Did You Know…

Friday 09.23.11

That a baby porcupine is called a porcupette? As words go, that one is pretty great. Photo by the lovely, animal-obsessed Sharon Montrose.

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A Lot of Spice

Thursday 09.22.11

I love this town! Walking in the east village yesterday, I wandered into an Indian dry goods shop called Dual Specialty Store. I’ve been in there any number of times before, but clearly never ventured much beyond the register or the wall of beer which, I must say, is impressive. On the back wall of the store are endless bags of spices. The midsection of the shop is taken up with every possible condiment and rice and grain you could ever hope to find. Turns out, “DSS” supplies a lot of Indian restaurants, not just in NYC, but all over the country. I am a longtime fan of Kalustyan’s. And Patel Brothers out in Jackson Heights should not be missed. But definitely add this place to your list of spice meccas.

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Culture Shock

Wednesday 09.21.11

I feel more than fortunate to be able to spend time in both country and city. The contrast between rural and urban gives rise to an appreciation of place that I am not sure I would possess otherwise. I was looking at my photos from the summer and was so struck by the visual world I have just left behind. My husband took that first photograph of the young buck. The deer was fearless and refused to abandon his patch of ground full of fallen apples. That last photo was taken on Grand Street in lower Manhattan. A different sort of beauty.

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The Giant Pumpkin

Wednesday 09.21.11

Meet Jennifer, Lester and their squash. I know this looks improbable, and thoughts may quickly turn to Photoshop. But I would caution you not to be so skeptical. This pumpkin is very real. And, at the time of the photo, it weighed in at a staggering 700 pounds. Jennifer and her husband Andrew own Eminence Road Farm Winery in upstate NY. Their fabulous wines (they are unfined, unfiltered and are all bottled by hand) have become a hallmark of our entertaining. They also grow vegetables, are great cooks and Jennifer pickles a mean ramp. Lester helps out when he can.

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Where is There?

Friday 09.16.11

In the process of emptying out my wallet, I found this fortune. I’ve been toting it around for the past month or so. At first I thought, hmnnn, this is good, I am almost there. The there part being where I want to be. But then I quickly realized that their “there” might not be the same as my there. I’m swearing off fortune cookies for awhile. I can’t handle this sort of ambiguity.

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Mr. Gorey We Miss You

Friday 09.16.11

Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer chronicles the rich, visually-laden and wildly creative correspondence between these two men. I was delighted when I saw that my friend Jason tweeted this post. There is a broad and eclectic spectrum of people who take great joy in the late Edward Gorey’s work. I feel as though we all have something substantive in common, and that if ever thrown together at a dinner party, we would have endless matters of deep importance to discuss. This book is on its way to me now, and I can barely wait. Via Steve Silberman via Maria Popova.

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Aerobie vs Bialetti

Thursday 09.15.11

Following on the heels of yesterday’s love letter to my Bialetti, is today’s puzzlement at the Aerobie Aeropress Coffeemaker. First, let me say thank you to my father, who has only the best of intentions. He testifies to the quality of its brew and, as a gift, sent the Aerobie to us the other day so we might share in his caffeine nirvana. In deference to his generosity and enthusiasm, I will try it later today before rendering a full opinion on its virtues. That aside, man is this thing ugly! So many parts. All black and brown plastic. Could it ever outlast my prized Italian maker? There is a certain psychology inherent in the design and use of tools for food and beverage preparation. Personally, I would strive for a better marriage between form and function. This thing looks to be more like something one would encounter in the urology department of a large hospital rather than in a kitchen. Puts me in mind of another discussion regarding the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. But I’ll save that for another day.

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