Thanksgiving is the cook’s holiday. More than any other holiday, it centers on food, on abundance, on dinner. Foodies across America have been planning their menu for weeks — lovingly printing recipes, brining turkeys, baking pies. It’s really the time for a cook to shine.

As for me, I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no turkey in my oven. I’m not stressing about gravy or setting the table. I’m going over to my aunt’s house to eat with 15 members of my extended family. Sure, I’m contributing. I bring sweet potatoes. My mom is cooking stuffing. My cousin decided it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without green bean casserole. And my grandmother is making her famous mashed potatoes. But the meal won’t be carefully art directed by me, with recipes from the last issue of Gourmet magazine or the latest Thomas Keller cookbook. It will be a mishmash of tastes and ideas that make up family. And I will eat it with my family.

And that is what Thanksgiving is REALLY about.

Natural Easter Eggs

This weekend it was gorgeous in Los Angeles. Here in the land of seventy degrees and sunny, we get spoiled by lovely weather, but this weekend was truly spectacular – flowers, birds, sunshine – springtime spilling forth in all of its glory. A perfect time to dye Easter eggs.

Now, I’m not talking about Paas, though there is a certain nostalgic joy in dropping those little tablets in the liquid, and the smell of vinegar, and those completely useless wire rings for holding the eggs. These eggs are evocative of springtime – of nature and fertility and new beginnings, and you have to go outside to make them. I call them craftsman eggs not only because they embody the spirit of the craftsman design movement – handmade, rather than industrial, and taking the materials and design inspiration from nature, but also remind me of the gorgeous stained glass you see in craftsman houses:

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