Food Friday: The Siren Song of Seeds

Seed packets are tiny perfect jewels of graphic design. On the front there is a romanticized illustration of a freakishly perfect tomato; it is round and looks sun-warmed. So unlike the cardboard tomatoes we have been buying all winter at the grocery store. On the back there are instructions about sowing the seeds after all danger of frost has passed. I can tell you that those frosts are still a danger. I have lost four geraniums to my misguided enthusiasm, and belief that spring is right around the corner. I am ready to hang up the turtlenecks, and get out in the garden.

I have been waiting all winter for this – I admit it. I have been thumbing through seed catalogues and feverishly imagining my new and improved sunny, raised garden bed, fecund and lush and spilling over with cukes, and beans, and sun-warmed tomatoes. I have been thinking about all those tender, fresh, aromatic herbs that I will manage to coax along this year. I have picturthe the extra little flourish and the modest bow I will take when I humbly present our salad greens at the Fourth of July picnic. Envisioning how I will please, delight, and amaze Mr. Friday when I whip out a fresh, homegrown shallot for the salad dressing. I am still considering how I will take revenge on the idiot neighbor who mows his lawn on Sunday mornings – zucchini is the perfect passive/aggressive payback.

So let’s get hopping! These tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, cabbage, beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, and radishes will not plant, water or weed themselves!

It’s time for a little elbow grease action – which is much more healthier than hot yoga. But don’t get so enchanted by the beauteousness of the seed packets to take on more than you can chew. Buy a few easy veggies, and a couple of happy flowers. Marigolds or nasturtiums go well in both a vegetable garden, and in the salad bowl.

I have learned over the years with my sandy back yard, and my short attention span, that I am easily distracted and disappointed. Now I keep my exposure to a minimum. I am happiest (and most successful) with a little container garden. I have fresh herbs and I do a couple of tomato plants every year. I am upping our game with a couple of blueberry bushes I have planted in the ground. We now have a blueberry farm. Maybe if I remember to water every day they will have a real shot at making it to the table.

I had a successful little run with lettuce a couple of years ago. We had a few awfully fresh salads. I doubt if it was very cost effective to wrangle my own little Bibb lettuces, but it felt so good to wander outside with the kitchen shears, and judiciously snip a leaf here, another leaf there, and know the salad was good and fresh, and I was leaving modest carbon foot print. Obviously I do not factor in the air pollution generated from multiple trips to the garden center…

If you do not feel not up to the responsibilities of growing your own vegetable garden this season, now that the snow has melted, and the daffodils are popping up every where, please think about supporting your local farmers at farmers’ markets and farm stands and CSAs. They were cool (and essential) long before Brooklyn and all its mustachioed, plaid-sporting, artisan, organic, heirloom, microcosmically hip farmers, soap makers, tanners, butchers, chicken farmers, bakers and baristas. We like homemade and all the virtues associated with it.

It is oh, so very pleasant to wander outside in your jim-jams on a summer morning, pausing to watch the sun rise, while munching meditatively on a dewy green bean that you have just twisted off a vine, before you ever have a cup of coffee or read the newspaper. Instagram cannot replicate that real delight. Honest.

http://www.almanac.com/vegetable-garden-planning-for-beginners

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-make-vinaigrette-1415996135

“From December to March,
there are for many of us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
– Katharine S. White

Food Friday: A Flock of Muffins

Sitting in a corner of the living room is a large cardboard box from Burpee Gardens, which contains elements of my fantasy summer life: two hydrangea plants, two wisteria plants, and two teeny, tiny blueberry bushes. They arrived last week, back when we thought we were hurtling into spring, flip flops and lemonade on the porch. Brrr.

It’s too early to set them outside right now. I hope next week, when I feel pretty sure that the danger of frost has passed, I’ll unpack them. In the meantime I murmur warm assurances to them as I pass by. “Soon! Soon you will all be knee-deep in rich soil, reaching up to the warm sun, burgeoning with fruit and blooms galore!”

The blueberries are the real experiment. I have never tried to grow berries before. I think it is too early to worry about rabbits and deer, but our back yard is a veritable United Nations of birds.

The round of robins enjoy some crazy rain dances in and around the holly bushes. I have watched the many robins sitting on branches that are already heavy with holly berries and rain, unconcerned that they are the only birds outside in a deluge, as they drunkenly nosh on the gleaming red berries. Sometimes I have watched the birds fall to the ground, only to see them then spring straight up in the air to grab at some more berries from the low hanging branches. Awkwardness and determination have never been so adorable.

An echo of scolding mockingbirds also spends time in the holly bushes. Luke the wonder dog does not avail himself of those bushes. He doesn’t like to getting dive-bombed as he patrols on his doggie missions. Although there are some squirrelly boys who like to hang around an nearby oak tree, tempting him with their rodent wiles…

In the back corner of the yard, tucked up in ivy trailing along a brick wall, a jar of nuthatches call out with their raspy, click-click-clicking sound of veiled threats. I’m sure if Luke ever saw how tiny they were he wouldn’t give them a second glance, but they sound like large machinery ratcheting back before a putsch. They might even have their beady little eyes on our blueberry potential.

Along the neighbor’s wall we have seen a few berry-eating birds: thrushes, cedar waxwings, blue jays, woodpeckers, catbirds, bluebirds, and doves. While they wait for me to plant the blueberries they have finished harvesting the dogwood and the juniper berries. No wonder they are impatient for spring to begin.

Mr. Friday likes berries on his bowl of cereal most mornings. I doubt if we will be saving any money by planting our own blueberry bushes, but as part of my summer fantasy, I will wander out into the back yard, with a little basket in hand, and I will pick some blueberries for his breakfast. Just imagine me bathed in Disney-diffused light, with the friendly birds singing sweetly; me with flowing tresses and a trailing gown instead of my usual Andy Warhol-hair and comfy yoga pants glory.

I prefer my blueberries in muffins or pancakes, which are serious weekend food, because, as you know, Gentle Reader, I am not very likely to get up early to bake. But this could be my fantasy summer vacation, where I would be wont to trail around the kitchen in a leisurely, and dream-like, un-rushed fashion; lovingly cracking organic free-range eggs and sifting dry artisanal ingredients. Instead of the real-life workday, when I am grouchy and harried, and gnawing on a frozen bagel and swigging Diet Coke. No, the Fantasy Me will sip fragrant Lapsang souchong tea from a precious antique bone-china cup, while I peruse the Times of London, and I complete the crossword without a single tempting, cheating, go-ahead-and-look-it-up-on-Google thought – in ink.

The heat just roared on again. It’s time to get cracking. Bake some muffins this weekend, and let me know how your spring garden plans are shaping up!

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/2868-jordan-marshs-blueberry-muffins

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/05/build-a-better-blueberry-muffin/

“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”
-Wendell Berry

Learn About Soil Health with Dr. Sara Via at Adkins Arboretum

Microbes in the soil have a huge impact on how plants grow and react to stress situations. It’s a wild world down there, and some of the interactions will surprise you! Learn about the importance of soil health on Wed., March 22 when Dr. Sara Via presents Life Underground: Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants, Healthy Planet at Adkins Arboretum.

Building and maintaining soil health is essential for food production, the conservation of forest and natural areas, and climate-resistant gardening, agriculture and forestry. Learn what healthy soil is, how to know if you have it, and how to build it if you don’t. A hands-on demonstration will follow Via’s talk.

The program runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Advance registration is requested at adkinsarboretum.org.

Via is a professor of biology and entomology at University of Maryland, College Park. She is interested in the effects of climate change on agriculture and home gardening, biodiversity and human health. In association with University of Maryland Extension and Maryland Master Gardeners, she works with community groups, high schools and universities to increase awareness of the scientific reality of climate change and to motivate effective action to curb its rapid progression.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature, conservation and gardening. For more information, visit www.adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Maryland 3.0: Sprouts Starts to Take Over the Eastern Shore

Just so you know….perhaps one of the most significant “foodie” experiments in the country is taking place on the Mid-Shore.

A young couple, primarily trained in nutritional science and fitness, decide to escape the rat race of the Western Shore and relocate to Trappe to start a food delivery business dedicated to high quality prepared meals with locally sourced produce and meat.

The concept was simple. Rather than send clients the raw materials to make a nutritious meal (think Blue Apron), Sprout owners Ryan and Emily Groll would take it to the next level and actually cook the meals for its customers.

Sprout would do all the work. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack, Ryan and Emily identify local farmers within a 200-mile range that produce some of the most exquisite examples of fruit, vegetables, chicken, pork, or beef in the region to produce meals that could be left at your doorstep twice a week.

Fast-forward one year later Sprouts has become an increasingly important provider on the entire Eastern Shore as well is in Annapolis. With Ryan’s mother in Chestertown, the couple continues to seek a local partner to help as a delivery station, which they call a “Sproutlet,” but they hope to cover the entire Mid-Shore within the next two years.

The Spy spent some quality time with Ryan in his portable kitchen in Trappe to discuss the couple’s courage and conviction it took to start a business of this kind and their aspirations over the next few years.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Sprouts please go here

Food Friday: Pie Day

Winter is winding down, or so they say. Though I see there is snow in Friday’s forecast, and the weekend temperatures are supposed to plunge. The long range forecast says spring. Let’s heat up the kitchen another couple of times while we wait for spring to come peeking around the corner, and let’s get ready to celebrate Pi Day. http://www.piday.org/

Pi Day is March 14, and it celebrates the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is approximately 3.14159. (Pi Day = 3/14 in the month/date format.) I have a friend, a former math major, who does not count sheep when she has trouble sleeping. Instead, she calculates π digits. The infinite number amuses her and lulls her to sleep, but if I could hold all those numbers in my head there wouldn’t be room for Joni Mitchell song lyrics or English murder mystery plot points.

Instead of whipping out our iPhones and finding the calculator app, let us celebrate another aspect of Pi Day, and bake some pies. March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, so you can kick up your heels doubly. And you can rejoice that Pi Day rolls around every year, whereas Square Root day won’t happen again until May 5, 2025. (According to Wikipedia, Square Root day is celebrated on days when “both the day of the month and the month are the square root of the last two digits of the year.” I kid you not.)

Sweet or savory, there are pies for just about every appetite, and every level of skill. It is easy to pour chocolate pudding into a store-bought graham cracker crust and slather it with clouds of whipped cream. More complicated are lattice-work pies, which require forethought, and dexterity, and a good hand at pastry. You can be Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, and make a name for yourself with meat pies. Or you can be James Taylor, and sing an ode to your own Sweet Potato Pie.

My favorite pie is chicken pot pie. I do a variation on Martha’s – but I buy the pie crust already made. Which is probably why I have never calculated pi since leaving school – I am always looking for an easy way out. http://www.marthastewart.com/891257/classic-chicken-potpie Easy as pie, my foot. I can’t roll out a perfect circle, but those wily folks at Pillsbury can. And no one is the wiser. Mr. Friday would never notice if I toiled with butter and flour and sharp knives to make a homemade crust. Martha might, but so far our parallel universes haven’t come close to colliding. My secret is safe…

I also like a nice Key Lime pie. I always use the recipe on the bottle of Key Lime juice, but this is pretty close: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014850-key-lime-pie It is lovely for Easter, when you don’t want to make a huge and vastly expensive cheesecake, and almost anything with whipped cream is a delight. You don’t have to wait for summer to have a little taste of the Keys. You could welcome Pi Day with a fluffy, mile-high Key Lime pie.

We managed to let George Washington’s birthday get away from us without the ritual and apocryphal cherry pie. What were we thinking? Unless you have Martha’s (Stewart – not Washington!) year-round access to fresh cherries, you will have to use frozen like the rest of us. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/traditional-cherry-pie-232579

If spring is coming, can rhubarb be far behind? http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/deep-dish-strawberry-rhubarb-pie

And to hit all the relevant holiday notes – St. Patrick’s Day is next week. Maybe you should be preparing a beer-infused Guinness Chocolate Cream Pie. All of the sweet decadence of whipped cream, combined with dark chocolate and darker beer. Swoon-worthy. Thanks again, Food52 for setting the bar (and the beer) high! https://food52.com/recipes/20120-guinness-chocolate-cream-pie

We do a Boston Cream pie for birthdays here. It might not have the celebratory gusto of a pie topped with whipped cream, but the combination of the shiny chocolate ganache and thick custard filling is surprisingly festive. A heady combination of pie and cake, with candles. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/boston-cream-pie-recipe Albert Einstein would have loved our Boston Cream Pies.

A place in London I would like to visit, and not for the food, is Eel Pie Island. Can you imagine? Henry VIII was overly fond of the eponymous eel pies, but I think I would visit just to see the artists’ studios. Doubtless none of them has though much about pi since school, either. http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/08/21/the-tiny-island-on-the-thames-that-once-held-the-rolling-stones-david-bowie-and-the-uks-largest-hippie-commune/

Happy Spring – it’s coming!

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jamestaylor/sweetpotatopie.html

“I went to sit in the bus station and think this over. I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s
practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of
course.”
― Jack Kerouac

Cambridge Alert – Yard Make-over at No Cost by CBF’s Alan Girard

Residents of Cambridge, this spring you can win an unusual prize: a yard make-over at no cost. And in the process you can help clean up the waters around the city, and the Chesapeake Bay. Oh, and everybody gets a free ‘rain barrel.’

The whole idea is the brainchild of the Cambridge Clean Water Advisory Committee. The group wants to encourage practical, low-cost activities that can improve water quality in the city.

The process is simple. Interested residents must first attend a workshop that’s happening at the Dorchester County Public Library in Cambridge, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 22. You will receive information about what possible changes could be made in your yard that treat polluted runoff.

For instance, “rain gardens” are a type of beautiful garden that also soaks up rain running off your property. This is helpful because this runoff often contains pollution from the air or the landscape. The pollution usually ends up in local creeks. You won’t make any commitments at the workshops, just learn about possibilities for a make-over.

If you’re still interested, next you will receive a free visit after the workshop from a professional landscaper who will look at your yard, talk to you, and come up with ideas such as rain gardens, native plants, pavement removal and other possible modifications best suited for your yard.

You’ll pay nothing for the make-over if you are selected. Only five properties will be chosen in the first year of the two-year program. In the second year, financial support drops from 100 percent to 90 percent as a way to encourage early participation.

Both homeowners and renters are eligible to enroll. Those of limited means are particularly encouraged to step forward as the project is intended, in part, to respond to needs in underserved communities. A community survey accessible online here will further help reveal how much people know about water quality and ways to improve it. All survey respondents are eligible to enter to win a $40 Jimmie & Sooks Raw Bar and Grill gift card.

Pre-registration is required to attend the workshop on March 22nd. Each workshop participant will receive a free rain barrel and instructions on how to install it. For more information and to register, contact Hilary Gibson at 410-543-1999 or hgibson@cbf.org.

Fertilizers, soil, oil, grease and other contaminants run off private property when it rains. Until now, cities such as Cambridge have been left with the responsibility to deal with this problem. It’s difficult and expensive, especially to manage runoff from private property.

The work in Cambridge seeks to treat runoff before it becomes the city’s responsibility. Recognizing the burden of treating runoff once it reaches the city’s drainage system, the Cambridge Clean Water Advisory Committee of private and public partners stepped in to try to demonstrate how runoff volumes and contaminants can be reduced before that point. Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation was awarded to pilot a program that offers homeowners and renters incentives to install native plantings, swales and other practices that naturally filter runoff on private property – minimizing runoff volumes and pollutants for the city to handle later.

Alan Girard is the director of the Maryland Eastern Shore Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Psst….The Bartlett Pear is Totally Open for Business

The Bartlett Pear has been one of those special gifts that a small community rarely is the recipient of. A beautiful historic downtown building is reactivated by a “from here” young couple who converts it to a first class boutique hotel and dining venue.

After years being mentored by some of the top chefs in America, Alice and Jordan Lloyd returned to their native home of Easton in 2009 to develop their own vision of what hospitality means regarding food and lodging. And throughout a particularly painful economic recession, the Bartlett Pear persevered by offering locally-sourced culinary delights from the morning until the late hours of the night.

But even with that remarkable track record, the “BP” has had to reset its business model to more accurately calibrate what the owners do and when they do it with the realities of being a young family with two children.

The result of this hard-nosed evaluation led to a different approach for the current Bartlett Pear. Jordan, at the height of his earning power as a chef, decided to commute to DC during the week and return to the extremely high-end dining scene there while Alice would operate the hotel and bakery.

The Spy had a brief chat with Alice about these changes as well as her gratitude for the Pear’s very loyal patrons for quickly adapting to its pivots over the last nine years.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about the Bartlett Pear please go here

Food Friday: Banana Bread for Procrastinators

It is a struggle for me to get the recycling out in time each week. The dire warning from the town clearly states the necessity to have it out by the curb by 7:00 AM on Mondays. I am up at six most mornings, a combination of Mr. Friday’s ridiculously early office hours and Luke the wonder dog, who just can’t wait to get up every day. And yet, most Mondays I dawdle around, reading the paper, checking Facebook, drinking the first Diet Coke of the day, looking out the window and counting daffodil blooms. And then, suddenly, I remember, and I am running down the driveway in my jim-jams, racing with an unwieldy recycling container loaded to the gills with cheap white wine empties, a collection of rattling Diet Coke cans, and lots of heavy newspaper, just a couple of houses ahead of the approaching recycling truck. I procrastinate. I could just take the recycling out the night before. But where would the fun and peril be in that?

I am always reading food articles, of course, and I fall prey to the ones that exhort us to eat better. Imagine that. Bananas are miracle food! Eat two bananas a day and shed pounds and become happier! Eat fifty a day for life-altering miracles! Reduce your risk of high blood pressure! Or stroke! Or cancer! Gluten-free! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-christianson/bananas-health_b_7798580.html

Bananas do contain all sorts of healthy ingredients: flavonoids, ply-phenolics, lutein, beta and alpha carotenes, antioxidant, lots of Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6, fiber, magnesium and copper. But I don’t think that’s why we buy them. We buy them because they are yellow. Bananas smell great – like lunch boxes on a rainy day, with no hope of recess, in elementary school. Bananas are portable. Bananas are fun to peel. They are much easier to open than milk containers or anything in a plastic clamshell. Bananas are deelish.

But after a couple of days you forget that there is a bunch of bananas in the bowl on the counter, over there, way across the kitchen, over by the toaster and the stack of neglected Visa bills. And suddenly, you realize that you have procrastinated and waited too long and soon the fruit flies will start to swarm. And now you need to make a loaf of banana bread, because throwing food away is a sin. This is a salvageable crisis. And one with many solutions. And you can still wear your jim-jams without the recycling guys sniggering at you.

Basic Boozy Banana Bread

3 to 4 overly ripe, brownish bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar – it depends on your sweet tooth
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (or rum)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Up to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon (or rum), and then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, stir. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve. Do not delay. Yumsters.

https://food52.com/recipes/10424-banana-bread

https://www.justataste.com/ultimate-moist-banana-bread-recipe/

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/8464-banana-chocolate-chip-tea-cake

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
-Groucho Marx

Wow – The Talbot County Garden Club Turns 100

The Talbot County Garden Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Through its civic initiatives and thousands of volunteer hours, the Club has remained an integral part of the community and of Talbot County’s history. The Club’s accomplishments are wide ranging and have continued to enhance the beauty of the community around us.

In 1917, 10 men and women established the Talbot County Garden Club with the initial focus on developing new gardens in the community, restoring old ones and protecting the beauty of the Eastern Shore. Over the years, the mission has been broadened to incorporate the changing needs of the community and the conservation of natural resources but the original themes are still present in the heart and soul of each member.

In celebration, The Talbot County Garden Club will be displaying Centennial banners on Washington, Harrison, Goldsborough and Dover Streets in Easton. The banners will include photos of two of the Club’s various civic projects. The Club will also hold a member luncheon with various state and local leaders invited.

To capture the history of the Club and its accomplishments, The Talbot County Garden Club is publishing a book on their hundred years in Talbot County. The process of planning and writing the book provided us the opportunity to capture our history, especially the lesser known details. It is a vehicle by which we can share our history and accomplishments with our members and the community,” states Missy Warfield, Book Committee Chair and Editorial Director.

A little known fact was that one of the first major projects for the Talbot County Garden Club was the elimination of billboards along RT 50. The effort spanned fourteen years but ultimately resulted in the elimination of 21,000 signs and the unobstructed views while driving through our County. Beautification projects continue today. Most recently, the Club planted 13,000 daffodil bulbs in front of Moton Park along the RT 322 by-pass to commemorate its hundred-year history.

The Talbot County Garden Club has been attributed as the impetus for the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. Over the last seventy-plus years, the Pilgrimage has grown to a nearly statewide event, with the gardens in Talbot County being among the most popular. Proceeds from the Pilgrimage have been used for projects throughout Talbot County including the design and building of the Talbot Historical Society Garden.

In addition to the Historical Society Garden, Talbot County Garden Club has also contributed to many other projects around the County over the years. Created by the Club, the Fountain Garden at Five Corners and the Frances Plate Memorial Children’s Garden at Idlewild Park continue to be maintained by members of the Club. Through all the efforts, The Talbot County Garden Club has been recognized by several national organizations for its work in beautifying Talbot County.

The Talbot County Garden Club’s mission today is to enrich the natural beauty of the environment by sharing knowledge of gardening, fostering the art of flower arranging, maintaining civic projects, supporting projects that benefit the community and encouraging the conservation of natural resources. With over one hundred active and associate members, the Club is well posed to continue its tradition of partnering with the community to enhance the beauty of the landscape around Talbot County for years to come.

Design for You: Thoughts on Architect David Morton by Pamela Heyne

It was always a treat going to dinner at Presqu’ile, the 1820 historic home of Anne Morton Kimberly. Proceeding down the long tree lined drive was a dramatic beginning. Then our cheerful, stylish hostess would greet us, often introducing us to new friends. Sometimes her daughter Babes and Babes’ husband Tom would be guests when they were not traveling. Dinner was usually in the formal dining room, or for more intimate occasions, in a cozy nook off the kitchen.

After dinner we would often sit in the library and continue chatting. A full length portrait of Anne’s son, and Babes’ brother, David Morton graced a wall in an anteroom. The picture showed him standing on a hill, smiling, as he gazed in the distance. David was tall and handsome, resembling his dad, 6’7 Congressman and cabinet official Rogers Morton. David had died in 2003.

I had known David much earlier, long before I moved to the shore and met Anne and Babes. David and I were classmates at Yale School of Architecture. David was a talented and brilliant fellow. I recall a handful of us gathered in his apartment as David explained to us some engineering complexities, and exactly how air conditioning worked! He had a patrician confidence, not surprising since he had spent his teen years at Presqu’ile, attended the Country School, and came from a prominent family. Yet he had a zany side too. His New Haven apartment could only be described as quirky. It sported a black hallway with a giant stuffed toy jolly green giant suspended from the ceiling.

A few years later after graduating from Yale I took a trip to New York with another classmate from New Haven, Tom Welch. We stayed at David’s home in Brooklyn. Its previous incarnation was a toilet seat factory but David was transforming it into a chic series of loft apartments. He had a grand piano in one of the rooms. Leaning next to the piano was a cane. I made conversation about the cane. Turns out it was a gift from Leonard Bernstein.

 8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

The building was next to the Brooklyn bridge. As we had dinner we gazed out the wide windows as car headlights slipped across the bridge, and the lights of Manhattan glistened on the water. One felt suspended in a kinetic, magical world.

David had a lifelong partner, Tom Cordell, an architect turned artist, of whom Anne was most fond. After David’s death Tom would accompany Anne on trips and was frequent a dinner guest at Presqu’ile. Tom is still alive, and his work is handled by Fischbach Gallery in New York.Anne, who grew up in privilege in Kentucky, had a remarkable openness of mind. Though her husband was a prominent Republican, she hosted a fundraiser at Presqu’ile for Democrat Frank Kratovil and said she “enjoyed her new Democratic friends.”

David grew up in beautiful surroundings and himself created beautiful surroundings. He saw the potential in Brooklyn factory buildings before it was fashionable. Eventually settling in California, he designed homes throughout the US. One of his designs is a spectacular sliver of a house perched on a ridge in Hilo, Hawaii. Now a vacation rental, called “The Falls at Reed’s Island” it is listed in the Frommer guide as one of the “top 15 rooms with a view”.

A few years after David’s death I saw that one of his home designs appeared in Architectural Digest. I took the magazine to Anne and left it with her. She was pleased to see it, but also, really unable to speak. We both realized that a talented person left the earth way too soon.

A while back, on a speaking trip to Chicago, I visited again with old friend Tom Welch. I learned with great sadness that he, a gay man, had been beaten up on the street. In David Morton’s 2003 NYT obituary Tom Cordell was listed as a partner. Now, in Babes’ 2017 obituary, Tom Cordell is listed as a surviving brother-in-law. That little detail said a great deal and pleased me.

Pamela Heyne is head of Heyne Design in Saint Michaels and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child.