Virginia Barton

29 June 2018: Woof woof!

I am not a doggie person unlike the vast majority of my compatriots whom, I suspect, actually prefer their dogs to their children. However, I have recently come across two dogs likely to change my mind.

22 June 2018: Gooooal!!

That’s “Goal!” yelled at full throttle and as long drawn-out as you can hold your breath. Give it a try, preferably in the middle of a field. Or in the pub with your pals when your team scores.

15 June 2018: Kugelis

You can’t go wrong with this Lithuanian “side,” even on the hottest day. Teenagers love kugelis; it fills all parts other padding-out foods fail to reach.

22 February 2014: The cricket by the Aga

Our Aga cost a bomb but it gave succour, if only temporary, to crickets. It comforted the insomniac and the sufferer of an essay crisis. It was hopeless for teaching the little ones cooking. But it is the only piece of household equipment I have ever actually wept over when it died and was broken up and carted away for scrap.

28 November 2013: Happy Thanksgiving!

Too late I realise that the secret of cooking is to know what something ought to taste like. It was my mother’s secret. Lover of good food, she never did a hand’s turn in the kitchen (being of that generation and an artist to boot). However, she knew exactly what the result should be and would rattle whoever was making the lunch or dinner by prodding, turning or tasting and then pronouncing judiciously: “Too much sugar, add more salt” or, worst of all, “I think not darling.”

26 November 2013: Pie panic!

It’s November 26 and the making of the Pumpkin Pie has now assumed the proportions of an approaching asteroid, whirlingly destructive. Nerves are as taut as when VB first made an Irish stew for her mother-in-law.

20 November 2013: Remembering JFK

John F Kennedy was loved unreservedly by most of us from the day he was elected until the day he died. The glamour, the youth, the good looks, the war record and charismatic star quality all combined to make an irresistible package. He swept us off our collective feet and we felt the world must take a turn for the better.

14 November 2013: Pumpkin pie S.O.S.

Eaten once in 1962, never made but never forgotten, the mouthwatering deliciousness of the authentic pumpkin pie is one of life’s mysteries. One never sees them in the shops here. I’m sure they have to be homemade. Possibly home-bungled.

14 October 2013: Chowder, again

Our English chums love Chowder: those with the jaded palates of fine college dining praise its “regional authenticity and unusually delicate piscatorial piquancy”. Humbug, it’s just plain delicious. And even BH, no fish-lover he, unless it’s disguised as a meat pie or patty, tucks in with gusto. (Stern critic of my cuisine, BH is almost always my yardstick.)

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