A Lemony Holiday Cocktail

Cocktail (Bacardi)My search for an historic holiday cocktail turned up endless variations of egg nog, mulled wine, and spiced/spiked coffee. The Boston-based cocktail virgin slut blog posted many tempting ideas. Yet the folder of family recipes yielded the best Continue reading

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Caffeinated Cake with a Nod to the Boston Tea Party

Mocha cakeCoffee became a patriotic drink after Bostonians dumped tea into the Boston Harbor to protest high import taxes that Britain imposed on its colonies. With the anniversary of the original 1773 Boston Tea Party coming up on Dec. 16 – and the quite modern frenzy to fuel holiday preparations – coffee is a choice ingredient this week. Continue reading

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In My December Kitchen

Winter has (unofficially) arrived in Boston with its muted palette of browns and grays but I maintain bright colors in my kitchen, even though my basil plant did not survive its trip from the garden to the windowsill. For a look inside other kitchens around the world, check out Celia’s monthly feature at fig jam and lime cordial. Here’s what I’m doing this month:

IMK Dec pudding

This batch of pumpkin-almond milk pudding gave me a new use for extra canned pumpkin that I purchased for Thanksgiving pies.



Meanwhile, chestnuts and stuffed squash rounded out weeknight meals.

IMK Dec chestnuts

IMK Dec - squash





IMK Dec hazelnut oil

We bought hazelnut oil as an ingredient in my husband’s home-brewed holiday beer. The beer isn’t ready yet, but I have already sprinkled the leftover oil on baked butternut squash and in salad dressings.

IMK Dec cookbook


I still haven’t figured out what holiday recipes to make this year, but my daughter gave me an early and much-appreciated vintage cookbook. Blender banana bread batter? Maybe not. Soup? Sure!

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Road Trip for ‘Green Rice’


This 1950 Ford sedan led to ‘Famous Eating Places.’ Source: Wikipedia

Rice - book coverEven before President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Highway Act that created the interstate system in 1956, Americans ventured out on road trips. In the early 1950s, they piled into the Mercury Monterey (nicknamed “the bathtub”), the Lincoln Cosmopolitan, and the Ford Victoria. Two Ford Motor Company publications, the Ford Times and the Lincoln-Mercury Times, ran articles that steered drivers to “famous” roadside taverns. Continue reading

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Puritan Pumpkins: ‘Fruit of the Lord’

Plimoth Plantation recreates the Pilgrim settlement.

Plimoth Plantation recreates the Pilgrim settlement.

IMK Nov Squash

Pumpkin pie will grace most Thanksgiving tables this week, including mine. Yet at the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, the pumpkin would likely have been stewed, not baked. Continue reading

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C is for Concord Grape Jam

Grapes - jamAs a pre-school teacher at the Grace House community center in Richmond, Virginia, my mother taught a whole generation how to distinguish a circle from a square, how to count to 10, and how to do the “Hokey Pokey.” At least once every fall, she also helped the boys and girls make Concord grape jam. Continue reading

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Shrimp Creole: New Orleans via North Carolina

Shrimp creole done


My grandmother, Bertie (pictured above), grew up in coastal North Carolina, where hush puppies made a regular appearance on local menus. I’m not sure where she found this recipe for shrimp Creole. Continue reading

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