Author: Jane Larkworthy

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 …

The House Votes: Simon and Lisa Aldridge

We were aware of Simon and Lisa long before we met them. We’d pop in for a snack at our local coffee shop and there they’d be, enjoying a quiet lunch, Simon always dressed in some chic country gentleman jacket or coat, Lisa in a cozy cashmere sweater and black ski pants that fit her perfectly, and their son Julian behaving better than any ten-year-old had a right to. Who are they? I’d think. They’re kind of perfect…But why are they so quiet…? Boy, was I wrong! Lisa has a wicked sense of humor and Simon, an avid race car driver (and collector) is equally playful, as well as the first to offer a hand in the kitchen. And their son Julian, now 12, always joins his parents when invited to dinner here (we’ve learned he can be quite the discerning guest in his dinner invitations). His parents, both  architects, transformed their revival home in northern Litchfield County  into a sprawling maze of inviting rooms, full of mid-century modern pieces, older antiques and terrific art. Personally, I am obsessed with …

Getting The Ski Legs Back

For my 13th birthday, my mother handed me a long, thin envelope. Inside was a brochure for Sugarloafer’s Ski Camp, a weeklong program offering recreational instruction for kids at the Maine ski area Sugarloaf. Nearly a month later, two days after Christmas,  I was scooped up by a trio of buses filled with 150 or so campers and counselors on their way to Kingfield, Maine, where the camp–with its sleeping fort and dining dome–awaited. Most of the kids were from the Main Line of Philadelphia or Essex County, New Jersey. To speak in broad terms, they were preppy and good looking.    Okay, they weren’t all preppy and they weren’t all model-material, but that’s how I remember it. What I most strongly remember, as I sat in my bus seat observing, was how these ‘tweens and teens exuded a confidence that was completely foreign to me. And the way they dressed! Ski camp was where I saw my first fair isle sweater and my first pair of LL Bean blucher mocs. The campers had distinguished names like Churchill and …

My Little Sister is Growing Up

One bright fall November morning in 2005, I was in Katonah, in northern Westchester, test-driving a 1993 Volvo station wagon that my friend Geri had told me about. Alone in the car, driving north on 684, I started speaking aloud. “Astrid, you know I can’t give you permission to go to that concert,” I began. “That’s a decision your mom and dad have to make. Not me.” Pause. Cars pass. I imagine what the response would be from the 15-year-old I’ve never met coming from the backseat. I laugh at said imagined response and shake my head. “I know I’m also your “mom,” (my right hand is raised to form a quotation mark) but you know what I mean. Imagine what your mom mom would say if you told her that I  said you could go!” Astrid was the daughter of the man I had met just a few days ago on a dating website.  I knew Bertrand was the one almost immediately, but I had to play it cool so as not to scare this rare gem …

Giving the Pot Pie Another Shot

The irony of growing up near the ocean is that I also grew up in a time when the local seafood fare hadn’t been tapped yet–at least not beyond restaurants. Sure, you could get a good lobster or grouper at the nearby Yankee Clipper in Freeport (where I had my first–and last–waitressing job one college summer), but the idea of finding fresh fish at the local supermarket was pretty unheard of. So our dinner tables were laden with canned salmon and canned tuna on fish days, which I hated. Hated. Wouldn’t touch. Spent hours at the dinner table after everyone had finished their meals, starting that salmon patty down until my father went to bed and my mother, the softie, let me win. I blame this childhood for my hatred of all fish, which is a lame excuse, I know, but I’m sticking to it. But I digress. Another dish I grew up hating was the pot pie. My mother was a wonderful, curious cook, but I don’t recall her ever taking on the pot pie; instead, she’d …

The House Votes: Hope Dana

  I met Hope a million years ago at a Christmas party at her brother’s, with whom I was friends back in my twenties. I knew she was an architect, and that alone intimidated me enough. She was also outgoing and smart, kind and confident, and an alumnus of Miss Porter’s. Basically, everything this girl from the South Shore of Long Island wished she had been. (Hey, at least I own it…) Fast forward some 20-odd years later, I  noticed a woman and her mom looking adoringly at Remy as we sat waiting for our coffee one morning at the Southfield Store up in the Berks. I brought Remy over to say hi to these dog lovers and the daughter asked, “Are you Jane Larkworthy?” It was Hope, and her mom, Bunny, whom I also had known way back when. (who forgets someone named Bunny???). Wouldn’t you know it, Hope’s house is in the town just south of ours. Not only that, she and her husband John are avid cyclists and, as often happens up …

So Easily Frightened

When I was ten, my mother threw a Halloween party for my friends and me. Midge Larkworthy was known throughout the neighborhood for her party flair, but this one surpassed them all. As my friends showed up in their pilgrim and witch costumes, we waited in the front yard as my father chatted with other parents in the front yard. Finally, the front door slowly opened. There was Mom, a messy black wig on her head, black shawl around her shoulders and heavy shoes on her feet. “Hello,” she uttered in this strange, high-pitched voice I’d never heard before. She scanned the group of us, offering no ounce of recognition to her youngest daughter. I’ll never forget how alone that made me feel. With a vacant stare, she asked no one in particular,”Are the first guests ready to come in?” Since it was my house, I ran up the steps, clearly not having been versed in proper hostess etiquette yet. My best friend, Jenny, joined me. “Come in, come in…” scary Mom allowed, as we …

The House Votes: Frank Muytjens

As we go through life, there are people you meet who you’ve never heard of before, while there are others who come with a preface, an introduction that’s been put out there about them. It could be from  friends who have said something like, “Oh, you have to meet Bob and Diane. You’ll love them.” Or because they’re in the public eye, which happens more and more, thanks to social media. Fifteen years ago, I would have known who the head of J. Crew menswear was, given my day job. These days, we not only know what Frank Muytjens looks like, but that he has an adorable dog named Dutch and a picture-perfect house in Columbia County. We know that he likes to entertain, thanks to  Bon Appetit, but I wanted to know more. There he was, strolling past us at Guido’s market last Fall, his cart somehow managing to look chicer than ours simply by the produce he had chosen. Then there he was at Stagecoach Tavern, dining with friends we also knew. The …

The Reason for this Blog

Some write about the Berks on their cute little food blogs (dedicated, signed up number of followers: Ten). Others write about it for the New York Times. That “other” is my friend, Danielle, whom I wrote about in a previous post. This piece, below, was in the Times last Sunday. She captures the Berkshires mood so well, I had to reprint it. I hope that’s legal. TRAVEL How the Berkshires Became an Epicenter of Great Food Heads Up By DANIELLE PERGAMENT OCT. 12, 2016 Chefs are among the shoppers at the farmers’ market in Great Barrington. CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times The woods don’t hold twilight for long — brief gold shafts through the trees gave way to a heavy night that blackened the windows around the dining table in Southfield, a storybook of a town tucked into the Berkshire mountain range. There were 10 of us that night not long ago — the food blogger, the meat purveyor, the cheesemonger and our hosts Bobby Houston (an Oscar-winning filmmaker) and the home renovator Eric Shamie. Matthew …