All my creatures inhabit only paper, however; they are representations of the world as I see it and the world I’d prefer to see. Continue reading What CAN We Do?
My readers will know how often I have mentioned the impact of my third college year in the Toscana region of Italy, principally in Siena and Firenze. Most pieces drew on my acquaintance with the Vivante family at Villa Solaia near Siena or my Florentine host family, the Chellinis. I rarely mentioned a regular guest at the Chellini’s Sunday dinners, Gustavo’s son Roberto. Then in his mid-twenties and as yet not married, he shared his passion for good food, wine, and cigars whenever he could dominate the table talk. We American ‘paying guests’ enjoyed his conversation and argued with him … Continue reading Passing of Memory’s People
Mise en place—this French phrase describes the first step a mindful chef or cook takes in preparing a meal. Many cookbooks instruct those who follow their recipes at home to do so. When preparing ingredients based on taste, experience, or the tyranny of a recipe, a cook will sort, wash, chop, dice, mince, julienne, measure, sift, or melt each item for the intended dish. She also will ensure that all pots, pans, cutting boards, knives, stirrers, sorters, and smashers are in place before preparation begins. My go-to mise en place for nearly every hot dish I cook (yes, even pancakes) … Continue reading Fragrant Things
In retrospect: The month of July surprised Gerty. Daily, the weather challenged her wardrobe–should she dress for rain, summer heat, or frigid Canadian air masses? The first few days brought excessive rain and flood warnings from media weather gurus. A … Continue reading Gerty and the Great Outdoors
The magic of chocolate—so many of us are grateful for its power to transform a gloomy winter afternoon into a cozy cuddle with a steaming mug of cocoa and a book, for the bitter-sweet flourish of a flourless chocolate cake at the end of a meal, or for mirthful mischief while stealing from a box of cocoa-dusted truffles. The French/American actress and dancer, Leslie Caron had a small part in a film called Chocolat released in 2000. She played an elderly woman, quite the opposite of her ingenue starring role in An American in Paris 50 years earlier. … Continue reading A Little Chocolate Now and Then Doesn’t Hurt
We’re emerging from the Time of Plague and Social Disruption. All through this period, I’ve read at least one article every day from The New Yorker. Whether provoking massive anxiety about an illness I’d never heard of or an exploration … Continue reading Wee Free Men[tion]
An essay delivered May 17, 2021 to the Chicago Literary Club, a venerable institution founded in the late 19th century. My Life in Puppetry: ©2021 Susan Bass Marcus Where Did It All Start? Have you ever invented a caption for … Continue reading Who’s in Control Here?
These days, when an intelligent and determined person like Greta Thunberg conveys the urgency of climate degradation and hopes to lead others to effect change, her actions and message defy societal limitations often imposed on people who manage their lives … Continue reading THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER
Something about that word tern that drives me to punning. Terns, related to gulls, often look as though they are up to something. David Allen’s beautiful and informative new book, What It’s Like To Be A Bird says that Arctic … Continue reading Another Terning Point