Restaurant Baby

It is 11 a.m. The empty bar at this hour seems about 40 feet long, curved mahogany polished to a high sheen, like the shinbone of some extinct woodland giant. The mirror behind it reflects row upon row of bottles, the popularity of their contents revealed by the level of liquid in each one. The room smells of leather, cigarettes, and last night’s perfume. My drink sits on a napkin in front of me. Down at the far end of the bar, the owner huddles with a friend over bottomless cups of coffee. On his way to refill their cups, he smiles and wordlessly plunks another maraschino cherry in my glass.

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The author's mother and grandmother.

The author's mother and grandmother.

Brisket brought us together

I grew up after the crinoline and before the slip dress, on propriety's waning edge. When I was little, I wore a dotted-swiss and organdy party dress to Passover Seder at my aunt's house, and I dutifully scanned my patent-leather shoes for nicks while I waited for the service to end. But by the time I graduated to a kilt with matching sweater and knee socks, questioning the status quo had become the politically correct attitude, and so my sister and my cousins and I perfected an array of disaffected expressions to let everyone at the table know that we had far more important things to do.

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Summer cooking : The corn chronicles

One man, who eats complicated foods and sophisticated wines, confessed that, for all the extravagant dishes he has sampled, he has always longed to taste fresh corn.

A realist asked me what I would do if the kernels didn't form properly, and for a moment I imagined myself the heroine of an O'Henry short story, sneaking out in the dead of night to paste a healthy ear of supermarket corn on the stalk, to spare Sarah the heartbreak of an inedible ear.

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