Blackberry and apple upside down cake with whipped cream
Dessert, Food, Summer

Blackberry and Apple Upside Down Cake

Today is Beatrix Potter’s birthday, and in her honor I’m passing along her recipe for blackberry-apple upside down cake.  It’s just the sort of homey pudding (to use the English word for it) that you could imagine the beloved author and illustrator serving with tea at her Hill Top farm. As a child I always loved the stories of Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggywinkle, Squirrel Nutkin, and the dangerous Mr. Tod, as did my own children.   Later I came to admire […]

Beverages, Formalities, Tales from the White House

Approaching the Glass

My first few weeks as White House Social Secretary were pretty overwhelming.  It wasn’t simply that there were so many people to meet and things to learn; there were events almost every day, and the next day, and the next week, and the next month.   It was like jumping onto a racing treadmill, catching the pace, and then speeding up as fast as the machine would go.  And, of course, there is the WH way of doing things: after decades […]

Fall, Flowers, Summer

Heavenly Hydrangeas

My friend, Susie Poneman, owns and manages a floral design studio in the Washington, DC area called Heavenly Hydrangeas.  Her business grew from a love of entertaining and gardening; in fact, she has over 100 of the flowers in her home garden and took the name of her business from her own heavenly hydrangeas.  Since 2005, when a donation of flower arrangements to a charity auction received such rave reviews she was encouraged to begin her business, she and her team of […]