May is here, yet 2020 seems less Spring Forward and more spring back, as ‘in horror.’ As we sit and wait and wonder how it all will end, inappropriate


Eugene Perret-Gentil Menton wall plaque, Lisbon lemons and Seville oranges, 1885

May is here, yet 2020 seems less Spring Forward and more spring back, as ‘in horror.’ As we sit and wait and wonder how it all will end, inappropriate it may well be to share a new love that on its surface seems so frivolous -- and, well, underneath it too.

“Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” has always been a favorite metaphor, not its message of futility and weary resignation, but because I think it’s a great idea. For aren’t we all on that boat, set sail at birth, and isn’t there an iceberg out there waiting for each of us?

So would I counter that you do what you can with what you have — plump the cushions, find some lovely dishes and make lunch, as time allows. It was late last year that I succumbed to majolica fever, long before the current dread. For the epidemiology of this affliction, contagion to cure, click here. From mid-March -- so very long ago.


Apricot Jam


Exclusive Signature Collection: Rare Marmalade Trio

The Apricot Jam is back! By popular demand--its fans have spoken. This is apricot to the fourth power: fresh, dried, juice and brandy all conspire to magnify the essence of this fruit, brewed then with ineffable almond, cardamom, vanilla, champagne geranium. I must admit I missed it too!

Product availability has been spotty but all is back in stock for now. Another visit to the Gene Lester collection has assured us one more season of Calamondin Marmalade, slightly altered with a small cast of similar supporting varieties whose names I don’t even know, but appropriate and newly delicious nonetheless. This means the Rare Marmalade Trio set is back as well.


As an emergency measure all fruitcakes are again available — my aging process will be interrupted, but you might need them more right now than in five years, so that aspiration can wait. The deep pleasure and comfort of these rare exotic flavors — share them with someone you love.

That may well be Mom, of course. Mine just celebrated her 99th birthday March 1st, but as she pointed out, it is actually 100 years since her birth. She is now the last in her family. Serving others all her life, she is now being served, and passing on her knowledge by instruction rather than example.


Grandfather John, left, logging camp, 1904; doughnuts, front right

In January she taught me doughnuts, a logging camp recipe first learned from her Mother on a wood-burning stove by kerosene lamp, dough chilled on ice pulled up from the lake by oxen. If you want the recipe, let me know! Our nightly conversations even now center largely on food, satisfying hungers still keen and discerning, the disappointments, and the wins. How close the iceberg, obscured by compassionate fog. How comforting the fluffed pillows, the lovely lunch.


Eugene Perret-Gentil Menton, wall plate with olives and Meyer lemons, 1880

Find beauty where you can. Even now, it is everywhere.

My Best to you all,

Robert Lambert
May 2020