two yummy recipes from The Tasha Tudor Family Cookbook (+ a giveaway!)

“If you took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening, listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, you might enjoy life more. Joy is there for the taking.” ~Tasha Tudor

It must have been lovely to join Tasha Tudor for afternoon tea at her beloved Corgi Cottage in southeastern Vermont.

Perhaps her Corgis would greet me at the door, and if I was a little early, she’d put me to work, melting semi-sweet chocolate to fill her speckled cookies. I would happily set the table with her favorite heirloom Blue Canton or hand painted pink lustre tea set, basking in the warmth and charm of her cozy kitchen, only too willing to immerse myself in her 19th century world.

Tasha’s older son Seth built Corgi Cottage in 1970 using only hand tools (photo via Tasha Tudor & Family).

I can’t remember when I first encountered Tasha’s work; it seems like her enchanting pastel watercolors were always part of my read-write-teach existence as they adorned nearly one hundred children’s books and a myriad of greeting cards and calendars. How I appreciated this gentle reminder of simpler times, the idyllic views of New England people, villages, woods, fields, farms, and gardens!

photo by Richard Brown/The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Tasha’s life was a work of art. She often remarked that she was the reincarnation of a sea captain’s wife who lived from about 1800 to 1840. Here was an artist who wholeheartedly lived and dressed the part, making her own clothes from flax she grew, raising her own farm animals, indulging her passions for gardening and traditional handcrafts such as basket-making, candle-making, calligraphy, weaving, sewing, knitting, and doll-making.

photo by Richard Brown/The Private World of Tasha Tudor

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tanglewood hall: stepping back in time


Why, good morning!

You’re just in time for breakfast at the Inn at Tanglewood Hall. This charming 1880’s Victorian “cottage” in York Harbor is where Len and I spent our first two nights in Maine.

View from 1A (York Street)

It was a good spot to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary (obviously I was a child bride :)). During our early years as a couple in England we stayed at many, many B&B’s — everything from a farmhouse serving bacon so fresh it oinked when you bit into it, to a tiny room above Haworth’s Black Bull Pub, where Branwell Brontë pretty much drank himself to death.

No matter where it’s located, staying at a B&B is always an adventure — it feeds my interests in history, architecture, interior design, food and hospitality. With fond memories of our long ago stays in Yorkshire, it was good to fast forward to the Yorks in Maine.

View of entrance from parking lot.

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soup of the day: sugar and ice by kate messner!

“The pace of the music picked up as she gathered speed, and everything left her except the feel of the cold air on her face, her blades on the ice, her movements in time to the music.” ~ Kate Messner, Sugar and Ice

It’s time to put on our sparkly skirts, lace up our skates, and do a triple toe loop and a couple of flying spins to celebrate the official release today of Kate Messner’s brand new middle grade novel, Sugar and Ice (Walker, 2010)!!

Last year, Kate gave us The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z (Walker, 2009), which won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, definitely enhanced my appreciation for autumn leaves, and got me hooked on  introduced me to a delicious distraction called Nonna’s Funeral Cookies (nom nom).

And now, with Sugar and Ice, we have a small town maple farm, the fascinating world of competitive figure skating, a bit of beekeeping, a Thai restaurant, a Fibonacci school project, a cast of interesting, fully-realized, believable characters, and a highly palatable menu of enticing edibles: hot chocolate, corn chowder, egg salad and turkey sandwiches, pad thai, pizza, PopTarts, and *wait for it* — blueberry pancakes!


Ricotta Hotcakes (recipe here) from michelle une-deux senses/flickr.

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Tall stack dripping with melted butter and maple syrup. Want. (You will soon want, too. Trust me.)

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