Simplicity

A wet and drizzly morning of the sort we’ve been having lately, the usually dry stream that crosses our property burbling happily, the canyon veiled in gray and exploding in every shade of green, brought me back to a memory:

A child, a younger me, dripping in the rain — no umbrella, no boots, socks and shoes wet — setting leaves into the gutter and chasing them down the street. Joy: unrestrained, unmannered, untethered.

Simplicity.

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In the kitchen, after a previous evening’s West/East mashup of spaghetti ai ricci di mare, Venetian carpaccio, spicy fried tofu and three different kinds of sushi, I craved simplicity on the plate, too. More

The Culinary Hug

My wife will, on occasion, get on my case about coddling my 13-year-old son, Flynn, with food. He’ll ask me to fix him a bowl of cereal, or put the butter on his waffles and cut them into bite-size pieces.

“He’s old enough to be doing that himself,” she’ll say. “When Kristen’s boys were that age….”

Teaching the boy about eating at the bar

Teaching the boy about eating at the bar

Her point of reference is inevitably her sister, Kristen’s, boys: “When Kristen’s boys were that age, they could [INSERT REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT HERE].” It would seem as if Kristen’s kids could build themselves log cabins and kill and skin their dinner before they could crawl.

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Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Paris — A Tale of Two Cities

It took me a little while to get my bearings in Paris. It’s a city I know well — I’ve spent a lot of time here — but after the easy, laid-back intimacy of Italy and the French Rhone-Alpes, Paris was a jarring awakening.

Arc de Triomphe, Bastille Day

Arc de Triomphe, Bastille Day

The entre, after two weeks of meandering country roads, was driving the rental car into the heart of the Marais to drop the family and luggage off at the Airbnb, and then trying to navigate my way along the frenetic Rue du Rivoli to the subterranean Hertz offices at the swirling mayhem of the Louvre Carousel. More

Thankful

I was sitting in the dentist chair a few mornings ago, trying to find my Zen place as the hygienist plunged Medieval devices of torture into my mouth. I was feeling thankful that I only had to do this twice a year. Although these days, all things in the world considered, there are a lot of worse places I could be.

Saltimbocca-style turkey

Saltimbocca-style turkey

“Maybe if you re-branded teeth cleaning as a kind of ‘spa day’ for your mouth,” I said to the dentist, “people would be less apprehensive about it. You could call it a ‘denticure’.”

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The Great Camps & the Vermont Problem — a Northeast Roadtrip Postscript

I’m always intrigued when I travel by the different names people in the different regions use for the same things. In Ireland, for example, they call gravel along the road “loose chippings”.

In the Northeast, we discovered that the bumpy line in the middle of the road is called a “rumblestrip”, what appears for all practical purposes to the Californian eye to be a lake is actually called a “pond,” and a small structure for camping is called a “lean to.”

Sagamore

Sagamore

All the large lakeside houses in the Adirondacks are called “camps”. We arrived at Big Wolf and followed the big directional sign pointing the way to the thirty or so camps on the lake. Pulling into the Buck Summerhill Camp, we were still puzzled. It looked to us a like a house.

“Why is it called a ‘camp’?” we asked. More

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