Back in 1985, Betsy stopped in State College for a visit on her way to see Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera. The trip was a special one. It was the 50th anniversary of Porgy and Bess on Broadway. It was also 10 years since I had met Betsy, my first editor at my first “real” job as a reporter for The News and Courier in Charleston, S.C., and the first time she visited my hometown.

We drove Betsy all around town and campus. It was February and we took her to dinner at a restaurant at the foot of our local ski slopes, thinking it was as far as we could get from Charleston’s harbor and palmettos. It is funny, the things you remember. The comment that still brings a shudder to my Appalachian backwoods roots was, “Why does everyone still have Christmas wreaths hanging on their doors?”

Apparently proper Charlestonians remove all holiday trim by Epiphany. Not so in Central Pennsylvania, where outdoor decorations are frozen in place until March. April, this year.


We’ve had one or two days of spring-like weather so I was contemplating the front door wreath, complete with red ribbon and snow-flecked pinecones. Lucky for me, I was skipping through my latest computer diversion, Pinterest, and I saw my inspiration: An umbrella filled with flowers.

My sister Lee Ann introduced me to Pinterest. Its “Everything” site of DIY projects is like flipping through dozens of magazines for creative ideas, with just a roll of the mouse wheel. Most of my “pins” go onto a never-never-land personal page for “the future”. But this one shouted at me: “Now!”

I mentioned the idea to Marina, ensuring I would be prodded into action. We surveyed the current state of my mother’s umbrella population but found nothing suitable, only compact, pop-up types or HUGE golf umbrella models in U.S. Naval Academy blue and gold. So, the three M (Marina, Mom and Me) Musketeers drove to Goodwill.

We found a wooden, duck head-handled model for $4. Off to Dollar General for silk flowers, $1 a spray (four sprays), and a $1 spool of ribbon. Assembly took minutes, and the end result, perfect.

The next weekend, we visited Marina’s Great-Aunt France in Philadelphia. She still had her Christmas wreath on the front door. After Marina said her good-byes, France and I needed a diversion. France had a broken umbrella and off we went. We invested $5 at Dollar General, and ta-da, spring came to Pennsylvania once again. No wonder I’m humming, “Summertime”. Laurie Lynch

ImageRamp It Up: Alicia came across this ramp recipe and says that everything she’s made from the following blog is delicious!


Benioff Book: City of Thieves, the book that Emelie suggested a while back, was a page-turner, indeed. And a central theme is a dozen eggs…

Quote to Note: “It’s better to have your nose in a book, than in someone else’s business.”–Adam Stanley








I knew the teaching tunnel would be full of lessons.

I didn’t expect the first lesson to come so quickly, or on the drive home.

The first time I saw the sign I was cruising at 60 mph toward Shingletown.


A memory fluttered for a moment. No. It couldn’t be. The place must sell some type of truck ramp for DIY oil changes or something.

The next trip back from the teaching tunnel, Marina and my mom were in the car.

“Did you see that sign? Did it say Ramps?”

Marina hadn’t noticed. I was doing a double take, again, at 60 mph.

“I think it said Ramps. Ramps are like wild garlic and supposed to be delicious. They’re available for just a short time in the spring. Maybe they’re just selling truck ramps…but hey, this is spring. Maybe they have the ramps you eat.”

I made a U-turn.

Years ago, a big fellow stopped by Fleur-de-Lys Farm Market. He saw our Garlic Greens sign and wanted to know if we sold ramps. I had never heard of ramps (aka Allium tricoccum) but the seed was planted, so to speak. Some time after that, when my chef-phew Wille was working at Bucks County’s Yardley Inn, he said if we had ramps growing in our woods, the restaurant would buy them all. No such luck.

At the 2013 PASA conference I took a class on wildcrafting—foraging for uncultivated edible plants—and once again, ramps raised their broad, flat green leaves from the litter of the forest floor and waved at me. I even asked my co-worker Sharon if her dad had ramps growing in the wilds of his Rebersburg woodlands. We talked about escaping the office and gathering ramps and morels and other such delights of Penn’s Woods. We’d call ourselves The Wild Women. But alas, Sharon’s dad told her there were no ramps to be found.

We drove down the J.L. Farm lane to a complex of greenhouses. A pickup truck pulled in about 15 seconds later.Image

A fellow, probably in his 70s, climbed out of the truck. Marina and I approached him. He introduced himself as John. I asked if he had ramps. Not now, but he would on Monday. On Saturday he would drive to his place in McKean County, dig up the wild leeks, and return Sunday. Bushels of ramps would be available Monday for several local restaurants, and yes, I could buy some too. (McKean County is in the northwest section of the state known as the “Pennsylvania Wilds.”)

“They’re small this time of year,” John said, holding his calloused hands about 6 inches apart, “but they’re so good. Filled with vitamins and minerals.”

In Appalachia, ramps are the traditional spring tonic, warding off a long winter’s ailments. And what a long winter it was. I read that ramps are often cooked in bacon fat and served with a heapin’ helpin’ of eggs, potatoes, and bacon. Ramp festivals celebrate the allium in North Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia, all the way up to Quebec, where the French-Canadians call them “ail des bois”.

The spring ephemeral grows in cool, shady areas where you might find Mayapples or trout lilies. It emerges from the damp humus in late March or early April before the tree canopy fills in. By late May, the leaves of the perennial bulb die back, the flower stalk shoots up, and in June, the plant flowers and sets seed. Researchers at North Carolina State University found that seeds can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to germinate. All in all, if you’re trying to cultivate ramps from seed to root harvest, expect to wait five to seven years.

But John is fortunate. Mother Nature takes care of the process for him. On spring weekends he returns to the 20 or so acres of his childhood homestead where the woodland floor spreads out in a sea of green—ramps rising from the thawing soil. Even with the bounty, careful harvest is required so the native population is not depleted.

When I returned to J.L. Farm on Monday, John greeted me with disappointing news. His restaurant clients were expecting 200 pounds of ramps. He had nothing to sell them. “There’s still snow up there.” He opened a black garbage bag filled with slimy, blackened leaves. Tucked in among them were a tangle of ramp roots and bulbs, barely sprouting. He was going to spend the evening planting them in his greenhouse beds to grow them out to saleable size. He cupped a few in his hand and then went to a raised bed where a few ramps were showing their stuff, survivors of John’s marauding chickens.Image

“These are a tonic for people, deer, even turkeys. Thins the blood. Your daughter has to taste these before she goes back to Belgium,” he said, placing a fistful in a paper bag. “They have a spark. Make you feel like a wild Indian.”

For Marina’s last Momma-cooked meal, I made Fasta Pasta chipotle penne with a sauce of bacon drippings, bacon, and diced ramps, sprinkled with Romano cheese. Comfort food, ramp style. Laurie Lynch

Gourmet Giggle: In the midst of my tramping for ramps I was emailing chef-phew Wille about my progress. Long after the dinner dishes were done, I returned to my email and found this:

“Awesome! I would glaze them and serve them whole on a side of pureed parsnips with fish. Top with a nice sauce to finish it off and a whiff of fresh rosemary. Hit with some nasturtiums for that extra little zip and eye candy. Let me know how it works out.”

I guess that is next week’s project.






It is going to be a springtime of learning.

My Master Gardener friend Jo drafted Mom and me to help with a high tunnel project at Penn State’s Ag Progress Days site in Rock Springs, 10-plus miles from State College. Chris, another MG, heads the Centre County MG demonstration gardens just outside the high tunnel door.

A high tunnel is similar to the hoop house we had at Fleur-de-Lys, only this one is larger and has aluminum arches covered with clear plastic and sides that roll up when (if) the weather warms. Inside, we have a 4’x18’ raised bed and will soon have two tables holding a dozen Earth Boxes. The other half of the tunnel is empty, to make room for chairs when we hold presentations in the “teaching tunnel”.

Jo, an interior designer, transports her talents outside into perennial gardens and is a master at recruiting volunteers to showcase their skills. Chris has a long history with the MG program and is a gregarious gardener who always has a treat—plastic bag of Brussels sprouts in fall, jar of hot pepper jelly in winter, bulbs of stargazer lilies in spring.

We will have an “open tunnel” May 17, as part of the Garden Fair and Plant Sale, sponsored by the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Center County (quite a mouthful). Our MG herb expert will give a talk on Culinary Herbs, and with a little luck, our Earth Boxes will be billowing with fragrant, tasty and gorgeous boughs of basil, lemon verbena, rosemary, parsley…you get the picture. The raised bed will have three mini gardens: the Square-Foot Quilt Garden, the Pea Teepee Garden, and the Power Greens Garden. After the Garden Fair, we will switch out the raised bed plantings to make way for a grafted heirloom tomato trial garden for Ag Progress Days in August.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Chris stopped by the other day bearing gifts of peat pellets and donated seeds before she left for a business trip to Phoenix. I had never seeded a peat pellet before, so I was a little nervous, but heck, it’s only plant science. Chris warned me that you need “really warm water” to get the peat pellets to expand quickly.

The weekend arrives. I put the teakettle on the burner in the kitchen and start laying out the 86 peat pellets in their plastic trays on the atrium table. My cohort figures we are having a party.Image

When will the chocolate cookies be ready? Mom asks

They are not cookies. They are peat pellets. We are planting seeds.

When will the cookies be ready?

They are not cookies. They are for starting seeds.

They look like chocolate cookies.

They don’t taste like chocolate. They are made of peat moss.

So you don’t put them in the oven?

No. We’re using them to grow plants.

They look like such good chocolate. I could eat them up.

You know how there are two kinds of people in the world, those who see a glass half empty and those who see it half full? Well, there are actually three kinds—those who see chocolate. That’s my mom. Just a few nights ago we had dinner at an Asian-fusion restaurant where chocolate-brown linen napkins were wrapped around silverware and a white sleeve of chopsticks was strapped on top. Throughout dinner m mother would raise her eyebrows and motion to an unoccupied table, saying to Marina, “Look at that yummy chocolate dessert.” She repeated herself three or four times, despite our explanations to the contrary.

Back to our seeding. The warm water works. The peat pellets expand like pop-up sponges.

Those look like good chocolate cakes.

Well, they’re not. These are peat pellets so we can germinate seeds.

Every time I see them, I think it is a good piece of chocolate I can eat.

Finally, all 86 peat pellets are watered, seeded, and labeled. I snap on the clear plastic “greenhouse” lids and placed them on a card table where they will be warmed by the sun, if it ever shows.

Come to think of it, they do look resemble the cupcakes sealed in plastic containers in supermarket bakeries. All I can hope is that the darn seeds germinate before she tries to sneak a bite.

That next day we have a work session at the high tunnel to transplant donated seedlings into our Power Greens Garden.


My mom sits in a lawn chair watching the crew. We plan. We dig. We space. In goes the kale and chard. Next come the napa cabbage and spinach. We water. We label. Up go the bamboo teepees, our much-needed “visual interest” according to our designing woman. We are making progress. We are making a garden. As the cold rain patters on our plastic shell we are warm with activity and accomplishment.

Jo steps back, admires the work, and reaches into a bag for her Tupperware container. She peels off the lid and offers the first of her batch of chocolate brownies to my mom. Laurie Lynch

BTW: Our teaching tunnel is fueled by plant labels made from recycled wine corks supported by bamboo skewers.

Title Exchange: We had dinner with Emelie, a friend from the Lehigh Valley, last week.

She asked if I had read any good books recently. I knew I had, it’s just that the names didn’t come to me until I got home: The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

And Emelie’s suggestions were: City of Thieves by David Benioff and Plainsong by Kent Haruf..

Your Turn: If you’ve read a great book recently, add the title in the comment section of this blog.

Words Worth Reading: “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And Another: “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?”—Oscar Wilde




I’ve been ruminating. While the kids were back from Belgium, words of a parent kept returning to me

This Kutztown parent had a son who was interested in attending Vesalius College. My kids supplied details long-distance, via email or Facebook or whatever. At the end of the process, comparing all things that parents look for in a college, the woman didn’t care that tuition costs were less than, say, Penn State. No, the woman objected to the “true cost” of sending her son to Vesalius.

When I first heard this story, I immediately thought of the cost of plane tickets, postal and banking rates, and “side trips” to Budapest or Berlin or Bath. But those costs are so insignificant compared to the opportunities that abound, I told myself.

And then, overnight, teen-agers become adults. I find myself lost in a web of mother love, a purgatory of values, visas, and vicissitudes. I thought about the other “true costs”: Visits that come too seldom and end too quickly. Skype conversations, such a blessing compared to airmail; but Skype hugs and Skype tears, hollow and heartbreaking. No blowing out candles together, no sharing sunsets or moonrises, no spur-of-the-moment cups of tea.

When I was in labor with Richard, we walked around the neighborhood of Allentown’s birthing center to get things moving. Despite everything, I remember seeing crocuses blooming in the snow on that March 25th, 22 years ago. On Monday morning, February 27, 2014, I opened the Centre Daily Times to a photo of crocuses blooming around the Brussels Atomium. Connection.

Marina will be flying back to Belgium long before the tomatoes and basil go into the ground. Yet I was successful in capturing the essence of last summer with a savory tomato pie, frozen and then baked one blustery January day, just as the smell of happiness within a container of August pesto was resurrected from the freezer in February.

My niece Ansley, the psychology graduate, came for a visit. She spent a few days with her Nonna and dubbed this The House of Questions. That description bubbled with laughter then cut to the heart, reverberating through the generations. The web of mother love: In The House of Questions, where are the answers?

When our world was covered in sheets of winter, I raided the refrigerator and made a dish of roasted red cabbage and Brussels spouts drizzled in olive oil. Our white dinner plates became palettes of my garden dreaming, echoing memories of green “Envy” zinnias paired with velvety spikes of Salvia ‘Victoria’ or a fistful of the chenille exuberance of amaranth.

On seeing the deep burgundy strips of cabbage tossed with halves of emerald Brussels spouts, I was seeing my summer garden. My mother looked at the plate and asked, “What is this? I don’t know anything like this in my mind anymore.”

”Earth laughs in flowers,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote. Earth cries in flowers too. Laurie Lynch




Koen and Marina sledding

There are a couple ways of looking at it: A Valentine’s Day double date or one fellow with his hands full. I prefer the latter.

My mother is all things to all people, but when we went to see Casablanca at The State Theatre on Valentine’s night with Koen and Marina, I didn’t consider her my date. No, I looked at our new Belgian friend Koen as an escort for 168 years of womanhood.

For almost a week the poor guy had to answer our questions on everything from his blue eyes to his twin brother to how he met Marina in Croatia. Richard is used to being out-numbered by questioning women when in State College. But I’m not sure we were what Koen bargained for.  Then again, there was the Scrabble game…

My mother could not get over how well Koen spoke English. She kept asking where he grew up—Belgium—and why he spoke English so well. I explained that in Europe they teach English in school, along with their native language. Koen politely clarified that while he had English classes he actually learned to speak by watching American television shows—especially The Simpsons. He would hear the English while reading the subtitles in Flemish.

Yes, The Simpsons is this country’s longest running sit-com—but I’ve never watched it. So I had to do a little Google homework. Episodes deal with parodies of American culture and society, and the dysfunctional family. Maybe Koen did know what he was getting himself into!

He speaks English beautifully and plays a mean game of Scrabble. He not only whooped Marina and me, he taught me a new word…razzia.


Koen, Marina, Finley Flanagan, Nonna, and Liam and Jess Flanagan

Getting back to Valentine’s Day. I wanted to keep it low-key, an at-home dinner. So I went to Fasta Pasta for pink, heart-shaped cheese ravioli. I topped the ravioli with a simple Prosecco-Butter Sauce: ¼ cup minced shallots, 2 cups Prosecco, 1/3 cup butter cut into 2” cubes, salt and pepper. Heat shallots and Prosecco to medium high, stirring until reduced to a glaze. Whisk in butter cubes, a few at a time. Serve over ravioli.

I asked Koen to make Prosecco cocktails, mixing an elderflower liqueur from Ghent with Prosecco—a blending of Belgian and Italian spirits.

The dessert was a surprise for Marina. I figured if she could whisk me away to Corning, NY, without me knowing, I could whisk up a vegan Avocado Cacao Mousse, a repeat our special weekend. I went online, searching for Chocolate Avocado Mousse, and lo and behold, found several to choose from. The waiter from The Cellar told us his chef’s secret ingredient was maple syrup, so I substituted that for the sweetener used in another recipe, and then gave it an Uptown Espresso Bar twist. Years ago, Tweet made a Hot Chocolate Cheesecake with a touch of habanero for the “hot”. I used cayenne for a hint of heat.

 Avocado Cacao Mousse

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli

4 very ripe avocados, peeled and pitted (I used two small and one large)

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup almond milk

1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

2 hefty dashes of cayenne


Lion in WInter

Place chocolate chips in a bowl that you place over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir chips until melted and smooth, about 3 minutes Set aside and cool slightly.

Place everything in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape sides of container as needed.  Spoon into glasses and chill for at least three hours. Makes four large servings.

Truth be told, I’d rather eat my avocado as a salad—and then have chocolate for dessert. But I was curious to see if I could recreate a mousse in which you can’t tell there is green, not cream. If you have dietary restrictions or are just feeling adventurous…give it a try. Or maybe, pull one over on everyone for April Fool’s Day! Laurie Lynch

Here’s looking at you, kid:  “And I will cover you in diamonds the size of walnuts, place pearls as white as truffles at your feet, pluck emeralds as large as kiwi fruit…” spoken by Guido Brunetti in Donna Leon’s Willful Behavior. Ah, Guido, the Venetian policeman-poet-philosopher who always has an appetite for good Italian food continues to keep me up at night.


Marina made all of the plans. We were to meet her friend Abby and my friend Vanessa (Abby’s mom) in an undisclosed location. She arranged for my sister Lee Ann to come stay with her Nonna.  She even arranged a Sunday morning massage.Image

As we got in the car on this Saturday morning in January, she punched the destination into the GPS while I put my fingers in my ears and started chanting, as not to hear “Siri” repeat her every entry.  It was an easy drive, the highway cutting through the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. About two hours into the trip, we got a call from Abby and Vanessa. Their trip from Kutztown was delayed by a snowstorm. As we kept driving, I soon guessed where we were headed—Corning, NY.

Marina and I explored the town until we got another call from Abby and Vanessa. We would meet at the Corning Museum of Glass. There, we spent several hours tracing the history of glass, selecting our favorite glass artifacts, and watching a glassblowing demonstration. We got our second-wind back at the Rosewood Inn and a recommendation for dinner.

The innkeeper told us three tempting tidbits about The Cellar restaurant. First, the wine menu comes on an iTablet; second, the Lamb Lollipops are “lovely”; and third, the Avocado Cacao Mousse is vegan food from heaven.

The iTablet wine list is technology I can get used to. Vanessa used her charm with the flirtatious waiter and upped the three-Lamb Lollipop appetizer to four so we could each taste the lamb with chevre, fig demi-glace, crispy prosciutto, and mint. We were sitting there, enjoying the evening, when a surprise concoction of shredded carrots and cucumber, with either marinated seitan (wheat meat) or tempeh (soy product), and topped with cilantro sprouts, arrived at the table in white ceramic spoons. (Our collective memories are misted by the red wine, so we’re not exactly sure of the ingredients.) Vanessa and I said to the waiter, “But these aren’t Lamb Lollipops” and the waiter gave us his melting smile, saying, “No, this is the amuse-bouche. Courtesy of the chef.”

After the waiter left the table, Marina translated for us. An amuse-bouche literally means something to amuse or entertain the mouth.

When we got home, I did a little more investigating. An amuse-bouche is often a whimsical creation intended to invigorate and tempt the appetite. According to the Dictionary of the History of the French Language the term originated in 1946. The first mention of amuse-bouche in the U.S. was an ad in The New York Times for a special New Year’s Eve dinner at a South Orange, NJ restaurant called Gitane. The year: 1985.

The amuse-bouche is a greeting, a single bite-sized hors d’ oeuvre (my sister Lee Ann always jokingly pronounces them hoover-doovers.)  It is different from an appetizer because it is not ordered from the menu; it is a tasty gift from the chef. Often an amuse-bouche is served in an Asian-style white ceramic soupspoon, in a demitasse cup, or on a skewer. As I was reading the description, I realized I had been gifted with multiple amuse-bouches five years ago at Chez Leon in Liege, BE, a neighborhood restaurant that Marina’s au pair family frequented. When we went to Chez Leon, one amuse-bouche followed another. I figured it was because Denise and Benoit are regulars, but apparently, in many restaurants everyone is a special guest…except in State College. I don’t know of any restaurants that serve amuse-bouche. I guess in a college town, everyone is so self-amused that chefs don’t see the need.

The Lamb Lollipops were fantastic and the vegan chocolate mousse deserves a blog entry all its own. Our mother-daughter weekend was joyful and it was good to connect to Kutztown news via Vanessa. She told me she joined Tim Stark’s Eckerton Hill Farm CSA and got a blue-green warty heirloom Marina di Chioggia Squash that she didn’t know how to prepare. Now this is one of my favorite winter squashes, not only because of its first and last names (Chioggia is the coastal town just below Venice) but because it tastes so darn good in Spicy Pumpkin Chowder.

Just talking about Marina di Chioggia drove me into the kitchen when we returned home to make a pot. Since I owe Vanessa the recipe, I will share it with all of you. If you have Marina di Chioggia (I had puree in the freezer), use it by all means. If not, a neck pumpkin or any winter squash will do.Image

Spicy Pumpkin Chowder

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 fresh sage leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½” cubes

2 10-ounce packages of frozen corn

4 cups vegetable broth

4 cups pumpkin puree

Cayenne, black pepper, and salt to taste.

Melt butter in large soup pot and add onion, sage, garlic and stir frequently until soft. Add potatoes, corn, and broth, and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. In a saucepan, mix pumpkin, peppers and salt, and heat through. Add to corn-potato mixture, stir to blend, and serve.

Worth Remembering: A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  ~Author Unknown


It was the perfect gift for the winter of 2013-14.  A snow-vember; a storm in December that closed Route 322 leaving Richard, Sabine and me stranded on the wrong side of the Seven Mountains for several hours on the way home from Philadelphia International; whiteout New Year’s travel; the thrill of the Sochi Winter Olympics; and here it is March, and the snowflakes are still falling.


Getting a tree!

The gift, which Sabine somehow crammed into her oversized carry-on luggage and then sweet-talked Belgian airport security into letting it pass, was a Belgian-made, 1300W, 6.6 kg (14.6 lb.) stone grill-raclette for a crowd of eight.

Raclette, the classic Swiss dish, is pure peasant food. Swiss shepherds move their dairy cows from one mountainous pasture to the next. At night, they warm themselves around a campfire and break out a loaf of crusty bread and a wheel of cow’s milk cheese. They melt the cheese slowly and scrape it onto the bread for a simple meal. The French word for “to scrape” is “racler,” which gave way to the term raclette.

As is often the case, peasant food became haute cuisine. It evolved into ski holiday fare in the Alps, with a wedge of cheese melted in front of a cozy fireplace, and then scraped and draped over fingerling potatoes, cornichons (tiny pickles) and pickled onions. From there the tradition travelled downhill and was modified to become urban-friendly. Today, you will visit apartments of 20-somethings in Brussels, where young people huddle around a table, sip Belgian brew, toast meats and vegetables on the stone grill, and underneath, melt cheese in square little trays with handles.  Each person has her own tray. When the cheese sizzles to perfection, she pulls it out and uses her individual wooden spatula to scrape the cheesy-ooze onto boiled fingerling potatoes and meat and vegetables from the grill. He persons follow suit. As each cheese tray is emptied, it is refilled. And on it goes into the night.

Raclette is a hostess friendly method of entertaining which encourages informality, relaxed conversation, and laughter. One night, Celso (our former Brazilian Rotary exchange student) and his fiancée Sarah joined Richard, Sabine (originally from Rwanda), Marina, my mom and me for such a dinner. We grilled pre-roasted cabbage and zucchini strips, and slices of prosciutto, and had a bowl of cooked “Tiny Tim” potatoes. Each of us had color-coded trays so we could monitor our melting cheese. It was a night to remember: People of four continents dining without borders. Laurie Lynch

Side Salad: Raclette is often paired with a fresh salad. Here is a new one I enjoy.

Red Cabbage Slaw with Ginger Dressing

½ red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, julienned

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Handful of toasted, slivered almonds.


½ cup rice vinegar

¼ cucumber

¼ green pepper

¼ onion

1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup plain yogurt

Salt and Pepper


Sabine, Richard and Nonna in Pittsburgh for New Year’s

Slice vegetables for slaw. Set aside. Place ingredients for the dressing in a blender, and liquefy. Pour over slaw, toss, sprinkle with almonds, and serve.

Side Comment: If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.  –Roald Dahl