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Chambre De Sucre

Chambre De Sucre is a Japanese sugar artisan company that sells decorative sugars in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and textures. The sugars have been manufactured for nearly 300 years by one of the oldest Japanese family owned businesses and are now imported to the United States through Web Japan, an international trading company based in California that is dedicated to importing and exporting the highest quality Japanese products.  Read more »


“Aliens In The Prime Of Their Lives”

When I first picked up “Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives,” I thought I was holding a book for young adults when in fact, the 12 short stories are about young people – an under-appreciated mother, a rebellious teen, an angry lover who has been abandoned, a divorced father, a sexually abused teen, a mother who looses a child, and a young boy’s family vacation. There are also the experiences of a father and son at “Bodies:  The Exhibition” which showcases preserved human bodies dissected to display bodily functions, a young couple’s adventures in a car, the hunters that become the hunted, and a couple’s last moments on a doomed aircraft. This 263-page book reminded me of the “The Twilight Zone” – the American television series from the early 1960’s that depicted weekly singular episodes of disturbing, paranormal, or futuristic phenomena in seemingly normal day-to-day life. Read more »


Rock Paper Dove

Rock Paper Dove is an on-line stationery store that is remarkable for its unique selection of cards, invitations, stationery, and announcements;  and for excellent customer service. With more than 90 options for birthday, wedding, and baby shower invitations, save-the-date, graduation, and birth announcements along with personalized thank you notes, Rock Paper Dove seems to have something for everyone. Read more »


Champagne Mango Salsa

Summertime brings a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to our table and there is no better time to mix them together. With an abundant supply of champagne mangos and sweet grape tomatoes, consider making Champagne Mango Salsa – a delicious side dish that is simple and quick to make.

Great with crab cakes, salmon, or grilled chicken, the mango salsa can also be used as a topping on mixed greens. My family prefers the salsa heavy on the mango but the quantity of the major ingredients – mangos, tomatoes, avocados, scallions, and red onions – can be varied to your taste. However, the fresh chopped cilantro is key to the refreshing taste of this salsa so use a heavy hand. Read more »


Bavaro’s Italian Pasta Sauces

I’ve always been a big advocate of homemade tomato sauce but when there are no fresh tomatoes or boxed Pumi tomatoes in my pantry,  or even a grocery store within miles (and miles), the jarred variety is the only option. Enter Bavaro’s Italian Sauces which could almost make me a total convert. These sauces smell and taste of summer ripened red tomatoes and make for an easy and delicious dinner for the family and a house full of guests. Stocked in my pantry three deep, Bavaro’s Italian pasta sauces are a staple I rely on when I can’t make homemade sauce and have 20 minutes or less to make dinner. Read more »


“Desperate Characters”

Desperate Characters” was written by Paul Fox more than 40 years ago (1970) and yet, the story seems timeless. Sophie and Otto Brentwood are in their 40’s and have been married 15 years. Childless (and not really unhappy about it), well-educated, and established (he’s a lawyer, she’s a translator of books), they have a brownstone in  Brooklyn with a modern stainless steel equipped kitchen, cedar planked floors, and rooms that seamlessly flow into each other (the result of removing the sliding doors). There is a Mercedes parked outside in a coveted street parking space that Otto reluctantly uses only when leaving town for fear of losing his space. And, there is the weekend home in the village of Flynders on Long Island which is neither on the water nor part of the Hamptons social scene. Inhabiting a world both in Brooklyn and Flynders in which they have nothing in common with the locals or the neighbors, Sophie and Otto are the ultimate gentrifiers basking in the idea of living in a changing area but horrified by the people and activity outside their windows. Read more »


The Doll

Recently, I was cleaning out the bins in the basement and came across a well worn old doll – a small bald baby with a soft squishy body and felt lined booties – that was given to my daughter by a total stranger years ago in a random act of kindness. I cradled the doll, smiled, and put it back in the bin for safekeeping. A visiting friend asked why I was keeping that ratty old doll so I told her the following story. Read more »


The Tuna of Tunafish: Ortiz

Until I moved to Spain, I thought of tunafish as a relatively strong-tasting dry fish that needed to be toned down and doctored up with mayonnaise, chopped celery, onion, pickle relish, lemon juice, and mustard to be edible. Most tunafish sold in the US is packed in either vegetable oil or water (which does nothing to enhance the flavor of the fish) although tuna packed in olive oil (which does enhance the flavor) is now available in many markets. Still, most grocery store tunafish is nothing to get excited about. Then I discovered Ortiz Tuna (when I lived in Madrid) which is so unlike the typical grocery store tunafish that it’s hard to believe they come from the same family of fish. Read more »


The Joy of Chocolate Sprinkles

Sprinkles – the sweet candy topping used on ice cream, frozen yogurt, cookies, cakes, donuts, and even bread – are called many different names throughout the world. In the United States and especially in the northeast, we refer to sprinkles as “jimmies.”  In England, they are called “hundreds and thousands” and in Holland, sprinkles are called “hagelslag.” The French call sprinkles “decoratifs” meaning “decorations” or “nonpareils” meaning “without parallel”  or “vermicelles.” Whatever you call this sweet confection, chocolate sprinkles are a delicious treat that shouldn’t be abandoned in adulthood. Read more »



A few days ago, NPR interviewed Kenneth Lonergan on Margaret – his most recent movie release.  Lonergan, a writer and director, is well-known for the movie “You Can Count On Me” (2000) starring Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo, which was nominated for two Academy awards.

Margaret was filmed in 2006 but was not released until last year because of a disagreement between Lonergan and Fox Searchlight over the editing of the film:  Lonergan wanted to release a longer version (2-1/2 hours) and Fox Searchlight didn’t which led to lawsuits and ultimately to delay the release of the film. The DVD was released this week and includes both versions. Read more »