Brussels sprouts are still having their moment. This long-maligned veg has found its audience, with new recipes popping up on the best food blogs and cooking magazines. This recipe is an old favorite, adapted from the Cheesemonger’s Seasons, a great cookbook for putting fruits, vegetables, and cheeses together in unexpectedly delicious ways. I substituted the Podda cheese, which I had trouble finding, with manchego (sheep’s milk) cheese, but you can also use gruyere. It takes a little time to “leaf” […]



When I think of Halloween, my mind always turns to popcorn balls, those salty-sweet homespun sweets of my childhood. Our neighbor, Mrs. Snider, was a cheerful old lady with a little white bun on the back of her neck and sensible lace-up shoes that had been fashionable during World War II, and I never saw her without a cotton “farmer’s wife” apron like the ones my grandmother wore. When we showed up on her doorstep on Halloween, she would invite […]



I’m SORRY IF is no way to begin an apology. It’s a variation on a theme that we often see with celebrities and politicians: “I’m sorry if what I said hurt some people.” is not an apology, but a refusal of blame for another’s hurt by suggesting that their feelings aren’t valid. When I worked at the White House we learned the value of a sincere – and quick – apology. Anything less would have reflected poorly on the president […]



I have many happy memories from growing up on a grape farm. Every fall when the grapes were ripe, I would race out to the vineyards after school. The weather was still sunny, but you could feel autumn coming in the crisp breeze that rustled the milkweed and wild sumac. My mother and aunts would be picking grapes, methodically working their way down the rows, clipping bunches and dropping them into old wooden beer crates. They pulled the crates along […]


Receiving Lines at Weddings

While a receiving line is usually only seen at a wedding or engagement party, we rarely had an event at the White House without one. A receiving line consists of the host and hostess – and a guest of honor if there is one – standing at the entrance to the party to greet the guests. Since the invention of the camera, the receiving line at the White House has taken on Cosmic Significance. A photo with the President is […]