isn’t it about the pizza?

IMG_6711Isn’t it about the pizza? Isn’t this just another food blog? Not a cathartic, soul-searching, revolutionary, piece of intuitive writing. So, what’s my problem?

I thought I really wanted to be a part of this fast-paced foodie generation of social media addicts and techie marketing moguls. Instagramming, tweeting, and hashtagging every new food, drink and recipe. I wanted to feel the pulse of society. I didn’t want to feel like a dinosaur before my prime. But I can’t compete with the edgy, photojournalistic, hip, retro Polaroid pics; the shout-outs prefaced by a # and a @ to promote a friend’s restaurant or bar; or the lightning speed with which the most successful bloggers thumb and finger their way through an iPhone.

Not to bring age into it, but maybe I’m just too old. Or too private to whore out my family photos. Or too polite to make my friends wait every time while I flash a photo of their entrée before they taste it. Or am I just not clever enough to come up with sharp, witty quips off the cuff in 140 characters or less?

I am in awe of what is out there in this social media universe and the talent, creativity and artistry that people are incorporating into their lives. I am envious. It’s all so natural to them. But I am learning about the role food plays in my life. In my small world it is not a superficial marketing game of who gets the most hits. (Though, be my guest… it still feels good to know people are reading.) I need time to dig deeper. My blog seems to be transforming into an emotional archive of past associations, present passions and future memories. Food affects my senses that way.

Blogger pros say to just start somewhere. Like all else, it’s a journey. You’ll find your direction. Can I say mine has turned into a therapeutic, creative outlet for my gridlocked brain? Can I say that I’m discovering that I am more opinionated than I thought? Can I say I am fascinated by the innovative, enterprising, and consistently self-disciplined, (dare I say self-promoting?) people who are able to continually interact with communities of others whom they have never met in person?

Is there anyone else that believes this anonymous socialization still seems just a little weird? And, yes, it may be ridiculously ironic that I’ve chosen this platform to express my thoughts…

As far as the pizza goes, the truth is, I haven’t written up many pizza posts lately because, frankly, I haven’t found any pizza I felt compelled to recommend. Too many pizzerias are trying too hard to accommodate too many tastes. Such an assortment of traditional and trendy pizzas lead to pies just sitting out all day getting reheated and reheated. Nothing to write home about.

I did stumble upon a great old school traditional slice – you know, bubbly cheese, thin blackened crust, peppery tomato sauce, oregano sprinkled on top, and most importantly, lots of grease dripping down your hand as you eat it, warm and oozing, so much so you don’t realize it until someone throws a napkin your way… But that discovery was at a rest stop off of I-95 North. So, yeah… well, I didn’t write that one up.

This is A Slice on the Way though. And yes, it is about the pizza… sometimes.

Hopefully, after all my lamenting and self-reflection in today’s post, you will humor me with another hit or two when my next post soon comes out. I’ll leave you with a teaser… the photo above.

happy father’s day buddy, xo

UnknownToday is Father’s Day. As always, a bittersweet reminder for me of a sweet and gentle man who passed away too young. It’s been over twenty years. He missed out on my children being born; he would have been a wonderful grandfather. And they will never know him.

Today is also a day to celebrate all the fathers out there and honor our memories. Of course, for me, that involves food. My father was an old school meat and potatoes man, except for the occasional salmon steak, (note the word “steak” has to be in the name). I know healthy eating was not as publicized or so relevant during that era, but when I think now of how he ate then, I have to smile. It made him happy to eat the way he did. I certainly understand that. He enjoyed dining out in fancy restaurants. He loved The Jolly Fisherman, still an institution in Roslyn, New York. Or, of course, a great steak at Peter Lugers. That was his joy. Regardless of whether or not he could afford it, a fine meal was his way of feeling important, spreading his love to his family, and getting us to be together. I guess that’s what fueled my food obsession.


My dad loved sweets. No secret to anyone that knew him. I remember the Schrafft’s chocolate ice cream in the freezer. A whole shelf of Drake’s cakes, Yodels, Twinkie’s, Ring Dings, and Devil Dogs. The boxes of Entenmann’s, Danish Rings, Marshmallow Iced Devil’s Food Cakes, and donuts piled high on our kitchen table. (My friends loved coming over.) Every time my father brought another box home my mother would be angry, yet have a big grin on her face. “Oh Bud, why do you do that?! …get me a fork”. It gave him such pleasure to torture her like that.


My dad never gained weight. I used to laugh because he would weigh himself with his clothes on and a pocketful of coins. His diet consisted of red meat, potatoes, ice cream, bread, butter…did I mention BUTTER? Breakstone Butter, we went through tubs of it. I mean, isn’t everything better with butter? The amounts he would put on his bagels would give a cow a heart attack. Add to that the heavy cream he would use for his coffee…or better yet, pure whipped cream if he wanted to be fancy. Oops, I almost forgot the sugar. Yes, spoons and spoons of it added to his coffee and cream.

breakstones-whipped-saltedMy dad didn’t drink alcohol. Ever. But he could tell my mom if her Manhattan was good just by looking at it.

My dad didn’t quite get the concept of sharing, either. He never wanted Chinese food. We always had roast beef and potatoes on Sundays. We didn’t order in Chinese like most families on Long Island. When we finally convinced him he would like the old-fashioned “pepper steak”, he was hooked. It was steak, after all. But it was his dish. No sharing allowed.

My dad was a very kind man with very simple needs. Family, friends and good food. He lived his life eating rich foods. I guess that is how it made him feel.

boys trip – zermatt

He says, “It is a cosmopolitan, world-famous mountain hamlet, it has fabulous food, glamorous accommodations, and the iconic Matterhorn!”

I hear, “It is an arctic blast of air on an icy, snowy, steep, giant hill and I don’t ski. It’s hours of traveling by plane, train and electric car for a four day trip.” No, I said, I’ll sit this one out.”

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Zermatt, Switzerland… Enter guest contributor, my husband. Please read on.

“When my wife told me she was going to create a food and travel blog, I was all for it. I even agreed to help her with all of the technical issues. Needless to say, I have not helped her with any aspect whatsoever other than read her entries with pride and joy. That being said, I never thought I might actually compose an entry to post, given the fact that I am not so eloquent with a pen, nor did I have the courage to write. Nonetheless, after visiting Zermatt with my son, I felt the need to commemorate my experience.

Our son was studying abroad in Florence and called to ask if I would like to join him for a four day ski trip in the Swiss Alps. I didn’t ask where or when, I just said, of course! We are a skiing family (well, except for my wife), and there was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity. So, after sorting out the details and depleting my frequent flyer miles account, I was on my way. One long plane ride, three trains, and two car rides later, after traveling through two countries and four cities, I arrived in spectacular Zermatt, Switzerland. A quaint village carved into a valley created by massive rock mountains 1600 meters above sea level, and highlighted by the awe-inspiring, world-famous Matterhorn. The hamlet dates back to the 1500’s and many of the original buildings still stand. You feel as though you are free from the high-speed frenetic world that we have grown accustomed to. The only way to access Zermatt is by a train which comes from down valley, usually from the towns of Visp or Brig.

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Once in town, there are no cars other than electric taxis and hotel shuttles, which zip people to and from the mountain, hotels and restaurants. Moms pull the children and groceries on sleds on the snow-covered roads, and dads ride around on mountain bikes equipped for towing everything one could imagine. Instead of pick up basketball, baseball or soccer games, there is hockey. There’s always a game on in the rink in the center of town. People of all ages play, with crowds gathering about to watch good old-fashioned hockey. No hitting, no checking, no fighting. Just players having fun. While the lack of cars in town might make it seem a bit behind the times, that could not be further from the truth. Wifi is almost everywhere, and everybody is online and up to date on all of the technical advancements. And, of course, the Swiss are always on time. Never, I mean never, be late. Swiss time means on time. I mean come on, they do make the best watches.

The ParkHotel Beau-Site was everything one could imagine for in the Swiss Alps. Clean, comfortable and classic Swiss style with contemporary elegance. Great pool, massage center, and a great “porter” named Emilio.  Emilio has been living in Zermatt and working at ParkHotel Beau-Site for over 40 years and seemingly 24/7. No matter what you need, he is always two steps ahead of you. Emilio is just like the Matterhorn, always there and brilliant.

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We had many great meals at the hotel, but the one that will stay with me forever is the barbecue. This was a five course meal fit for a king. First, a delicious apple carrot soup. My son said it was the best soup he has ever has in his life. A bold statement given the fact that he has hated carrots since kindergarten. Next, we stepped up to the magnificent display of raw fish. We could choose as many as we wanted and the chef would then pass the plate to the cook at the wood-fired grill. Ten minutes later, the most deliciously seasoned, perfectly cooked fish (salmon, perch, halibut, local bass, and so on) would arrive at your table. Following the seafood course, we moved on to a buffet of salads, and then stepped back in line for the main course. On to the beef selection process. Raw meats were artfully displayed for us to choose from. We feasted on delicious sirloin and chicken and left the rabbit, duck and livers for other more adventuresome palates. Grape sorbet, all kinds of chocolates, cheeses, and a double shot of espresso followed for dessert.

Skiing. Ah yes, Zermatt is all about the skiing. Zermatt’s pride in skiing is akin to the pride an Italian from Montalcino feels about his Brunello. We rented skis at Bayayrd Sports who recommended the Swiss made Stoykli ski, designed to carve the endless slopes of Zermatt. “Why would you come to Zermatt and ski on anything else?”, the salesperson said. Boy was he right. They carved like a knife cutting through butter and held an edge like no other ski I have experienced.

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The mountain is so massive that it has over 54 lifts (elevators), including five separate trams (cable cars) that fit close to 80 people on each. Five different gondolas (bubbles as our guide liked to call them), along with two different train lines covering five distinctly different connected ski areas in two countries. Yes, you could ski over the border into Italy to the town of Cervinia. But you risk missing the last lift back to the Swiss side, due possibly to the wind closing down the lifts or having a little too much Italian fun and not making it back to the lift in time. You may get stuck in Cervinia for the night, which can be a great thing. They love to party, eat and drink great wine. Or take the three hour drive around and through the Alps to get back to Zermatt.

The total skiable terrain is 360 kilometers of on piste skiing along with more off piste skiing than one could ever dream of. The trails are different from those of Colorado or Vermont, as the skiing is above the tree line and the trails are meticulously cut and prepared (as they like to say) through and in the mountainside of the Alps. The views are like no other I have experienced before, including Colorado and Utah. The area is so huge that it would take you about a week to see it all with a guide and even longer without one. You can ride trains, gondolas, chairs, T-bars and poma lifts. I even saw a lift that had both gondolas and chairs alternating on the same cable. Did I mention the heated seats on the chair lifts, wow!


In Zermatt, they respect nature and the mountain life that lives within the borders of the ski area. We saw mountain goats milling about on the mountain as well as the ever elusive Ibex, interesting to see while skiing. Avoiding people and obstacles are one thing, but mountain goats?

The highest area serviceable by lift is the Kline Matterhorn, which sits at 3883 meters which is about 12,750 feet and sports a gigantic glacier which provides skiing 365 days a year. The glacier is constantly shifting, but I was assured by many people that if you stay on piste, it is safe. Going off piste requires a guide. Makes sense to me!

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Skiing is different in Zermatt than in the USA. It’s not about waking up early in a frenzy, rushing to the mountain and seeing how many runs you can get in in a day on a crowded slope. Rather, you have a leisurely morning, which includes a delicious breakfast followed by a few hours of great skiing, followed by an hour long delicious lunch in which you ski to a village on the mountain (yes, a village), then enjoy a great meal with a great bottle of wine, take in the sun and then head out for an afternoon ski session. This all concludes with apres ski at the Hennu Stall, a few 100 meters from the bottom, whereby people swap stories of the day. In the past, if you asked me what I did last Saturday, I might say I skied. In Zermatt, I would say I had a great day. Skiing is just part of the experience. And the skiing is different. It’s all about carving. They ski fast. Carve and form are always very important. It is a beautiful style to watch. It’s kind of like rhythmic dancing down the slopes with grace, beauty and finesse.

I highly recommend two delicious waiter service restaurants, one on the Italian side and one on the Swiss side. Chalet Etoile on the Italian side has spectacular ambiance and cuisine as well a spectacular wine list. We had a delicious meal along with a tasty local wine made exclusively for the restaurant. It was one of the best meals I have had on the slopes or off. Italian espresso followed, along with the requisite biscotti.


On the Swiss side we skied to a little village with a restaurant more formally called Findlerhof, but everyone called it Franz and Heidi’s. Our guide made the reservation by calling at 8:45 in the morning for a 12:30 lunch. He explained that if you didn’t call early and were unknown to either Franz or Heidi, getting a reservation would be next to impossible. Once we skied through the mountain village of chalets from the 1600’s and sat down to dine…. I saw what he meant. We ate in a glass enclosed “Winter Garden” with views of the Matterhorn and snow-covered mountains. It was magnificent. They were famous for the lamb, but I, of course, had the sampling of three pastas in sauce; arrabiatta, pesto and ravioli. A delicious meal with impeccable service. Franz and Heidi treated us as if we were family, tending to every need.

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The last day we ate at the Buffet Bar Sunnegga, a self service restaurant on the Italian side. Great pasta and crazy views. People watching at its best. My son, while eating his pasta Bolognese, gave my wife the ultimate compliment, “this is the best Bolognese I have ever had, it tastes just like mom’s.”

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Apres Ski at Hennu Stall is an on mountain party which begins at about 3 pm and goes until…I don’t know, whenever I guess. They offer special warm wine along with Swiss beer and ski shots all accompanied by loud music. A must visit, but don’t imbibe too much because you still have a couple of hundred meters to concur before your ski day is complete.

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Make sure to visit the famous Restaurant Walliserkanne in the middle of town. They have great cheese fondue. I used to think, isn’t fondue just a different form of grilled cheese? I don’t think so anymore. Swiss Fondue…. it doesn’t get any better! Also, a visit to Zermatt would not be complete without a visit to Stefanie’s Creperie. Delectable crepes in all flavors and fillings. We shared a chocolate and banana (Swiss chocolate, of course) crepe. A great way to end the day.

All in all, Zermatt is a must visit for anyone who calls himself a skier. The views, the food, the skiing, the snow, the people, and the fun all make the long trip a no brainer.”

My husband and my sons are all expert skiers. They have competed, ski patrolled and navigated some extreme terrains, so you can trust their opinions on skiing. Me, on the other hand, I’ll stick to the food.

wishing you a happy new year! cheers to 2014!


What do you love most about New Year’s Eve? For me it has to be the eternal offering of a fresh start. The promise of a new year reminds me of shopping for the first day of school, or picking out the groceries for a celebratory feast. It is incentive to start again and perhaps do something different or better than you did before.

I’m a procrastinator. (Note, writing a New Year’s article right before the ball drops!) Blame goes to a creative vein that seems to inhabit my brain and distract me from actually completing the majority of my grand ambitions. But I love the anticipation of the possibilities, the planning, and the hope for what a new beginning has in store.

I have learned the resolutions not to bother making anymore. I’m not going to diet, or eat healthier, or give up bacon. With age comes wisdom, and as much as I’m an optimist, I’m also a realist. My list grows every year, and I like to think my goals are more meaningful, and that I will actually stick to them.

New Year’s Eve is a funny kind of night. There is a lot of pressure to go somewhere special, be on vacation somewhere exotic, or do something out of the box and crazy. But what I really love about New Year’s Eve is what I believe holds true for most. It’s a time to be with good friends, whether it’s on a couch in front of a fire, at a club dancing the night away, or dining in the finest restaurant. It’s a time to reflect on how lucky we are to have our family and very special people in our lives.

Oh, and let’s not forget what I really love on New Year’s Eve… Champagne, caviar, crème fraiche and blini. This is a food blog, you know. I do have my priorities.

how do you find the best pizza in italy?

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Two week trip to Italy. Amazing food, incredible wine, Italian leather. Where do I begin? Must prioritize… Pizza! How do you find the best pizza in Italy? Well, that depends on what region you are in, and, of course, who you ask. We wasted no time and went straight to the professionals. The American study abroad students. New York City, New Haven, Chicago… these kids know good pizza. The city of Florence and the Tuscan region as a whole is not known for its pizza like Naples is. Not a problem, though. We were directed to the best in town.

We strolled over the Arno across the Ponte Vecchio on a beautiful fall day and decided Gusta Pizza was a must for lunch. It was a little difficult to find on the small street, but once you see the Gusta Pizza boxes being carried away by some very happy looking people, you know you are close by.

Gusta Pizza serves superb Neapolitan style pizza that is second to none in its freshness. The brick oven cooks up burning hot individual sized pizzas extremely fast. The pizza is served so quickly you need a lot of self-control to wait for your circle of heaven to cool down. The flirtatious guys behind the counter are also known to make heart shaped pizzas for the ladies. The menu is small, but really not lacking for anything. We decided on a Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil, parmesan and olive oil) and a Gustapizza (cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmesan and mozzarella).

The cooks work fast and are gregarious and charming. Obviously, they take great pleasure in what they do and love the customers who appreciate their extraordinary pizza. We placed our order, received a number, and were fortunate to find a table opening up. This being Italy, obviously they have their own labeled wine lined up at the pizza counter. And, this being Italy, the efficient and conscientious staff was quick to wipe our table down before we could sit. With the Italians, everything has to be perfect for your meal. A pizzeria gets equal respect. The tables are actually large wine barrels with glass tops. Like graffiti on walls, they are stuffed with comments on the paper ticket numbers from all the satisfied pizza lovers, both locals and travelers from all over the world.


IMG_3367Our number was called. My son was so excited (yes, that study abroad student recommendation…). “Mom, you are going to LOVE this pizza. It’s the best you’ve ever tasted!” He was right. I don’t recall ever eating a pizza with such a wonderful balance of ingredients. It has a super thin crust, yet the edges fluff up and have the ideal char. The cheese on the Margherita was delicious and gooey, and the fresh tomato sauce the perfect complement. My Gustapizza was excellent. They use only the freshest arugula (or rucola), delicate little cherry tomatoes, and thick slices of aged Parmesan cheese. Beautiful to look at. Better to eat.

IMG_3383When we got to the states I looked up reviews of Gusta Pizza. It seems we’re not alone in our praise of this popular spot. Nothing short of amazing. I only wish I had returned during my trip for another pie. Gusta Pizza prepares the kind of pizza that makes you wonder why all pizza isn’t this good. It’s the simplest, freshest ingredients, served up fast, hot and with a big Italian smile! Mangia!

Gusta Pizza – Via Maggio, 46r, 50125 Florence, Italy

cowboy coffee

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What a great idea! Go for a beautiful western trail ride in the Colorado Rockies at the end of a stunning summer. Maybe we’ll see the Aspen trees starting to change color. I know some people who were packing a lunch for a nice hike up the mountain today. They must have seen the same magazine spread as I did. “Go to the gourmet market…pick up your charcuterie basket, your St. Andre cheese and fresh baked artisanal bread, prepare your cocktails in advance; purée your stone fruits for your sparkling wine, pulverize your heirloom tomatoes for your Bloody Mary’s, and don’t forget the hot, spiced string beans and freshly grated horseradish. Wrap your silver utensils in your linen napkins beforehand, remember to iron your red and white checked tablecloth, a daisy for the centerpiece, and bring your recyclable trash bags.” Really?! All sarcasm aside, it sounds delightful, but we’re going old school here. Getting back to basics. Living off the land.



Okay pardner, so they weren’t our horses. We didn’t trailer them up the mountain; didn’t saddle them, didn’t pick their feet. We roughed it, though. Yes, we did. Do you think there are bathrooms at that trail head? Uh, no. An outhouse maybe, but usually the smell blocks you from even getting through the door of one of those, if the flies don’t swarm you first. It was back to nature for us. Granted, guys have it easy. But Karin and I? We weighed the pros and cons of going with nature or sitting on top our trusty steeds for what would’ve been a long, uncomfortable ride. Karin went off to the woods. Not an issue, didn’t blink an eye. She’s Swedish and of hardier stock than me. She’s also a triathlete, and has been in that situation more often. Hmmm, I thought long and hard, and well, I do have tissues… Shockingly, everyone was quite proud of me. “Come on guys, it’s no big deal”. Karin and I bonded that day. I had earned her respect. (Don’t worry, I checked for bears, rattlesnakes and poison ivy first.) It was time now to mount our wild stallions and head off into the wide, blue yonder.




Our trail ride was incredible. We didn’t start from the valley, but rather began our ride further up the mountain, so the views were spectacular. Our guide, John, who also owns the company, was fabulous. Andy, our least experienced rider, was quite proud of how he handled his horse. Turns out “Buck” was a rodeo bronco, retired just a few weeks prior. My brave friend Karin was on constant lookout for bears. She’s been reading a book, apparently, that had her convinced that the bears were going to jump us out of the woods like street gangs. The claw marks on the tree were of no comfort.


We made it to our breakfast stop. The horses got a little break, and so did we. Breakfast was prepared by the cowboys and served at a folding table in a tent. Okay, so we didn’t round-up any cattle, but these Yanks worked up a hearty appetite. This was the kind of food you would expect, no fancy Brie, croissants or cappuccino. Our Western man of the hour, John, prepared us up some fine French toast, Italian sausages and scrambled eggs cooked, of course, in the grease from the sausage. Red grapes and orange juice were a nice touch. And of course, black coffee. “Do you have any milk?” I asked. It seemed a reasonable question. “No ma’am, what we got us here is cowboy coffee, ma’am. We drink it black. No milk, ma’am.” Though I did have unrealistic hopes that he would pull out my morning staple, Coffeemate creamer, the coffee was nonetheless delicious. And about that “ma’am” thing… Hey, aren’t I still young enough to be called “Miss”?! Maybe not, but there was definitely over usage of the “ma’am” thing.




We finished up our scrumptious breakfast, took some selfies with the backdrop of the stunning Rocky Mountains, and Karin and I took care of a little business, (separately), in preparation for our ride down mountain.



On our return home, we passed the rolling vistas and bucolic scenery and stopped for a glimpse of a herd of Black Angus cows who wanted no part of us. It was a beautiful way to start the day. Karin and I are soul sisters now, and Andy is feeling pretty confident in his newly acquired bronco riding skills. (Did I mention it was a trail WALK?)

A Bloody Mary or a Bellini would have been the icing on the cake at that moment. And like any good cowgirl, I am always prepared. We headed to the gourmet market to pick up the charcuterie basket we ordered.


Capitol Peak Outfitters and Aspen Wilderness Outfitters

a writer’s block walk down memory lane


I have been suffering from a bit of writer’s block. It would be easy to place blame on life’s daily demands; getting the kids off to college, a sick dog, even an unfortunate addiction to Candy Crush. The truth of the matter is that I am going through an introspective, rebellious stage. A personal backlash of sorts. The extreme foodie-ism our country is going through is at the same time intriguing, fabulous and overwhelming. Chefs are rock stars. And the number of young people venturing out into cooking, eating, drinking, writing and documenting their every culinary experience will bring vast changes to our gastronomical future. With the focus now on local farms and sustainable food practices, our health will benefit in addition to our taste buds. I look forward to all of it.

So, why the self-doubt and reflection? First is the realization that I cannot dine at every new restaurant in Brooklyn. I cannot taste every new trend, and I do not like pork belly. I do not want to photograph every entrée that is put down in front of me, and make my dinner companions wait so I can photograph theirs. There are those unique dishes and special cocktails however, that do demand a little media coverage. I appreciate the many highly stylized and beautiful blogs out there, but as much as it interests me, I cannot keep up with all the social media. I envy and admire the creativity of the websites devoted to food, and the way our dining experiences are now so much more global.

For me though, what are most important are the fond memories food brings to my life. From getting dressed for school when I was a little girl and the French toast breakfasts my mother made me. Those days it was Wonder White bread, eggs, with lots of white sugar sprinkled on top. To memories of my father. My dad is no longer alive, but I remember when I would eagerly wait for Saturday nights when he would go get the big, thick Sunday edition of the New York Times which came out between 11:30 and midnight. A dozen hot bagels and cream cheese would always accompany him back. I couldn’t wait for the first bite of my warm salt bagel encrusted in a blanket of kosher salt and shmeared with gobs of Temp Tee. We would watch Saturday Night Live, flip through the newspaper, and stuff our faces with soft, chewy, fresh bagels. I recall being a teenager and loving any excuse to get dressed up. My father would take us to dinner at Maxwell’s Plum on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I would get the buttery rock shrimp pasta, the taste still so vivid in my mind, and be in awe of the fancy people and the mouth-watering offerings on the intriguing menu.

I think back to my first job in New York City, when I would grab a roll and butter and a coffee (lots of cream and sugar, of course) from the corner food truck each morning. I can still smell the aroma of the sweet coffee in that paper cup with the plastic lid on those cool, fall mornings. It was coffee. Period. No waiting on ridiculous long lines for specialty lattes in foreign sounding sizes. It was good, old-fashioned, New York coffee. Food trucks weren’t trendy then. It was the basics, pastries, bagels or rolls in the mornings, gyros or hot dogs in the afternoon. Salad bars were the rage for lunch. Like Pavlov’s dog, whenever I smell sesame oil, I am reminded of those long lines of people on their lunch breaks, holding plastic containers, standing over the many random selections of vegetables, asian noodles, cheeses, and toppings for their “healthy” salads. I think back to all the hands touching the same serving spoon and am thankful for the salad bar cafes today that do all the tossing for you behind the counter.

I went to college in one of the greatest food cities in the world, New Orleans, where I took my taste buds to the ultimate heights. From spicy BBQ shrimp (heads on, of course!) swimming in a sauce of pure butter in which to soak crusty French bread, to the fluffy, sugary, hot donuts from Cafe du Monde. Not to mention the colorful and sugary alcoholic drinks I learned about there; Hurricanes, Sazeracs, and frozen Daiquiris, my personal favorite. We would mix and match our daiquiri flavors, get it in a giant plastic go cup, and head to the levee to lie out (oops, I mean STUDY) in the sun. (Sorry, Mom…) I learned a lot about food in NOLA. I waitressed, I bartended, I cooked.

Food has been a constant in bringing up my children. The kitchen is the center of the universe in my house, and though they didn’t begin life as good eaters, they have certainly become them. Do I think it’s a good thing that my son requests gnocchi with truffle sauce for dinner? I didn’t know what gnocchi or truffles were when I was his age. Thanksgivings offer some of the most precious memories. The smell of rosemary filling my house as a 22 pound turkey spends the day basking in the heat of my oven. And though food is the focus, “what size is yours?!…the turkey, I mean!” we all know it is really just an excuse to get family together, watch football in front of the fire, have some hot apple cider or a glass of Beaujolais nouveau, and maybe have a catch outside on a snowy New England day.

I have a terrible memory, but I have a great sense of smell and taste. Maybe that is why food plays such an important role in my life. It helps me to remember.

People told me when I started this blog that I would ultimately find my voice. I understand now. And I appreciate the people who inquired about why I hadn’t written lately. I’m not done; I have more tasty tales to tell. We’ll be off to Italy soon, our favorite food country in the world. A little pasta, a little bistecca fiorentina, and a lot of vino, I am sure. Oh, and of course, a slice on the way. Ciao.