(breakfast) haiku and a week-with-a-windfall (fantasy roadtrip to Portofino in two delicious vintage cars)


there’s a Haiku moment over at subliminal coffee today and we decided to join in (a rare occurrence, for us, but we Do Try from time to time to be more of a “team-player”).

here’s ours (the theme is ORIGIN):

marmalade begins
oranges and sugar sweet
ends on toast chez nous


now – to be Entirely honest – we wrote this because we have an unfulfilled desire.

we can’t have marmalade in the House because we’d get up in the middle of the night to eat it with a spoon* – nor toast – or a Toaster (even a Breville that Sloane Ranger brides put on wedding lists from The General Trading Company – look at all those Royal Warrants)

so, once again, the realm of the inspirational brings forth hidden desires and heals, darlings ;-)

and we order Toast and Marmalade (usually in the company of friends) at 5-star hotels, instead.

like here – at the St. Regis (the toast had not yet arrived).


*was this too much information? *askanceLookToCamera* we do hope not.

a moment of Vulnerability never hurt anyone, apparently.



we Rather enjoyed writing that haiku.

here it is again:

marmalade begins
oranges and sugar sweet
ends on toast chez nous

perhaps we’ll go for a more Pastoral theme next time.

who knows.

Life is very mysterious right now.

one never knows What will happen.

in Other News (as they used to say on the BBC), we saw this “daily prompt” over at wordpress HQ and thought – “in-ter-est-ing…..” (which was possibly what Eddie Izzard used to call “strokey-beard-time” but we don’t have any need for epilation creams due to our pale creamy complexion).

the “call to action” as they probably still say in digital media meetings *looktocamera* is this:

Daily Prompt: Seven Days

by michelle w. on March 7, 2013

You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week.

now here’s what Victoria Wood and Julie Walters might suggest for a week in the sun with a windfall (dear American friends and others Further Afield – this is a comedy sketch based on truly dreadful British Daytime Telly and we giggle at it A Lot even today, many years later).

and us?


well – let’s see – assuming we have the green card *sighs* by this week-with-a-windfall (and can thus Leave The Country).

1. Hiring an Aston Martin DB5

2. Drive up Highway 1

3. A night in San Francisco in homage to Anita Loos who was born there and wrote This

4. Fly to Europe (said very vaguely – hopefully Someone Clever will be making the Arrangements – not one of our skills – how we miss our Assistant, the splendid Olga *sighs* from the last day job) and get a Train through the Alps in homage to Sybille Bedford

“True, when the train had crossed the Alps and engaged its slow descent into a sunlit fruitful valley, I had experienced a state of sheer joy, a fulfilment of a longing that lies dormant in many of us whose birth has been into the rain.”

Sybille Bedford | Quicksands | P.194

5. Pick up a 1953 Sunbeam Alpine and continue on for a few days until arriving in Portofino – spend one night there and drive all the way along the coast to Cannes


6. final night in Cannes at Hotel Splendide before taking Le Train Bleu (we know it doesn’t run anymore but Tis Fantasy, non?) all the way up to Paris and flying back to Los Angeles (at the front of the plane please, with the nice linens on the back of the headrest).

To complete the fantasy of a week off with 10K to spend?

A commission from a wealthy and capricious editor, probably foreign, possibly titled, so we have an entree to the finest and make back the 10K in writing and syndication fees……



what would You do with a Week Off and 10,000 in your currency? 

man with a dog, a piano and a dream @pianoxamerica


we were on our way to Meet up With Friends on sunday when we noticed a crowd gathering not far from Dean & Deluca

a queue/line gathering for some demonstration of culinary skill? – we wondered.

or a particularly good batch of baguettes from France?

actually it was a piano man.

not the original piano man 

but indeed a very original man – with a piano (and a dog called Brando).

and a dream.

Piano Across America is the story of a pianist named Dotan Negrin and his dog, Brando, as they travel across the United States with an upright piano in a truck. Fed up with working towards someone else’s dream, Dotan decided to leave home in pursuit of his own dream: to travel, make music, and meet people. From Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, this piano man travels to great length to bring people together through the power of his music. What started as a trip to develop his skills on the piano, evolved into a movement that inspired people to fulfill their own dreams.

Dotan was friendly and charming (and has a simply beautiful voice) and Brando was very Perky and played Awfully Well to the crowd as he tottered up and down the top of the upright piano most winningly in almost a Baby June sort of a way (without the curls and frocks of course).

there was something magical about coming across the piano man. The way he drew the crowd to him on a sunday afternoon. The smiles and head nods and pausing-for-a-moment on the way-to-somewhere they’d probably forgotten as soon as Dotan started playing and Brando gave us a whimsical bark.

what a lovely thing to do.

probably born out of frustration for the world-of-work (he is a young person and the future for young people is clearly not what it was) and so he Took To The Open Road – in a truck, with a piano, and a dog, and a desire to connect.

it’s all about the stories – the people he meets – the stories they tell him – as we watched him for a few moments we noticed how people just had to tell him how much they admired him for Taking Off and Exploring the world (America, so far, but we can see him taking that truck onto a large cruise ship at some point and heading for the Southern Hemisphere to sing, play and gather up stories).

he takes his adventures where he finds them – like stepping up when an artist needed to get his large paintings to Miami and Dotan said “Miami? great!” and he loaded them into the truck and headed to the land of beaches and slow afternoons watching the crowd drift past the blue-blue-water and perhaps buying foreign magazines at the 24-hour news cafe (on the corner of 8th and ocean drive) or writing a novel with one’s sandy feet all freckled and happy…….(we must go – it’s been an Age since we were in South Beach – it’s where we spent the Millennium actually – a story for another time, darlings).

actually, thinking about delivering paintings for an artist reminds us of Sybille Bedford‘s account of driving the Morris from England to Naples (a famous car, owned by the great Martha Gelhorn)

Martha bethought herself of the Morris she had kept in storage in England during the war years and arranged for a young man, a colleague of sorts who wanted to get out to Italy, to drive it over for her…….the situation was resolved by my offering to drive the car down to Naples for her as soon as it turned up…..Martha concurred, trusted me implicitly, and went ahead by train.
A Homecoming (the events within from 1948) Sybille Bedford, published in Pleasures and Landscapes, A Traveller’s Tales From Europe.

Of course this tale, from Sybille, contains the delicious image of her and Martha, on stools, looking out of the tiny windows up top in rooms in Capri, waiting for the sun to come up and talking of Hemmingway and love and violence and the War and travels and writing and journalism and Sybille not wanting to fall asleep after her long journey driving Martha’s car and so popping the mysterious pill given to her by a military officer (so pharma-grade-speed most likely) to keep herself awake……isn’t that extraordinary.

we bet the piano man has tales to tell……..worth following his adventures.


worth hitting the Road oneself, right?


the open road.

Just you, the car, the open windows and no one to hear you croon the greatest hits of Billy Joel.

we miss it.

tell us about your favorite/favourite road trip – where did you go? who did you meet?

is that where you fell in love?

thought so…..

tell. all.



sensualist gourmands: nigel slater, sybille bedford, rowley leigh and elizabeth david

….for those of you who didn’t grow up in england, here are a few of team gloria’s most loved food writers that you might (or might not) have heard of:

1. Nigel Slater is a glorious sensualist (Nigel writes for The Guardian and its sister Sunday newspaper in England, The Observer)

here’s an example of his richly evocative prose:

Rhubarb, stewed with brown sugar, maple syrup or honey, is an uplifting start to the day. The clear, piercing juices glow in the breakfast bowl on a grey February morning. A winter wake-up call if ever there was one.

sexy, right? we think so.

2. Nigel’s book – Toast – was made into a most excellent programme on the BBC (the trailer is here)

3. Toast is also being screened at select places in the USA (if you’re in NYC, the tickets should go on sale soon for the Walter Reade Theatre at the Lincoln Center for next Saturday as part of the From Britain with Love series)

4. Sybille Bedford (whenever I talk about Sanary Sur Mer, it is in appreciation of Sybille) wrote exquisitely about food in all of her novels, but most particularly in her collection of journalism for Vogue, Esquire and Encounter magazine, Pleasures and Landscapes – here’s a taste:

A back room attached to a kitchen, bare communal tables, benches, cool scowls for welcome, crowded to overflowing, but no queue. No diamonds, no foreigners, no Giuliettas. The customers: Florentine aristocracy and workmen with a sprinkling of professional men. Good bread, olive oil, bowls of grated cheese, fresh-cut lemons…..

I wish I could have driven a little European car, with Sybille, between the wars and eaten at little places like this as we meandered our way to Portofinio…

5. Rowley Leigh is another fine chef and columnist – this link might not work because of the paywall thingy so just in case – here’s a tiny excerpt for your edification

A hundred years ago, the Sussex Pond pudding was considered a favourite with children. I am not so sure it would be today, although I urge you to give it a go and find out. There is something quite grown-up about the marmalade-like flavour of the pudding: there is the anticipated sourness from the juice with an additional bitter quality imparted by the lemon’s skin (choosing a thin-skinned lemon will help to reduce this if desired). These traits are in no small measure offset by the sugar, not to mention the considerable density of the suet crust, but those enjoying the pudding will benefit from a long walk while it steams happily on the back of the stove. The reward will not be just in an extremely indulgent pudding but in a taste of history, too.

Rowley Leigh is the chef at Le Café Anglais

6. And then the queen of them all – Elizabeth David – if you’re not already a devotee, we suggest starting with A Book of Mediterranean Food (we have a Penguin edition from 1955 which made its way to Park Avenue, NY from England and the former owner typed up a conversion table and sellotaped/scotch-taped it into the book – wonderful).

train journeys.

It’s Monday, and I need to get ready for work, but I’d rather pack a roomy, rather gorgeous, brown leather zip-up bag and head to a foreign train station and read a novel by the window while the countryside wakes up.

“True, when the train had crossed the Alps and engaged its slow descent into a sunlit fruitful valley, I had experienced a state of sheer joy, a fulfilment of a longing that lies dormant in many of us whose birth has been into the rain.”

Sybille Bedford | Quicksands | P.194