I feel like Cinderella today.  You see, this is my last post (technically it should have been on the 31st—you know, last decade) and I must hurry before my writing space turns into a pumpkin, and the keys on my board into slippery seeds.

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It's the end of the year -- and the end of Food for Thought. So let's wrap it all up with a big bow (or at least some nicely tied kitchen string) and say goodbye to 2010 -- and this corner of cookbook and sense-memory chatter.

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To be filed under You Just Never Know How Things Will Shake Out: One night's recipe mistake is another evening's gift for a friend.

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The last few years, the whole cooking-baking thing has gotten away from me entirely. But this year, the idea of baking cookies -- and the actual act of baking cookies -- is actually something that I not only find myself with a little extra time for, but I'm filled with the urge for an edible mitvah.

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I love roast chicken. Love. L-U-V. There’s just something so utterly irresistible to me about the crispy skin, the moist flesh, the play of salty and herby additions and the way you can take those things and make them mirror or contrast what you’ve got going on the side. And then there’s the leftovers! I mean, seriously, "Gift of the Magi" my eye -- whole roasted chicken is the gift that keeps on giving.

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At the Mad-Hatter’s tea party it is always 6 o’clock and always tea time. It’s a pity that American colonists didn’t carry on the English tradition of afternoon tea, because it allows for my favorite way to eat, enjoying little tastes of many delicacies, able to try this and try that without seeming gluttonous.  So when my best friend asked me to cater her sister-in-law’s baby shower I knew that we were headed to wonderland.

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Here is part two of my holiday list, this one focused on the wealth of new Jewish cookbooks and food-related books that would make wonderful gifts.

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The holiday shopping panic has set in for most of us.  It’s a weird phenomenon, because pre-Thanksgiving who’s really thinking about gifts? Not me! But before the last crumbs of pie have been swept from the table—woosh, it’s down the Christmas rabbit hole we go, days flying by like so many jars of jam. 

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Normally at this point in the afternoon on this day before the giving of yearly thanks I am knee-deep in brussel sprouts and turkey stock and puff pastry and who all knows what else, getting ready for the big annual feast. This year though, I say let them eat pie...

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Toss those old Lipton soup packets in the garbage, and all hail Ina Garten's deliriously delicious dip of waistline destruction!

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