In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

How To Drive Me Crazy: Finding Studioren a Great Couch in Brooklyn But Not Having Her E-Mail Address

Studioren, in Brooklyn, is looking for furniture for her new 483 square foot apartment (it's disturbing that I know off the top of my head the dimensions of strangers' apartments. But so it is. It's a gift and a curse).
You will find more about her here:
I just found her couch on Brooklyn's craigslist -- exactly what she seems to be looking for.

Grey velvet! Room & Board...

These is also this one, which is a Look -- very ladylike and could be fusty but we won't let it. It is schlubby grey silk. Could be fun paired with a really masculine chair and modern furniture. Update it by painting the woodframe glossy white or black or grey. Or red! Who cares! it's just paint and can easily be redone. Oooh, pink. Oooh, grape. Or light blue?

Probably white. Needs squashy angora covered pillows.

Pair the couches with one or two of these chairs. I'd say the orange MidCent would have to be recovered. My favorite is the third one, in the top row. That's a must. I like the squatty gold one with the grey velvet couch. But there are some classics -- the ghost chair, the potato chip chair...

I seem to have misplaced a link. You'll find it! It will be like an Easter Egg hunt, only without the sulphurous smell.
She should get this dresser, painted high gloss white, for the TV to sit on and the drawers used for clothes or whatnot
or this one, as is

or this one.
She could actually get one and 2 -- the Tibetan chest -- together, or one and three together. If she gets the first 2, number 1 should probably be painted black or pewter, or a color pulled from the Tibetan.

And she's going to need this coffee table. I cannot resist natural wood (alert: this picture will make you think your are crazy or I am messing with you. You are not, I am not. Somehow this guy 's table is floating in the air. I can't explain.

This coffee table goes in a completely different direction but I kind of like it. Its maybe a bit twee, but it sort of screams out for the vintage silk couch and would bring some feminity to the grey velvet. I'd prefer it were solid wood rather than glass and wood... but this is Craigslist. The 80 percent Solution applies.

this might work too - totally opposite direction -- especially good with the first couch

And you can never go wrong with glass and chrome:

and this knock off Arc lamp

Friday, September 24, 2010

How Memphis Jen's Plans Are Coming Along

I have no idea how Memphis Jen feels about being called Memphis Jen. But I wanted to give you an update on where things stand in her living room and dining room.

To remind you: Jen is an artist in Memphis, has a very compliant husband named Bill who apparently doesn't mind Internet Strangers dictating design direction via the webs, and she is looking to redo her 16' X 16' living room. It appears thusly:

She reports she will begin painting all the walls white. Jury is still out on whether she will do a green accent wall on the widows (I strenuously oppose.)

(see: )

Here are her/my latest furniture thoughts. The green couch is a little out of her price range but she and her husband love it so they might shell out. I totally approve.

To walk you through: She wants the green couch and the two blue chairs you may recognize from an earlier post. Her husband is going to go drive to get them AN HOUR AWAY. He is a keeper. I want her to get the cypress table (also about an hour 's drive, on Craigslist...hopefully in the same direction as the blue chairs) because see how nice it is between them?

I've recommended the mid century dresser (walnut?) for use in the living room -- a home for the TV?

The green dresser is super feminine. I'd want to see it painted -- either the white of the walls, a deeper shade of the green of the couch, a deeper shade of the blue on the chairs, or plain old black (or grey... maybe charcoal grey. with silver handles) and pushed upagainst the back of the green couch (provided it doesn't tower over the back of the couch).

Next up is a 5 -foot silver mirror on Craigslist, then some wall paper -- for the entry way, you can just see it from the living room (maybe also use it on the wall of the dining room? ). And of course, elephant lamps. I have provided two views. They should be painted white. or Turquiose. mmmm. With white drum shades (and they should live on the fancy dresser). Fancy dresser can also be painted the green of the wall paper and pushed up against a wall covered by said wallpaper on the back wall in the dining room to serve as a buffet. Elephant lamps in white. or the same green! The picture below is in no way green and in no way a dining room, and in no way depicts a sideboard, but if you squint and pretend its a green dining room with a sideboard, you can get what I am going for... the contrast, the slightly retro-Asian feel, the tropicalness. (can you tell I grew up in -- not "on" -- Palm Beach?). I have no idea how Jen feels about such things, but I think it would be lovely.

Ooh, this is more like it:

OMG then this gorgeous thing popped up. Providing it for eye candy. It doesn't exactly meet Jen's specs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How I Love It When A Plan Comes Together: Memphis Jen

More about the above photo in a second. (Courtesy House Beautiful)

If you are just joining us, Jen in Memphis contacted me through this blog to ask whether I would have a go at giving her some thoughts on her living room. Have a read, then come back here when you are all caught up. And don't forget to read the comments because Jen is digging me telling her how to run her (living room decoration project).

We're going about this kind of backwards but... here are questions and answers I asked Jen in Memphis to try to figure out what her new living room needed to feel and look like, and how it would be used. These are good for anyone beginning to rethink a room...

1. How would you describe your style currently?
ummmmm, hodge-podge, mis-matched?, a mess. This is not how we feel, so our surroundings are not cohesive with our core beings. We have purchased a lot of furniture from estate sales and thrift shops, so we ended up with a mixture of strange things that have some of the elements I like, but everything doesn't work together. Maybe they can be used, but we are willing to change all the furniture. My husband and I are both artists and musicians. I had a huge garage sale recently and got rid of a lot of clutter, so now we have a nice free space to work with..except some pieces I kept that I thought might work somewhere. If I had to describe our current style in one word, it would have to be eclectic.
2. How would you describe the style you would like to have (if it's different)?
contemporary, eclectic, a nice mix of old and new, and most importantly, stylish and together.

3. How do you want the room to feel?
Cohesive. Stylish. Fun. Artsy. Comfortable. Neat and together.
4. How does it feel to you now?
It felt cluttered. Awkward. I had a huge sectional (gone now), it took up too much room and made the room look cluttered and messy...lots of loose pillows. I have a tendency to make clutter, I have to refrain from my urge to do that. I think that being an artist makes me want to put lots of visual stimulation around me from all kinds of sources. But there is a place and time for that..I don't need it all over the entire house! But what you are going to see now is what is left after we purged. (a weird rug that was the same color as the wall (too much!), and the sectional and the traditional style coffee table that was functional but I hated it, tons of knick-knack stuff...I condensed and put away..these things are all gone now.)

5. How do you want to use it? (if dining room -- family dinners? elegant dinner parties? if living room: watching tv with friends? napping/reading/relaxing)
Family dinners, fun but casual parties, relaxation time.
6. What time of day do you expect to use it most?
Evenings and weekends
7. How much natural light does it get?
A lot in the morning. You will see there are a lot of windows on the east wall.

(random eye candy. to break up all this writing. Jen is eyeing these Eames chairs in Memphis for her dining room. I am all for, with either a white glossy new dining table -- in fiberglass? powder coated metal? or a gloriously beat up antique... Juxtaposition R Us)

8. What do you like about it?

I like the vaulted ceilings, the open feeling it has. I love the windows and light. The simple layout. the big fire place, the big living room.

9. What do you hate about it?

The wall color(s). I used to like it, but I found it so difficult to hang art on the walls and
I like a clean, crisp look. I like this color as an accent color, but not a wall color. I do not like the dining room wall color with the living room wall color. I came to the conclusion that it doesn't seem to work to "split" the room wall colors like that. So...the color is not so bad, just not straight leading into the red looks kind of like Christmas where the two meet.
The way the dining room and living room are painted and the flooring...yuck! We bought our house as a fixer upper. When we bought it the floors were left as they were which was an unfinished mess. We want to put in new floors. Possibly ourselves. We have thought about tiling, wood, stone and everything in between. I like natural looking wood or slate tile...maybe?

10. Go look in your closet. What color do you see most?
whites, lots of shades of purples, greys and teals

11.What is your favorite color?

mine: green, purples and pinks and turquoise, greenish blue and bluish green...from top favorite down. He likes the same kind of colors. He likes yellow, blue, turquoise, purple, green and red. We both love bold, vibrant colors. Neither of us likes dark colors much. (such as dark green, navy blue, dark brown, etc. although I could consider brown as a leather sofa color)

12. Essay question~! why haven't you been able to get this room looking the way you want?

I am not certain how to answer this. I think we have been trying, mixing and matching..trying to come up with a look...but we had to many disparate elements thrown together. Now that everything is cleared out...its easier to think about. I really can't wait to see your ideas! We have ideas...but still are a little scatter brained about it. We are trying not to be in a hurry so we won't make any big mistakes.

13. Which words appeal to you most -- ie, words you would like someone who came to visit to use to describe the room after you are done:


14. What's your budget (be realistic.. if its $300, that's fine. $1000, that's even better)

Well, we see this as a work in progress, so our budget is pretty big. We won't be able to do all the big stuff at once, but we can afford to buy some big ticket things. I love anything that's a bargain...LOVE LOVE LOVE that is a big plus. But on some things we are ready to spring (such as a nice sofa...just to let you know what we've looked at so far...Room and Board...and Scan Interiors...average price...1800.00 to 4,000. I have also been checking craigslist for sofas that I could recover. Naturally, the cheaper the better, but I do want quality for a sofa. Let's put the budget at (ed: redacted for Jen's privacy!) dollars for now. We are looking for:

A new couch. (He likes comfort...I like style) and definitely not too big
lamps, tables, flooring, window treatments, paint, media center (or something that would work..even thought of custom wall bookcase), rugs, pillows, maybe chairs, mantle pieces, I plan to do paintings for our house, so we don't need artwork. (but what I like are abstract and whimsical pieces.) Our entrance hall, living and dining room all can be seen clearly from one another...somehow, they should flow together.

15. How much work are you willing to do (paint chairs? sew curtains?)

I can't sew, but my mom its possible that she could sew curtains. I am willing to paint furniture, walls, and install what ever I can. My husband is very handy, and can do a lot!

Jen and I have moved to e-mail because we have MANY things to discuss.

Jen will start painting everything white this weekend. She is considering an accent wall of an apple or mossy green. I tend to oppose accent walls, as I told her -- they look like you're not brave enough to commit to color. So I'd rather see the living room white, and perhaps the dining room -- which you can see from the living room -- green. (Update! I have granted permission to paint the back wall of the dining room green and the rest white .. .yes an accent wall.. because there is a strange point where the two rooms meet on a single plane. Hard to paint them different colors. ) And in the living room she should paint a large piece -- a wooden sideboard perhaps, with shiny metal knobs -- the exact shade of green she chooses for the dining room in semi or high gloss.

The entrance hall/ foyer could be the same green but in either a lighter or darker value... just move up or down the paint chip, if it is one of those traditional ones. I also really like fabulous wallpaper for entrance halls. Maybe something graphic in green and white. I feel a Greek Key coming on. Or a lattice. Definitely a lattice. Dig it! (and! If she gets bookcases or a glass fronted corner cabinet, she could paste the wallpaper in the back of the piece... a tiny little wink tying the foyer into the living room.)

For the place to feel airy, she's gonna need to limit the color palette -- otherwise it can get a little circusy.* I used to have a gorgeous pumpkin living room with an adjoining red study and they looked fabulous together but eventually were just too much Ringling Bros. for me.

*(that is, unless she does every room in the same strength of different colors -- say a pale blue in one room, a pale lavender in another, a pale green in a third. That can work. There is no jarring the eye when you move from one space to another.)
And super hooray she wants to cover the stone fireplace in wood -- something modern and sharp. That's where the above picture comes in. Something along the lines of that red wall could be built up around the fireplace with minimal trouble for a good carpenter. It could be painted that nice rusty red, or black, or white, or a glossy chocolate brown.

I found, and she wisely is going to buy, these fantastic tomato-red suede lamps. $99 for the pair.

And these wonderful couches are in Birmingham, Alabama. A couch and a love seat for $325! Jen likes and flirted with getting them to Memphis. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them and think they are fabulous in an Austin Powers way and should be purchased immediately.

But Jen is also enamored of these... so she's trending Midcentury. One is in Delaware, one is in Philly, and one is in...I can't remember. None are in Memphis. Sigh. But in any case, I want to see a long, low slung clean-lined couch in there, preferably in white. I pasted in a couch from Room and Board below that would work well - but she'd have to bite the bullet and spend $2,800.

And Jen JUST bought these totally awesome blue chairs (there is a pair.) FANTASTIC and just $50. While Memphis is slim pickins on Craigslist compared to New York, LA or DC -- when something cool pops up, there doesn't seem to be much competition. She can leave them as is, or have them reupholstered. I like them as is, flanking the above couch. In this case I might paint her existing sideboard cobalt blue and push it up against the back of the couch, with the two suede lamps. So cheap they make the above couch affordable! Jen, you must tkae pictures as you go along!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Eat Your Vegetables, Part Deux: The Professionals Weigh In

About now you should be sick to death of zucchini, especially if you have a garden or a farm share (which I do. It's a never ending burden BECAUSE HOW CAN ONE PERSON EAT 8 EGGPLANTS A WEEK?)
I find zucchini to be mostly unoffensive -- but its bland and can be slimy and its way too watery. My mom used to go to the spa and then come back inspired to make us low-calorie soups -- grating a raw zucchini into chicken bouillon, for instance. Pretty good, actually. And when you are sick of roasting your tiny zucchinis (they must be small) in a low sided pan with lots of freshly grated Parmesan until they are brown, or sick of frying them, or sick of making ratatouille (aforementioned eggplant, zuchs, yellow squash, lots of onion and garlic and crushed tomatoes, baked forever or cooked on the stove, as you wish) (with cheese on top) or are sick of just looking at them, make this, courtesy of the gorgeous and increasingly stern Padma Lakshmi.

That's what Padma looks like. Deeply unfair to the rest of us. Here's what the zucchini looks like.

The ginger and garlic and dill transform said vegetable into something downright snackable. It's even better at room temperature. My friend Heidi makes this for my friend Meg and I during our annual summer visit, and its a total highlight for me. Then I figured out I could make it for myself.

Now to Ina, very talented in the kitchen and a joy to watch but less likely to make you question whether you should bother getting out of bed because what's the point (see: Padma.)

But she has Jeffrey, who loves her chicken, so fear not for Ina. She's doing OK for herself.

Ina has this wonderful way of robbing broccoli of its sulphur, bitterness and ennui. I usually add some crushed dried red hot pepper too, at the end and I rarely have pine nuts around because my boyfriend eats everything in the nut family before I can use it. Ina employs the roasting-to-carmelization method I champion in Part One.

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves), julienned

Cooking Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.
Courtesy of "Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics"

Jen's Memphis Living Room Redo

Jen of, an artist in Memphis, asked for my thoughts on her large, cathedral ceiling living room. To orient you:
And here are some pictures of what she wants it to look like:

And I added this one because it includes chairs that are similar in tone to two that she has.

And I checked with her on this one. She likes the mix of the ornate mirror and the contemporary table, the airy feeling, and the pops of color. But she wants more color. So!

Here's the room she is redesigning, and my running commentary.

It's got high cathedral ceilings, which works for what she clearly wants - heavy on the white, contemporary but not slick. The red walls HAVE to go, and I would recommend getting rid of the crown molding at the ceiling line. It just brings down the cathedral ceiling. I think the point of this architecture is it wants to soar. So let it. Paint everything white (Linen White? with a little warmth in it?) including the beams (which already are white, but we want them to match the newly painted walls).

She should add more molding around the doorways and windows -- its not chunky enough to stand up against the large beams. It could even be salvaged wood, left in its raw state (I'd do that to the doors only, not the windows.)

The floors seem fine -- two of the photos she chose for inspiration above seem to have similar toned floors.

That ceiling fan should be replaced with something more modern. The current fan is really really busy and dated and I hate it. But Jen herself seems very nice. :)

I'd go for something either from the modern fan company ( or from the big ass fan company -- very cool industrial fans. Might be too big ass, though

I'm not super juiced about the spot lights, but for the moment I'll let them stay.

She should get matchstick blinds for the lower part of the windows. Ikea sells 'em cheap.

Again, get rid of the red walls (or are they orange? ) and the dark couch, unless she can get it reupholstered or slipcovered in white duck. The two yellowish chairs can stay.

Everything in the room is so LOW to the ground and a bit timid and why is it hugging the walls so? I'll be looking for some bigger pieces -- a big mirror, large art, tall cool... things. Something substantial and tall is needed to balance out the massive stone fireplace you are about to meet.

Now this fireplace wall: the easiest thing to do would be to get rid of the mantle and all the bits and pieces up there -- they are too complicated with the already complex visual pattern of the stacked stones -- give it another coat of paint, white to match the walls. I'm considering some other options, though.

If Jen wants the room to be a bit more modern she could have a carpenter cover that wall in drywall to the ceiling, then wrap it in zinc sheets (with little brads hammered into rivet together the pieces.) It would look something like this, only not really because that's a stove not a fireplace. But if you squint you can see what I am envisioning.

Or cover the stones in wood all the way around, even into the dining room on the backside of the fireplace. This is a modern version, with the wood left unadorned. It could also be made really cheaply, and with more of an edge, from wood pallets, torn apart and nailed up on lathing. Jen could also get exterior wood siding and install it with an overlap between the boards -- that would be cool. Then that could be painted.. maybe a light grey or a dark charcoal. Or if she wants to go bright, a canary yellow?

Or she could cover the stone with plaster and make it smooth like a kiva, or just it give it the kiva treatment at the top and keep the rustic bottom. But you have to like rustic. Which she might.

In all but the last case I would get rid of the mantle. Jen I think is responding to the crispness and simplicity of the rooms above, and mantles are often just temptations to clutter. I say: make the architecture the art -- the height, airiness, the beams, the fireplace -- and get rid of all those little framed things. Busy busy busy.

So that's the envelope of the room. Paint out all the distracting details, let the room soar a bit, and begin to fill it -- but not too full -- with great pieces, mixing slick and shiny with patina and natural finishes, and ornateness with simplicity.

Now for some furnishings. She's in Memphis, and Craigslist is some slim pickins there. But there's a town called Jonesboro, AR, which Craigslist assures me is nearby (I checked a map) so I included some finds from there.

This couch and chair set are slipcovered in white -- perhaps off white -- and they are just $250. Jen's checking them out as we speak. They are a sight better than what she has, though not perfect. I'd like to find her something a bit more sleek and modern. These are screaming shabby chic and I'm pretty sure that's not what we are after. But for $250... they are a sight better than what she has now.

Together with the two chairs she has -- they appear to be pale yellow leather? -- they could make a fine conversational grouping, pulled up closer to the fireplace. and gathered in a U shape.

This cypress side table is a must. I think its $125, and if she doesn't immediately get in the car and go buy it, I might pass out from fury. need. that. table. The organicness of it! and it's graceful... like an old airplane model on a stand. I super heart.

This table is made of bamboo -- the picture is terrible but the top is bamboo cross-sections. It's 29 inches tall. It could be left as is or painted something glossy and wonderful.

On top of it, this birdcage. It is $75! needs a good cleaning of course. I like the shape and airiness. She could put a candle in it. She should put a mirror on the inside bottom of the cage to reflect more candle light up and around.
For the television, I want to bring in something slick ... something like this bureau (I would ignore the armoire below. We are not doing matchy matchy. I suppose they could go in different rooms. OK I changed my mind. One in the living room, one in the dining room, unless they are terrible in real life. But you see what I am going for: simple, glossy, bold, a little touch of metal.)

This is just a start... some retail choices to come in the next post. Given the paucity of used choices -- at least those available on the Internet -- Jen is going to have to be patient.. the more patience, the cooler and cheaper the stuff.
Let me know what you think, Jen!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How To Eat Your Vegetables: Part One: The First in a Two-Part Series

Vegetarians, move along. Bacon has entered the building.

You need five servings of vegetables a day and they can be hard to choke down ...unless you embrace the magic of bacon, coarse salt, and high-heat roasting.

Generally repellent veggies like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower take on entirely new identities when fixed thusly (they are now among my favorites):
Turn the oven on to 400 degrees. Let it get good and hot.

Choose any mix of hearty, tough and sometimes loathed veggies: the aforementioned sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, turnips sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peeled butternut squash, maybe mushrooms? Don't use beets. They will turn everything an unappetizing pink.

Trim the sprouts as you would normally -- cut off the hard bottoms, cut them in half if they are really big (ie, bigger than a single bite. I like them super tiny). Break apart the cauliflower/broccoli florets, chop the carrots and parsnips into pieces roughly the same size as the Brussels sprouts (this way they will all cook at the same rate, approximately).

Get your hands on good, thick bacon -- I like skin on. Crunchy! Washingtonians can get it from Canales fine meats at Eastern Market

Thinly slice crosswise one or two slices of bacon, so you'll have little matchsticks about an inch or an inch and a half long. Each piece will have a fat and a little lean.

Scatter the bacon across the base of a large roasting pan.

Scatter the chosen vegetables over the bacon. Don't crowd them. They should have some breathing room otherwise they'll steam rather than roast. If you have too many, move them to a second pan.

Douse everything with a few tablespoons of good olive oil.

Shake the pan to roll and mix everything. The vegetable should be glistening and the bacon will be clinging to this and that.

Now: use a little more coarse sea salt than you think you should (just a little more ... you can always add it, you can't take it away) and sprinkle it over the veggies in the roasting pan. You should hold your hand at least a foot over them for even sprinkling.

Don't skip the salt. It's important. It inhibits your ability to taste bitterness -- so it does away with the objectionable sulphurous tastes Broc, Bruss and Cauli tend to give off.

Put the pan in the hot oven and walk away. They need to roast a while -- check them at 20 minutes, give the pan a shake. Walk away. Come back in another 5 or 10 minutes. The outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts should be crispy and brown. If you pluck one off and eat it you will think you are eating a very delicious potato chip. That's how you know you are done. The carrots should be tender when you poke them, ditto the parsnips and turnips and potatoes. If those things have not been achieved, walk away again. Come back. Repeat.

When they have reached the desired state of doneness (browner than you might be initially comfortable with... it's called carmelization, and it means the sugars inside the veggies have achieved their Platonic Ideal). Let the vegetables cool on your counter. Try not to eat them like candy before dinner. IT CANNOT BE DONE.
You'll make these all fall and winter, I promise. They are good enough to make you not miss tomato season, and you'll never look at Brussels sprouts the same way again.*

(While you're at it, throw a whole organic chicken - devoid of its bag of gizzards and heart etc -- in the oven to roast in either the same pan or separately. In the same pan, it will baste your veggies in chicken fat.. .so then you have three kinds of fat at work in the same dish and that is a sure fire route to success. Rub the chicken all over with a cut lemon first, then liberally sprinkle the bird with with coarse salt and pepper, and smoked paprika if you have it. Put the lemon in the chicken's cavity. Drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil ...Roast the chicken until the legs wiggle loosely and the skin is crisp. Dinner is done. Put a second one in and you have lunch for a week.)

Stay Tuned for How To Eat Your Vegetables Part Deux, in which I sing the praises of, and crib wildly from, Padma Lakshmi and Ina Garten:

* and if you haven't seen it, rent Shirley Valentine, an old British comedy about an Englishwoman, Shirley who goes to Greece and falls in love and rediscovers blah blah blah. I don't remember much except one of my favorite vegetable jokes EVER. Before she takes off for the cerulean seas, she talks with a neighbor about her terrible visit to Belgium's capital. Shirley, trying to be sympathetic, offers the only criticism she can think of: "I hate Brussels... All those sprouts."

Not anymore Shirley. NOT ANYMORE.
Make these veggies and report back. Remember: Don't crowd the plan, let them carmelize and use enough salt.