October 1, 2012 |
Sometimes the stars align, and sometimes they collide. And sometimes they do both at once. We begin when Daughter Francesca and I get invited to speak at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., about our coming collection of the columns, which is titled Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim . Francesca thought of the title, which is very funny unless you happen to be the emotional baggage. That would be me. I don't mind being her emotional baggage. On the contrary, I like being a big heavy thing she totes around, like a guilt backpack.
September 13, 2012
Excerpts from Craig LaBan's online chat Tuesday: Good afternoon, my hungry friends, and welcome back to our weekly romp through the edible and drinkable wonders of Philly's food scene. Congrats to Christina Wilson, the ex-Mercato chef and South Philly resident who won Hell's Kitchen last night. I despise the show, but it sounds like she actually got a real job out of it (executive chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas), so hats off to her for enduring the gauntlet of reality TV to get there.
August 10, 2012 |
Ethel L. Brooks had a strong urge to take Allen Iverson over her knee. Ethel was a devoted 76ers fan, one of those enthusiasts who know all the players and statistics, and she didn't like the way the brilliant but controversial guard treated her team. Such inexcusable behavior, running off to the Denver Nuggets, the Detroit Pistons, and some team in Turkey! "I wish I was his grandmother," she once said. "I'd knock some sense into him. " Ethel met Iverson once, at a casino in Atlantic City, but that was before the controversy, and he couldn't have been nicer to her, her family said.
August 9, 2012
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: I've been loving all summer produce that's around us this time of year, and took the family peach picking in Jersey, at Conte Farms in Tabernacle. I did my best to put a dent in the 22 pounds of ripe fruit we picked (in 10 minutes!) before the tractor returned. Reader: Where is the best place in Philadelphia to get artisan cheeses? My friends suggest I move to Bucks County, where I will be a short train ride away from Brooklyn where they have the best artisan cheeses.
May 17, 2012 |
Snow had fallen by Halloween; in effect, spring arrived by Christmas, and the blossoms were popping by Easter. And despite the atmosphere's recent flirtations with quasi-normality, the seasonal fast-forwarding trend has continued briskly in the Philadelphia region's farms and fields, where veteran observers report that the annual bounty of summer fruits and vegetables is a full week to two weeks ahead of schedule. Even better, one weather service says the summer could pass without a heat wave.
October 2, 2011 |
You would think that if you live alone, you get to be the boss. As in, you're not the boss of me. Because now that it's only me, I should be the boss of me. In fact, I'm self-employed, so I am, literally, my own boss. But that's just literally, or maybe for tax purposes, but not in real life. In real life, my dogs are the boss of me. And my cats are my slave masters. I realized this a moment ago, when I was working on my laptop, with two dogs sleeping on either side, Peach and Little Tony, each with its head on my lap. I like to work with the TV on, and some horrible show came on, but I couldn't reach the remote to change the channel without waking up Little Tony.
September 1, 2011 |
Labor Day weekend brings the end of summer, with cool September breezes a welcome relief from muggy, 100-degree days. Still, it's bittersweet to say goodbye to the season. But, as in autumn, when leaves turn most brilliant just before winter, summer offers a sweet finale - fuzzy, juicy peaches. Delicate and ephemeral, peaches are a perfect way to end summer. Their easily bruised flesh doesn't travel well, and their sticky sweetness quickly overripens to leave a soggy mess and a kitchen full of hovering fruit flies.
August 31, 2011 |
When Jerry Frecon became the agricultural agent for Gloucester County 30 years ago, he took a distinctive pleasure in riding the back roads of Deptford. "Summer nights, you couldn't miss the smell - pig farms, with the pigs who fed on waste and garbage," said Frecon with a laugh, his New Jersey Peach Promotion Council cap a bit askew. There are no pig farms in Deptford now, just big-box stores, said Frecon, who is spending his last year as Gloucester County's ag agent - the go-to guy for farmers and nursery owners with complaints, problems, and ideas.
January 20, 2011
Penn State football fans are hoping Deion Barnes does not have some kind of secret peach fetish. Penn State and Georgia . . . Those are the only two schools still in the running for the 6-5, 230-pound Barnes, a defensive megarecruit (end or outside linebacker) who last fall led Northeast High to its first Public League football championship since 1983. South Carolina, Pitt and Michigan also were part of Barnes' final five. SC was nixed a while ago. Barnes forgot about Pitt and Michigan after those schools recently fired their coaches.
May 2, 2010
I've always known what it's like to have a great mother, but I had no idea what it's like to be a great mother. Having one dog can't really approximate what it's like to be a mom. That takes at least three dogs. As you may know, my mother was recently traveling on tour with her latest book, and it was a grueling schedule: a different city every other day, high-energy signings, meetings with booksellers, and greasy airport food. She loves it, but it's a tough job. Still, it ain't nothin' compared with being a stay-at-home mom. I should know.