Archive for November, 2013


A Chestnut Leather Humidor from Ghurka.


The fine holiday card collection of Bernard Maisner.


Support literacy programs through Success Won’t Wait.

It has been a while since I posted about music. I tend to go through phases with music. Sometimes I like a lot of new stuff, and other times I delve into the oldies but goodies that I have loved for years.

However, on my recent road trip (there is still more to tell apparently) I bonded with two really great new albums which I just wanted to mention: Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1 by Chris Thile; and Wise Up Ghost from Elvis Costello and The Roots.

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1 by Chris Thile

THILEI have been a fan of Chris Thile, a true mandolin virtuoso, and his many collaborations for years. When I was planning music for my trip – which brought me through Kentucky Bluegrass country – I wanted to make sure I had some of Mr. Thile’s music as he often plays his mandolin in the bluegrass style and I love it. However, I was curious to hear about his lasted effort, playing Bach’s violin solos on his mandolin. I was curious and my curiosity paid off – it is fantastic.

About Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1 by Chris Thile: “Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile performs two Bach works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 and Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002. ‘His timing is meticulous,’ says The New Yorker, ‘but his version also has the liveliness that improvising musicians sometimes can bring to written material.’ Gramophone exclaims: ‘This is extraordinary playing from an extraordinary musician who is willing to stretch stylistic and technical boundaries to further his art while paying homage to one of the greatest composers of all time.’”

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas 1 by Chris Thile is available from Amazon and other fine music retailers.

Wake Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and the Roots

WUGMeanwhile, I love Elvis Costello’s collaborations with other artists. His 1998 album, Painted from Memory, a collaboration with Mr. Burt Bacharach, is easily one of the top five albums I would want to be able to listen to on a desert island. Mr. Costello’s latest teaming is with the wonderfully creative group The Roots, and it is supremely listenable as it is eclectic.

About Wake Up Ghost – Elvis Costello and the Roots: “Musicians separated by age, style, and demographic, Elvis Costello and the Roots are nevertheless natural collaborators bound by wide taste, insatiable appetite, and fathomless record collections. This is an exquisitely detailed, imaginative record that pays back dividends according to how much knowledge, either of Costello or the Roots or their idols, a listener brings to the album. It’s not exactly alienating but Wise Up Ghost does require work from its audience, and the more you know — and the more you listen — the better it seems.”

Wake Up Ghost – Elvis Costello and the Roots is available from Amazon and other fine music retailers.


The heirloom book Audubon’s Birds of America from Abbeville Press.


The second best way to countdown to Christmas: the Whisky Advent Calendar from Master of Malt.


Help children be children by supporting Saving Innocence.

Today is Black Friday.  We are making the official start of the Christmas shopping season by launching our fourth annual Lost Cowboy’s 25 Day of Christmas – special posts every day leading up to Christmas Eve with gifts we wants, holiday finds and ways to give back this season.  Watch for our daily posts.  In the meantime, here are a few random finds for just another Friday in November…

FF: Custom Label Cigars from Victory Cigars

FN1After all these years, a good way to celebrate a birth, a retirement or a bachelor night, is still a fine cigar. Add to it a custom label for the occasion and you have the perfect gift. This is exactly what the fine folks at Victory Cigars do.

About Victory Cigars: “Victory Cigars began as a simple idea and quickly grew into the successful company it is today. As an avid cigar smoker, businessman Harold Nathan initially just wanted to have a few cigars with his company’s name on the label. Disappointed with the low quality of the cigars and bands available at the time, he set out to produce a premium cigar with a professionally designed custom label. Satisfied with his results, he realized that others might appreciate quality private label cigars for their business or personal events. With this in mind, he founded Victory Cigars.”

Find out more about Victory Cigars here.

FF: The hand-crafted leather goods of Ghurka

FN2I have an embarrassing number of carrying bags (more than any guy should have) but none nearly as awesome as the kind made by Ghurka.

About the hand-crafted leather goods of Ghurka: “Ghurka leather bags and accessories are handmade by master artisans committed to a tradition of superior craftsmanship, superb functionality and timeless American style. Everything that bears the Ghurka mark is designed and built to provide a lifetime of use and enjoyment.”

I covet the Walnut Leather Messenger Bag.

Learn more about the hand-crafted leather goods of Ghurka here.

FF: Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans

FN3A few years ago I discovered vanilla beans – as in the actual bean. I like to grate them directly into my favorite tea or even into seltzer for a special treat. Some of the best beans I have found are the Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.

About the Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas: “Prepare organic meals for yourself, family and friends with these premium, certified organic vanilla beans. Originating from the Bourbon Island of Madagascar, each vanilla bean is hand-selected for its freshness and rich fragrance. The bean’s sweet, creamy flavor and velvety after-tones pair perfectly with your cooking and baking applications while the use of the actual vanilla seeds adds a gourmet visual delight to such dishes as ice cream, custards and crème brûlées.”

See all the great products of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas here.

FF: The furniture of Misewell

FN4I love the simple, classic extremely well-made (as in this is not IKEA) furniture of Milwaukee’s Misewell – like this “Conrad” coffee table.

About Misewell: “We believe functionality extends beyond the intended purpose. Our furniture is easy to assemble, durable and enjoyable to live and interact with. Misewell is socially and environmentally responsible. We achieve sustainability on many levels, from product life to material choice and manufacturing process. We manufacture everything locally, with local and environmentally conscious materials. We focus on staying true to our values and making the best furniture possible. Misewell began as a conversation between two brothers. That conversation slowly evolved into a furniture collection, which grew into an award winning design company. To put it simply, Misewell is built on doing things responsibly. We carefully select the best materials, work with the most talented craftsmen, and design meaningful objects that truly stand the test of time. We create our furniture exclusively in the United States, and respect our planet.”

Check out all of Misewell’s furniture and lighting designs here.


TD8I love that Butterball, the leading provider of turkeys for Americans at Thanksgiving and Christmas, staffs a hotline (the Butterball Turkey Talk Line) to answer questions and help people through the pitfalls of preparing the big bird.

The number one crisis on Thanksgiving morning? The turkey is still frozen!

About the Butterball Turkey Talk Line: “Ready and waiting, our Turkey Talk-Line® experts can answer all of your turkey questions – no matter how challenging. Just give us a call, send us an email or use our contact form to talk to an expert.”

Learn more about the Butterball Turkey Talk Line and find online options here.

For answers to all your turkey questions call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372).

See all the turkey resources of Butterball here.

PIThis week’s book, Pie Love by Warren Brown, photographs by Joshua Cogan, is the perfect book for the eve of Thanksgiving, our most pie-centered holiday.

Whether you like to make pies or just eat them, Pie Love will satisfy you. Bakers will love the creative recipes and cooking tips. Eaters will love looking at the wonderful photographs and dreaming of the perfect pie.

About Pie Love by Warren Brown, photographs by Joshua Cogan: “In his fourth cookbook, Warren Brown takes on the illustrious pie. It was his love of apple pie as a child that sparked his interest in baking, and he has wanted to write this cookbook ever since he added pies to the menus in his Cake Love bakeries and saw his customers’ enthusiastic responses. Brown answers every baker’s questions about making the perfect pie and includes recipes that range from sweet to savory, mixing recipes for traditional fillings with fun, unique takes: blueberry maple pie, mango and strawberry tart, apple lasagna, shroom-ikopita, chicken potpie, Jamaican beef patties, and much more. Of course, piecrusts and cream pies are covered as well.”

If you are still struggling with what kind of pie to make for tomorrow, don’t sweat, Pie Love is available instantly on your Kindle.

Pie Love by Warren Brown, photographs by Joshua Cogan is available from Amazon and other fine retailers.

SPODEI’ve told the story about my family’s “heirloom” Turkey Platter in the past. I am proud to say that tomorrow, the platter will be front and center back where it belongs – as the centerpiece to our family Thanksgiving dinner here in New Hampshire.

I love that we have this platter every year. It is special for a number of reasons, but mostly because when I see it I think platter, it brings back memories of Thanksgivings gone by and the family members we have lost over the years.

If we did not have this classic platter, I would definitely splurge for this four piece serving set from Spode – which includes a great turkey platter.

TD5One of my favorite radio programs is The Splendid Table from American Public Media (airing on NPR and SiriusXM). Each week, host Lynne Rossetto Kasper brings us an eclectic mix of guests and ideas from the world of food. The Splendid Table has also spawned a great website that collects the content from the show and much more.

At Thanksgiving time The Splendid Table shines with a ton of great ideas from traditional dishes as well as suggestions for new things and I always go there first when planning my meal.

This year I found this recipe for Oven-Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Autumn Fruits, which comes with the claim: “All those people who claim to hate Brussels sprouts will like this.”

Definitely worth a try (along with all the other Brussels sprouts recipes I found).

Find The Splendid Table’s recipe for Oven-Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Autumn Fruits here.

Check out The Splendid Table’s excellent guide for Thanksgiving on their website here.

TD7It is not too late to change the main course for your Thanksgiving dinner and instead save a turkey’s life through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project.

About Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project: “This year join us in celebrating turkeys by sponsoring one through our Adopt a Turkey Project! Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project has encouraged people to save a turkey at Thanksgiving through sponsorships that help us rescue animals and provide care for them at our sanctuaries, as well as educate and advocate for turkeys and other farm animals everywhere. Now is your chance to join us.”

Learn more about Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project here.

Learn more about all of the good work of Farm Sanctuary here.