Happy Easter, Passover and soon-to-be Easter (Balkans and Slavs, I’m talking to you)! There are so many things to love right now about spring: sunshine and flowers, all the strawberries and asparagus (that is, if you’re currently in California) that you could ever want and, most wonderful of all, that hopeful and energetic feeling that accompanies the ever-lengthening days. 
My love of spring aside, I also can’t seem to let go of winter–of citrus, really–which is why I found myself today making David Tanis’ shortbread with lemon curd and candied kumquats. This recipe is a true ode to the bitter zing of citrus and yields a cookie that is as pretty as cookies can be, but beware: it requires a fair amount of modifications. I don’t know if it was just Tanis’ chef-y instincts talking, but it’s not at all helpful to tell somebody to use a “large pan.” What is large, after all? 9×13? Trial and error tells me that small is better (trusting fool that I am, I overestimated the amount of shortbread that the recipe would yield; I got half of what Tanis promised); I would recommend that you use a square (8×8) pan. Also, should you ever make this, be prepared to have lots of extra candied kumquats and lemon curd. Certainly, this could never be cause for complaint. I will also give Tanis this: the cookies are as buttery, crumbly and delightful as their name (and picture) promises they will be. 
I have lots of posts planned for April–a soup with an unexpected herb, a breakfast that borders on dessert and photos from my trip to Pittsburgh in March. Until then, I leave you with April’s (can you believe it’s already April?), food for thought: 
My coworker makes fun of me for getting the Goop newsletter (honestly, I make fun of myself for getting the Goop newsletter), but, beyond the mockery, the truth is that if you ignore some of the fluff of Goop, there are a lot of good ideas and information in the newsletters. On Friday, for example, I marveled at how easily soup could come together in the office with these noodle pot lunches that are like a more wholesome Cup-a-Soup.
Further proof that Italians take their pasta and culinary history seriously.
Speaking of Italy, I’ve been obsessed with the thought of going to Rome for many, many months now. This summer, my wish might just come true, which is why I’ve not only been thinking about where to eat in Rome, but have also been trying my hand at Roman-style gnocchi.
Diana Henry has long been a food-writing hero of mine. In her new book on chicken, she offers every way you could ever think of preparing the bird.
I’ve been a reading machine lately: first, there was Never Let me Go (for those who find Ishiguro both profound and baffling, this is a really interesting article on the novel and on his prose in general), then there was amazingly fun page-turner, The Discovery of Witches (witches and vampires in one book; can it get better than this?). Next up is Maisie Dobbs and then The Invention of Wings.
Thoughts on the American South: where it begins, where it ends.
A growing trend: choosing to go “childless.”

Things are getting tight in California when it comes to water; you now have to ask for it at restaurants, and I assume that other, stricter rules will follow, probably sooner rather than later. There are lots of theories on what, besides the lack of rain, went wrong. Here is only one of them

For those in the Bay Area who just might be dog lovers, in June there’s going to be a really wonderful event–a good cause for dogs–called Pints for Paws.

Hulu wins the “Best April Fools’ Day joke of the year; when I got the email for the new Hulu Pets network, I believed that there really might be a show called “The Real Pugs of Portland.” Deep down, I think I wanted a show called “The Baying Beagles of Boston (Beverly Hills, Baltimore, plug in whatever alliterative city works).”

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