This February my sister Janet and I hightailed it, as many of our friends do, to a warmer climate. We chose Oaxaca, Mexico, a favorite vacation destination for years.
Jude's Culinary Journey
I was born in late February, not by choice, and I’ve never gotten accustomed to the cold as apparently some do when thrust into this world while snow swirls in the streets and the temps hover in the teens.
The first time I had a Christmas tree, I was somewhere in the ballpark of my early 40s. My sister, Janet, and I were renting a house (we would later own) in the Beechwoods area of Callicoon. We had never had a tree before because we are Jewish.
I answered the phone to hear a man speaking loudly, not in an angry way, more excited with anticipation. I had trouble understanding him, his accent heavy and exotic, then heard the words, “Zenon Taverna” and realized he had first said, “It’s Stelios.” Then I knew who he was.
If you are an antsy person, as I am, the wait for the annual planting season can seem interminable. Where we live in Sullivan County, one generally doesn’t put trowel to earth until the first week in June for fear that a stray frost may unexpectedly hit and kill your newly planted herbs and vegetables.
My sister-in-law was visiting, and I brought her up to my bedroom to show her some changes I’d made to the décor. After she’d admired my new acquisitions, she looked down at an old wooden child’s chair on which sat a large, gangly stuffed animal, a monkey. She made a disparaging comment. “That’s Bananas,” I said defensively.
You have undoubtedly heard the phrase “you eat with your eyes.” To a great extent, this is true. Otherwise, cooks and chefs alike would disband with plating and garnishing food in an appetizing way. On the other hand, some have such an avid following they don’t bother with appearances.
When you work in a shop that specializes in the foods of a foreign country, as I did for 10 years, you often run into customers who aren’t quite sure how to pronounce an ingredient or product they want to purchase.
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, partly because I could never think of something substantial-sounding, and I didn’t think I’d remember I’d made a resolution in the first place.
I’ve been cooking since I was a little girl, when I first coveted the Easy Bake Oven featured in commercials on television. Ignoring my pleas, but wanting to motivate me, my mother rolled up my pajama sleeves, propped me on a stool, and introduced me to the kitchen stove.