autumn

7 Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Easier, Or How to Kick Thanksgiving’s Butt

It often seems that those who love/like Thanksgiving the most have an inverse relationship to how much time they spend preparing the Thanksgiving meal.  It’s easy to like a holiday where copious amounts of food magically appear on a table with pie waiting at the end.  That’s not quite fair, but it’s up to us cooks and hosts to improve our own Thanksgiving cheer, without forfeiting the oven mitt and the whisk. Here are the tips I fall back on year after year, for Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings. Lists, lists, lists: You can’t write things down in too much …

Read More

The Thanksgiving Timeline, for Reals

I am sharing all of my best tips and advice about making your Thanksgiving as smooth as a bowl of silky whipped sweet potatoes, but while these bits of advice are very useful, and I do stand by them, I also want to offer a glimpse what turkey day actually looks like in our home. Scene: My mother’s house, CT. Wednesday evening: My mother, my sister and I are together organizing and cooking.  About 17 times during this night my mother says, “Oh we are SO far behind.” My sister makes the crudites platter for the next day, a job …

Read More

Why I Don’t Hate Making Dinner, and Why I’m Not Embarrassed About It

Where to begin? Last week Virginia Heffernan got very ornery in The New York Times Magazine about what she perceives as the pressure from us collective food writers — especially those of us who write about families and cooking — to cook, and to like it.  If you read her piece you may be wont to believe that those of us who not only have the audacity to cook for our families on a regular basis, but also to share this information with others, devote the rest of our time (when we are not making everyone else feel like crap for not …

Read More

Back to School Lunches

Back to school time brings mixed feelings for me. The kids’ feelings are less mixed, and quite loudly verbalized. Summer was way too short, they didn’t get to relax enough, and they can’t believe I am mentioning the summer reading that seems to have gotten compressed – as it does Every. Stinking. Year. – into the last week or so of summer. There is no learning curve here. There is no memory of me yelling that now that there are 4 days and counting, and they still have to read two 300-page books (which they were told in JUNE, for …

Read More

10 Ways to Top a Baked Potato

A baked potato is so lovely just on its own, with a pat of good butter, a sprinkle of coarse salt.  But it can also become dinner; a wonderful translators of leftovers into a meal, and a way to serve myriad people at the table with the odds and ends that are in the fridge. First of all, here’s how to bake that potato. 1. Meatball Baked Potato “Sub” Give your baked potato an Italian-American accent with mini meatballs, a generous spoonful of tomato sauce, and a shower of grated Parmesan cheese. You can also halve large meatballs and tuck …

Read More