SPOILER ALERT: Downton Abbey sobfest

Costume dramas are by far my favorite genre of TV and film. This likely stems from my love of 18th and 19th Century Literature. I simply cannot get enough of it!

Obviously I’m a fiend for Masterpiece Theatre’s “Downton Abbey” and practically plan my entire Sunday around the one-hour show.

Like all other DA devotees, today I am in mourning over the loss of, as my fellow reporter and friend Andrew Dansby put it, “one of the most beautiful people in the history of TV.”

Lady Sybil’s death scene was the most heart- and gut-wrenching I’ve ever seen. I was sobbing so loud and for such a long time, I’m certain my neighbors think I lost a member of my own family. It wouldn’t surprise me to find a casserole on my doorstep after work tonight.

To the Downton writers and actors: Y’all. Brought. It. The reactions of astonishment, despair, helplessness and anger by the players amazed me. Dear God, I’m welling up again just writing about it! Jane Austen wouldn’t have so ruthlessly toyed with our emotions. Oh, the humanity of Julian Fellowes!

Perhaps it’s rather silly to be so affected by characters in a TV show, but holy wow, if you don’t feel something when you watch that episode, you are dead inside. Dead!

A nation of fans grieves today and for who knows how long. Rest in peace sweet, kind Lady Sybil.

(Chokes back sobs)


Tuesday Taste: Heavenly, cheesy, delectable Alfredo sauce

I like mixin' it up in the kitchen, y'all

I like mixin’ it up in the kitchen, y’all

Cooking is one of my passions, but far above the making of the food in my list of favorite things to do is the eating of the food. When not cooking at home or dining at a friend’s house, I like to visit new restaurants, take pictures of my food (yes, I’m THAT person) and then eat it.

For no reason in particular, I’m determined to keep this blog from morphing into one that is food-themed. But, I’m self-aware enough to know that food is going to wiggle its way into my words and pictures, so I’m dedicating Tuesdays to food glorious food!

On the days when you are feeling hungry for food fodder, but I’m not blogging specifically about it, visit me on the “Kitchen” page, where I’ll provide links to posts of culinary past and once in a while offer up a favorite recipe.

Upon my return to Houston from a few weeks of work and play in Austin, I couldn’t

My adorable kitchen in all of its adorable adorableness.

My adorable kitchen in all of its adorable adorableness.

wait to get back into my adorable little kitchen and whip up some good stuff. I had been craving pasta Alfredo all week, so that was the first item on my cooking agenda.

I tweak nearly every recipe –except for those passed down by my grandmothers, because they are perfect. I got my Alfredo sauce recipe from the beautifully photographed Williams-Sonoma Pasta cookbook.

Here’s the recipe as written:


5 tablespoons butter
12 oz. (double) whipping cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Note: In my version, I eliminate the nutmeg and add a clove of garlic and about a tablespoon of basil. I was out of garlic (GASP!!) Sunday night however, so I made it the more traditional way. To my surprise, I didn’t miss the garlic.


Add butter and cream in a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring it to a boil, constantly whisking it. When it starts to froth up, turn down the heat or remove it, and stir in most of the cheese and seasonings.  Add cooked pasta (I like angel hair or fettuccine and coat with sauce. Plate it and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Fettuccine Alfredo a la Melanie.

Fettuccine Alfredo a la Melanie.

I recommend serving it with a simple salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and a crisp Pinot Grigio (as pictured) or your favorite dry, acidic white wine, to balance out all of that richness. Also, because I just really like any excuse to have wine with dinner.

I enjoyed it while watching Downton Abbey, but it’ll taste good with pretty much any show or movie cued up.