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August 5, 2009

Cape trek

Filed under: Holidays — Mr. Henry @ 12:26 pm

Jhumpa Lahiri and the Henry family are renting houses on Cape Cod
. Although they won’t be staying together, it seems as though they should be.


For one, Mr. Henry will be carrying her new novel Unaccustomed Earth (in hardcover, Jhumpa, just so you know). For another he will be carrying an iron skillet.

In addition to being famous writers with ardent admirers, Jhumpa and Mr. Henry share an affection for cooking with cast iron skillets both on stovetop and in the oven. Although Mrs. Henry takes issue with its weight, Mr. Henry maintains that the iron skillet’s versatility overcomes that drawback. (The trick is to carry it with two hands – in oven mitts, please.)

All week Mr. Henry has been accumulating provisions for a week far from his best-loved markets. In addition to a skillet, here is a partial list of what the Henrys will tote in their trunk:castironskillet.jpg

Citarella’s Sicilian olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
Sherry vinegar
Dijon mustard
rolled oats
dried cannellini beans
French lentils
Sukoyaka brown rice
Tapioca pearls (for tea)
sea salt, black pepper
herbs de provence
curry, cumin, paprika
Eli’s olive rosemary crisps
organic raisins
Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate
Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, Natural
Twinings English Breakfast tea
Tazo Refresh mint tea
Citarella’s house blend coffee
Refrigerated items:

bacon (no nitrates)
prosciutto di Parma

farmhouse cheddar
Laura’s goat cheese log
Cabot’s nonfat yogurt
Cabot’s nonfat cottage cheese
homemade chicken stock (frozen)
Citarella’s green olive hummus
olives (Kalamata and green)
fresh ginger
Xochitl salsa (green and red)


Hendrick’s gin
white Lillet
Manzanilla sherry
sauvignon blanc
pinot noir

Anything else will have to be scrounged at the Eastham Superette.

Mr Henry accepts that on any serious voyage things may get rough. Knowing that the most basic requirements for nourishment will be met, however, now perhaps he will rest easier.


  1. Wow. I’ll be right over.

    Comment by raincoaster — August 7, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

  2. Enjoy! The weather here in New England has been great now that our rainy spring is over. Also – lobster is less expensive this year than it has been in the past.

    Comment by Phyllis — August 9, 2009 @ 6:08 am

  3. P.S. This weeknd in Mystic CT lobster was $4.99 lb!

    Comment by Phyllis — August 16, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  4. We just returned from the Cape where Marconi Beach was sizzling hot and the water numbingly cold.

    Will Mr. Henry be sampling the chowdah? I’m interested to know which recipe he finds superior.

    I read that Mr. & Mrs. Buckley, when out sailing, would grab a couple of lobsters from a lobsterman’s pot and put a bottle of wine in the pot as payment. I wonder how the lobsterman felt about that.

    Comment by Merry — August 19, 2009 @ 7:49 am

  5. Yes, the Atlantic was god-awfully cold this year which, by the way, didn’t stop Little Henry and posse from belly-boarding for an hour.

    Mrs. Henry ate a delicious New England clam chowder at Winslow’s Tavern in Wellfleet. Mr. Henry had mussels in curry and riesling broth appetizer, which was fabulous, the best dish of the night.

    Regarding chowder recipes, because he invariably cooks chowder when on vacation in a rental house, Mr. Henry always wings it, forever trying to recall M. F. K. Fisher’s ingredients from Consider the Oyster. (She uses lots of milk.) Bacon, fresh corn, onion, potatoes, whole milk (or half & half), and clams. That’s really it, except for chopped chives and a splash of spirits at the end.

    You must scrub your clams and pull away their beards. The real flavor element in the broth, of course, comes from the shells, but be careful not to include the sand at the bottom of the pot.

    Bill and Pat Buckley pinched lobsters? What riffraff. Lobstermen don’t drink wine, anyway. And how can lobstermen faithfully report their limit when Buckleys and like miscreants from the unlettered classes remove them illegally?

    Comment by Mr. Henry — August 19, 2009 @ 8:15 am

  6. Mmmm mussels! So delicious and so environmentally friendly. I recently began experimenting with them after reading an article in the Globe magazine. They’re so easy, inexpensive, quick and fun to eat. Now you have me thinking of organizing a seafood feast for the weekend.

    Comment by Merry — August 21, 2009 @ 5:44 am

  7. I hate to think what you’ll pack to visit Italy! Don’t believe in sampling the local?

    Comment by Judith in Umbria — August 25, 2009 @ 1:58 am

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