Tasting the Holidays: Simple Gifts of Goodness

Orange mandarins with their leaves attached always remind me of Christmas. I recall them bulking up my holiday stocking on Christmas morning when I would find it propped on a chair, filled with little wrapped presents and chocolate. I would set the fruits in a pile on the floor next to my haul of gifts,…

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The Art of Slow Food: Duck à la Marlena

It was perhaps a bit extravagant. Certainly it brings new meaning to the term and culinary movement of “slow food.” Setting out to make a 9-day duck dish isn’t your everyday undertaking. It seems something fit for a holiday, and in our rushed and harried world, perhaps not even then. Overnight marks the upper limit…

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A Bowl of Quinces, A Feast of Gratitude

They look something like small, golden apples with a whisper-thin coat of fuzz. On the table by the windows, the bowl of homely little fruits is so fragrant that I can smell their perfume three feet away where I sit with my morning tea. At Thanksgiving dinner, they were placed attractively on weathered sycamore leaves…

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The Scent of Green Chile: A Cook’s Passion

The chiles are here. So proclaims the large sign out front of Whole Foods Market in Monterey, California, near a table piled high with oblong green peppers from Hatch, New Mexico. On a late August afternoon, my thoughts had been elsewhere until this moment, turning over some detail or matter at hand as I crossed…

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The Cook and the Mango Tree: Ordinary Blessings

I need to feel the earth under my bare feet. Just a few hours ago, I was hurtling across the blue Pacific, returning home to Hawaii, my partner, and a houseful of guests. Honestly, I’m feeling more than a little tired and ungrounded. Standing in the kitchen of our Kailua house, preparing dinner for the…

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