Family-centric holidays can be fraught: who carves the turkey? Do we need to wait for everyone to have food on their plates before we start eating? Is someone saying grace? And then there are the oddball friends and relatives whom we see once or twice a year. They ask invasive questions, take the day to let their passive-aggressive flag fly, or drink until things becomes a soggy blur. These are the times when I am grateful to be a WASP. […]

Dessert, Food, Uncategorized


The first time I met Bill Yosses he was interviewing for the position of White House pastry chef. The Chief Usher, Gary Walters, and I had been interviewing pastry chefs for a couple of months and I was struck by Bill’s easy self-confidence and positive attitude. Then he baked for the Bushes (Gary and I taste-tested also) and everyone was sold. He went on to expand his skills even further in the Obama White House, where he found new and […]



Falalalala-la-la-la-lahhhhhh! It may feel like April but Christmas is just around the corner, and have you ever seen it come up so quickly? It seems like I was just starting to think about pumpkins and cornstalks and it’s already time for wreaths and candles in the window. The Christmas wreath pictured above came about because there wasn’t time to buy a new one. I took the bittersweet off the Thanksgiving grapevine wreath and added dried hydrangea, a few greens from […]

Dessert, Food


Everyone loves homemade chocolate chip cookies. It’s almost impossible to make a bad one. But it’s natural to be curious about the other chocolate chip cookie recipes out there. If there’s an ingredient that hasn’t been folded into the recipe for novelty’s sake at this point (bacon, chocolate, cherries), I can’t imagine what it is. Garlic, maybe. But what if you gave a chocolate chip cookie recipe the kind of close attention and precision you’d give a soufflé or sourdough […]

Dinner, Fall, Food

Roast Turkey with Caraway Seeds

My Bohemian grandmother used caraway seed in her cooking all the time – in soft and salty rye bread, with dill in scrambled eggs, with pork loins and bread dumplings with sauerkraut – even in the Thanksgiving sage stuffing. It has a distinctive flavor that I’ve always loved, and if you haven’t tried it on your Thanksgiving turkey, this might be the year. And the gravy from the caraway-rich drippings! Don’t miss it – it’s amazing, maybe the best thing […]