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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

A Taste of Success

[Sorry, I haven’t posted in a few days—we started our vacation in the “real Florida” (more about that later) where we had no internet access.]

For some ten years when I lived in Florida, I enjoyed membership in a truly wonderful book club.  The First Thursday Book Club, as we called ourselves, was a diverse group of women, who rarely saw one another outside of that sacred first Thursday of every month.  At most, there might be 20 of us; I can remember a couple of meetings in which only six were present.  We chose our books two months ahead, and we did our best to alternate fiction with nonfiction and new releases with books that had been around for a while.  Our membership included the happily married, the unhappily married, the gay divorcee, the gay, the Jewish, the Christian, the stay-at-home mom, the empty-nest mom, the lawyer, the potter, the Realtor.  I guess you get the idea.  I read so many books that I would not have found on my own, and one of those was Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone.tender-at-the-bone
Reichl, of course, went on to become the editor of Gourmet magazine (sadly no longer published), but before that, she was the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and then The New York TimesTender at the Bone chronicles her early years with food, her relationship with her mother, and her experiences at Berkeley, where she had her first serious relationship with a man and with food.   Reichl left me hungry for more, so next I read Comfort Me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires, in which she tells some hilarious tales about her undercover work as a Times critic.comfort me with applesI realize I’m taking a long time to get to the point of this post, but, if some of you dear readers haven’t yet read Ms. Reichl, and you enjoy food and cooking, you should definitely put them on your list.  In the meantime, check your local PBS listings for Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth.  I happened on this program one Saturday afternoon while I was ironing!  I was hooked immediately.adventures with ruth The half hour show features Reichl, accompanied by a friend/celebrity, on some sort of cooking adventure.  The first episode I saw took place at the exquisite Blackberry Farm resort in Walland, Tennessee.  Reichl and Frances McDormand worked with the farm’s staff to create an inspiring meal entirely from produce, fish,  and livestock raised within rock-throwing distance.gawr-season-one-bertinet-kitchen-bath-212 This past Saturday, I managed to catch Ms. Reichl and Diane Wiest as they learned to bake bread at the Bertinet Bakery in Bath, England.  This show is the perfect blend of cooking tips, menu inspiration, travel ideas, and, I’ll admit, a teeny tiny slice of celebrity cool, too.  Future shows will visit
gawr-season-one-john-rowley-seattle-212 Seattle,gawr-season-one-enrica-rocca-venice-212 Venice,gawr-season-one-cocinar-mexicano-212 Mexico,
and New York.  You can watch entire episodes online at Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth.  And if you want to read back issues of  Gourmet, well, I have an aunt that has them dating from 1984!  Yikes!


  1. Ooh! I will look for this show! I loved all Reichl's books and her guest appearances on the Food Network. Have you read her latest memoir about her mother? It's lovely.

  2. I loved Garlic and Sapphires! I'll have to get the other two titles at the library. Reichl writes very well.

  3. Sound like my kinda reads! I'll have to keep my eyes open for the show ~ love how you muti task :)


  4. Sounds like a great show!

    I used to belong to two book clubs and just like you, read a lot of books I would never have picked up on my own! Some were great...some were dreadful lol!

  5. i can't wait to catch an episode! we celebrated
    our 25th at blackberry farm and thoroughly
    enjoyed it.

    i have always wanted to be in a book club!
    sounds like so much fun.



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