Bush Family
tales-from-white-house

REMEMBERING BARBARA BUSH

To me, Barbara Bush was the real-life American version of the Dowager Countess of Grantham; a woman of high standards with a Yankee wit so truthful that it tickled more than it stung. She exercised tremendous influence in the world simply by being herself because she knew innately how to treat people well. When I left the White House I was given a sheaf of photos of my favorite events, and this one, taken in 2005, was among them: the […]

Laura Bush’s Cheese Grits and Shrimp
food

LAURA BUSH’S CHEESE GRITS AND SHRIMP

There’s a fascinating exhibit at the Bush Library in Dallas, called “First Ladies: Style of Influence” about the role first ladies have played behind the scenes and on the world stage throughout history. I recently spoke on a panel on that very subject at the Library, and wanted to pass along a recipe of Laura Bush’s, for spicy cheese grits with shrimp. This is a fabulous recipe, the best of the south, and a perfect mix of traditional and contemporary […]

Penne alla Vodka
food

PENNE ALLA VODKA

There are plenty of ways to make this ultimate Italian comfort food, but this version is my favorite. It’s certainly the simplest! You can add grilled chicken to the recipe if you want it to be more substantial, but as written it’s the most deeply satisfying meal imaginable. My favorite time for penne alla vodka is when you’ve been traveling for a couple of days, skipping meals or eating granola bars for dinner – or worse, inhaling half the (stale) […]

Blackberry Lemon Pancakes
food

LAZY SUNDAY BLACKBERRY LEMON PANCAKES

You know what makes good pancakes? Bisquick. There it is – the secret’s out. You don’t have to make pancakes from scratch every time – I mean, who doesn’t have other stuff to do on a Sunday morning, like sleep? I add things to the Bisquick pancake dough to elevate it a bit – in this case, fresh blackberries and a squeeze of lemon juice. The blackberries turn the dough slightly blue, which is pretty and fun, and the lemon […]

Tulips
flowers

TULIP MANIA

Tulips are an incredibly versatile flower. They can be as simple as you please, plunked into an old bottle or yogurt jar, or they can be the swans of the flower world, long-necked and elegant, turning toward the sun each morning from inside a gilded vase. I bought a few kinds of tulips and offer them here for your consideration. (And I couldn’t resist the Lenten roses and hyacinths for good measure.) Part of being happy is knowing how to […]