Can You Ever Forgive Me?


Dear Reader,

Last week, my writing group held its annual holiday lunch at Zuni Cafe. This year we followed lunch with the movie, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” In it, Melissa McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a writer who created and sold counterfeit letters from famous authors. She is brilliant (both the actress and the writer) and I cannot recommend it strongly enough, especially to writers. Or you can read the book.

My writing “group” is actually just two of us—the perfect size party for ordering Zuni's roast chicken. We drank wine, ate the bread, shared this gorgeous bowl of “Moroccan Jewels,” which I can't wait to recreate at home (let me know if you’d like the recipe), a salad, the chicken and finished with espressos. After three years of doing this very same thing, it’s become our tradition. I love it.

Really I love any good holiday tradition. This is why every year, I make these sweet (and so so easy) peppermint meringues from Bon Appetit (pictured above) and recipe here.

It’s also why I make David Lebovitz’s cranberry shrub and the cocktail he makes with it. Every. Year.

While making cioppino isn’t a tradition for me, I’d like it to be so I’ll be making this recipe. It’s one I created for a Robert Mondavi wine club newsletter—back when I was a freelance food writer—a lifetime ago. 

When I’m not baking, shaking or cooking this week and next, I’ll be reading. I’m in the middle of “First Comes Marriage,” by Huda Al-Marashi. The last three books I read were: “Bitter Orange” by Claire Fuller (LOVED her book “Swimming Lessons”), “Lies that Bind” by Craig Smith, and “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—I was way late to this book and kicked myself for it because it was brilliant and enlightening and inspiring and so much more. Read it today if you too missed it when it was released. Up next is "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett—another late-to-the-party book for me but I want to read it before the movie comes out! All of these books can be purchased at Napa Bookmine.

I hope you enjoy your holidays and especially the traditions you’ve created for yourself.