Against the Grain: Shiny furniture without the fumes

When the time came to purchase a dining room table, I fell in love with a piece made from stunning, richly grained mango wood. The table was an extravagant purchase, so I listened very carefully while the salesperson recited care instructions. Then I dutifully purchased the recommended furniture polish.

As soon as the table was delivered, I lovingly polished it from top to bottom. However, the polish had a lingering smell. After the job was finished, I decided to read the ingredients.

Read More

Gift Guide: Present Tense

I come from people who believe that pickles are integral to a good sandwich, that dinner should be eaten around a table and that all the very best gifts are edible. In fact, one of my earliest memories includes reaching up to slip a cooling cookie off the kitchen counter, baked by my dad for friends and neighbors. In later years, he gave up the cookies and started making huge vats of homemade pancake mix—a move that made him extraordinarily popular.
Read More