Stinger-cocktail-@1020

Friday Cocktail Hour today is devoted to the memory of my dad, who hated to see guests leave and always asked if they’d stay for a nightcap, saying, “Can I make you a Stinger?” The Stinger, a cocktail that dates to the early 20th century is a combination of brandy and crème de menthe, indeed a refreshing cocktail after a meal. Rip would have used an inexpensive brandy for this mixed drink and he always served them over crushed ice (we owned an actual crusher that sat on the back kitchen counter next to the toaster oven and the Mr. Coffee). But it’s also a drink, according to The Philadelphia Story (one of my favorite movies), that is a great hair-of-the-dog solution. This I’ve never tried, but surely in the future shall. My father died of Read On »

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A. Gelburg

Photograph by Marion Ettlinger/Corbis Outline                 “Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him. Too much ambition and bad luck, or no luck at all, can be killing.” The above quotation comes from a great essay on writing by Raymond Carver. I think of it now because I have been lucky, and when one of the sources of the great good fortunes of your life dies, you should take note, and give thanks. I was lucky enough to be friends with the Sulzberger family (owners of the New York Times) when I was in college, and through them met Arthur Gelb, then deputy managing editor of the paper. I wasn’t even a college junior yet and I’d never published a word, Read On »

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  All I wanted for my fiftieth birthday was to eat all the lobster I could, with a good white wine and a Blanton’s bourbon after. I remember when my mom turned fifty because Donna insisted on doing something special for her, while I lamely lay in bed, scratching my head (within the hour she’d marshaled friends and chartered a plane to Key West for lunch). My dad did a fifty-mile bike ride on his fiftieth with his girlfriend Pat; she was incensed by the arduous journey (“Rip,” she hissed, “you don’t need a woman, you need a machine,” to which he replied, “I just realized it’s my fiftieth birthday”). They were so much older, fifty an impossibly remote age to me, a 25-year-old. Yet here I am now, on that very day. In a wistful Read On »

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My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, and set a timer for 90 minutes. It will thicken up, but you may want to give it another 20 minutes if it’s Read On »

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Ever since I read Anne Patchett’s The Getaway Car, a short memoir on writing, I’ve wanted to write my own Kindle Single, a venue for fiction and nonfiction that’s longer than a magazine story but shorter than a book. (The NYTimes reviewed the singles here.) Any device running Android or iTunes can read Kindle books and Kindle Singles by downloading the free Kindle app. I’ve bought more Kindle books this year for my iPad than I have in the past five years in hardcover or paperback. I love to read on my iPad, and on my iPhone. So here’s my entree into exclusively digital space. I hope you’ll have a look. It’s a short memoir (10K words or about 35 manuscript pages), on how I got to where I am, a writer of food and Read On »

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