After a rinse and a rub, the fiddleheads are ready to blanch.

The wild taste of spring!

Fiddlehead ferns are a ritual in the Northeast, and with a fleeting season, you have to be quick

From my youngest childhood days, I remember foraging for fiddlehead ferns with my Uncle Leonard, a great forager of wild native foods. Heading out to the woods with him and my Aunt Mary was always a treat; she searched for antique bottles around old cellar holes, while he turned his attention to wild foods.

In the spring, Uncle Leonard gathered fiddleheads along with the fragrant ramps (wild leeks) that grew in great abundance and, when we were lucky, morel mushrooms.

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Preparing your fiddleheads

To prepare the fiddleheads: First, soak your fiddleheads in cold water for 10 minutes and rub off any brown, papery scales with your fingers or a soft cloth. This substance is extremely bitter. Drain, add fresh water, and soak an additional 5 minutes. If the second water is still...

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The unbearable lightness of daffodils

The first sight of it signals that the dark heaviness of the heart in winter is over and gone

Daffodils can break your heart in so many lovely ways. "I wandered lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o'er vales and hills/When all at once I saw a crowd/A host, of golden daffodils," wrote William Wordsworth a few years after he and his sister, while walking by a...

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Maple memories

I smell maple syrup in the air and travel back to the kitchen of Grandma and Grandpa John. I am 12. Daddy has brought them the first taste of maple syrup from Hazelton's Orchard. Grandma has promised to make sugar cakes with me. Grandma heats the syrup in her cast iron pot. She shows me a long-handled wooden spoon, and she asks if I remember how to tell whether the syrup is hot enough for candy. She lifts the spoon...

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Pucker up!

I grew up in a family of lemon lovers - the more tart, the better. After a heavy holiday meal, a little slice of a zesty lemon tart is a perfect finish. One of my mother's favorite tarts to make was her sister's lemon tart, only Mom always topped her version with meringue, probably because my aunt never did so with hers, and they were a bit competitive in the kitchen. I've simplified my aunt's recipe and reduced the sugar,

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Simple, sensational sides

No matter the feast, we love a variety of side dishes, and sometimes they even upstage the main event. But we want things simple as well as tasty, and having a few tricks up our sleeves at this busy time of year will definitely reduce the stress factor. Whenever possible, make those sides the day before, or bring them to an almost-done stage to reheat them quickly and easily. When I'm cooking a turkey, I use the giblets to make...

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What holiday tradition or a fond memory brings you comfort, solace, or hope?

In what for many is an exceptionally difficult year, we asked Commons readers on Facebook to share enduring memories of holiday moments that permanently resonate. * * * Robin Rieske: We always got to open one special gift the night before Christmas that my mom would pick out. And she always wrapped our presents in color-coded paper so we would not try to sneak and figure out what we were getting. She would not tell us until the morning of...

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The Putney Craft Tour at 45: A look back, a look ahead

The 45th annual Putney Craft Tour features glass blowers, potters, jewelers, woodworkers, painters, and artisan cheese and wine makers in their studios. "Every year, the tour draws arts lovers, shoppers and the curious," Ken Pick, one of the founders of the tour, said in a news release. This year, there are 21 working studios open to visitors on tour, which takes place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 26. The Putney Craft Tour began in...

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