let’s bring back the canapé (and a giveaway)

The Deans of Domestic Pursuit, Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault, want to bring back the lively days of entertaining at home. I’m with them. If you’ve been a (willing) listener, you have heard me bemoaning the state of the dinner party, the cocktail party, even a luncheon served at home. It seems as if months will go by between invitations to any of the above. I love having people over, but even I have been off my game. The book and all… Thank heaven for the Deans. I wrote about them last year for the Washington Post, just when their book deal was coming together and here their book is OUT ALREADY! The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits (Stewart Tabori and Chang) is the most charming, funny, down to earth, sweetheart of an etiquette […]

sorrel flowers

preserving by the pint, sorrel pesto, and a giveaway

Marisa McClellan is my kinda gal. She’s a writer, recipe developer, veteran canner and tireless can-vangelist. When you read Marisa’s blog, you can tell — she can’t see produce without thinking about what it would look like in a jar.  Her first book, Food in Jars, has been printed umpteen times and sold a bazilion copies and I expect the same will be true for this lovely second book of hers – Preserving by the Pint. The recipes — for a pound of this or a couple of pints of that – are quick to pull together and the flavor combinations are sensational. The book is organized seasonally, the photos are delectable and the layout fits the charming, casual, friendly tone throughout. Right off the bat, Sorrel Pesto grabbed […]


feeding the creative mind (paté grandmère)

It’s been a few days since I returned from Ham Heaven and I can’t think of anything but paté grandmere.  There is a lot to say for travel, particularly if you have a job that demands creativity. Nothing kills new ideas like the same old same old. And nothing lights a fire under the creative soup pot like seeing, tasting, breathing, and engaging in a new place.  I thought a lot about eating while in France. About how the French eat, and how we eat, how I eat. There really is no snacking. You sit down to eat three meals a day.  At the market, shoppers gather fresh foods as well as all sorts of preserved foods — charcuterie, cheeses, fresh dairy and yogurt. There is a wide range of […]


treasure hunting in gascony and basquelandia

Last week, the New York Times published this story about packing for 10 days in a carry-on bag. It’s impressive. When I read it, I was, at that very moment, cramming Every Single Thing in France into my suitcase. I had long since given up any thoughts of staying below the 50 pound limit and was only worrying about getting everything to fit. I thought about it before I left DC. I knew I would shop. In fact, there were a couple of items already on my list, and I was open to so much more. So, really, I should have known better. Bringing a wee little bag with me was short sighted. I needed a duffle bag. Or more. Hello, my name is Cathy and […]


Ham Heaven

Seven days ago I left Washington, D.C. to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. I arrived at Kate Hill’s gastronomic slice of heaven, Camont, and moved into the little gypsy caravan I have called home once before. After five quiet days alongside the canal, eating well, drinking Gascon wines and visiting with friends, we left yesterday to trace the Ham Trail in Basque country. We drove through four styles of architecture and as many types of  agriculture until we reached a small, charming hotel at the base of the Pyrenees. Basque country spreads out before me in the valley. Sheep and pigs and stocky horses roam the hillsides. There are hams hanging everywhere, even over last night’s dinner table. There is so much to say, but […]

how to cut a mango

mango coconut macadamia conserve

So, did I mention I’m going to France? I’ll be visiting Kate at Camont where I hope to putter in her beautiful gardens and go brocante-ing with her sister Stephanie (check out her Etsy shop of fabulous vintage French household goods). I’m going to  scritch Bacon the big dog and soak up Kate’s Gascony. It’s paradise. When Elaine joins us next week, we’ll be heading to Basque country, south and towards the sea. Still France, almost Spain, a land all its own. (Elaine is continuing work on her project This Little Piggy. I’m tagging along.) We’ll be on the seashore. The eastern shore of the Atlantic. I’ll wave! (You can follow my adventures on Instagram. I don’t know how much social media you can expect when I’m […]