Saturday, May 13, 2023

How to revive lilacs

Lilacs, waiting for friends to come to Friday supper. 

I bought the bunches at the Union Square farmers market on Wednesday, and, true-to-lilac-form, they wilted fast. Yesterday, to try and save my investment, I re-cut them, removed all the greenery, and submerged them entirely in a deep basin of water for about three hours. They perked up! Then, post supper-prep, I cruised the neighborhood, where the first roses have begun to open, and picked up some wonderful fruit tarts (Ladybird Bakery), an outstanding baguette (Winner NYC),  cold wine (Big Nose, Full Body), and locally-made gin (Windsor Wine Merchants).

Thank you, Brooklyn.


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Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Chickweed, a luscious, cool-weather green, has a unique flavor. Read all about it and get my super-easy chickweed recipe on Gardenista.


May Day

On May Day, when the spoiled citizens of France took to their streets to protest their president's decree that they should retire at the age of 64, and not 62, I walked in the woods at the northwestern tip of Manhattan. 

It had rained all weekend, and in the old hills, untouched by the grid that flattened so much of the island, water was running, everywhere.

I visited a vast nettle patch and collected a bagful to blanch and freeze, for tarts and breads and biscuits and as-yet-uncreated mid-spring stews. Field garlic was at its fattest, too, and easy to pull from the sodden soil.

On logs obscured by fallen branches, in swathes of Japanese knotweed and emergent jewelweed, wood ears proliferated.

I saw a small handful of other people, mostly women, jogging, and walking, and the sounds that surrounded us for two hours were running water and singing birds. 

As I left a man placed his large backpack on a rock in the forest and unpacked it, possibly to spend the day in contemplation of the million shades of spring green. But as I walked down my last hill I heard from his rock the fatal sound of flat bleating. The peace was shattered by his sack of bagpipes, playing a penetrating flaccid scale, each ascending note more defeated than the last. 

My timing had been perfect.


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