Author: Jane Larkworthy

The House Votes: Maria Nation

Before going any further, how great is Maria’s name? I bet you wonder if Maria Nation is related to Remy Nation, one of the buckets on this blog that I never use… Anyway, we had heard about Maria long before we met her. That she is a successful screen writer was intimidating and intriguing enough, but her farm! Everyone raved about its magic, everyone swooned over Maria and her partner Roberto’s dinner parties. When we finally met her, she did not disappoint. So, I mustered up the nerve and asked if she’d share her magic with us. And, like the legend herself, her answers are as entertaining, witty and thoughtful as she is. Any interesting backstory about your house? I bought the house from Wanda Horowitz, Vladimir’s widow and Arturo Toscanini’s daughter.  I never met her but quickly learned she was a cat lady.  There were cat curtains and cat rugs and cat doors everywhere.  I still have one of her cat sculptures in honor of her.  The first spring, when the snow melted, I saw in …

Sage Words

I remember reading some snarky tweet months ago that went something like this: “Remember life before iphones, when we had to take pictures of our food with cameras? Then we had to bring the film to the Fotomat and wait a week for the pictures to be developed? And then we had copies made and sent those photos of our food to all our friends? WE DIDN’T. NO ONE CARES. STOP IT.” I probably got the wording wrong, but that was the sentiment. I get his point about over sharing, (and I’m right there about selfies. Especially swimsuit selfies), but sometimes a shot—or, in this particular case, an Instagram Story—inspire a walk into the kitchen.  Over the long July Fourth weekend, I was lazing around (as I did for most of it), scrolling thru Stories when I found Jessica Seinfeld waving a curious looking shiny leaf in front of her phone. I think Jerry was in shot, too (since it was on Stories, it’s in the ether now…). Her caption identified the leaf as fried …

Mangia, Italiano!

It’s been about 72 hours since I left Positano, and I have yet to stop thinking about the pasta dish that chef Alois Vanlangenaeker taught us how to make. Well, that’s a stretch. We didn’t really do anything but eat, but throughout the hour-long class, he imparted plenty of tips while we sat there with our huge tasting spoons held out, like baby birds ready for the next feeding. Chef walked us through the kitchen’s many garden-grown ingredients, instructed us on which olive oils to use for what (peppery for frying, less peppery but not the boldest flavor for salads, the most expensive to be enjoyed alone); he showed us how many eggs– and which type of flour–to use for the pasta (9, and triple zero, respectively). My favorite reveal was the secret ingredient in his burrata-yogurt-sour cream mixture (a drop of jasmine oil!) that was placed atop the Amberjack (fish) tartar that I, of course, declined to taste (so much for my “Try fish more!” New Years resolution). My one big regret is not …

How we Infused Hygge into our Cake

On our weekly Friday night drive, we occasionally bring our friend Devin with us. We talk about a lot of shit in the car–work, jobs, people at work we like or don’t (or, in Devin’s and my cases, didn’t, since we have both recently moved on to new jobs). And, like most people who drive to a weekend place with some frequency, we talk about our preferred routes. Devin, if left to the steering wheel, usually takes 684 to 84 to 8, while we prefer 684 to 22. Danielle, meanwhile likes to start on 22, then head over to Bull’s Bridge in Kent, and connect to 7. “She’d prefer the scenic route over getting there faster,” Devin explained the other night. “She wants to feel like she’s on vacation as soon as she possibly can.” I totally get that. When I start thinking about heading back up to Massachusetts (which usually starts happening around Tuesday morning), I have an aerial view in my head of our car winding its way up–not along some interstate, but breezing …

The House Votes: Aerin Lauder

My favorite Aerin Lauder story does not involve me. My friend Patricia, a huge beauty zealot since she was a ‘tween, spotted Aerin at Boyd’s Pharmacy in New York City. This was pre-Sephora, circa 1988, and she and Aerin were the same age (still are…), all of 18, when this happened. “There I was, playing with the makeup and making mental lists of what I’d love to own, when in walks Aerin Lauder. As I remember it, she seemed to float into the store,” recalls Patricia. “She was immaculately dressed and groomed. She just had an air of someone who was someone.” It’s true. Not every someone has an air of being someone–especially in this current world we live in, but Aerin has always personified elegance. I’m pleased to report that her style is only superseded by her humor. She is quick to self-deprecate, loves sharing mom stories and gets a kick out of whatever occasion she happens to be a part of. Growing her brand from a beauty collection to an uber-chic lifestyle empire has …

Who Tells Your Story?

Last Saturday, I crossed something off my bucket list (Huh. I have a bucket list??). Standing in front of a crowd of people, most of whom I did not know, I told a story. The popular word for this is “Moth.” You might have heard of the Moth Radio Hour podcasts on NPR? Moths are everywhere–in bookstores, coffee houses, college campuses. Actually, I first heard the word when we watched our son Luke’s friend Rachel give a brilliant Moth during their freshman year. I do believe it was Rachel’s performance that first lit the spark within me. Perhaps egregiously, I had thought the term had been appropriated by the general culture, but perhaps not quite yet. When I Instagrammed that I’d done my first Moth, I received several “WTF is a Moth?” comments. The storytelling event in which I was participating is called “Inkless.” (I received even more “WTF is Inkless?”) Inkless was hosted by our friends Flavio and Lisa, who own one of our favorite eateries up in the Berkshires, No. Six Depot Roastery …

To the Resolution!

Hello, my dear ten readers, and happy new year. Just a quick post about resolutions I’d like to share. Take them as a journal entry, if you will. Or won’t.  Anyway, in 2017, I resolve to: Continue to say “You’re welcome” even when people don’t say “Thank you.” Create a candle. Ski more. Use the mute button any time Orange Face comes on the TV. Take in the beauty of nature, by pausing, looking around and inhaling. And maybe taking a shot for Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, I resolve to stop following those who incite any type of negative feeling. This includes but is not exclusive to: anger, jealousy, envy, incredulity, frustration and feeling old. Proudly start admitting my age. (None of your business. Rome wasn’t built in a day…) Fire up the smoker Bertrand got me for my birthday. Bake a cake, then smoke it. Also to be smoked: tomato sauce, bread, steak and portabellos. Make soup every weekend until spring’s thaw. Try something seafood-y at least once a month. (I said, Rome wasn’t …