Merry Christmas!

Christmas Tree at the Chateau de Chenonceau

It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when famous jazz vocalist Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and walked over to the piano. There, on the music board, was a pad of paper with four lines of a verse:

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

And folks dressed up like Eskimos

When Wells walked in the room, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Tormé asked him about the little poem.

“It’s so damn hot today, I thought I’d write something to cool myself off,” Wells replied. “All I could think of was Christmas and cold weather.”

And that is “the rest of the story” behind one of America’s most loved contemporary Christmas hits, A Christmas Song. With this intro, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and all of the best for 2018.

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Brasato Vitello al Barolo

While we were in Piemonte, we enjoyed Brasato Vitello al Barolo (braised veal in Barolo wine) in several restaurants. I was so taken with the dish that, when we returned home, I thought it would be a cinch to duplicate it. How hard could it be? Put a veal roast and some veggies in some red wine and let it cook for 3-4 hours? Well, I was very wrong.

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