If you’ve been following along, you know that we are now in our SECOND SEASON of podcasting.  (I know I’m probably more surprised than you.)

So, some organizing notes.  (If you’re a reader, not a listener, feel free to skip the following paragraph.)

This podcast is now available through 5 platforms, in addition to our website.  If you already have Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, GooglePlay/Music, or Stitcher on your phone thingie or your car radio, you can listen and SUBSCRIBE there.  If you have the inclination, please REVIEW and RATE our 5 Things podcast, as a high rating helps get the attention of the algorithms that make podcasts popular.  If you have already done so, many many thanks.

In the last year we have grown enormously.  Now people ask to be our guest on the podcast, which is a good sign indeed.

We’ve had people in the news like E. Jean Carroll and Caroline Hirsch.  Authors like Lori Gottlieb, William Cohan, Lisa Grunwald, Andrew Friedman, Alexandra Styron, and Meg Wolitzer.  Entertainers like Jamie Lee Curtis, Elliott Forrest, and Caroline Rhea.  Activists like Shannon Watts and the Restore Cal folks, Alex Mallick and Adnan Khan.

It’s been bracing and at times exhilarating.  The weekly blog and pod began by forcing me to find the positive in weeks that have started out everything but.  Now, it’s a pleasant exercise.  It’s much easier to locate my optimism, even when Mercury is in retrograde.  Okay, it wasn’t that easy.  I lied.  But it’s been helpful to me, and I’m hearing that it was helpful to you, which is actually the point of doing this in public.

I hope you will get in touch with me when you have a question or comment that you want to explore further.

Business concluded?

Simon's first hat.jpg

I just returned from 10 days of helping Exhibit A™ and his little family colonizing on the west coast.  And yes, my arms are tired. The unpacking, the smushing together of cardboard boxes, the hoisting the boxes and getting them to the bins behind the building…. all so my kids will live FAR AWAY FROM ME.

(If you’re counting, I only have one exhibit left on the East Coast.) 

What made the experience even more intense was the actual fact of two significant earthquakes on day 1 and 2.  As my mother said, “Are you earthquake lovers?  Come home.”

But there they will stay. My son’s baby will become some kind of California kid.He’ll probably say the word “dude” and surf and will think of me as insanely pale and helpless.

Nevertheless, here are this week’s five things that made life better.

1. Got to spend a lot of time around this little guy. We have a special song, and after about the 40th time I sang it (apologies to my daughter in law), he would burst into a giant smile when he heard it.


2. The feeling of competence I derived from being helpful. Getting what was needed. Being productive. Focusing on the job at hand.


3. Driving in Los Angeles. It was actually kind of fun. Especially because the first 25 years I began to spend time in LA I couldn’t and didn’t drive. I found I didn’t require the GPS as much as I had thought I would.

Impossible Burger.jpeg

4. The Impossible Burger and its many offshoots. If you don’t eat one alongside a similar meat product, it tastes damn good!


5. Wimbledon Men’s Final. Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovich. The game doesn’t get much better. Nor longer. It was the longest finals match in Wimbledon history. It was heart-stopping at times and thrilling. Masters of the sport, graceful and in their 30s.


Speaking of graceful, my guest this week is the lovely and gracious Laurie Burrows Grad.  A longtime food writer and former chef on Hour Magazine, Laurie and her husband Peter had one of the all time great marriages.  And then, 4 summers ago on vacation in Colorado, Peter had a heart attack and died, leaving Laurie bereft and in grief.

She writes about her grief on her blog and in her book. The Joke’s Over, You Can Come Back Now.


And now, here the 5 Things that make are Laurie’s life better: (Click: LISTEN to the podcast at the top of this blog).

1. Leaving her house and moving into a condo

2.  Her grandchildren

3.  Writing

4.  Cooking

5.  Walking and exercising


Finally, as promised in our podcast - here is Laurie’s BEST ROAST CHICKEN Recipe.


The key to this dish is to have the butcher cut out the backbone of the chicken to “butterfly” it.  To butterfly a whole chicken means to remove the chicken's backbone so you can open thechicken like a book, or a butterfly, and lay it flat. This is a basic recipe.  If you would like to embellish it with rosemary or other herbs, feel free!

I have added figs to this recipe.  If they are in season, they add a great deal of flavor to the dish.  If not, the dish is fine on its own.  Other additions would be a few stems of rosemary.

Note: if you have a convection oven, cook the chicken at 450ºF for 45-50 minutes.  If cooking the chicken in a regular oven, roast it at 500ºF for 45 to 50 minutes.  Make sure your oven is calibrated correctly.

2          large lemons, sliced thinly

1          large roasting chicken, butterflied

Olive oil

Seasoning salt and pepper to taste

12        small new potatoes, sliced in half

8          peeled shallots, sliced in half or small onions, peeled

3          carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks

 - - - -

1.            Preheat the oven to 450ºF for convection or 500ºF for standard oven.

2.            Place a layer of the sliced lemons in the center of a roasting pan.

3.            Rub olive oil on both sides of the chicken, season with seasoning salt and pepper, and place the chicken on top of the lemons in the large roasting pan skin side up, splayed out. 

4.            Place the cut potatoes, shallots, and carrots around the sides and coat them with olive oil cooking spray.  Season everything in the pan with salt and pepper to taste. 

5.            Place in the preheated oven and cook according to directions above.

6.            Remove and carve and serve alongside the potatoes, shallots, and carrots.


If you have time, place the butterflied chicken with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon or rosemary and marinate for a few hours, or overnight.