I was born nostalgic for things I could not have a memory of ~ I just came out that way.  For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in old things, old MUSICA, old movies, old houses and gardens, and especially stories of how people lived in the olden days.  I’ve always loved history, I think because it’s nostalgia sanctified.  So I belonged to Martha’s Vineyard the first moment I saw it because nostalgia is a way of life here so much so that it’s called “tradition.”  People return to the island summer after summer looking for a connection to the past and they find it, alive and well.


You see it pretty much everywhere you go, the narrow streets, the fireworks in August, the ferry as it comes and goes,  the meadows and fields, the view over Nashaquitsa Pond from South Road.  Here we are at Nip and Tuck Farm (now a farmstand called Ghost Island Farm).

everything old



For years it was a dairy farm (famously owned by Fred Fisher) as you can see by the bottles decorating the back wall of the store.  I used to go there for ice cold milk from their fridge and drink it in the car as I drove to the beach.  It was the most delicious milk in the world.


When you go there now, they are playing music the old-fashioned way . . . our MUSICA today is what was playing while we were there . . .♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Look at those beautiful beets!  I couldn’t help but take a picture.


flat leaf parsley

We were there to pick up fresh veggies, arugula, green onions, and parsley so I could make one of our favorite Summer Traditions, something no summer of ours would be complete without, homemade Crab Cakes.  I thought it would be fun to take you into the kitchen while I do it . . . because it’s easier than you would ever imagine and makes the restaurant-made ones pale in sad comparison. 


canned crab

We bought this canned crab meat at our fish market here on the island and you should be able to find it at your supermarket. If not, The Net Result (freshest most wonderful fish, they have lobsters too) will ship it to you.  It’s pricey, around $25 a pound, but it’s all pure meat.  And this recipe serves eight.  And btw, a 3 oz. serving of this crab meat has 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, and no carbs.  ‘Course that all changes by the time I’m finished with it!



“Lump crab” is what you need ~ but they’ve gone a little nuts with that “lump” and now you can be totally confused because there’s “colossal lump,” “super lump,” and “jumbo lump.”  Ridiculous crab namers.  You don’t want claw meat, because crab cakes should look like crab, so the lump you want is the one just above claw, which in our case was “Super.”  That’s plenty big enough.  You drain it, rinse it, and then break it up a little bit.  You have to do that so the pieces will be small enough to stick together, but big enough to say I’M A CRAB when someone cuts into it. I really don’t like it when I cut into a Crab Cake and say, “Where’s the crab?”  That won’t happen with this recipe.



From then on it’s a piece of cake.  Two egg whites go into a large bowl . . .



then 2/3 c. of mayonnaiseborder


some Dijon mustard


worcestershire sauce

and Worcestershire sauce



A couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice . . .



which you’ll need to strain so you don’t get any seeds



chopped fresh parsley



a half-cup of minced green onion . . .



Here we stop: This is where I may have gone a little bit wrong. And you know Girlfriends, I am not here to lead you astray.  girlartThis Crab Cake recipe (on page 86 of my Summer Book) calls for 1 and 1/4 tsp. of cayenne.  The quote on the bottom of that page says, “Woe to the cook whose sauce has no sting.” (Chaucer)  Well, no woe to any cook around here, because sting is what there is plenty of.  I will say that there was not a crumb left on anyone’s plate, they were DELICIOUS.  But if you make this, I suggest you put in only one teaspoon of cayenne.  That’s all the woelessness you really need — go change it in your book as soon as you’re done here.  Thank you.



Then add a bit of salt, a half-cup of fresh bread crumbs (you make yourself in a food processor)  ~  Stir it together well, then gently fold in the crab meat.

Crab cakes

This makes either eight large cakes or sixteen small cakes (about 3″ in diameter for the small ones), however you choose to do it.  Form the little cakes, pat more fresh breadcrumbs on each side, put them on a flat surface and into the fridge for at least an hour before cooking them.


While I was making the crab cakes, Joe’s niece Arabella stopped by for a surprise visit from Oregon with her daughter Ava.  Arabella is Joe’s brother’s daughter and she, along with her husband Blair, make their most delicious Trathen Hall wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Joe’s family is all beautiful like this:


Family faces


Here are the present and the future, and we who know them can definitely see the past.  You can see between the first photo and this one, Ava is warming to the camera.  And in the next one, she is her normal natural self, along with her beautiful mom.


Exhaust the little moment



We had to stop everything to enjoy this precious moment. I knew you would like it.  But too soon they were on their way again. As you can imagine, they are a very popular pair and had rounds to make, friends and family to see and not ever enough time.


And I was back to the Crab Cake project, making up a batch of homemade Tartar Sauce to go along with.  Another easy, fast recipe (both recipes with all the correct measurements will be at the bottom of this post) ~ a quick stir of mayonnaise, minced parsley, capers, minced green onion, minced sweet pickle (or relish), and cider vinegar produces the most fabulous concoction, fantastic with fish, amazing with French fries.



And VOILA if I do say so myself.  The Crab Cakes are broiled, four minutes on each side until toasty brown.  See all the chunks of crab meat in there?  Serve them with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice.



I put the cakes on a bed of arugula along with the lemon and the Tartar Sauce for the first course of our dinner with friends.


Here’s what the cakes look like inside.  They actually taste BETTER than this picture looks.  I hope you try them.


Mas MUSICA?  Oui?  And now, speaking of Traditions, how about Library Days? First off, this was the pretty article that ran in the Sunday Cape Cod Times the day before I was to appear at the West Falmouth Library.  I didn’t see it myself, but one of our Girlfriends was kind enough to send it to me (Thank you Pennie!).


The event was perfect, sold out with seventy-five people in attendance and all the proceeds went to support the Library.  It could not have been nicer.



This library has been around for a hundred and fifty years. It was started by five young women in the mid 1870’s in the quiet farming village of Falmouth.  From the start, as you can imagine, it was a focal point for the community.  It’s still in the same building where it’s been since 1896 and has evolved beautifully to the information age, as a library (and all of us) should do, in keeping with tradition and a nostalgic eye on the future.

West Falmouth Library

I talked about my inspiration for A FINE ROMANCE, how I got the idea to do a diary of our trip through the English Countryside and how all of you came along as stowaways and how much fun that was.  There were lots of questions.  Here I am, trying to explain how we felt while Joe drove the narrow back roads, squished between hedgerows and cottage walls on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road.  Do I look scared?  I should!

my paintbrush, doing what comes naturally

learning to paint

I’m immersed in nostalgia these days, because we are going waaaay back in time with my newest book and it could not be more fun to paint and write. I’ve been looking through lots of old diaries and photos . . . here’s a photo when I’m just teaching myself to paint, about five years before moving to Martha’s Vineyard.  I’m in Hawaii, but I’m so excited about my new hobby, I had to bring that metal box full of my art things on vacation with me.

hearts and flowers

I’ll leave you with this, one more little step back in time, because despite the crazy wildness of the days in which we live, this is who we are and who we will always be.  We just have to remember that and make it come alive in our own lives.  For balance.



Byee, love you  have a wonderful time wherever you are! XOXO

C R A B    C A K E S

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. minced parsley
  • 1/2 c. minced green onion
  • 1 tsp. cayenne (don’t be afraid, this is perfect)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 lbs. lump crab meat, drained and rinsed (“Super lump” I would say)
  • 2 c. fresh bread crumbs (I make mine from sour dough bread and don’t let them get too fine)
  • lemon wedges

Drain and rinse the crab meat.  Make sure there’s no shell in it while breaking it up a bit.  If the pieces are really big, it will be hard for the cake to hold together, but you still want them big enough to show .  Stir together first nine ingredients, then gently fold in the crab meat and 1/2 c. of bread crumbs.  Form the mixture either into 8 large patties or 16 small ones (small ones would be a little under 3″ in diameter); press bread crumbs into each side, place them on a flat surface and refrigerate them for an hour or more.  This helps them hold together when they cook, which they do, perfectly.  TO COOK: preheat the broiler, put the rack four inches from the heat source.  Put the cakes on a lightly oiled sheet pan and broil them 4″ from the heat for 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Serve on a bed of arugula with lemon wedges and Tartar Sauce.

T A R T A R   S A U C E

  • 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. capers
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. minced parsley
  • 3 tsp. minced green onion
  • 3 tsp. minced sweet pickle (or sweet pickle relish)
  • 2 1/4 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Blend ingredients and chill.

hearts and flowers

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

402 Responses to NOSTALGIA and me.

  1. Robyn genau says:

    Dear Susan,
    I read Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow Sampler and loved it so much I had to find one to dip into anytime I wanted. Thank goodness for Amazon!

  2. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Hi Susan..what a beautiful day:-)))
    Loved the MUSICA from the last post. Thought I ordered it from Amazon, but what I got isn’t the same. It only runs for 2 hours. The way it’s pictured when I click MUSICA , says 11 hours of bird and animal sounds, I got Thunderstorms. rain forest, calming seas, etc. LOVE this CD but can’t spot it anywhere…can you help?

  3. Laura Jenkins says:

    The crab cake eaters of the family are rejoicing! Have yet to order one in a restaurant that has perfected the balance of crab meat and seasonings that you mention…will give this a go! Many thanks! By the way, do you toast your bread before making crumbs?

  4. Merle says:

    This recipe looks great and as always, I love the musica!
    I was wondering if you have watched these on youtube or TV?

    Turn back Time:The Family

    If you have not seen them they are great. It is a recreation on life through different times in England’s history.

    • Laura says:

      I love Turn Back Time: The Family!! Did you also see Turn Back Time: The British High Street? So good I bought the series on amazon UK! Susan and Girls…I was a Downton Abbey virgin until a week and a half ago…I gorged on all four series (that I borrowed from our library)in that short time and may I say I am obsessed….OMG!!!! I am seriously driving my husband and girls crazy by telling (in great detail) them all the plotlines…lols!! Was I crazy??????? I LOVE DOWNTON!!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!! Mrs. Hughes is my favorite, favorite character. Now, whenever I see something fancy or make something fancy and it looks extra beautiful I say “Very Downton!” (Like that picture of your crab cake on the arugula with the beautiful tartar sauce and rose chintz plate and silver fork….SOOOO Downton!!!). Here is what I want to know….I wonder what kind of crystal it is that Mr. Carson serves the Dowager Countess water from at Downton right before she gets bronchitis….I have NEVER seen that shape glass and I WANT ONE…or six!!!!!! Is that asking too much??? I think not. The Dowager is my second fave…she cracks me up in every episode…love her. Cannot wait for season 5….OMG…what ELSE can happen?????? xxxxxxxxxx

      • Laura says:

        Oh, I must say one more thing….that scene when Mary came down the stairs in her wedding dress and her Father and Mr. Carson were waiting at the foot of the stairs looking up at her……I DIED!!!!!!! Ok, I will stop now….maybe

      • sbranch says:

        You are making me want to start over! Let’s shop Downton!

    • Kathleen Noble says:

      Merle, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful series! I just finished watching the first two episodes, and could easily have binged on the whole lot but for work tomorrow. Just terrific!

  5. Julia says:

    I know what you mean about “coming out OLD.” Me, too.
    Beautiful is right. Both girls are precious. Next time the
    crab trap is full, I will try your recipe. I’m going to change
    my book recipe right now. I had my little garden fence put
    up last week. Let’s hope it deters the deer. I want that
    English country garden.

  6. Bernie says:

    I’m reasonably certain, no, I’m positive, if we lived nearer to each other, we’d be best buds. I just love old “stuff” too. Now I am going to have to run to the market to buy crab, because I also love crab cakes. It’s probably a good thing you don’t post recipes every day!

  7. Joe’s niece and greatniece are both darling! What a delightful “interruption” in your crab cake recipe, which by the way looks and sounds yummy. Tasha Tudor felt she belonged in 1840. I feel I was born about 150 years too late (which would make my preferred birth year 1800)! I think those of us who are drawn to an earlier era all have something in common—I think we are meant to bring with us the best of that earlier time and share it with others now. You do a wonderful job of doing just that, Susan!

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Hi Cathy,
      I think we all yearn for a gentler time. To live in a place of tradition, where the changes are small, where the dairy stand changes to a farm stand, instead of a large box store. I love how the population of the island ebbs and flows with the seasons. I love that a walk in the woods leads to the ocean. To live in that place must be pure magic. It is as it has been for generations.
      Luckily, Susan shares it with us.

      • sbranch says:

        Somehow, other than the Dairy Queen, there are no chain stores on the island! I think that’s pretty amazing. I miss some of them, but I’m happy to go off island if I need a Taco Bell taco.

  8. Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Nostalgia, family, food! Does it get any better? Joe’s niece is just beautiful and Ava, well wish I could have heard the little happy giggle in that last picture. In just 6 days I will see my own little Ava and her 6 year old brother Will. My 91 year old mother and I are flying to Ohio and we are going to stay with the kids while my son and DIL take a much needed vacation to celebrate 10 years of marriage. My mother and I are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves! What an opportunity to make memories for my Grandkids of their Great Grandmother! It is going to be special!
    The crab cakes look amazing….perhaps I stand a better chance of buying crab meat in Ohio!
    I see one meal already planned! And Ohio has wonderful farm stands. My favorite is Szalay’s in Peninsula. Can you tell I am excited?
    Thank you Susan for the lovely post of life on Martha’s Vineyard and a peek into the new book! We can’t wait for that either!
    Soon to be wining my way to Ohio…
    Chris in West Texas

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      That’s winging my way!

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        don’t worry, Chris! We are all used to making corrections in our heads!

        I know what you mean about the dairy stand turning into a farm stand. Around the corner from my home is a farm where the farmer used to just sell his own corn (yummy), but now it has grown (in a nice way) to offer lots of produce and even some local organic meat! I love the sweet Mennonite girls with their pastel dresses and crisp aprons who ring up your purchases. I love their definite PA Dutch accents (but I also realize that I probably have a little bit of that same accent!) Have fun with your family and those farm stands in Ohio!!

    • Kathi Sanoba says:

      Chris…. I love Szalay’s too! Make sure you go to the Saturday market in the Cuyahoga Valley. Not sure where you will be but, if you don’t already know, this is a weekly market with only local vendors. Sponsored by the Countryside Conservancy and held a Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park – right off Riverview very near to Szalay’s.

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        Kathi ,
        I was able to get to that one 2 years ago. It was fabulous! It was in October and we bought some Northern Spy apples right off the back of the truck and I went back to my son’s house and made an apple pie. They are still talking about that pie! Those apples were so fresh!
        The hard part is that it all shuts down at noon. I am there for two Saturdays, so hope that I can make it work!
        I am from Bath, Ohio originally, and my son lives there now. So I am a stone’s throw!

  9. Ricki says:

    What a beautiful girlfriend letter you wrote us today. I so enjoy the musica you find us…hadn’t heard that song in years. The girls are absolutely glorious. Thank you for cheering us on this dreary Saturday In Houston. I am so hungry for one of those crab cakes.

  10. LynnMarie says:

    Eeeeek! I sat down to Saturday supper, turned on my laptop and there you were with a new post. I know what you mean about nostalgia–I love all things past. My radio in the car is turned to oldies. I wonder if I was born in the past if I would love that era as much? Hmmm. Have a beautiful summer weekend, Susan.

  11. carmel says:

    Such a lovely post, Susan. Congratulations on your successful presentation and fund raising. I love history and old things too. I get nostalgic over things I never experienced or knew also. Many years ago when I first landed in MA (Boston), it was mystical. I also felt so at home in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard on a recent trip. The pics of Arabella and Ava are a joy. The beets are beautiful. The recipe looks great-I will change the amount of cayenne in your cookbook in a few minutes. Thanks for such an uplifting post during especially difficult world news.

  12. judi says:

    Your crabcakes look delicious (changed the measurement in my book). What an adorable niece and grand niece you have…and your picture taking is pro!

    Happy your talk went well and how nice to endow the library. WOW, what a gooorrrrgeous pic of you…ah, in Hawaii! The story in the upcoming book???? 🙂

  13. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    WOW!!! Talk about nostalgia – Ava looks like she could have stepped out of a painting from Norman Rockwell – what a DOLL! And as you said, her Mom is beautiful too! Thank you for sharing them with us! The crab cakes make my mouth water (as well as the fresh vegetables) – will have to see if I can find Foods from the Sea brand at some of our specialty grocers!
    I’m a nostalgia and history fan too – thank you again for your wonderful “letters”!

  14. mary mccumber says:

    Oh my goodness, isn’t it wonderful to remember all that our lives have given us, and yet so much more,~ to look forward to! This is my moment to remind you dear friend, how very much we all look forward to your beautiful words, lovely pictures, and the magical trip you always manage to take us on in each and every blog!! AND, I’m going to try those crabcakes!! Enjoy your weekend!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you so much Mary, I love having all of you here and reading all of your lovely words. xoxo

  15. patricia ayala says:

    Dear Susan,You are a true romantic! Thank you for such a touching and delicious post! It’s what my heart was missing today! XOXOXO

  16. Jack says:

    Nostalgia indeed –that was us personified , at least two weeks every summer vacation ….cooking on the camp stove and eating under the huge eucalyptus trees that towered over our camp at Refugio Bay or under the pines in Sequoia or Yosemite in the high Sierras .
    Fighting with the bears to keep what food we had stored in ice chests or foot lockers
    Climbing a small pine tree with the ice chest to tie it up where the bears couldn’t reach —but they tried , big deep claw marks in the sides . All of us together plus the play pen
    In the big blue tent , laughing our heads off one minute or scared to death because the
    Bears were tromping around the tent the next…. The lady sitting on the stump writing and eating cookies when the little yellow bear came up behind , shoved his nose up beside her ear and ate her cookies , as she ran off making little squeaking noises. Pioneer people for two weeks every year . Trips to the hospital to get Brad’s arm set , because he broke it showing off for the girls , the same way two years in a row. …. The guys poking their heads out of their pup tent to see what the morning racket was all about … Only to see our dog Nipper and the bear she was chasing
    headed straight for them ….down came the tent , as they were thrashing about inside –knocking all the supports away –so funny to see ,I have to laugh even now . The bear went up a tree ….I threw a rock that hit it right smack on the nose — you have never heard such snorting and scuffling as that bear ran off –he didn’t come back….

    • sbranch says:

      You have such a wonderful memory Dad. xoxo I remember bringing the neighbor kids over to look at our ice chest with the bear claws in it!

    • Julia says:

      Dear Blog Dad,
      I love your stories. Tell us more. I remember camping trips to the
      beach as I lived in Central America. They had horses that you could
      rent (more like ponies) and my horse went into the ocean with me on
      his back. My dad was not happy to have to swim out into the water to
      recue me on horseback. The bears would make me a non-camper.
      The raccoons here open the coolers and eat all of the food. When
      your children get together they have plenty to talk and laugh about.
      Tell us another story, please. Your blog daughter, Julia

    • carmel says:

      As Bob Hope would say:” Thanks for the memories.” It reminds me to hold my childhood memories dear. Think I’ll start writing them down this week. I’m glad the bears didn’t eat any of the Stewart clan!

      • sbranch says:

        Us too!

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          I can remember camping with my dad and brothers, my mom refused to go camping with us…. too dirty. but we went and slept in a large tent until one night my brothers decided to invite a critter inside the tent. I went to sleep in the station wagon, dad was sawing logs like a lumberjack and I could not sleep with that racket so I grabbed a blanket and went to the car to sleep. well I woke up and heard my brothers calling ” here kitty, kitty, here kitty” and my dad hollering ” that is no kitty” next thing I knew there this horrible smell and dad hollering at my brothers. I locked the doors to the car and I would not let my brothers in, they smelled pretty bad. well after the ranger got them a ton of tomato juice to wash in and some borrowed clothes as their clothes, sleeping bags and the tent had to be burned, we went home and dad had to explain to mom what happened and how it happened. he never lived that one down. LOL!!! after that dad sort of lost his enthusiasm for camping… wonder why???? LOL!!!!! 🙂

    • Barbara (WA) says:

      You are a delightful story teller, Blog Dad Jack – share more stories, please!!

      Susan, I love the photo of you as a young woman with that passion to paint in your eyes!

    • judi says:

      How many cars did it take to bring all the camping, cooking and kids on vacation? You must have pulled a trailer full of gear:) We only camped a couple of times with our 5 kids. The car and the carrier rack on top were filled to capacity. The kids had to sit on their pillows/clothes etc. to fit. Ha, we did have fun tho:) We did a LOT more camping once we were down to 2 kids. xoxo

      • sbranch says:

        Different numbers of kids depending on the year 🙂 but up to eight, one station wagon, a bunch of stuff tied to the top, and later on, I remember an old trailer. My parents’ motto was “Organization is the key to success.”

    • Nancy says:

      How delightful! Thank you Susan’s Dad!

    • sondra fox says:

      What a dad, what a family! Our family has always enjoyed the Sierras as well Jack. We have lots of stories sitting around the campfire while nearby bears sifted through garbage in those old trash barrels that they could get into. Even after all the many trips to the Sierras, we realized that in our lifetime, we’d only see a minute part of the beautiful Sierras. Bear management has come a long way. I remember people telling me how they used to go to the dump up in Kings Canyon, where there were bleachers set up for people to go & watch the bears eat out of the dump. Poor bears. Awful how we used to treat them, just so we could get a good look at them. We seem to have this wonderful fascination with bears. While attending a Forest Ranger campfire, the Ranger told us about a kid who put his toothpaste in the bottom of his sleeping bag & tried to get a good night’s sleep. Pretty soon, a bear had dragged the kid (still in his sleeping bag) on down the dirt road. I’m sure neither the bear, or the boy were harmed. Don’t ‘cha just love bear stories? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • sbranch says:

        That’s a scary thought! They sure were everywhere in those days.

        • I frightened off a full-size black bear–actually, we frightened each other–in May when I opened the back door just as it was approaching my deck! And I live in a neighborhood, not out in the country. But, we aren’t far from a State Park, which is where I presume it came from.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            we have that problem here as well, but the bears are usually hungry and looking for food, and keeping them out of the chicken yard is a full time job. I just bang 2 metal lids together and holler loudly.. works for me and believe I’m just as scared of that bear as it is of me!!

  17. Cassandra says:

    Hi, Susan! I loved reading your last several posts, especially this one.. and I’ll be trying those gorgeous crab cakes soon. 🙂 From one nostalgia lover to another.. have a great and blessed day!! P.s. You’re so inspiring!


  18. Reneelynn says:

    Oh, those pictures!!! What a priceless treasure!!!
    The recipe sounds fab. !
    What a wonderful piece at the end…………..ahhhhh……

  19. Susie says:

    Susan, I really love crab cakes. I like your recipe too. I am crazy for the music and clothing of the 40’s…. Would you call that nostalgic? Hope you are having a great summer, there on the vineyard. Blessings to you and Joe, xoxo,Susie

  20. Heidi says:

    Yum! I’ll have to make those soon. I received the new calendar/blotter and just love it! The art work is great. Thanks!

  21. Chy says:

    The crab cakes look scrumptious. I’m not the best cook but might try to make these. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the great pictures!

  22. Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Susan, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your blog today. It just takes me back nostalgically in my life…We spent a vacation on Martha’s, back in the mid-90’s. I actually have a “Net Result” bumper sticker just like the one on their web site! I’ve never put it on my car, I just kept it as a little souvenir of our trip. Your little Ava is a living doll, and her dress is so cute. What a nice surprise that must have been to see the both f them! I find that I’m more nostalgic for my earlier life than the times before me. My childhood, when my parents were both alive, my wild college years and my early married years when my children were young. My husband thinks I shouldn’t “live in the past, just enjoy today”, and I do, but I can’t help but sometimes wish those times didn’t have to go by so swiftly. I must make your crab cakes and tartar sauce, they look absolutely delicious! We LOVE crab cakes. I have your Summer book and I don’t know how that recipe escaped me. BTW, I could actually read the article about you that you put up from the Cape Cod Times…very nice! Thanks for such a great post. Loved it!

  23. Kerrie Foley says:

    Hi Susan, I just got home from working a 12 hour shift that ran into a 13 hour shift and I was going to come right home and shower and go to bed but I had to check to see if you wrote and I was So happy to see you did! We are indeed kindred spirits…I love everything old and nostalgic. I live in a tiny Seaport (Wickford, RI) and in a house that is 220 years old. I feel like I could have lived here back in 1794 when it was brand new! I walked over to the Tavern next door when I got home and had a nice bowl of soup and a glass of wine and watched the most beautiful sunset over the cove in all it’s glory being ever so grateful for my little village. It’s so nice to be able to leave the hustle and bustle and noisy alarms at work (I am a pediatric nurse) and come home to my house by the sea. I have never been to Martha’s Vinyard but it is in my plans for the off season. It seems a lot like Wickford only lots bigger. Thanks for your wonderful blog and for making me feel like we’re friends even though we have never met. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  24. Elaine Depo says:

    Dear Susan, I’m so looking forward to another book from you! I’ve read A Fine Romance so many times I’m shocked it’s not dog-eared!
    I have to tell you that Ava is the most beautiful child ever. I keep staring at that first photo where she’s not warmed up yet and all I could think of was a Reuben’s painting of a cherub. Then I was imaging how gorgeous she’d be in a painting dressed in royal blue or emerald green velvet holding a kitty. (Jack maybe?) Anyway, she’s a charmer, the giggling one is just killer, too, I’ll bet you had a great visit. Keep enjoying these wonderful Summer days, for me the time between the 4th and then harvest time flies soooo quickly ~ from bunting to pumpkins in a blink of the eye!

  25. Liz says:

    Visiting my daughter in Vermont and before going to bed, decided to check and see if you had a new post up……happy!!

  26. Deb W says:

    The crab cakes look soooooo good! I saw the recipe on the calendar when I turned over to July, and thought, hmmmmm….maybe. Now I would say it’s for sure!

    I also spied the lovely fork in the picture of the finished crab cakes, since I collect old silver teaspoons. What pattern is it? Do you have a whole service of that pattern, or (as I suspect) a mix and match of pieces you have found over the years?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes it’s mix and match around here. I think I have six of them but I’m not sure what the name of the pattern is.

    • Barbara (WA) says:

      Well, being like a dog with a bone when I’m curious, I’ve discovered that your forks are La Marquise by Reed & Barton!

      • sbranch says:

        You are so GOOD Barbara! Thank you! I love that pattern — it’s so wide and heavy.

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          I love old silver too…although my mom had her own silver, probably from the 50s the older two generations had silver plate. The great-grandma had a few pieces of silver and it seeemed to have sea themes. She was married just before the turn of the century.

  27. Gert~Iowa says:

    Love nostalgia..yours is wonderful! Those crab cakes look so delicious, I would love to have a bite of one of them. lol Oh my gosh, Joe’s niece and her daughter are adorable! Speaking of adorable …that’s how I’d describe that picture of you!!

  28. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    Family faces are like magic mirrors–I love this quote, tears falling down my cheeks. Lovely post, sweet Susan. Thank you. Crab cakes are summer at our home also. We love our Chesapeake Bay blue crabs made into crab cakes. My mother’s recipe card is in my kitchen file. I love getting it out–seeing her handwriting, after all these years fills my heart with nostalgia and thanksgiving for all the love she showered on me. ♥

  29. charlotte says:

    Joe’s niece and her daughter are so beautiful. They look like an old photo. Talk about nostalgia. I love old photos.

  30. Faith Rose says:

    I know what you mean about loving old things.When I was younger I didn’t love them that much, I like the feel of them but didn’t really express it.My sister was the one who watched the old shows, then I started joining her and realized I liked it! Know I have a passion for old things. I love the quality of old things , not just stuff but words and stories and people. It feeds my soul. I was wondering if it is possible to use fake crab meat in this recipe? Thank you for making me reflect on why I love the past.

  31. Nelle Evans says:

    Dear Susan,
    I also love history of the olden days. I am blessed to have my family’s old hand crank Victrola record player. The one with the cylinders and a big horn. You just reminded me of that. I must get it out for the grandchildren (from 1-8 yrs. old) to enjoy. Little Ava is beautiful as is her mom. My oldest granddaughter is also an Ava. Thanks for the inspiration of your blog. I look forward to it. Your calendars from years past are my history as I mark down weather, birthdays, weddings, company, etc. on them. God bless you.

  32. Lacy Province says:

    Oh sweet Musica. My husband and I share a desk in his office. As I read your posting today we both enjoyed your sweet Musica selections (very nice). We love the older pieces – us “being of an age” (smile). But that aside – I love reading about your day to day comings & goings. Your talks, the people that visit now and then, but most of all your art & humor.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful life – Lacy

  33. Hi Susan! Nostalgia makes me so happy, too. I just love antique furniture, knowing that it had a wonderful life, filled with stories, before it came to our house. Arabella and Ava are so adorable! So happy that they surprised you and Joe with a little visit. When it comes to adorable, the photo of you painting in Hawaii is so sweet! It’s such fun to see you as a budding artist, Susan! Although I have had The Summer Book forever, I have never made crab cakes. Can’t wait to try them! Wishing you and Joe lovely summer days…
    Happy painting!

    • Debs OBrien says:

      Me either! Crab cakes ~ fisherman’s daughter too! Okay, here’s the deal ~ we got to make ourselves some crab cakes this very summer ~ Deal? Deal.

      • Jane Franks says:

        I’ve had good crab cakes in Washington, D.C./Maryland, but these look better, and I just know they are. That’s saying something because those Maryland ones are fabulous!!

        • sbranch says:

          Let me know when you try them Jane . . . I tried crab cakes everywhere I went at one time, then devised this recipe. I think it wins, mainly because there’s so many less breadcrumbs mixed in with the crab than there were on most of the ones I tried — but I could very well be wrong!

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            Less is correct. You can get great crabcakes anywhere around the Chesapeake Bay, not just up in Maryland/DC.

      • Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

        I’m in on that one with you, Debs! Yummy! Wish we had fresh seafood as on Martha’s Vineyard! xo

      • Debs, it’s a deal! Crab cakes just sound like summer! ♡

  34. Marilyn says:

    I am full from dinner, but yet I am drooling over your crab cakes and tarter sauce. I must make these soon. Thank you so much. I have read A Fine Romance once, but getting ready to read it again. It was such a joy and delight, much like a mini-vacation. Thanks!

  35. Rhonda D. says:

    I’ve wondered many times what had drawn you to Martha’s Vineyard. How did you know to go there, all the way from California? Now I know, it was the nostalgia of the island. A missing piece of the puzzle has been put into place. I find it so amazing that the magic of the island was calling out to you even when you were not in a good time in your life. I’m so glad that you listened to your heart. That’s so important and not all of us do that. Arabella and Ava are so beautiful. Ava reminds me of Shirley Temple. They have such beautiful names.

  36. Ann Simmons says:

    Just wanted to say I enjoy your blog, art, treasures you share and your recipes. Thanks for the crab salad above. I wanted to ask you what else you serve with this main dish if you wouldn’t mind sharing.
    Second topic: I don’t feel it, but technically I am a senior citizen! Discovered Gladys Taber in the 1960s and have most of her books, some of her Woman’s Day columns and have re-read them several times. Wish I could have been at Stillmeadow the day you spoke and did enjoy the tour of the house and seeing Anne as an adult.
    And third, I ordered all your calendars except the blotter-size and received them promptly, nicely packed, colorful and useful! Thank you. Ann

    • sbranch says:

      You are so welcome Ann. We had the Crab Cakes and arugula as the first course, and we had Linguini with Clam Sauce as the main. There were bowls of hot stewed plums and peaches with ginger ice cream for dessert.

  37. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I understand your love of nostalgia, I feel the same, especially in these times. The older I get, the more I love things from the past.
    I think that photo of you painting in Hawaii shows how devoted you were to your new interest in art. How lucky for us that it was not just a passing fancy! I can’t wait to read your next book!
    That Ava is adorable, she looks like a young Taylor Swift.
    You are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.
    Happy Summer!

  38. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    I was hoping for a report of the Library event. You are so brave to get up and speak. I know they loved it and how satisfying to be able to raise money for the library. Love the picture of you “teaching yourself to paint” and Miss Goldilocks and Mom of the Hall clan — I’m going to look for some of that wine. Oh boy — would I love to sink my teeth into one of those crab cakes. Thanks for improving the mood. Recent news has been a bit of a downer to say the least what with fires here and chaos round the world.

  39. Debs OBrien says:

    Good Mornin’ Good Mornin’ I danced the whole night through ~~~ {well, maybe just a little before I went to bed} What a lovely thing to wake up to ~ Sunday morning treat ~ a blog from Susan! Yay!

    Love crab {love lobster better} and so miss having our own boat and pots. Now we are reduced to buying it from the fishmonger who comes to our weekly Farmer’s Market on The Square ~ but it is very good all the same. I have never made crab cakes! Can you believe that? Stranger things happen I suppose. I really should try though, they are so good, of course, yes, I have eaten them, just never made them myself. 🙂

    Joe’s niece and great niece are beautiful ~ on the inside kind of beauty as well as the outside if you know what I mean. Ava’s golden ringlets ~ ah! hair I longed for {still do, but now it is grey and straight}

    I had one of those old, wind up gramaphones. I loved it, dearly, and all my disks. Sadly, my ex saw to it that I no longer have it {along with many other lovely things} Oh, it brought me great joy, all the hiss and crackle, the weird noises if you didn’t wind it up fully !!! Did you know that is where the saying “put a sock in it” comes from? Apparently, putting a sock in the speaker was the way to control the volume back in the day!

    Beets! Love my beets! Those look sooooo good Susan, never did see orange ones before though! Fresh from the garden, roasted, whole small baby beets in with carrots and other root vegetables or just on their own with some seared Halloumi! Yummy!

    Well, much as I’d love to stay and chat {you know me, I can talk for Wales} the Kwah~fee is brewed and beckoning! TTFN ~~

    Waving from Across The Pond ~ Debs in Wales xoxo 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Debs, it’s still dark here, I’m writing my book, Girl Kitty is keeping me company. Love “Put a sock in it” — those phrases are always loaded with common sense! Have a wonderful day!

      • Debs OBrien says:

        I can just picture that ~ you, writing in the dark, with Girl Kitty ~ makes me smile!

        • Debby says:

          Debs, have been following your blog, but can’t seem to be able to reply, any suggestions on what I am doing wrong. Debby

          • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

            Debs blog is like Cathy from Maryland. When you comment, if you don’t have a google account, click on the button that says ” google account” and other options are available. I used “anonymous” and it always works. Then sign your name so they know who you are.
            Hope this helps.

          • Debby says:

            Thanks Chris. I will try again.

  40. Lynn Cunningham says:

    I’m with several of the other girls who posted earlier ~ I’ve read A Fine Romance four times since Christmas. It soothes and inspires me ~ I love the joy in simple things that it imparts.
    Your Dad’s message was a hoot ~ your family’s camping trips must have been quite wonderful for kids of all ages.
    That is the best looking crab cake recipe that I have ever seen ~ and the crab cake itself looks mouthwatering! Thank you for sharing!!

  41. Jocelyn says:

    Your picture at the Library brought back so many memories. My Mom took me to the library for the very first time when I was about 3 or 4. And what I remember is the low shelves and a bright window in between. Thanks for the sweet memory of a time when books became magical for me.

  42. Asha says:

    Good Lazy Sunday Morning, Susan! Love your nostalgia post! Arabella & Ava are just beautiful! They both remind me of the girls you would see on the 30’s & 40’s commercial ads, especially Ava. What a cutie! They fit right in with your nostalgia post. I LOVE Blog Daddy’s account of your camping trip! Wish I could have been there. It must have been a blast. Thank you for the crab cake recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Have a fabulous rest of July. Love ya.

  43. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Thank you again for another wonderful blog. Since today is my __th birthday, I will consider it as one more present!! I, too, love all things “vintage”!! The memories, music, movies, photos, my relatives’ stories (although, sadly, there are so few older relatives left), houses, linens, dishes and the like. . . I guess I like most everything that’s old!! Some of my fondest memories were made with my high school girlfriends. One of your past blogs about singing in the car with your high school girlfriends brought back some very funny memories. We not only sang in the car, we would get out of the car with the music blaring and dance. . . right in the road!! We could never let a good song go to waste!! (We ‘cruised’ in a very rural area where the only traffic was an occasional farm truck or tractor and hay wagon.) This week, just down the road, an old barn was torn down never to be replaced which was so sad to watch. I took pictures of the ‘progress’ which seems like the wrong word. Hope all the girlfriends continue to enjoy the summer weather!

  44. Becky says:

    Your new posts create an excitement around me as my Nana’s letters did when I received them in my mail. She began each letter “Dear Ones ” creating much nostalgia in my heart as I reread her letters as I reread your posts!
    In the middle of Oklahoma, Crab Cakes are hard to find except in the freezer section of Walmart!!! However, your recipe sounds delicious as does the Tarter Sauce! I will try that on catfish! Take care and my goodness those girls look like Joe! Love, Becky in OK
    PS I am rereading A Fine Romance for the 5th time! Your Summer Book is also quick at hand!

  45. Cathy from Golden Co says:

    Susan, I made your crabcakes last summer and my family loved them!!! I had to jump in and say the joy on that little baby doll’ s face brought joy to my heart. A hyacinth for my soul on a summer Sunday morning 🙂 I always look forward to a new post from you.

  46. Janet OC says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for the reminder to step back and see the whole picture…family, friends, memories and fun. This really helps us to put the brakes on in this electronic world so we can savor all of the fine moments that life presents. Of course, we need the Internet and media communications to help us be aware of the current world events, but we also need to remain guardians of what we own in our lives.
    You more than many others have inspired me to paint and write. My time is sporadic and fractured making efforts to stay focused challenging for me. Thank you for this sweet letter reminding me (all of us) to push on with our loves and goals.
    Janet xoxox

  47. I so love coming to this special blog of yours, Susan. I’m surrounded by girlfriends. We all love the same way of life. Thank you for being you, and for bringing the rest of us together!

  48. Tina Mandeville says:

    “I was born nostalgic for things I could not have a memory of ~ I just came out that way. ” Love this, Susan – so true of you, of so many of us! It’s hard to see so many things get lost in these times and so grateful to those like you who keep resurrecting and keep it all alive!

    P.S. That darling little girl is…..DARLING!!!! :- D

  49. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    Sooooo very glad for your blog today…our youngest daughter Sarah was the last of our 13 family members to leave this morning for her drive back to Oxford OH…they began arriving before the fourth of July and have been leaving at various times for the last four days…it is toooo quiet here now…I needed something to take my mind off the quiet…I really thought your quote from Mr. Coffin was a story about your family until I got to the end and saw his name!!!…coming upon Jack’s story about the bear left me laughing out loud!!!…one thing on my bucket list is to see a bear “kind of” close up in the wild so I envy you all having a bear in your campgrounds…off to an afternoon of reading…Jamie Ford will be here this Tuesday evening discussing his book “Songs of Willow Frost”…I’ve finished reading that book, but want to try to finish his earlier book “Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet”…have a happy Sunday and may that happiness continue right on through the coming week and beyond…xoxo…Rae Ann R.

  50. Susan P. says:


    OMG I love crab cakes, and I will try the recipe as soon as we get home….YES WE ARE ON VACATION…and we took you with us….. ( the internet is nice.) We are at the Apple Farm in SLO….enjoyed tea and the awesome hamburger at the Tea Cozy…had the most relaxing massages…then enjoyed heirloom tomatoes and cheese and wine…hhhmmmm AN AWESOME DAY . I also love all things old….I will pick something up and think…..who used this…what stories can it tell me. I love things especially that mom or grandmother or my Aunt Agatha have given me…I know some of the stories to those tea cups and tablecloths. But I will be really honest…I would not mind going back in time if for only one thing….I need the flush toilet…(sorry).I can live with getting my own water using everything from the garden… but that is one thing I would miss. I guess that is why I am here now and not with my ancestor who traveled in the covered wagons. Can you imagine me complaining the whole trip about not having flush toilets (hahahha). Once again thanks for a great blog ….made the start of my Sunday a good one…off to the beach to look for Moonstone and later Sea Glass. Love, Susan P.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhh, how fun, you’re at the Apple Farm! Love the Tea Cozy too! You are in my old stompin’ grounds! Have fun Susan!

  51. Debby says:

    Loved your lastest blog. I was old from the beginning too. I remember going to my Auntie Caroline’s wonderful old farmhouse, with cows and chickens and all things that a farm requires. I loved those things, but what I really liked to do was open her cupboard doors and stare at her old dishes. I was four and this was the best place in the world. I have been wanting to tell you about the book Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, I think you would like it. It’s about a pair of twins that inherit their aunt’s house and contents in London . very different, but really good. she also wrote The Time Travelers Wife. One thing left out of your blog….Jack!!!! I look forward to seeing that handsome guy. Your friend, Debby

  52. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Dear Susan and Girlfriends,
    Thanks for reminding me about your crab cake recipe! And the tartar sauce recipe–I can’t wait to try both of them.

    Nostalgia–ahh! The very word makes me feel as if I am sitting on a very squishy sofa with lots of well used and comfortable pillows, drinking tea and looking at black and white photos while listening to an older family member talk about the “olden days”. I know it’s easy to romanticize about those days, but the idea of going slow, taking time to rest on Sundays and at the end of every day, visiting friends and family (which you usually did unannounced!), gazing at the starry sky,–Well, it is certainly a good idea to make a list of those things that you want to hang onto from the past and make them a part of your present day.

    I am going to make pickled eggs today–a very PA dutch treat! AND enjoy the very pleasant, sunny, breezy, weather we are having.

  53. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Thanks for sharing the pix of the gorgeous Ava and her beautiful mother. We also live in the Willamette Valley so now I want to search out their wines! We get wonderful Dungeness crab here in Oregon and I always make crab cakes when my little granddaughter visits because it’s her favorite. I fry them, so now am anxious to try your broiled recipe. It seems much better in that all the cakes would be ready at once. Yum!

  54. angie says:

    Thank you Susan for making life so beautiful with all you do and share with us♥♡♥♡

  55. It’s fun to look back at old photos and sometimes wonder….where is that favorite top or dress I used to wear! lol Thanks for writing back this morning. I don’t know why but some of that post doesn’t load properly but I’m happy for those that won the giveaway you had! Enjoy your Sunday! Sweet hugs Diane

  56. The older I get, the more nostalgia makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Especially after watching the evening news!

    I live not too far from Chicago so I only get good seafood meals when I visit my daughter’s family near Boston. But soon they will be driving here toward the middle of the country. My 60th birthday is coming up so my kids have rented a house in Benton Harbor, Michigan… not too far from where we lived for nine years in Holland.

    I have had some health scares so they are celebrating my “zero” birthday by us all getting together and remembering what it was like to walk the Boardwalk on Lake Michigan. Good nostalgia. But reading this made me really hungry you know. 😉

  57. I too am very nostalgic. Thanks for another most delightful post (and that recipe!) that reminds us how truly blessed we are! Sending a hug!

  58. Alice says:

    How delightful to be reminded to savor the wonderful parts of our everyday life such as surprise visits from lovely people or delicious seasonal food! Many thanks!! Alice

  59. Sheryl Baker says:

    I’m so glad I checked in after lunch. Your post, as always, left me with a smile as I prepare to go visiting. It’s a Sunday-afternoon-kind-of-thing to do. That said, I’m not seeing anyone taking pictures of ME when I stop by. No semblance of Joe’s family here! What I lack in comeliness, though, I will compensate for with caring and conversation, which is exactly what I receive with my visits to your blog. I just love you and all the girlfriends!

  60. Carla says:

    Wait…not cayenne but OLD BAY! (That’s if you are in Maryland.) Your crabcakes
    do looks absolutely delicious, though. You just need that Old Bay seasoning, Susan. Better yet, you need a big table with newspapers and big batch of those
    crusty crustaceans piled up in the middle, a crab mallet, and definitely something to drink – those things are heavy with that Old Bay and salt! And, oh, are they wonderful! We just did that last week, and they were sooooo good!
    I love the pictures of Martha’s Vineyard that you take, especially the ones of the boats and water and the moon!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I second that Carla! Old Bay is the trick. I use less instead of more…I love the Jimmys too.

  61. Sarah says:

    I’m in love with and coveting that gorgeous fork you used to eat that crab cake! 🙂

  62. Pat Mofjeld from Minnesota says:

    Thanks for the recipe for crab cakes. I’ve seen it in the Summer book but might not have tried it but now I will–looks really good! 🙂

  63. As I read your blog and all the posts, I so agree and love being part of this great little village with no geographic boundaries. I loved the pics of Joe’s neice and grand-neice…and coming from Oregon…it’s like the west coast getting to kiss the east coast…and east coast crabs too!!
    I just watched Christmas in Connecticut and also read some of the Aunt Jane Quilting stories by Eliza Calvert Hall. I so appreciate how you keep helping us weave the stories into our lives to support all that is the NOW.
    thanks so much

  64. Marian Yeckinevich says:

    It is such a joy to know that there are so many friends out there who still enjoy the ways and objects of the past. Old linens, old bowls, old silverware lovely old stuff that I know my Grandmothers,Aunts and Mother touched make me smile. I even have things that belonged to my Dad and Grandfathers. I think it is important to be grounded in the past to be able to live a beautiful life in the world today. Hope you all are having a wonderful summer wherever you are. Bless you Susan for all of your talents and for sharing them and your love with all of us. You are a joy!

  65. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good afternoon Susan and Girlfriends. a big Hello from my corner of Oregon to Joe’s niece and Ava. its still hot here, not as bad as it has been but its hot. good time for porch sitting and relaxing. we finally got the baby turkeys out to join Nippers and she is in heaven being a mommy turkey and fussing over the youngsters. we also finally moved the baby ducks out to the adult pen to meet mom and pop ( Dotty and Dongo) and Dongo already has them lining up and following along, he had the baby ducklings lined up by the door this morning to be let out for the day and once the door was opened, out they zoomed, nearly ran me and Dotty over to get out to the pools, yes they have 2 pools in the yard, wading pool for the ducklings and bigger for mom and pop although the babies are swimming in there …. quack, quack!!! the chickens are snoozing in the shade for now, and they really get upset over getting splashed by the duck family. when the hens pick on one of the ducklings, the other ducklings surround that hen and chase her all over the yard until she ends up in the pool, the wading pool. and these hens don’t like getting wet, so they think twice before bothering or picking on the baby ducks again… LOL!!! well I’m on my way to the pen, check on the feeders and the water tubs and containers and keep them full. during this hot weather…. I can’t wait for Fall to get here. have a great day everyone. hugs…… 🙂

  66. Jackie M. says:

    My stomach is absolutely growling after watching you make those crab cakes! I think I need to follow suit and very soon! 🙂

  67. Pat R. says:

    Thank you Susan for that recipe for crab cakes. I will try to find a can of the crab in my super-store. I purchased crab cakes from the fish dept. and after reading the ever so small print on the package, I found out there was no crab in it and as far as I could tell, I don’t think any fish. And to think I served them to company!! I am hooked on history and am now reading the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – Evangeline. Great read about history. Love all your posts. Thank you for sharing all your adventures.

  68. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    Well, Susan, again you have made my day with your wonderful blog! I’m always ready to comment after reading your blogs and I scan through the girlfriends comments before I enter mine. However, I was all ready with a very complimentary note to you about the crabcakes, Joe’s beautiful nieces, the musica, the market, etc. and I came upon “blog Daddy’s” comment and laughed til I cried. Susan and I know you don’t need to be told this, you are so blessed to have him in your life and I think you are a “chip off the old block”. xoxo

  69. Kathy Cronberg says:

    Oh how I love crabcakes without a lot of breading in them! These are so perfect… I have made them from the Summer book recipe before, but I know I didn’t put all the cayenne in! And the Tartar Sauce, so yummy! I have a note written on the Crabcake page where to find the Tartar Sauce recipe (on p. 49), and now I have the 1/4 part of the 1-1/4 tsp cayenne crossed out!

    Love the photos of Joe’s niece and her daughter – she is absolutely precious!! Thanks for sharing with us!

    • sbranch says:

      I love them without a lot of breading too. You’ll like the 1 tsp. of cayenne, it’s delicious when it’s right!

  70. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    Those pictures of Arabella and Ava are absolutely darling! Beautiful “A” names, too! I love the progression of the pictures to see how Ava warmed up to the camera. She’s a cutie-pie!

    I love that we girlfriends truly are kindreds in so many ways, one being the love of nostalgia. The sweet, simple things of life make every day so enjoyable! Thanks for another fun blog….and a reminder about that recipe! Must try! xo

  71. I. Love. Libraries! In packing belongings, I’ve helped start two libraries, given away dozens of books to young folks and I. Love. Libraries. That’s the best thing I get for my county tax dollars…that and the County Sheriff’s Dept.
    The crab cakes look delicious, thanks for the recipe and didn’t you simply fall in love with Hawaii? We used to live on Maui…fabulous!

    • sbranch says:

      Love those priorities Sandy! Hawaii, what a place!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I love libraries too and have given books away for children and school libraries. How does one start a library??? It is sad that my own home town STILL does not have a library of its own. The town where we went to HS had a library, but they were not nice about letting us use it free. Where I raised my children we had a county wide system. Much better. Believe it or not the city here has a huge library system with more libraries then our county systems in the Mid-west.
      Since the bookstores here aren’t so author friendly, maybe you could do a signing at our Main Library here Susan???

  72. laurie says:

    what a beautiful Mum and daughter, oh those curls,!!! The photo of you on holiday is so sweet, what a beauty! I make the crab cakes from my copy of your book but I didn’t add that much cayenne, I only add 1/2 tsp, we are whimps when it comes to hot stuff, !
    Thanks for such a lovely post, the newspaper clipping article is lovely too!

  73. Willa says:

    Oh Susan what a wonderful post! And one that I needed today! My husband has a lung disease called Interstitial Lung Disease and we just learned he has less than a year to live without a double lung transplant. My world is reeling!! We live in Virginia but have decided to pick up stakes and head to Houston TX where the #1 lung transplant center in the Nation is located. We are native Texans and have family there, we just weren’t ready to retire yet. Anyway I have been very nostalgic this past week. Discarding things and downsizing. How many tears can I actually cry!?! Are you only allowed a certain number a day? Pretty sure I’m over the limit!! I love the quote about family. LOVE it!!! CLINGING to it! Past, present and future!

    Now tot he crab cakes…..Before I was diagnosed (4 years ago) with Celiac disease I was on a nationwide quest to find the best crab cake ever! Every time we went out to eat in a seafood restaurant or one that offered crab cakes I would order one. I kept a little notebook and my #1 was always changing!! I think your recipe just might take the lead spot! I can use GF bread and make it. Haven’t had one in 4 years. My question is… your step by step narrative you said to add 1/2 cups bread crumbs. In the recipe it says to add 2 cups. Unless I read it wrong, which is entirely possible, which is correct?

    I am so very thankful for you and Joe and this blog and the girlfriends! It really doesn’t matter if I am here in Virginia or in Texas, you will all be with me! Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      Number one and first of all, my heart goes out to you Willa, and to your husband. I can only imagine how your world is reeling. Sending blessings on you both for this journey you’re about to embark upon along with all my very best wishes for a wonderful outcome.

      As for the Crab Cakes (how can there be something as mundane as Crab Cakes when there is also lung disease in the same discussion? :-{ Life . . . it’s all life) — but, as for the bread crumbs, it’s 2 c. total — you use a half-cup of those 2 c. to mix in with the crab, the other 1 1/2 c. is for the breading on the outside of the cakes.

      Hugs to you both . . . xoxo ♥

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        sending out hugs to you Willa, I can only imagine how your world is upside down and dealing with a move as well. will keep you in my thoughts and close to my heart, blessings to you both on your journey and many hugs to smooth the path you have to travel.

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband! It is good that you have family in Texas! But right now, needing to part with so many things must be beyond hard! Dear Willa, it’s okay to cry. I would be crying too! But what you said is so true–you have this wonderful blog of Susan’s and all of your Girlfriends here to support you. Keep us up to date with what is happening!

    • Oh, Willa. Please know that we are keeping you and your husband in our thoughts and prayers. We will definitely be there with you, wherever you are. Be sure to let us know when you are settled in Texas.
      Sending XXL hugs,

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Dear Willa,
      Warm hugs and you have a shoulder to cry on any time you feel you need it! After that……it’s that’ a girl…one foot in front of the other. Texas has some of the finest medical facilities. You are going to a great place and how fortunate to have family there! Stay in touch…we are there for you and we are awesome prayer warriors! Count your blessings everyday and may God grant you strength and comfort and be with your doctors.

    • Laura says:

      Dear Willa,
      Keeping you and your husband close at heart. Be strong in your love for one another….love is eternal. xoxoxoxo

  74. Carol on the farm in Iowa says:

    Wow! your nieces a
    ARE gorgeous!!

  75. Susan!! PLEASE?! You have to try the crab cake recipe on the side of the Old Bay can!! Old Bay is the BEST!!

  76. Laurie W.-MA says:

    Loved the picture from the Falmouth Library. I visit the Eldredge Library in Chatham which was built about the same time. Was reading about President Obama’s upcoming visit to Martha’s Vineyard and how the family likes to get books at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore. It’s wonderful to promote reading and support the local economy. However, I kind of wish he would also make a trip to one of the public libraries on the Vineyard. Any summer visitor, staying any length of time, can get a library card and borrow books during their visit. What great publicity it would be for our Cape libraries and for the value of public libraries, in general!

    • sbranch says:

      Good idea!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I have done that when I was in college and working at the resorts in Door County, WI.

      • Pat Mofjeld from Minnesota says:

        Margot–Lucky You! What a wonderful setting to have worked at. We go there every Fall. I’m hoping this Fall we can again but not sure. It is the closest thing we have to New England in the Midwest. We went there 30 years ago for our honeymoon…Did you once say you grew up in Green Bay?

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          Jackson. 25 miles NE of Milwaukee. I did live 22 miles east of GB in Casco for a few years in the mid 90s, before we moved to New Hampshire. Later I moved here to VB. I miss NH and WI. Sometimes I drive an hour north to Williamsburg to see some hills and trees, not to mention a history lesson. LOL

  77. Had to show my husband your crabcake recipe! They look absolutely divine!
    Will look for crabmeat that compares in the midwest ,if not i will try the link.
    Little Ava and her curls , modern day Shirley Temple im thinking 🙂 .
    Thanks for sharing you brighten my day !

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      I was thinking the same thing, she does look a lot like Little Curly Top!! so adorable!!

  78. Brenda Caldwell says:

    This blog was, well…Just special! I love them all, but this one tugged at my heart~

  79. audrey Bell, LaBarque Creek, MO says:

    We managed to change our ferry reservation and in doing so got to spend an extra glorious day on your magical island. Aren’t we lucky?
    On to Boston by way of Plymouth Rock. We were told to be underwhelmed, but my love of all things historical rose up to the surface and I will admit here that I had tears in my eyes as the park ranger talked about an old rock. Yep, tears over an old rock!
    Just think about what our forefathers did for us. Aren’t we blessed?
    We girlfriends are now in Boston where we are staying in the harbor on a boat! Aren’t we fortunate?
    I am so happy to be living where I am, in the time that I do, with the people I love.

    • sbranch says:

      I was shocked at how small Plymouth rock actually was, but never underwhelmed by the magic of what it represents! I love your trip Audrey, it sounds perfect!

  80. Vicki says:

    I’m so grateful to rediscover your blog. It fills me with a lot of good feelings. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have recently known anything about Gladys Taber. Now, like the first comment here, I’ve been able to find her books at Amazon (or their sellers) and, just in the last couple of weeks, have built a wee collection of her books for my ‘home library.’

    There was a time when I just couldn’t understand any fascination with the blog world…but, through it and the wonderful connections it winds up creating, I’ve learned so much. I’ve said it before but it doesn’t matter if it’s a hundred years ago with my aunties and their neighbors having talks around the quilt frame, or if it’s a cyber/virtual world where, even though we don’t see each other per se, we can share something that speaks to our hearts in a community of like-minded ‘friends,’ women will find their ways to reach out to one another and express themselves.

    Although, I have to say, I sometimes wonder what a life was like, where the back door was always open, a pot of coffee on the stove, half a pie left in the cupboard for whomever good friend might knock and c’mon right in…considering that in my everyday world, we drive on into the garage, electric door shuts behind us, we retreat alone into our houses and shut ourselves off for a variety/too many reasons…

    • sbranch says:

      We were so lucky as kids to be as free as we were. It seems a bit of a miracle now. “. . . we can share something that speaks to our hearts in a community of like-minded ‘friends,’ women will find their ways to reach out to one another and express themselves.” Beautifully said, Vicki. And we are SO lucky we’re not trying to do this while bombs are bursting all around us.

  81. Georgeann from Texas says:

    I was thinking of calling your fish market to order some crab meat. Can you tell me the
    Source of the meat? The last time I tried to find it here they only had some that came
    From china
    The pictures of Arabella and Ava are captivating. They both just seem to glow! Thanks
    So much for sharing them!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, the can we got at our fish market comes from the Philippines, but if you’d rather have American, you can Google it and you’ll find it from the Chesapeake Bay.

  82. Monique says:

    The crab cakes look delicious..but that darling girl..even more delish!
    the mommy is so pretty too ..what genes!
    Love the pic of you in Hawaii!

  83. Gina P. from NY says:

    Dear Susan:

    Thanks for that wonderful post! Joe’s niece and grandniece are beautiful. Good looks run in that family! Speaking of good looking, those crab cakes look scrumptious! I have a similar recipe, that also includes adding some Old Bay seasoning, and some minced green pepper. It is delicious, but I will try your recipe soon. What’s summer without crab cakes? Those, with a green salad, a warm dinner roll, and a glass of white wine – who could ask for anything more?

    That picture of you learning to paint is really lovely. I wish I could draw and paint like you. I really think that is something that is part of a person, like some people who have a talent for music, cooking, singing, etc. That’s what always attracted me to your books – was your beautiful artwork – so whimsical and colorful!

    Love that Library! That’s the first thing I look for, even on vacations – the local library. I know I can’t take books out of them since I’m not a resident – but I always love checking them out – going into the cool stillness and being surrounded by all those books.

    Have a wonderful week Susan!

  84. Jo says:

    Delicious, every word.
    Thanks for the library support, it’s so important in this day of “no new taxes” that we do all that we can to keep them open and serving those who need them most – all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      (I’m not so sure of “no new taxes” since now what the government used to pay for with our money, we have to pay for with more of our money.) But you are so right, we need to keep them!

  85. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Hi Susan~~~ Kindred spirits are we when it comes to nestalgia! I’m certainly a history buff now. Back in time past (when I was quite a bit younger) not so much. Back in 1979 I started seriously researching my family history. From then on, look out. I’ve managed to completely search my father’s side of the family back to when they came over from England in 1631. I’ve gotten my English family history in England from the time they came over with William the Conquerer in 1066 from France. I can not for sure state all is true though, as everything has to be written down and verified….. not like here in the states. Also have information of relatives living in France way back in 1066 and before. Now, that would be a project…. do a search in France. My aunt, my mother’s sister, did a complete search on both sides of their family as she became a member of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution. Also have a complete search of both grandparents on both sides of the family. Don’t think I can get anymore complete than that. I love all the stories and newspaper articles. I have many relics from the past on both sides of the family.

    Frank and I traveled the Oregon trail a number of years ago. Whenever we see a sign that says “trail site” we stop to investigate. We live so close to the trail in Oregon. Only 25 miles from it. We want to take the trail again when the weather is a bit better. Before, it was cold and windy…. we thought it would be good weather since we went the first part of May. We got a lot of snow in the Rockies.

    I lean toward any Pioneer and Victorian books. I loved living in our Queen Anne Victorian home those 16 years living in Eureka, Ca. I could just keep going on and on, but I’m sure you all are getting rather bored from my rambling.

    Until next time…..
    Carol M

    • sbranch says:

      I love family history, just so interesting! Thank you Carol!

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      I took Frontier Lit. class in HS. My mom had gotten me a book in grade school, which lead me to choose that class. I love to read books by Willa Cather. You may have heard of “O Pioneers!”.

  86. Oh my! Those crab cakes look divine and make me long, more than ever, to live by the sea. I don’t entertain much but I will get out your book to make these the next time I do.

  87. Iam just drooling over your crab cake recipe!! Thank you for printing the recipe and the yummy tartar sauce recipe as well. That little Ava could be a Shirley Temple look-a-like – just adorable, as is her mother. What a nice surprise to have them stop by for a visit. Love all of your nostalagia references. I have always thought I was born in the wrong time period !

  88. Judi from Milwaukie, OR says:

    Oh my when I saw those glass milk bottles I thought I should share with you my habit I got into a few years back. We all know that milk tastes so iChat better in a glass bottle. I went to a nearby Health Food store. …bought their organic milk. When we finished with it it became my refillable milk bottle ( I refill with one of the greatest milk in the Nirthwest, but you don’t have to buy it at a health food store). Besides the taste, it just looks great when you open the fridge. Speaking of the Nirthwest, since Joe has relatives there (cute I must say) and a family winery to boot, when are you guys going to pay us a visit? One last thing…down the street there’s a house that has 3 life-size concrete sheep in their yard. They place them in different places now and then. I must send you a photo, remind me of something you would have in your yard. Have a Blessed week!

  89. Mary Ann Nichelini says:

    Joe’s little grand niece is beautiful. I loved the second picture the best. She has great little lips and a twinkle in her eyes. So cute!

  90. amy says:

    Thank you:) xoxo. I always leave your blog posts just feeling completely contented….rested…a smile on my face. Like all of us I love the old ways…old music….old books etc…My mamaw long gone now introduced me to Big Band and all the old stars. Every time I hear those songs(so thankful for youtube)it takes me back to my overnights with her…propped up on her old pull out green couch….watching Lawrence Welk…Perry Como or some such….munching on popcorn and oranges….and her eating those candied orange slices. Sigh….

  91. Diane C says:

    Those pictures of Ava are just wonderful. You’ve totally captured her caution and ended up with some laughter. I will be trying the tartar sauce recipe for sure and the crab cakes look easy enough.

  92. Doré says:

    I so enjoyed your post and postings. Love the photos and the crab cakes I will so use, I can’t wait to make them.


  93. Diana from Ancaster says:

    I think the common thread that ties all who come to read and revel in your posts is that we all have souls that belong to another era. There is comfort here. There is sweetness.

    Thank you for yet another warm pause…….
    The crab cakes have me wishing I was there on Martha’s Vineyard…..

    So looking forward to your new book……

    Here’s to all things ‘old school’……

  94. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for the lovely post. Your niece and her daughter are gorgeous!
    Sinead will be thrilled with your crab cake recipe as she has recently become quite the crab cake fan! She is also our resident chef. I was sorry to miss you at the library, we had a family reunion Saturday. With so much going on in the world it is a blessing to read your wonderful words and escape and refocus. We have to be the light-bearers!
    Much love to you and all the other Girlfriends! xoxo

  95. Pam Rudzki says:

    Dear Susan – Two beautiful girls alright! And how nice of them to stop by for a visit. I’ve never had crab cakes. But these sound so good I think I just might have to try them. I’ve often said I was born too late. I love the old musicals from the 40’s & 50’s. And I love the music. My parents were both born in 1922
    & I was brought up listening to The Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman,and my all-time favorite Glenn Miller. And not to forget, Frank Sinatra,
    Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, etc. Yep, born too late.

  96. Cindy from West Chester says:

    Speaking of nostalgia…. As a child, I remember when the Sears Christmas catalog would come every year. Couldn’t wait to go over it from cover to cover, over and over again. It was always so much fun. Now as an adult, I get the same feeling when your calendars come out! Friday, when I heard the UPS truck coming down the street, I was praying it would stop in front of my house. And it did, yippee! Although I wanted to tear open the packaging right then and there, I knew I had to wait till later in the evening. That way I could enjoy strolling through the months uninterrupted. I just adore you calendars. I have been getting the for many years and always look forward to the new one. Of course I always get one for my girlfriend, it has become a yearly tradition. And this year I got the blotter calendar for my desk at school. Fabulous! I’m sure my students will love it, I know I do.
    Thank you so much for the joy your calendars bring me.

    • sbranch says:

      So nice to hear Cindy! Me and the UPS man, wonderful!

    • Cindy, thanks for the wonderful memory! I had completely forgotten about the excitement when the Sears Christmas catalog arrived each year. We each had to take turns with our new catalog ~ wishing and dreaming!
      Many thanks for the sweet reminder of a quieter, simpler time! ♡

  97. Have enjoyed this post from top to bottom, no surprise there. The Toddster will love these crab cakes. He loves crab anything. Thanks! Love, too, the music. Your two nieces are just beautiful. What lovely photos of them. You have captured their essence. That is not an easy thing to do, but you did it. ☺

    I especially loved the last quote from Robt.P Coffin. As a child I longed to go on a picnic, but my mother abhorred insects of any kind and she was not about to let any ruin one of her meals. And so, I would beg her to make me picnics that I could go on myself and she would make me little peanut butter sandwiches and I would fill a pickle jar with some coolaid and take myself off into the woods and eat these little peanut butter sandwiches and drink that coolaid and they were heaven to me, eaten beneath birch and oak, surrounded by nature. The only time I ever remember my mother eating out of doors was one summer when we were visiting her cousin in Vermont and they served supper out in the garden and we got to eat around a picnic table! Happy memories!

    That is what I love most about what you do Susan . . . you bring out all these happy memories from the recesses of my mind with your words and your art. That’s a real gift you know. A real gift! Thank you so much!

  98. Ann says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank-you so much for yesterday’s blog. I, too, came out old. I love it all.


  99. sondra fox says:

    Oh my, Joe’s niece & her beautiful child should be doing commercials. They’re so gorgeous. All those blond curls. How lovely that you became part of the people they wanted to visit.
    The crab cakes are a MUST for me to make, and soon. I thought I’d make the cakes, & potato salad, one day for a GF’s lunch. Know they’ll love it. First have to send away for the crab though. Imagine “that,” sending away to Martha’s Vineyard for crab or lobster! What’s this world coming to, when this CA woman (me) can get seafood from the east coast delivered to her door!!! I’m such a spoiled woman, but I enjoy being spoiled. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  100. Lee Rose says:

    Thank you for making me smile this morning. I love old things too. I came home from yard sale-ing Saturday with a pile of useless old things, but I like them.

    We’re planning a seafood feast at home next weekend and I was wondering which crab cake recipe to use. Then ta-da, there it is, no research necessary.

Comments are closed.