December 21, 2022 …. 4 Days Until Christmas

Where We Are … (Hannah)

Up early, hit the breakfast buffet (pickled herring, smoked herring, candied herring), and tour director extraordinaire herds us into the Magic Sleigh.

We’re off to warmer climates: Marrakech, Morocco. The sweet smell of olive-wood smoke and oranges fill the air. We’re staying at the El-Fenn, and yes, those are candles floating on the pool. Take a virtual tour through their Instagram page and pick out your rooms. We’ll meet for cocktails at dusk on the rooftop bar. 

But first, a relaxing soak
The rooftop bar

What We Eat … (Sandy)


You can count on this simple recipe for a festive bowl of red and green sweet peppers with pasta to dress up a holiday dinner table. In the cold, dark days of winter, the fragrance of frying peppers is a love letter from summers past.

Here is my adaptation of Mollie Katzen’s “Pepper Sauce” from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook (1982) that serves six.

  • 3 medium-sized sweet green peppers
  • 3 medium-sized sweet red peppers
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp crushed red (hot) pepper
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, finely grated.

Bring the pasta water to a boil before you start sautéing the peppers. The cooked pasta and peppers should be ready at the same time.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and stems. Slice peppers into thin strips. Set aside.

In a large heavy skillet (I use cast iron.), cook the crushed garlic in olive oil, with salt, peppers, and oregano over medium heat for about one minute.

Add the peppers and sauté them until tender, but not mushy (5-8 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vinegar. Toss the pepper mixture with hot drained pasta and serve as soon as possible, sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

What We Listen To … (Jacob)

The Million Dollar Quartet – Jingle Bells

This recording takes me back to Whitney’s and my trip to Memphis and Sun Studios late last year. We visited Graceland just as they were preparing their annual not over the top Christmas decorating explosion and will never forget the experience.

What Makes us Laugh(Patrick)

The Raccoon Santa. This one goes on for over 20 minutes, so you might want to limit yourself to the first three minutes or so.

What Amuses Us (Whitney)

For me, nothing better captures the experience of holiday shopping in a busy store than “Santaland Diaries” by David Sedaris. In this account of his time as a Macy’s elf named Crumpet, he distills the more ridiculous aspects of our Christmas traditions with honesty and warmth. Sedaris’ wry read of his short story on This American Life is always a joy to listen to.

What Makes Us Family (Stephen)

What a difference a year makes! In 1993 the Morris family spent “a year abroad,” as we left the confines of Vermont and West Brookfield for the allures of sunny California. Let’s just say it didn’t quite work out as planned, but Christmas was fun:

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