Putting Christ in Christmas

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”

The Christmas Gift

christmas-santa-claus-fig-decorationI don’t complain about the drought because it’s easy to maintain. Nothing falls from the sky, which has to be raked, shoveled, chopped or pumped out of the basement. Let me explain.

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.

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Knife Skills Snobs

knife skillsBefore 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.”

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