Browsing Posts in Grammy

Strawberries start our fruit season on the orchard. The first berries are large and beautiful and full of strawberry flavor but it is those that come this time of year that are best. The berries are smaller and it takes more to fill a basket but they are as sweet as candy. The best ever, […]

Confit

No comments

Chef Efren’s description of making a confit was so simple that I had to try it. In France duck is common in all the markets. One can buy duck legs or duck breast easily but here I see only whole frozen ducks in the market and then only occasionally. The duck legs are cooked slowly, […]

The final week of our European trip was spent on a hotel barge on a canal parallel to the Marne River in the Champagne area of France. The Merganser II was built in the 1930s. Its purpose originally would have been carrying freight. There are 5000 miles of navigable waterways in France. At one time […]

Sunday dinner was a special meal in my childhood. During the years of WWII meat was rationed, a pound of hamburger could make two meals for our family of four and meatless meals were a necessity, not something chosen for health or ethical reasons. But Sunday dinner was different, always meat and often chicken from […]

Two years ago when we came to Paris our friend Betsey highly recommended the Brasserie Balzar for a meal. We didn’t make it that trip so decided to have lunch there our one day in the city. It has survived since 1886, undergoing updating over the years. The restaurant is elegantly understated, very simply decorated […]

I ate too much in Germany but it was always different and good. We were a group of 50 so the meals were prearranged with only vegetarians or people with food allergies receiving different foods. We ate Turkish; Italian, three kinds of raviolis, all without meat but delicious; Vietnamese; traditional German meatballs with boiled potatoes […]

Spargel

No comments

It is white asparagus season in Germany. I’d seen it in jars in the US but had no idea exactly what makes white asparagus white and would never have known the reverence of the Germans for this vegetable if I hadn’t been here during the season, April to mid-June. It is featured on many menus, […]

This is my first time in Berlin. I’m with a group of 50 women from eight different countries who have gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of 5W, the wonderful women’s friendship organization that I first joined in 1994. 5W stands for Women Welcome Women World Wide, one of the husbands refers to it as […]

Sunday morning we were treated to a concert in our garden. Cecelia and her friend Annie arrived with their instruments and serenaded us. The sun was warm, the grass was emerald green, tulips and azaleas were in bloom and the music lovely. What a wonderful way to start a day. It’s been a month of […]

The orchard is abuzz with activity. Lots of new trees being planted, the final pruning of small fruits is underway and the store shelves are being stocked. I felt sorry for the men as they planted peach trees in the cold rain Saturday. I’ve not written since returning from the warm weather. It’s time to […]

This is my last week in Las Terrenas. It’s too soon to leave. The weather has been perfect all winter. It’s been hard for us to imagine what the Massachusetts contingent has experienced. We had two visits in February, the time passed all too quickly. Our daughter Laura visited and took home an orphaned puppy. […]

Tropical Fruit 2

No comments

Laura arrived on Saturday. Sunday she made quite an impression on one of the men who works in the garden here. He brought her a bouquet of Bougainvillaea blossoms on Sunday. Last evening he appeared with a big bag of a totally new fruit. He doesn’t speak English but made eating motions before giving it […]

Tropical Fruit

No comments

In my last blog I wrote about the lack of fresh vegetables here in Las Terrenas. What I didn’t properly appreciate is the tremendous variety of fruit. At our local fruit stand there are so many things that we don’t recognize. I did find Passionfruit and it turned out to be delicious. A little tart […]

It’s only when traveling in a developing country that one can truly appreciate the variety and quality of food available to us at home. There we find fruits and vegetables of every imaginable kind from countries some of us have never visited or perhaps known existed. It is very different here in DR. There is […]

Settling In

No comments

It’s two weeks since I arrived in the tropics. Days are taking on a routine. In the morning we often walk a mile down the beach and swim for a bit, stop at a beach-side restaurant for a coffee or a beer or lunch and then home. Afternoons Max paints or watches soccer, I read […]

Monday afternoon, bundled into my down coat, gloves and boots I ventured out to do some errands in Ipswich. Cars courteously stopped for pedestrians crossing the street and at the intersection of Market and 133/1A the usual progression of cars criss-cross with driver’s halting to allow left turns in front of them and waving vehicles […]

Preparations for Christmas are in full swing and it is bringing up memories of past Christmases. There have been a lot of them but some have stayed with me through all these years. As a child there was the excitement of anticipation, knowing that Santa would be arriving and knowing that I’d never get to […]

Technology

No comments

It turns out that my new “smart phone” is only as smart as its owner. I get daily messages that I need to enter a password to get to my Google account. I didn’t know that I have a Google account and have no clue what the password might be. I have a gmail account […]

Eavesdropping

No comments

Traveling alone is something that I’ve always enjoyed. One of the pleasures is being able to eavesdrop on the lives of others. That doesn’t usually happen when traveling with a companion. I spent several days in New York City in the past week participating in a medical research study. I stayed in an area unfrequented […]

Food Writing

No comments

What do Julia Child, Ruth Reichl, Robert Farrar Capon and MFK Fisher have in common? The obvious answer is that they wrote about food but it is much more than that. They wrote exquisitely about food. A talent, a gift even, that I envy. When I write I try to get the grammar right and […]

My desk at home sits in front of a big window where I can watch the orchard through the seasons. Now that it is November the trees in the front yard have a few brown leaves clinging to their branches while the apple trees beyond are still thick with leaves but they have turned yellow […]

Lists of healthy foods abound on the Internet these days. One food that’s found on all of them is broccoli. My introduction to broccoli didn’t make it onto my favorite foods list but over the years it has made it there. I grew up in a small mid-western town during and just after WWII. Vegetables […]

Turkey

No comments

One of the tasks my mother insisted every woman should know was how to cut up a chicken. Our Sunday dinner was frequently chicken that had been bought from a farmer on Saturday. Often it still had pin feathers to be plucked out and then it would be singed over the open flame of the […]

Pumpkin Soup

No comments

The sudden drop in temperature makes it perfect soup weather. Yesterday I made Creamy Cauliflower Soup from a recent Cooks Illustrated. It is good but the white color reminds me of the Cream of Wheat breakfast cereal that I used to make for the children. Not that appetizing. Most often I make soup with leftover […]

Our final destination was Seattle. We traveled on the Victoria Clipper, the ferry from Victoria to Seattle. On the trip we met a Seattle tour guide who suggested so many places to visit there but our time was limited. We did the usual tourist things and a few other things that she’d suggested. We had […]

Vancouver Island turns out to be a fascinating place. I guess I find it so because it is huge, sparsely settled, and is the location of Victoria, British Columbia’s capitol city. Yesterday we decided to go off the beaten path and take an excursion to the less well known and traveled part of the island. […]

Victoria BC

No comments

Our train pulled in to Vancouver on time Wednesday morning. We spent one rainy day there doing a less than informative trolley tour. Early Thursday morning we took a bus and ferry to Vancouver Island. I didn’t know that the huge city of Vancouver is on the mainland but the Capital of British Columbia is […]

October 1 This morning we watched an old promotional movie for Canadian Rail passenger service in 1960. The voiceover narration describes the luxury and modern convenience aboard the train and shows the train passing through magnificent countryside. The people on board are dressed for a special occasion. Men in suits and ties, women in dresses, […]

The city sprawl of Toronto is extensive. It takes a while to be clear of it but eventually all we see are trees, predominantly birch but lots of pine also. Now at the end of October the leaves are yellow and gold. The brilliant reds and oranges that complement the yellows in our New England […]

September 28,2013 A train trip across Canada is one of the things we’ve often talked about doing today, we are doing it. We flew to Toronto and spent a night there before boarding the train at 10PM, just in time to get into bed. It had been thirty years since I was in Toronto. I […]

AGING

No comments

My birthday is rapidly approaching and I greet it with some uneasy reflections. It’s no longer possible for me to convince myself that I’m in late middle age. The truth is, I’m old. The surprising thing to me is that I don’t feel old. I don’t run up and down stairs anymore and my energy […]

Water

No comments

Wednesday afternoon we suddenly had no water. One minute water was flowing from the tap, the next it was not. Water at our house comes from a well and the pump was broken. No one would be able to replace it until morning. It is surprising and disconcerting to realize how dependent we are on […]

What I did on My Summer Vacation was often the first assignment of the school year when my children returned to their classes in September. I thought I’d make it the first blog of the school year even though I don’t go to school anymore. I just returned from eight days in Michigan visiting my […]

When we bought the orchard in 1979 we brought some chickens with us from our suburban home in Andover. Since then there have always been chickens here. Two years ago the chickens got lucky. Max built a movable chicken coop atop a wagon bed. During the day the chickens are free to wander freely and […]

Each time I log onto the orchard website I see my last blog, sadly months out of date. The book is nearing completion and it is no longer taking all my time and focus. Time to enjoy these glorious August days, cool nights and warm sunny days are what the perfect summer weather should be. […]

This is a tribute to my daughter-in-law, Miranda. The Shalin Liu in Rockport rocked last night with the awesome music of Miranda Russell and her band. We joined a capacity crowd to hear the eclectic selection of songs for this year’s concert. Her choices were of a mix of old standards and more recent pieces. […]

“The kids wanted pancakes but I’d run out of mix.” This comment was from a young woman I overheard in the supermarket recently. I wanted to stop and lecture her about the ease of making pancakes. Of course I didn’t but it did make me start thinking about pancakes. In fact, the next morning I […]

I felt a great surge of pleasure a couple of days ago walking through the orchard after the earth had just been tilled for the garden. I’ve been watching the tree buds swell, not quite ready to open, and I wear a lighter jacket, but somehow spring still seemed a long way off until I […]

Twenty-five years ago I had the idea of writing a fruit cookbook for the orchard. It became a daunting project. I would work on it diligently for a time, feel overwhelmed, stick it in a box under the bed where it would stay for another year or two until I decided that I really should […]

Home again and looking forward to spring in New England but first, some final thoughts about our winter in Spain. I didn’t realize that most of Spain is mountainous. In the south it is dry with barren hills and desert plants. In the north pines grow on the mountain sides and in both places, snowy […]

This morning I wanted to pinch myself, how is it possible that I’m having coffee at a sidewalk cafe listening to three men sing love songs in French from a bandstand in the middle of the square? I’m always amazed that I’ve ended up with this life. My mother and father had never left Michigan […]

One of the delights of travel is finding oneself, unexpectedly, in a wonderful place. In a quest to be near the Monastery of Montserrat without actually staying in the busy touristy village, I found a listing for a hotel in the tiny village of Collbato about thirty miles from Barcelona and at the foot of […]

The Sagrada Familia is the most famous of Gaudi’s work but there are other structures nearly as impressive. Click on photo to get larger view. Casa Milà is a huge apartment building (1906 – 1910). The most striking thing about it is the roof top designed in undulating waves that echo the different levels of […]

Most of the time we’ve spent our winter in Spain enjoying the local color, taking long walks and sampling Spanish cuisine. A visit from daughter Laura was the perfect excuse for doing a bit of sight-seeing. We started in the very beautiful and cosmopolitan city of Barcelona where some pretty fantastic architecture is to be […]

Mojacar Market

No comments

A fun part of visiting foreign countries is seeing the markets. Supermarkets, small shops, open markets, they all are fascinating. Funny because I don’t like to shop and seldom buy anything other than food but it is fun to see how different countries do things. As in many European countries there are traveling markets. Here […]

Last week we attended a performance of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Mid-January seemed like a strange time for a Christmas story but we thought it might be fun. It was performed by a small theater group here in Mojacar, all British. I grew up listening to the dramatized version on an LP record with actor […]

Our sport of soccer is known as football in the rest of the world, or in Spanish speaking countries, fútbol. American football is only found in the United States. Max loves the pace and skill of world football and had looked forward to watching games frequently here during our Spanish sojourn. It had been one […]

Sunday Lunch

No comments

It was a surprise to arrive in Spain and find that many of the top rated restaurants serve English food, especially for Sunday lunch. There are signs in front of many places advertising Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding or Sunday Carvery. Most of the restaurants offer daily specials, three courses for a set price, a […]

We walked down the hill from our apartment this morning to see the sunrise over the sea. It is a lovely sight to watch the gradual lightness turn into streaks of pink and finally the sun appear over the horizon. We enjoyed it with coffee sitting at a little outdoor cafe at the foot of […]

Hiatus

No comments

Hi-a-tus: Noun 1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc. 2. a missing part; gap or lacuna 3. any gap or opening. There has been a hiatus in this blog. When last I wrote, it was about downsizing. That is over a month ago. A lot has happened since then, […]