photo by Donna

A friend said something important to me this morning: “There’s always a big component of sadness in Christmas. If there isn’t, then you haven’t had a lucky life.” I hadn’t recognized this explicitly until that moment, but I think I’d known this since I was a boy. I still remember one particular Christmas Eve, I must have been six or seven. My parents were upstairs dressing for a series of parties we attended in those days, especially the open house at Peter and Connie Zacher’s. Peter, life-long friend, was a great gourmand and the house was filled with food and cooking and laughter, kids and adults of all ages. But in the quiet, as my parents dressed, I wandered the living room of our small colonial on Norwood Road, in Shaker Heights, OH. The room Read On »

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cookies 201

By Emilia Juocys The Christmas baking season is upon us again and I could not be happier for the cookies that will be coming out of my oven. The usual suspects of chocolate chip, ginger pig, chocolate orange crinkles, cat’s tongues, and dream bars are in the works. Baked treats for my family and friends. The funny thing was that I was so excited for Christmas cookies because earlier this year the Chicago chef and cookie goddess Mindy Segal came out with her cookie book, Cookie Love. I jumped for joy because the book has the most-delicious rugelach recipe ever! So if you are looking for a dazzling cookie book to give to your baker this holiday, sprint to get this one. Every year I mention why I enjoy sharing these tasty morsels and how that brings smiles to 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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Of the many many reasons I have to be thankful, one of them is this blog and the enormously thoughtful, intelligent readers who drop by to read and comment. I truly am grateful. Thank you. I wish you all happy Thanksgiving (and hope that you have tons of fun in the kitchen today)! The above photo was taken on Thanksgiving 2007 (I’m struggling to hold the turkey up, but I think it’s important to parade the bird before carving it—my mom found the platter in Mexico). That’s my dad, Rip, with me. It would be the last Thanksgiving I would have with him. Three weeks after this day, he sat me and Donna down in front of the fire after dinner at his house. He had something to say. Recent X-rays showed a spot on Read On »

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