Reading Donna Bell’s Bake Shop Cookbook inspires me to share my New York origin story – or more importantly how I met Darren Greenblatt – one of the writers and co-owners of the eponymous bakery. My older sister’s best friend went to FIT with Darren so he was one of the first people I met when I moved up here to go to school – not that I think I made much of an impression. I was too intimidated by their hard won city cool acquired over the 4 whole years they’d lived there before me.
Part cookbook and part memoir, DBBSC is all about first meetings as it tracks the friendship history between Darren and his partners Pauley Perrette and Matthew Sandusky. It’s very much about being young and new in a city and the families you form. If they get along with your parents (and everyone gets along with the Greenblatts), then they’ll always know where you’re coming from. If they help you build a bakery to honor your mother (Donna Bell’s is named after Pauley’s mother who was a wonderful southern cook) then you’ll always have something in common. Read more
Film was my first love but it was never an easy relationship. Early prep days were always my favorite time, when you were crewing up and you could anticipate any and all problems – or not. No one ever sets out to make a less than perfect movie but there are so many elements that can get away from you that it can be a heartbreaking process. It’s lovely to see good work rewarded and I’m excited to see friends making movies being honored this weekend. What’s isn’t so great is not seeing it recognized, and it was equally disappointing to see so many frozen out this year. Read more
Every January 6th, on El Día de los Reyes, Santa Claus and reindeers are traded in for wise men and camels. Celebrated throughout Spain and Latin America, kids leave shoes out along with grass and water for the camels in exchange for presents the Reyes Magos will leave behind. Growing up, it was one of my favorite holidays because it meant having at least one more gift to open. This year I forgot to leave my shoes out last night and if the camels came looking for straw they were disappointed but I still wanted to post my favorite recipe for Rosca de Reyes. Read more
Some posts take longer to write. That’s how it was with these capitolios – vanilla cupcakes topped with meringue, dipped in chocolate, and shaped like Havana’s Capitol building (hence the name). Our parents used to buy them for my sister and I and for years she’d been asking me to make them. Since her birthday falls in May, she always plans something outside and this year she chose a spot under the Brooklyn Bridge and next to Jane’s Carousel for a picnic. I had no idea what to bring when she reminded me that I’d never gotten around to the capitolios. Read more
This past December, I went home to Miami earlier – for Art Basel – and stayed later – for Christmas – then I usually do. I was coming back to a cold, gray winter, so any time spent inside felt like a missed opportunity – as though I could somehow store the sun in my skin and the colors in my eyes to get through the next few months. I put together a too-ambitious list of places I wanted to go but was still surprised when I couldn’t get through it all – though what I did see, I loved. Read more
Usually, I get so caught up during holidays that my celebratory posts don’t appear until around midnight. While it’s been hard to post while I’ve been away, I didn’t want to let the day go by without putting my roundabout father’s day post.
Of course, my father had every reason to expect a boy – they already had a girl after all. Though I rarely met him even halfway (tee-ball, soccer and tennis were disasters), I did prefer Star Wars to Barbie (there was a princess in it), wasn’t squeamish about what went in the frituras de sesos he love to make, and stayed awake during The Right Stuff – so I don’t think he minded too much. A foodie before the word, he gave me sugar cane to cut my teeth on, took me to the docks to buy fish as the boats came in, presented me with meltingly tender Italian prosciutto like it was a visiting dignitary, and charmed a fast melting cooler of Mexican guanabana ice cream through customs. Read more
I always loved Palm Sunday when I was little. There was something about getting those palm fronds that felt important. For once I had a focus for my fidgeting, and I’d spend the service shaping and reshaping them. Last Sunday, though I (somewhat guiltily) didn’t attend mass, I fussed with hearts of palm instead. Read more