October means chilly nights, and chilly nights mean stew. This is the only kind I make. It tastes remarkable … and reminds me of some remarkable people.


We just renovated our basement. For 10 years, it was the household depository. Before demolition work started, we lugged countless pieces of furniture (mismatched chairs; children’s changing tables) to the curbside for free distribution. We threw away countless “keepsakes” that never gained the nostalgic sheen we’d anticipated.

During the clean-fest, I discovered this picture:

me & buzz

That’s me, circa 1989 (notice the hair?), and Buzz, who with his wife owned the Tampa ad agency I worked at.

It looks like we’re enjoying cheese and crackers.

I don’t remember that.

What I remember is the stew.

Buzz and his wife taught me to eat. (Which you can read about here.) This particular evening, Tampa was experiencing a real, live, honest-to-goodness cold snap. My employers invited me over for beef stew, which we made in their bedroom while watching music videos on VH1. (Actually, the stew cooked in the kitchen. We just peeled…

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