Mask Etiquette 2020

Are you doing it right?

Now that face masks are the new normal,  what’s the proper etiquette? Seeing as my encore career features “The Courteous Mrs. Cook”  I’m going to lay down a few face mask do’s and don’ts. This is entirely based on fashion, other people’s opinions and has little to do with “community spread”,  there will be no talk of science.

I’m a big fan of the homemade variety. I like the ones with the ties, because  you can pull them up and down easily in case you’re feeling claustrophobic like me.

My Johnny washes his everyday.  I get food on mine everyday. Trying to eat. Through my mask. Still. After three weeks.

I do like the little wire around the upper edge, it does help with glass fog. But don’t be Michelle, she tried to sanitize hers in the microwave and started a fire, because she forgot about that little piece of wire.

My BFF made the one I’m modeling below.  She’s much smaller than me ( who isn’t?)  so the ear loops were a little tight.  I added a shoe lace and extended the loops and also, I can wear it around my neck this way.

There’s a discussion about  the proper dog walking mask etiquette. I wear mine out the house, but only put it on if I’m within six feet of a human. Johnny puts his on before he leaves the house. I think it’s my claustrophobia, I can’t.  I see lots of folks without them, not even for show (like me). It is the LAW, after all.

I do however, wear it into all my markets and in the kitchen at work. I don’t wear it in my car. Many folks do, Ive noticed.

We’ll have to get  them for the staff, I assume, when things get back to … normal?

I’m thinking a signature company mask.

Do you like this one?

Scarves work, as do Buffs, chef Tim likes this one, but he also says it gets exhausting breathing through it.  He also has a beard, which may cause friction.

Whatever you pick, wear it well. There’s nothing wrong with coordinating your mask and your outfit,  and  you should probably wash that thing on the regular…

Cheers to us, we are surviving a pandemic.

Is there anything you’d like to add? Email me.


Spread Love & Valentine’s


It happens every year.

I make so very many cards for my friends and family, and I always wish I made more. Sad face.

I get out all my glitters, stickers, markers, mismatched envelopes and errant note cards that need embellishment.

I feel a little crazy at times (I’m obsessed with glitter) Valentine’s Day is very close to the Christmas holidays. I just barely get my snow and sparkles boxed up, and then, I gotta get going with the glue and glitter. I get really excited about the glitter part.

The other great thing, I mail them! Remember mail?  There’s nothing like a homemade card delivered by the postman, with glitter!!

My envelopes are bumpy from all the shiny things I attach, and I decorate them too, the post office hates that. They never arrive in time, and I send them all anonymously. In the end, I never know if they arrive, except for my kids, they always let me know… “I got your card Ma, so much glitter.” Pish. Never too much.  Sadly, they are actually going to ban glitter, like microbeads, it’s polluting the environment.

Rest assured I will stock up. Martha would want that. She makes lovely glitter.

I especially love and covet German Glass Glitter. Oo la la.

Despite the fact that it’s a made-up holiday, blah blah blah, I’ll jump on any opportunity to spread love, don’t try and stop me.

I don’t ever want to be this guy; the guy that locks up his trash, and banishes poo.

I’d give him a Valentine, but he locks his mailbox, too. (Sad face, again)

So I’ll be over here, making marmalade, gluing glitter to stickers and having fun at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music!

We just hosted our scholarship brunch for families and students last weekend. Over fifty percent of our kids are on scholarship and we’re looking to up that number.

These two are the brains behind the organization.

Flea is forever flitting in and out, taking pictures with students (and their parents) and Jenny Rey runs the joint.

I am so joyous for any occasion I get to spend time with these folks, spreading love and music!

We got into the Mardi Gras vibe at Brunch, with the High Steppers.

That’s my girl, Pinky on the trumpet, she rocked it!  All ages are welcome!

There was a nine-year-old clarinet player in the band!!

Oh, do you want to get into the mix?  I can help with that.

The High Steppers have an appearance on Fat Tuesday, of course.

I’ll bring the fasnaughts!  (That’s Pennsylvania Dutch for Beignets.)

You should come!

And there’s another opportunity next month.

We have our annual Funk Run in Griffith Park on March 29th. It’s a quick 5K.

Race start time is a reasonable 9 AM. It’s a great way to start your day and support music education.

So let me know if you need any marmalade, or drop by and I’ll slip you a jar.

It’s filled with love and L.A. sunshine, and it’s yours for the asking.

Share food, spread love!

Fabulous pictures at the conservatory taken by Gary Leonard.

He never misses an event and gets the best snaps.

We are forever grateful for your dedication, Gary!

How-to: The Potluck Dinner Party

Dinner parties can be daunting to most, but not so much for my circle of friends, we have mastered the potluck party.

Gone are the days of trying to impress, we like to make it easy on ourselves.

But first, the exception.

This was a little party for 6, I was thrilled to be there. This was on  Johnny’s side of the friendship circle. They’re younger and haven’t embraced the potluck schematic.

Our hosts worked entirely too hard.

I don’t mind, I really love being a guest.

Look at this beautiful table. It was so very nice to be pampered.

It was also delicious.

This is how we do our pot luck dinner parties:

We start a text thread with the intended guests.

We decide on a date.

Everyone gets an assignment or volunteers their latest food obsession.

 The host does the main entree, and usually something else. It’s important to take control of the menu, and curate the offerings. It really ups the deliciousness.

In my situation, with a catering kitchen at my fingertips, I usually do  the main, dessert, and my new thing, I make some bread.

These are sweet potato rolls from “Beard on Bread.” Tasty and oh, so easy. I actually had to make them twice. I use my oven as a proofer and I heated it but forgot to turn it off and went to the Farmer’s Market. I came back to a voluminous mass of half cooked dough. Oopsies.

We set the table, fill some water pitchers for the table, and try to remove all the dog hair from the sofa. (Try being the operative word.)

 My friend Gary does personal menus, and it’s super fun. This was a potluck brunch with a crazy delicious mushroom quiche as a centerpiece.

You can see the menus on the plate, so cute.

This is a delightful EXTRA, not a requirement.

Community contributions were smoked salmon and the fixings, vegan potato pancakes with fresh applesauce (I made those), tofu scramble and homegrown cara cara sliced fruit salad. There was also bacon, because brunch.

Gary makes the most delicious puntarelle salad, I can’t get enough. So we had that too, I would have been happy with just that!

I also brought my perfect caneles and imperfect thumbprint cookies.

What’s so delightful about keeping it casual?

Several things.

Your friends will help with dishes, and the dishes they brought will leave with them. (less to wash!)

Guests take care of themselves. They’ll move through the house as if they own the joint, getting their own beverages helping bus the table and making sure everyone tries their offering.

I love when guests take ownership of their culinary prowess, kitchen pride.

So do it, have your friends over for supper.

Assign them their part of the menu, and sweep up the dog hair.

We had our Silverlake posse over last night, we’ve been friends for over thirty years.

We laughed and laughed, talked about the state of the nation, future plans and of course, a little bit about the kids.

We all ended the night with full hearts and bellies and grateful for our time together.

When’s your next pot puck party?