Forget digital, I prefer my paper address book. Flipping through its pages I’m reminded of the extras I’ve added—birthdays, favorite colors, names of pets and tidbits like Wendy’s crazy about hedgehogs and P.J. has a thing for leopard prints.
I’ll always remember 1963 as the year my parents put Christ in Christmas. That year my mother set up her nativity in its usual place of honor–on top of the console TV. The carved wood nativity was lit by one incandescent bulb that served as both general illumination, and, through a cleverly cut hole in the peak of the stable, the star of Bethlehem. Oh, and it served as one other thing—the ignition point. But I’m jumping ahead. Continue reading “Putting Christ in Christmas”
It’s Christmas Eve 1961, and I am eight years old. At my house, the pillaging of presents starts at sunrise tomorrow. My parents won’t allow me to wake them any earlier after last year when I rousted them at 4:30 by banging a metal spoon on the bottom of my mother’s best Faberware pot. It still bears the scars of my greed.
Picture winter in Philadelphia. Are your brain cells feeling brisk and frosty? Well, that’s not cold enough. Now picture 20 below with a wind chill that could freeze the balls off a polar bear—and you’re close.
Before I took my first hands-on cooking class at Sur La Table, I considered myself a pretty good cook. But little did I know, I’d walked into Hell’s Kitchen. Our chef instructor, Monique or Lalique, assigned workstations and gave us our first task: chop a shallot into ¼-inch dice for a basil cream sauce.
Everyone around me was going chop, chop, chop, chop. It was like a scene from Ratatouille, but I’m going, slice-pull, slice-pull because I don’t have a rat under my hat telling me what to do. The chop, chop, chopper next me looked at my technique and said, “That’s not how you hold a knife.”