Time to bulk up the refrigerator. Ferdinand is coming home.
More maple syrup, more spelt flour for pancakes, cherries, blueberries, bananas, apples, chicken, potatoes, carrots, celery, ground meat, spices for curry, coconut milk, rice, thyme, parsley, rosemary, onions, garlic, pasta, bacon from Greenpoint, plain yogurt, milk,cereal, oats, broccoli, chile peppers, lemons, limes, spinach, leeks, those chocolate covered butter cookies with the guy on a horse stamped on top.

And a desk. What the heck am I going to use for a desk for him?
Home Depot. Two saw horses and a door. I will make him come with me so he can carry it. Whenever I ask him to cook, he says “Mom, mom, mom.”
But when I ask him to move anything he doesn’t miss a beat.
“I got you Mom,” he says.

How can that not melt you like sugar on a slow flame?

Homecoming dinner:

small plates of raw vegetables
gnocchi with meat sauce
Broccoli with garlic and chile
fresh squeezed lemon with mascarpone ice cream

Free Cheetos

This is me, in my Bluebird uniform, with my mother, two of my sisters and the Dowd kids. I joined the Bluebirds because they had free Cheetos at meetings. The taller boy was a genuine genius. He just kept skipping grades. The short one, his brother, with the peace sign around his neck, would sit in the back of our orange Fairlane 500 that my mother bought after my father died, and swear like a sailor in the back seat. Once, driving along I-91, Tim was on a particularly hefty streak of cuss words and my mother pulled over. “Get out of the car,” she said to him. “Go on, get out.” He didn’t say anything. He got out of the car. She started to pull away. “Mom, I said, he is not your kid. We have to go back and get him.” And we did. Classic Bluebird.

Just to be Clear

This is from my past, where I no longer live. I am no longer dating. It was like trying to have fun as a fish in the Sahara.

For example:
Waiting for Apu

I wasn’t convinced that he meant it. When the little pink circle lit up my inbox I thought for sure he wrote me back by mistake or obligation to his mother’s generation or I don’t know what. Curiosity maybe. Maybe curiosity.
He was only 49 and I am 55. Every other man had made it perfectly clear that if they were 49, the cut off for a woman was 33. God forbid a 49 year old man should make the stretch to date a 34 year old. Of child bearing age. A wrinkle free woman.
For 55 year old men, there is also typically no such permit for an over 40 year old woman.
I had expanded my search to men in their 70’s. Whom, all withered up and wheel chaired would reply from at least their Eazyboy, “you need to be loving and secure and have plenty of money and time to focus on me and enjoy cooking or cleaning up and downhill skiing with your slender athletic body. Drop me a line if you want to travel all over the world on my lap and then sit on my couch or on a stool at the bar and watch the game.”
Who are these men?
I would like to think, just a tiny representation of the male population, but the numbers won’t let me.

And then Apu showed up.

49 year old Apu, who was so handsome with his grey black hair slicked away from his face and his manly beard. I wrote him because I couldn’t help myself, not because I was expecting an answer back.
But he wrote back.
He said, “I am soon to be 50, so not that much of a stretch if you are 55.”
Well I’ll be.
When he asked me for my phone number so we could talk and text, I said, “Apu, I think it is best if we hold off on the number. That way if when you meet me you think, “ohhhhhh, noooooo”, we can just walk back out the door like nothing ever happened.
He said, “Fair enough.” And he gave me his email.
I didn’t hear from him.


I emailed to tell him I completely understood; no need to keep it going, and he emailed me right back, “Just busy. Was going to email!! you beat me to it! More later.”
I waited.
Old as I am.
As if the banking crisis hadn’t already happened. In particular to the old people.

But History has a shelf life.
Knowledge evaporates.
How do I not remember that?

It is Saturday and there is no Apu asking me to play ping pong. Tomorrow is Sunday, and there will be no Apu asking me to play ping pong.
Which apparently he is very good at.
I wouldn’t know.

Footnote: At that time I ate mostly cereal during the daylight hours and then late night mini hamburgers with hits off a milkshake to try and bulk up.


Vacation is a funny thing.
When you are used to working more hours than there are in a day, you dream about vacation, you crave vacation like sugar. You are ready for it.
Then it comes.
And you may be not so ready for it after all. Not that you don’t need the rest. You could sleep two weeks. But then after the sleep. You are rested. You get out in the hot sun with your cute suit and hat. And all of a sudden you feel like vacation is making you feel naked on the beach. It is just you. No job to do. No hours to keep. It is hard. I know; I am on vacation.
I got up at six to have coffee in the village and talk to the farmers. Met my friend for second hand stuff shopping. Had another coffee and some heart grabbing sciacciata in Arezzo. Bought 4 kinds of bread just because it looked good. And cookies. You can’t not buy cookies on vacation. Then I went back to bed. Listened to a song someone gave me, two times over. Good songs are so much better when you can listen to them over and over. Thought about dinner. Fell asleep.Had a wander to look for Yo-yo, the mini donkey. I am getting the hang of it.

I know it’s still Winter, but I need it to be Spring

so a bit of both in the menus this week for Supper Club

I know it’s winter, but I need it to be spring, so a bit of both in the menus this week. xo
Wednesday Menu

Entree $12.50

Meatballs and sauce with country style polenta served with broccoli rabe and whole roasted carrots

Sides $5.00

Antipasto of salume, cheese, vegetables and olives
White beans and escarole



Dessert $5.00

apple tart

Thursday Menu

Entree $12.50

Chicken Cutlets with lemon and capers served with string beans and fresh herbs and roasted zucchini with fennel
Sides $5.00

Potato and leek soup with bouquet garni

Salad of greens, croutons, chive, cherry tomatoes with garnish of fresh chevre

Dessert $5.00
Meringue with fresh strawberries

This week’s Supper Club menus

Wednesday Menu

Entree $12.50

Roast chicken stuffed w/ garlic, herbs and lemon served with string beans braised in tomato and roast potato

Sides $5.00

Lentils w/ rosemary and garlic

Salad of greens, zucchini pappardelle, parmesan, chive and crouton



Cheese plate

Dessert $5.00

Italian cheesecake

Thursday Menu

Entree $12.50

Salmon w/ avocado and tomatillo sauce served with basmati rice w/ leek and lemon

Sides $5.00

Chic pea w/ red peppers and herbs

Salad of greens, fennel, orange, red onion and olive



Dessert $5.00


The new dinner list

On Thursday’s, and starting this week, maybe even Wednesdays if the cook feels like she can push the envelope, up her game, and find sleep where there was none to be found before, 51st Bakery and Cafe has a dinnerlist. If you get on this list, which has no cool outfit required, or password or any requirements really, then once a week, you get an email from me telling you what’s for dinner.

There is only one option a night. With the exception of times of Major Illness, when flat coca cola was set next to the bed, my mom never made a different dinner for everybody. Not one time in my leef, life, loaf. As a mother, I failed at that, but at the cafe, I am getting good at it. I make a roast pork loin, or a whole salmon or chickens marinated with heads of garlic and herbs, and spoon some tasty vegetables in there with a spot of salad. All of that is $12.50 In case anybody is super hungry they can get additional sides for five dollars. They always include but are not limited to, cut raw vegetables or fruit. Who doesn’t need more of that? And dessert. Because I love dessert.

Here are the three menus I have done so far. Make them at home or join The dinnerlist at 51st for dinner on Thursday (and maybe even Wednesday) nights.

Dinner Plate $12.50

Roast Salmon with tomato confit served with garlicky spinach and roast red bliss potatoes

Side $5.00

Bruschetta with White Bean Puree

Crudite with sea salt and olive oil

Cut fresh fruit

Dessert $5.00

Lemon Apple Cake

Dinner Plate $12.50:

Roasted chicken breast marinated in dijon, garlic, and lemon zest

Ratatouille with eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, onion and tomato

Mashed potato

Sides $5.00:

Crudite of braised string bean, raw carrot, raw fennel, celery, radish w/sea salt and olive oil

Puy Lentils with rosemary

Cheese board of 3 cheeses: $10.00

Dessert: $5.00

Pear Tart

Cut Fresh Fruit

Dinner Plate $12.50

Penne with turkey sausage, spinach and shallot served with roasted butternut squash and salad of greens, red onion, dried apricot, toasted almond and green olive

Side $5.00

Antipasto of sopressata, idiabazal (spanish sheep cheese), roasted peppers and zucchini

Crudite with sea salt and olive oil

Cut fresh fruit

Dessert $5.00

chocolate jonty (flourless chocolate cake)

all the sandwiches I can think of that I make at 51st

(I think and not all on the same day)

The Lawrence Genoa salami with fried egg and arugula
Meatloaf with roasted onion and tomato
chicken salad with bit of lemon zest, fresh thyme, chive, chopped onion, dijon, olive oil and vinegar
chicken salad with dijon and tarragon
sliced chicken with roasted fennel, roasted red pepper and idiazabal, a Spanish sheep cheese
sliced chicken with roasted string beans, hazen blue, and lettuce
roasted butternut squash with spinach, roasted onion and amish cheddar
soprasatta with red pepper, green olive and lettuce
brie with red grape and chive
brie with sliced pear and chive
fresh goat cheese with roasted string beans, green olive and lettuce
roast chicken with cranberry sauce and stuffing
roast pork with slaw and sliced onion
I think I might make borscht today xo

It’s January. What’s your plan?

If I were a normal human being, I would have slept late on my day off.
I am not.
I kept my body up until after midnight, shoving in supports of pillows and cold water to boost my shoulders into an upright position. On the plus side, I had on cute shoes, I was showered and I made it to the house of friends who fed me all things delicious.
On the slippery slope side, I woke up to the dark.
Sleep and making more than breaking even have become my abacus of success. I count minutes and pennies. If I can keep both above sea level, the day is a success.
I have no salads yet, no hot food, a baked goods selection that could resemble war time and professional attire that is an embarrassment to cooks everywhere. My son has not had any other vegetable except broccoli for the past two weeks–the last time I bought a 5 pound bag of it a Costco and threw it in the cart with 12 dozen eggs, 25 pounds of butter, turkeys, bottles of bleach, and a 6 pound bag of pistachios. But everything is labeled and dated in the refrigerator, there are paper towels at every sink station with in 20 feet of every food prep station, my rinse cycle is above 168 degrees for three minutes, I have mastered 2 minute frittatas in the oven to serve on a Saturday, and I serve the best scone in the neighborhood. From the deep down depths of my heart it never fails to make me happy when people like what they eat. That’s what makes it worth it.
The plan for the next few weeks:
close on Sundays
open for extended hours, at first just on Wednesdays and Thursdays for a Supper Club. One delicious menu that changes each night, one seating, plus take out.

Better socks.

Happy New Year xo

Friday Lunch at 51st Bakery and Cafe

Thursday lunch was so darn busy, I completely forgot to post. I am trying to post early now.
Meatloaf with roasted onions and tomato sandwich
Homemade roast turkey w/stuffing and cranberry sandwich
Grilled Amish Cheddar
Cheese board w/red grape, dried apricots and toasted pecan
Tuna w/avocado, field greens and roasted pepper
Chicken salad w/tarragon
Creamy tomato soup w/side of Sardo Bianco
Turkey soup w/red bliss potato