The daiquiri, an aristocrat among cocktails, has undergone a tumultuous transformation during its century-long reign. Allegedly dreamed up by an American working in Cuba at the time of that country’s war of independence from Spain, it consists, in its simplest and finest expression, of rum, lime juice, and sugar. That formula was elevated to a mixological art form by Constantino Vert, who experimented with different kinds of ice and liqueurs and came up with unique presentations at Havana’s La Floridita bar.
Have you ever done a steak tasting? I don’t mean just spearing a piece of meat off a friend’s plate so you can compare his sirloin strip with your ribeye. No, I mean something more like a wine tasting, where you thoughtfully plan a sampling of several steaks, from light to robust. At most steakhouses, where the highly laudable goal is consistency, a steak tasting can go only so far.
A few weekends ago, my cousin told me about a chicken her husband had recently rescued—more likely purloined—from the side of a busy road that it was, no doubt, trying to cross. This lovely hen, whom they welcomed into their family and christened Julia, lets herself in through the dog door and contentedly perches on the kitchen counter while my cousin washes dishes. She also likes to sit on her lap.
Q: I grew up in the forties and fifties, when the rule in my grandma’s Texas kitchen was that the men ate first, waited on by the women, then the women and children dined. Everyone seemed happy with the arrangement.
The charter of the Gunnar Hansen Fan Club, which was presented to Hansen on October 11, 1974, along with a vintage chain saw. (Courtesy of Gunnar Hansen)
My husband and I are sitting across the table from our daughter, Teal, and her fiancé, Bennett. Around us, the restaurant is bustling, with servers slipping between tables hoisting fragrant pan-Asian dishes while patrons scream delightedly at one another. Noise aside, this will be the last calm moment the four of us have together for a while.
My marriage to Michael began cat-free. After all, Michael didn’t like cats. He’d tell you so outright: Cats are standoffish. They don’t have a personality. Cats aren’t fun. No cats.
Like most Americans, we Texans prefer to avoid that awkward “conversation” about race. However, we do have a long tradition of telling ourselves stories, often as fanciful as they are comforting, about race.
In December 2008 I interviewed Rick Perry over lunch at a small Mexican restaurant in East Austin. We dined on typical Tex-Mex fare, and Perry was in high spirits as he recounted his latest triumph: persuading Caterpillar to move one of its main manufacturing facilities to Seguin. Perry has always been animated when I’ve talked with him, and that afternoon was no different, as he shifted in his chair or tugged on the cuffs of his pants or changed the subject in mid-sentence.