Author: pat willard

Grew up in Philadelphia. Live in Brooklyn. Written four books best described as about memory and cultural history, food and some pretty good recipes. Works in progress may be viewed at

Dog Walking While Naked

As expected, your naked face is greeted with stares. A popular response is to make a sharp swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid you.

A Complicated Berry

What is not to love about watermelon? Unfortunately there is, falling in line with other racial realities we’re grappling with this summer.

A Reason to Smile This Morning

It’s International Clown Day! That’s right, there’s a day set apart to commemorate the women and men who have make us laugh even when we don’t feel like it.

Out in the Storm

A storm’s coming so I call the son, see if he wants to go down to the pier and watch it roll in. We have about twenty minutes before bands of rain arrive and the wind picks up. He says he’s in and off we go.

Cooking with Firefighters

Everyone in the magazine office was jealous when my editor tasked me to write about what it’s like to cook and eat in a firehouse. I could understand since my fantasy life never involved being carried out of a burning building.

Ms. Johanna’s Hats

Ms. Johanna’s been telling me that the old straw hat I wear is too heavy to do any good when we work in the garden (it does just fine). She said she needed to teach me how to make a real hat but we had to have some newspaper, specifically The New York Times.

Mrs. McLoughin’s Shrimp Salad

Mom adored and respected Mrs. McLoughlin but all her preparations belied a lingering insecurity from growing up poor, afraid of being considered shabby.

The Story of One Life

Stories told of everyday people we have lost to the coronavirus encapsulate so much of our country’s current struggles and what we stand to lose every single day.

Your State Fair Food Fix

All the summer fairs may be closed for now but that doesn’t mean you have to be without your favorite fair food.

Angle Food Turkey Platter Cake

It’s a mystery how the idea of what to cook comes to me each week. No spread sheet. No consideration for the season. It’s a “that sounds good!” process. And that’s how I decided how wonderful it would be to write about angel food cake on a hot day.