Sweet Christmas

When I was growing up in Atlanta, Christmas was about concerts. That’s because my stepfather, Robert Shaw, conducted at least 12 of them every December—a Festival of Carols with collegiate and children’s groups and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Handel’s “Messiah” with more than 300 people in the chorus. Robert was Mr. Christmas. His album …

Instagram Considered

On boats, at tables, on courts, courses, and beaches, as this summer wound down from East Hampton to Nantucket to Maine, there’s but one word that cropped up, endlessly: Instagram. To the point that, for me, it became distracting. Granted, Instagram isn’t exactly new, but somehow its siren song has recently reached a shrill crescendo. …

Nancy’s 90th

Every summer in Los Angeles, usually the last week in July, I always gave a dinner for several friends who had birthdays close to one another. Birthday parties mean cake—or in this case, cakes—and everyone’s favorite dishes. Nancy Reagan loved fish, so I served Mountain Trout from Washington State. David Jones was always happy with …