“The more expensive staterooms on ship came with butlers. The very idea of a butler made us break into a sweat.”

I’ve been meaning to write about cruising for a long time.  Cruises are great when previous trips have made you sick of packing and unpacking luggage and of dragging large bags over cobblestones and carrying them up staircases that never end.  Suitcase weariness was mainly why my husband, Bill, and I decided to try another cruise last fall.  Shipboard closets are reliably large and come with drawers. You unpack once and that’s it. And after a few days of walking six to seven hours on land excursions, you find that returning to your stateroom really does feel like going home. The plumbing is reliable and you don’t have to keep figuring out where things are and how to flush the toilet, and this time we even had a bath tub. What luxury!  And then there’s the verandah, good for private moments with the ocean.

Our Verandah

Our Verandah

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I can’t say that  I was ever fond of France, a fact that had much to do with my inability to properly pronounce  the language– and with the scorn of Parisians, in the past,  for my less than perfect efforts.  I  spoke Spanish and Italian well enough for travel—and German too, though Germans wouldn’t let you speak more than one or two words in their native tongue, before they insisted on dazzling you with impeccable English. But the French were less likely to bail you out.  There’s nothing like French linguistic disdain to keep you vacationing in Italy and Spain.



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Tasting Home Cover ThumbnailAward winning authors Judith Newton, Tasting Home, and Rebecca Coffey, Nietzsche’s Angel Food Cake, explore intersections of the literary and the gastronomical.

*Thursday, April 3, 7:30.At Books Inc., 2275 Market St., San Francisco* Continue reading

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TastingHomeFrontCover High ResTraverse City, MI, March 13, 2014 — Today, Foreword Reviews, the only review magazine solely dedicated to discovering new indie books, announced the finalists for its 16th Annual Book of the Year Awards. Each year, Foreword shines a light on a small group of indie authors and publishers whose groundbreaking work stands out from the crowd. Foreword‘s awards are more than just a shiny sticker on the front of a book; they help connect the best indie books to readers eager to discover new stories written by previously unknown authors.

TASTING HOME is a finalist for the 2013 Book of the Year Awards in the WOMEN STUDIES category. In the next two months, a panel of over 100 librarians and booksellers will determine the winners of these prestigious awards. A celebration of the winners will take place during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m. with awards in over 60 categories, cash prizes for the best in fiction and nonfiction, and widespread recognition. Continue reading

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” Perhaps the story of our love belongs to the 1960s, when everything seemed possible, a spirit we never lost.”

Dick and I 1968

Dick and I 1968

I met him in graduate school during the early sixties, the kind of smart, studious young man I‘d always been drawn to but never managed to date.  He said “oops” a lot and was so funny that being in his company felt like having childhood for the first time. He knew music, wrote poetry in a serious way, and was, in my eyes, the smartest person in our circle. We only saw each other in a group or in a threesome, but we began to rest in each other‘s company, to draw close without touching.

In the spring of our second year, he had a series of anxiety attacks, and that summer he left graduate school to teach. He also entered therapy. We sent each other letters–he rather less frequently than I–and two years later he returned, giving me a passionate kiss upon arrival. In November he said to me, “I think I love you.” I told my friend, “He is the only man I’ve ever wanted. I’ll do anything to have him.” Continue reading

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Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.
Dorothy Day

Coyote Cafe CoverMark Miller’s Coyote Café  was first published in January of 1989, the year I became director of a women’s studies program. And, in ways I couldn’t have imagined, it  began to influence my life. I discovered the cookbook on my first trip to Santa Fe in the spring of 1992. I had recently divorced and was trying to evolve, move on, and redefine my personal life. I had also become immersed in an effort to create a cross race political alliance on my campus among faculty in women’s and ethnic studies programs. Cooking large buffets had become central to my organizing efforts. Continue reading

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99centSale_SWP2013She Writes Press (SWP), is holding a seven-day holiday sale on 18 of their titles (featured above) starting today, Friday, November 29th.  This means that the e-book version of  Tasting Home (along with 17 of its SWP litter-mates) is available for 99 cents between November 29th and December 6th.

Treat yourself or give these books as gifts to anyone with an email account. Your holiday shopping problems solved!  The books are available across all e-book formats, such as Kindle and Nook. You just pick a title you like, look it up on, say, Amazon, and click on the Give As Gift Button.  For under a buck you’ve got your e-book.  No muss, no fuss, no shipping.  For under 18 dollars you can have every book on this list. Continue reading

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Tasting Home

Tasting Home

While writing my food memoir, Tasting Home, I avoided reading anything analytical about women and food. (I had been a professor for most of my life and didn’t want to write an academic memoir.) Only after I finished the book, did I begin to read critical work on women’s culinary reflections.  It was then I learned about “the new domesticity.”

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Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Since my interest in writing about food lies mainly in the emotional work that cooking for, and dining with, others perform, I always begin a piece on food by asking what did this cooking or dining experience mean to me? Why did I think it important?  Everything follows from that answer.

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A guest post by my favorite flash fiction writer.



Mardith Louisell writes short stories with crazy neurotic narrators. Her fiction, essays, and memoirs can be found most recently in Hospital Drive, Solstice Literary Magazine (“Had They Learned about Jayne Mansfield?”), and Redwood Coast Review, and in the anthology Travelers’ Tales:  Best Travel Writing 2012.  Beside Myself, a book of flash fiction, is her current project. Follow her at Continue reading

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