rip-and-michael

  Today is my long gone father’s birthday. I want to say Hi to him, and to honor the Grace of this day. And I do so with food, which so often was the ultimate means of connection for us. He loved to grill, and he created what is still my favorite baste, for grilled chicken: a simple mustard-tarragon-butter sauce. I start it be squeezing lime into a pan and using the beurre monte technique, swirling cold butter into it. This keeps the butter homogenized and somewhat viscous so that it adheres to the chicken when you baste. It’s tart and piquant from the lime and mustard; the shallots give it sweetness and texture; and the tarragon adds its ineluctable ethereal grace notes. He shared a birthday with F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote the book that matters 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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  Between crazy-busy travel and much work all July, and then a work-travel assignment in France, Donna and I took a two-day breather to celebrate our back-to-back birthdays. I’m not always very smart when it comes to marital issues, but I did know one thing: I did not want to be sitting around in Cleveland on Donna’s 50th birthday, wondering what to do, Donna glaring at me. (Guys, no matter how much they protest, no matter how much they tell you they don’t want to do anything, don’t give in to your partner. They don’t really mean it! I know you want to believe them, I know you want to take them at their word not to do anything special or make a fuss, but you do so at your own peril.) This conviction to Read On »

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