Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
In almost every room people were sleeping, but not like babies.Raimundo came to this sweltering Amazon outpost 15 years ago, looking for land.Nelson would be the first to say that he has been favored with many acts of kindness in his 23 years.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
My forthcoming novel, Across the Table, is set in a restaurant in Boston’s North End run by the Dante family. They call the place “Paradiso,” after the third volume of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.
In Paradiso, Beatrice leads Dante through the spheres of heaven. Early on, believing that she has shown him more than he can comprehend, she tells him “sedere un poco a mensa.” She wants him to sit awhile at her table and digest all that he has seen.
Throughout Across the Table, the Dante family is sustained by Rose’s belief that there is no pain that cannot be eased by a dish of homemade pasta, such as the one below.
As Rose says when she prepares this dish, " I did what I always do when we have something important to discuss. I put care into what we were going to eat.”
1 lb. orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped into small dice
1 cup baby peas
1 cup diced cooked ham
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Prepare orecchiette as directed.
Sauté the onion in butter over medium heat until soft.
Add peas and ham, stirring to mix with onions.
Add heavy cream, blending with ham and vegetables until gently bubbling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain pasta. Place in serving bowl and add sauce, stirring to mix. Serve with grated Parmeggiano.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter collaborated on a wonderful handbook of exercises for writers called What If? that I used as one of the texts when I taught creative writing.
Friday, December 4, 2009
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium diced onion (1/4 inch)
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
½ cup diced carrot (1/4 inch)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups dried lentils (rinsed and checked for debris)
2 cubes Knorr vegetable broth, dissolved in 4 cups water
1. Saute onion, garlic, and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until soft (about five minutes). Stir constantly.
2. Add lentils and dried thyme, stirring to blend.
3. Add vegetable broth and heat to boiling.
4. Lower heat and cover, cooking for 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender. If too much liquid remains in the pot, uncover the pot and raise the heat to evaporate excess liquid.
Serve with rice.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We celebrated our daughter's 25th birthday this evening, a raucous dinner during which we overdosed on butter, laughter and gifts that included fuzzy slippers, a pop-up Advent calendar and a spindle with which to spin her own wool.
She is my miracle child. Twenty-five years ago, I faced the prospect that she might not survive the night. Born by emergency C-section, she was whisked away to a neonatal intensive care unit before I had the chance to see or hold her. By the time I was released from recovery and wheeled into the nursery, she was ensconced in an oxygen hood and her tiny body was attached to several monitors. I remember reaching out to stroke her leg, the only accessible part of her body. Still in shock, I couldn't comprehend what the doctors were telling me; I couldn't match the fragile life in front of me with the expectations and longings of the previous nine months.
The next morning, I was able to sit in one of the rocking chairs scattered around the nursery and one of the nurses lifted my daughter into my arms for the first time. Her monitors, which had been registering erratic, jagged patterns when I had entered the room, suddenly smoothed out into luxurious waves rolling across the screen like gentle surf.
"She knows your heartbeat," the nurse told me. "She's home."
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I've just returned from the Springfield Public Forum, the only free public forum in the country. Every fall, the Forum brings speakers to the city for a series of lectures that "inform, inspire and stimulate."