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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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Make Your Eggs Adorable

tiny little terracotta pots make perfect egg cups. 66 cents at my local hardware store!

You definitely need these with Easter coming up, and now you can serve soft-boiled eggs to guests without them rolling all around.

I first tasted soft-boiled eggs in I think Reagansburg, Germany when I was 13. Total revelation.

I ate about 7 of them in one sitting -- they were served in a bread basket wrapped in a linen napkin.

Fast forward 7 years.
I was studying abroad in southern France and made a few Swedish friends, so when classes were over I took a train up to Stockholm to visit the girlfriend of one of them, Marie Svenillson (anyone out there in Stockholm know Marie???) (Stockholm is possibly my favorite European city). In Stockholm Marie introduced me to the proper picnic (bikes, salmon pate, fresh dill, brown bread... had a very lasting impact), and we had dinner at the castle (really! my host's best friend was the son of the prime minister or something, and they lived in a wing of the castle in the old section of Stockholm. We had cold roasted chicken and avocado salad, among other things). They there was much more drinking and driving around in a boat (she had rich friends). It was graduation night for the high school kids so the party went on forever.

I watched the sun not go down... in mid June in Stockholm it just drops to the horizon, sneaks across a few feet then comes right up again. Jojo, the kid whose family owned the boat, pulled up next to a Coast Guard trawler -- turns out he knew the captain of that boat. There was beer and vodka exchanged across decks and then we zoomed off -- but not, apparently, until after we inadvertently sliced through the line towing a sonar buoy that was hunting Soviet subs (it was the 80s!). We landed on Jojo's family's island (think Elin Woods) and continued to drink, eat herring and maple bread (surprisingly good together) and then went into the sauna.

One by one my group took turns beating one another with birch branches -- good for the circulation -- and then darted off to dive in the Baltic (I think. North Sea?). They finally talked me into it -- so I wrapped myself in a towel (am an American after all) bent over, got beaten (lightly) then took off. I dropped my towel and headed for the sea at full speed -- the only way to dive into cold water -- only to hear them yelling "not there! not there!" Promptly I slipped on slimy wet rocks (that's why "not there") and went ass over teak kettle, finally banging my head and slamming down on my back.
I came to with 6 naked Swedes and their parts all dangling in front of my face as they tried to figure out if I was dead. It was very odd, the whole experience, but fun. My main protector was a guy named Otto who was apparently a Swedish fencing champion and possibly the captain of their Olympic team? We had a love that never was... his father wouldn't let him have me over to THEIR castle for lunch, so that was that. He cancelled our date, and I went on back to the US. All of this brings us to a point: Stockholm has gorgeous home design stores and at one of them on that trip I bought a clutch of tiny terracotta pots advertised as egg cups. They have long since been broken and lost to time, so I'm very glad to have them back. Haven't thought about that long strange night in a long time.


  1. That was quite a story for eggs.

    (my wv is firmed, as in eggs)

  2. i have no idea what that means.