Thanksgiving prep

Thanksgiving is only a few days away. I should probably start preparing. Or panicking. Possibly both. We’re hosting dinner, because I love cooking for people I love, and also because we have the largest dining table. These facts are not unrelated.   In years past, I have carefully planned out my Thanksgiving preparations. I worked around everyone’s […]

Skip the pie, make a galette.

Whoever coined the phrase “easy as pie” is full of it. Pie is not easy. Pie is demanding, temperamental, messy. Work the pastry twenty seconds too long, and your crust will be tough instead of flaky. Make a decent dough, weave it into perfect lattices with fluted edges, and the edges will overbrown before the inside is […]

Ugly apples (are perfect for pie)

A hailstorm hit the apple orchards early in the growing season. In this drought-stricken part of the country, desperate for water, hail is a sort of a big “eff you” from God: water in its most destructive form, just enough to ruin the crops without delivering enough moisture to do any good. Hail can destroy […]

Brewery Tour: Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco

Breweries are magical places. They’re like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for adults. Most offer tours, complete with tastings — no golden ticket needed, although reservations are often required. They won’t let you swim in the beer vats, of course, but they also skip all the singing and unsolicited parenting advice. And damn, they’re pretty. I took […]

Breakfast: one eyed toads in a bird’s nest

“This would make good bird’s nests,” said M. the other morning. He was holding a slice of bread, and I had no idea what he was talking about. It turns out he was talking about breakfast. To make bird’s nests, take a thick slice of bread and use a small glass or biscuit cutter to […]

Drought, Sonoma

The reality of the drought hit me again last weekend, as we drove through Sonoma. The hills were the wrong color. As a California native, I expect my landscapes to be the yellow-gold of dry grass, rippling in the wind. Amber waves and all that. Green arrives with the late-winter rains but never stays long, and […]