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Posts Tagged ‘Prune’

Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold

January 30, 2012 | by

My husband and I got engaged on December 30, 2005, in a restaurant in Greenwich Village. We spent the next night at home, having planned a feast for two. About halfway through an afternoon of strenuous cooking, however, Andrew became quiet and glassy-eyed. He took to the couch, rousing himself only when I served the fish.

The sight of his laden plate made him flinch, but he bravely took a bite of potato-crusted salmon. “Mmm,” he said unconvincingly, “this is good.” Mine was overcooked. “I think I’m going to throw up,” he said. I thought that was a drastic overcorrection, but before I could say so, he was on his way to the bathroom, where he remained for many hours.

This gave me plenty of time to drain the champagne, eat up my gougeres and caramels, and contemplate the future to which I had recently committed myself. Is this a psychosomatic reaction to the idea of being with me forever? I wondered. I suppose this is what having children will be like, I thought, as I did my best to keep him clean and comfortable and get him into bed once his body had expelled everything.

Now I know that when your child is sick, you, too, are often sick, making motherly nursing even more challenging than I had imagined. I spend long stretches of every winter making cup after cup of peppermint or ginger tea to decloud my head. This past December, as I coped with my third annual Thanksgiving-through-New-Year’s malaise, I thought to consult Mrs. Beeton, whose masterwork, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, I remembered included a chapter on invalid cookery. Read More »


A Week in Culture: Elizabeth Samet, Writer and Professor, Part 2

March 24, 2011 | by

This is the second installment of Samet’s culture diary. Click here to read part 1.


I’ve been following the bassist Peter Washington around New York this week. I didn’t plan it that way: I didn’t know that Washington would be playing not only with Ann Hampton Callaway but also with the Terell Stafford Quintet at the Village Vanguard. A friend of mine who will be moving out of Manhattan in a few months told me he had never been to the Vanguard. This is unacceptable. Besides, it has been far too long since I’ve heard anyone there. The very first time I went to the Vanguard I was just out of college: I heard the late Illinois Jacquet play “Flying Home” that night. There are worse introductions.

Tonight there are two hecklers at the table behind us. Does this really happen? Do people pay a cover to heckle jazz musicians? I don’t get it. They are soon bounced, and the only other distraction proves to be the pair of unabashed lovebirds at the table in front of us. I guess the music of Billy Strayhorn—Stafford has just released This Side of Strayhorn—can have that effect on people. It took me in other directions, prompting a reflection on my relationship to the music of Strayhorn and Ellington, which was for several years just about the only music I listened to. I would prowl the excellent jazz department at the old Tower Records in Boston for more and more Ellington: first cassettes and then CDs, everything from the early Brunswick and Vocalion recordings to Money Jungle, the 1962 trio session with Max Roach and Charles Mingus.

Stafford closed the set with Strayhorn’s “Johnny Come Lately.” I’m listening now to the version on The Blanton-Webster Band. But if you really want to get a sense of the Strayhorn mystique, listen to Ellington calling “Strays” out on stage to join him for “Drawing Room Blues” and “Tonk” on Live at the Blue Note, a recording of a 1959 date in Chicago.

And Peter Washington? His playing was luminous—again. And a brief conversation with him in between sets suggests he’s as gracious as he is good.

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