How To Turn Things Around, George Costanza-Style

It was my birthday last week! Patrick and I had a great time away despite everything that’s going on in the world today.

But if you’re like me, not every day can be a fun-filled extravaganza. Not even close. I’ve realized over the years that my natural tendencies are toward procrastination, avoidance, and inertia. If I went with my gut, I’d stay in bed all day every day, reading endless piles of library books while grazing on whatever was the easiest/closest food on hand. I’d never exercise, shower, work, or talk to other people.

You should know better.

I have a lovely friend with four kids, ages eleven to two. They’ve been quarantining since March, just like the rest of us, and it’s been tough. This friend had major surgery last week, and her husband has been juggling childcare and housework and his full-time job ever since. I was texting with him today, expressing empathy, and asking how we could help. While we figured out a plan, he wrote as an aside, “The next person to say ‘you’ll miss these days’ might get punched.”

Oh, I got mad when I realized that people have…

The Perfect Dinner for Spring

I’m so close to being done with the new edition of Comfortably Yum! To keep you company, here’s a recently developed recipe from the collection.

My best friend is Finnish, and I’ve gained a fond appreciation for her culture. This soup is delicious — light, but filling and flavorful.

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 leeks OR 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
2 quarts fish or chicken stock
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon kosher salt OR 1–1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 pounds fresh salmon, boned, skinned…

My Version of the Ted Lasso Cookie

Hey! Have you missed me? I’ve been hard at work at the revised and drastically expanded version of my cookbook, Comfortably Yum. It should be ready for you in just a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll publish a recipe once in a while to get you in the mood.

As you know, I’m a huge Ted Lasso fan, and bakers all over have attempted approximations of the cookies Ted bakes to win over his frosty boss. I’m pretty sure that “biscuits with the boss” must be something like this recipe. …

A Holiday Shopping Guide

I’ve been working on a second edition of my cookbook for a while and had hoped to have it ready for the holiday season. Alas, no — but hopefully it will be out in the early spring.

In the meantime, here are some cookbook suggestions for everybody on your holiday gift shopping list. Well, almost everybody. I can think of one person who would interpret a gift of a cookbook as veiled criticism. But for the rest of the world, a cookbook is a gift that keeps on giving — often right back to you, the giver.

If I could…

The Best Music for the Best Season

True confession: I own over forty Christmas CDs. That may seem excessive to some; this I acknowledge. Whenever I feel tempted to judge someone for a shoe fetish or other acquisitive hobby, I remember my drawer of Christmas CDs and realize that I live in a glass house. I’d be hard pressed to give up any of my CDs, but if forced at knife point, I would whittle the collection down to the following ten (not in any particular order).

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas
No, Mariah’s not my favorite artist; I wouldn’t want to…

Better late than never….

You’re all probably smarter and more organized than I am and have already finished your holiday shopping. But just in case you haven’t, I’ve written about some of my favorite sources for unusual and delightful gifts. (And here’s another great list.)

This year especially, it feels important to me to support independently-owned businesses as opposed to big box stores/monopolists, so that’s what you’ll find below.

One way to support your local economy is to buy gift certificates. Everyone from your local ice cream shop to your favorite spa, aesthetician, or massage therapist, to a neighborhood restaurant

A Different Kind of Advent Calendar

The holidays are just about upon us. This year, many of our usual activities are out of the question. There will be no Christmas concerts. No craft exhibitions at the schools. No caroling in groups. No parties or cookie or ornament exchanges. No live nativity scenes. It’s time to come up with some creative ways to mark the season while staying safely at home.

Patrick had the great idea that we’d watch one Christmas movie as a family for the first 25 days of December. I put together a list that included family favorites as well as some that are…

Set Yourself Up for Success

My friend and former classmate, Kim Purcell, recently wrote a terrific piece on building a writing habit. I highly recommend it.

Kim’s article got me thinking about my writing ritual, one I developed after reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Pressfield encourages artists to have a set of behaviors that tell your brain and creative muse, “Let’s do this.”

These days, we can’t go write at our favorite library carrell or cafe. Depending on your life and work circumstances, you also may not be able to write in the same place at the same…

Luisa Perkins

Novelist, foodie, francophile. Top Writer in Books. My Patronus is our corgi, Moneypenny.

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