Dancing with ‘sugarplums’

Just what are sugarplums, anyway? According to Clement Moore’s classic holiday story poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” children had visions of them dancing in their heads. And sugarplum fairies flit magically in the most well-known and traditional of holiday ballets, “The Nutcracker.”

When I have done my own envisioning of what a sugarplum might . . . → Read More: Dancing with ‘sugarplums’

Dishing on the simplest holiday side

I think more than any other meal, it is the sides of Thanksgiving that get us all excited. Never is more effort put into all the bowls and platters on the holiday table; never is there more variety (outside of a summer potluck). And they bring with them rich flavors exclusive (but, why?) to this . . . → Read More: Dishing on the simplest holiday side

Deciding on witch finger cookies

Every year, I get a kick out of the parade of homemade Halloween treats in magazines, on websites and blog posts. From the most creative (cupcakes topped with “skeletons” made of yogurt pretzels and marshmallows) to the least (a full-sized fake plastic skeleton whose ribcage was merely loaded with sausages and other meaty snack “innards”), . . . → Read More: Deciding on witch finger cookies

Bread of the Month: Revering an artist and a Rosca de Reyes

Beyond some of her work and her unforgettable image — dark-haired, piercing-eyed, flower-crowned — I didn’t know enough about the Mexican artist and icon Frida Kahlo until the 2002 biopic “Frida,” starring Salma Sayek, in a stirring performance examining her life. That movie, for me, ignited an admiration for the artist,who died in 1954 at . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Revering an artist and a Rosca de Reyes

Keeping the fire with cinnamon candy

Throughout my childhood, I was treated to a tale of candy. The imagination can almost act as the proverbial “candy store,” and I was the kid who went there, as my parents recounted a magical place. Next to a local movie theater, there existed a candy store where the proprietor not only made all the . . . → Read More: Keeping the fire with cinnamon candy

Creeping into a playful spirit with chocolate mice

Sometimes I think my fun is done.

I know that sounds fatalistic. I know I have joys and things to enjoy ahead. But as far as true, hilarious, tickle-me, laugh-out-loud pleasure — like the fun of childhood — I at times feel I’ve entered into a phase of adulthood where that is less-likely, though . . . → Read More: Creeping into a playful spirit with chocolate mice

Bread of the Month: Spicing up a baked doughnut

I know that I’m not the only one who associates doughnuts with Halloween, although I suppose I could associate doughnuts with anything, given a chance. Sunset magazine also pondered the connection between the traditionally fried treat and our favorite fall holiday. In an online article, Sunset reminisced on issues of the magazine from the ‘50s, . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Spicing up a baked doughnut

Bread of the Month: Testing the wings of a dough dove

I had not considered the obvious parallels of birds and bread and lightness and flight until I made a bird out of bread recently. I had no choice but to make a bird out of bread recently when, in search of an annual Easter bread, I landed on a creature called Columba di Pasqua, . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Testing the wings of a dough dove

Bread of the Month: Filling the heart -- with jam

“The Heart wants what it wants, “ poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “– or else it does not care.”

My heart, or at least the scones I made into hearts, wanted jam, and who was I to deny them? Scones and jam have gone together since the clocks could strike three and mean teatime. And . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Filling the heart — with jam

Bread of the Month: Reaching for a star

I’ve been thinking a lot about stars lately, in part, because of the season, but even earlier in the year than that because I noticed a very bright star in the sky that I’ve come to look for every morning.

Sometimes this star is companioned by a crisp slice of crescent moon; sometimes it . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Reaching for a star