Email Etiquette


More and more of our interactions take place online. Without the ability to read another person’s facial expressions and body language it’s easy to misinterpret a message. Here are a few tips from Treating People Well to keep your emails precise and pleasant. Avoid Sarcasm – Sarcasm is difficult to recognize without hearing the speaker’s tone of voice or seeing the smile and accompanying eye roll. Save emojis and over-punctuation for personal emails, and remember that messages in all capitals […]

Rhubarb Crisp


This is the homeliest dessert I’ve ever made, a reminder that beauty is only skin deep. In the time it takes to chop rhubarb and mix up some flour, sugar and butter, you can have a bubbling hot sweet-and-sour rhubarb crisp that, while delicious and colorful, is only slightly less ugly than a bad burn. A dollop of yogurt is all it needs to set the flavors off to perfection. I debated about posting this recipe because it’s so… not […]

Bush Family


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


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


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) […]