Behold, the fruit of our Saturday labors. My neighbor Andy and I spent the whole day cooking a pig (actually, he did most of the cooking). You’d be surprised how much beer, bourbon, etc., it takes to get you through the process. That’s the pig splayed out on my dining table. In the foreground is a Mitch Morgan, which is to say, a shot of bourbon and a piece of fried bacon. Andy’s idea. My wife Julie, who has never liked bourbon, did a Mitch Morgan, squealed and shook her head like she had just ingested jet fuel, then said, convincingly, “That was really good!” She meant it, because she had another one.

It was a long, fun day. We have E. and R., some dear friends from Baltimore visiting. Sitting around the table tonight, post-pig, I reminisced about the last time they visited, and we drank the last of the Vieille Prune — aged plum brandy I had brought home from France. I first tried it at this very memorable meal in Paris. Here is Bobosse, the owner of the French restaurant, with the stuff:


“You can’t get it here in the US,” I moped. “I’ve tried.” I pointed out that we had saved the label from that bottle, and it was on the fridge.

Moments later, in walks E. with a package for me. I opened it. It was a large bottle of Vieille Prune! I was knocked flat by that generosity. They had found it on a trip to San Francisco, in a speciality liquor store, and had saved it for a year for me. It really was one of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts anyone has ever given me. I am so blessed in my friends.

BTW, another friend, this one in New Orleans, texted me this TV listing from the newspaper the other day: