibs. Most chocolate manufacturers specialize in producing gift box assortments or bars but not Theo, who controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process from the bean sourcing to the final packaging. This approach allows the company to produce a varied product line that is sure to please the consummate chocolate lover. Read more »


“Freedom,” “The Dovekeepers,” and “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Last month I was at R. Julia Booksellers, an independent bookstore in Madison, Connecticut to attend an author forum.  A two-story building that looks like a town landmark, R. Julia Booksellers was opened twenty-two years ago by Roxanne Coady who has put and kept this small bookstore on the literary map despite the growth of the big chains and the mammoth bookseller of all: Amazon whose very existence threatens all independent booksellers (full disclosure:  I buy books from Amazon). Read more »


Palouse Brand Green Split Peas

Grown, harvested, and packaged in the USA, Palouse Brand Split Peas are without a doubt the most flavorful split peas I have ever tasted. The Mader family has been farming for five generations in Pullman, Washington, which is located in the southeast part of the state.  About 15 miles north of Pullman is a town called Palouse where the raw harvested peas are taken to be cleaned and packaged in a family owned plant.   Read more »


A Mother’s Gratitude

Mother’s Day seems to be about the kids bringing Mom breakfast in bed or going out to brunch and sometimes even about flowers and chocolates. These are all thoughtful and delicious, but, I want to offer a different take on Mother’s Day this year that focuses on gratitude; gratitude for my husband who gave me my daughter. Read more »