Gertrude Stein Was So Wrong


One summer past—in between jobs and boyfriends—I took a $15 Chinatown bus to D.C. for a weekend respite from New York’s seasonal horrors. When I finally arrived, exhausted and much later than expected, there was simply nothing to be done but take to bed . . . which my host G and I promptly did. Next afternoon, while comfortably numb from a repast of baked grits, eggs, beaten biscuits, and mountains of heavenly bacon (G is a true Southerner at heart), we ambled over to Capitol Hill to visit his pal M, an overliterate “confirmed bachelor” and lover of all things exquisite. After tea—did I mention M lives in John Philip Sousa’s house?—we marveled at his vintage photo albums of extravagantly bearded Victorian gallants, then drank ourselves silly while singing bawdy old ballads around M’s antique parlor organ. Our tipple was the timeless Jack Rose Cocktail, the recipe for which can be found on the back of most any bottle of applejack or Calvados, and the taste of which—sweet, lusty, yet artful—lingers like a new lover’s kiss.