What do baking and letter writing have in common? Passion! Communication! Adventure!
Two of my most revered friendships came about because of letters I wrote. Last year I told you about Rose Levy Beranbaum; today, I would like to share another story about meeting M.F.K. Fisher, and share the recipe she loved most of all the things I made for her. The recipe is called “Starlight Sugar Crisps,” from a 1950s Pillsbury Bakeoff book, a croissant type of pastry laced with vanilla sugar.
Flashing back for a moment, someone lent me The Art Of Eating, an anthology of five books written by M.F.K. Fisher. Her style, sensibilities and wry humor captured me instantly. She made me fall in love with France all over again.
Two things drew me to visit Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol: They serenade their barrels with music, and they have an all-female distillery team. Unusual on both counts, it was worth a trip out of town to get a closer look at the operation. As a bonus, getting there provided a scenic view of the vineyards and the acres of brilliant yellow mustard flowers that pop up every year at this time. Continue reading →
Beautifully shot in black and white – a rarity these days – Ciro Guerro’s Embrace of the Serpent is Columbia’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, and deservedly so. An “elegy for lost cultures and an indictment of exploitation,” this saga of human endurance in the wilderness – also the theme of fellow Oscar nominee The Revenant – plays like “a rainforest fever dream.” Critics Daniel Barnes and Dennis Harvey present their takes on this vivid physical adventure, which opens across North America in February and March.
Are you on a diet after the excesses of the holidays? I sure am.
Gwyneth Paltrow is by no means the first movie star to dish out advice on how to eat healthily, and drop some pounds along the way. Gloria Swanson raged against sugar in all its forms, Greta Garbo was bosom buddies with health-food guru Gaylord Hauser, and famously hearty eater Elizabeth Taylor wrote a legendary diet book called Elizabeth Takes Off in the 1980s.
But when I’m feeling an excess of adipose tissue, it’s Diana Dors who I turn to. Continue reading →
The Danes think enough of Tobias Lindholm’s A War to nominate it for best foreign-language film in this year’s Oscars. See how Bay Area reviewers Daniel Barnes and Richard von Busack view Lindholm’s “… look at the burden of leadership and the psychological toll of living through hell” in this week’s Critics Corner.