Best bean salad ever — sweet corn’s the secret

For as long as beans have been in my life, I’ve eaten bean salad. My mother made it with canned beans and bottled Italian dressing. Stoic’s mother made a big batch once when she and his father were leaving town on a trip, and Stoic ended up ice skating on bean salad after he dropped… Continue reading Best bean salad ever — sweet corn’s the secret

Summer sauces; tomato-fresh basil-garlic vinaigrette

I don’t know why, but it started with purchased tzatziki (cucumber, yogurt and garlic), which is really good on a chicken or tuna sandwich. Then, of course, the poppy-seed dressing and now a tomato-basil vinaigrette that’s out of this world. We’ll forget about the mayonnaise with siracha, soy sauce and sesame oil added for garnishing… Continue reading Summer sauces; tomato-fresh basil-garlic vinaigrette

Steak salad and more longhorns

Looking at 1 cup of leftover rice, getting ready to nuke my lunch the other day, I realized — anew — that I can’t eat that much rice. Ever. It felt like a little death until someone in my online fitness support group suggested I say to myself, “The new JoAnn doesn’t eat that much… Continue reading Steak salad and more longhorns

Hot southern mess

We’re currently experiencing the nastiest weather of the summer. Think Amazonian rain forest-African jungle heat and humidity. I’ve said (so many times) before: I hate Southern summers, love the food. Today’s lunch was the last of our sweet corn, the first of our field peas, some of Stoic’s perfect tomatoes and a neighbor’s honey-sweet cantalope.… Continue reading Hot southern mess

Stoic the Vast and Dora the Explorer; Tomato-cornbread salad

Here’s the thing: A whole lot of stuff does not matter once you get past, say, the quarter-century mark. My husband, Stoic the Vast, thinks that applies to everything (that it doesn’t matter), but he’s wrong. Some things do matter, just not the way people behaved in your high school class 50 years ago. As… Continue reading Stoic the Vast and Dora the Explorer; Tomato-cornbread salad

2 pounds and 2 weeks ’til reunion!

I wonder if any other of my classmates has to buy a new fence charger before our 50th reunion in 2.5 weeks. When I went out to put on fly masks this morning, we had a free range quarterhorse, and it will not do if any of our three amigos range onto N. Meadow Rd.… Continue reading 2 pounds and 2 weeks ’til reunion!

Blue nights, golden days and a 21st-century three-bean salad

Joan Didion has always been a bit diaphanous, a bit hide-and-seek for my tastes, ¬†probably never more so than in “Blue Nights” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011), a gauzy remembrance of the 2005 death of her daughter, Quintana Roo. You have to Google Quintana Dunne Michael to find out how she died. Her grief-stricken mother offers… Continue reading Blue nights, golden days and a 21st-century three-bean salad

Zucchini fettucine and sick of the seesaw

I am not tired of summer squash but I am so tired of watching the same numbers on the bathroom scales: 201, 202, 204, 203, 201, over and over and over for a couple weeks now. I’ve thought about writing my next major goal — 199 — on my palm with a Sharpie like the… Continue reading Zucchini fettucine and sick of the seesaw

World’s best chicken salad and how/why we cook/eat

Two recent cartoons in The New Yorker pretty much sum it up: PC Vey’s cranky cook saying to the man behind her at the stove: “Not now — I’m cooking to avoid intimacy.” And in the Pat Byrnes’ cartoon¬† the female cook asks an anxious-looking man, “How am I supposed to cook? The Internet is… Continue reading World’s best chicken salad and how/why we cook/eat

In praise of Laurie Colwin

Many food writers claim Elizabeth David, M.F.K. Fisher or Julia Child as their first inspirations. For me it was Laurie Colwin’s “Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen” (Vintage Contemporaries paperback, reprinted 2010). Originally published in 1988, Colwin’s was the first food writing to speak to me in a distinct voice. Chatty, funny, sensual, she… Continue reading In praise of Laurie Colwin