Dining News

Everyone’s Windowsill Herb Garden Is Dying

Cherished friends,

Thank you for being here to honor the lives of those whose journeys meant so much to us all, and whose stories are, fondly and inevitably, coming to an end. I’m speaking of course of the herbs I planted on my windowsill at the beginning of the pandemic. What remarkable lives they have led. However, due to my negligence and realization that I’m just not that good at growing windowsill herbs and sort of did it just as a thing to do, the time has come to say goodbye.

We first took the herbs, Scallions and Sage and of course baby Celery, home from City Fresh grocery store in March. How fresh and green they all looked that first day, each filled with promise, despite my knowledge that I have managed to kill many an “indestructible” succulent. Still, I tended to these lives with care, watching roots spread in shot glasses full of water, and planting Sage in an old mug while dreaming of the brown butter sauces I’d spoon over future ravioli. My months inside would not end in depression and perhaps scurvy, I thought. Here, my saviors of novel frugality! Here, my hopes.

As the months went on, the garden thrived. Well, not Celery. While I planted her base in shallow water and she grew some leaves, all that really happened was she got a slimy bottom with not much growth. But Sage and Scallions seemed happy. I soon transported Scallions out of their shot glass full of water and into a coffee can full of soil, in hopes that they’d grow bigger and stronger than before. Sage sprouted new leaves from its mug. As go the plants, so goes the nation, I told myself. By the time Scallions grew tall and thick, I’d be congregating maskless with old friends in bars again, subjecting them to my unshielded Scallion breath.

But my garden faced struggle, such as when a bird absolutely plucked one of the Scallion siblings from its coffee can home after I moved it onto the balcony, or when I realized that it’s Summer and I don’t really put Sage in anything except around Thanksgiving. There was the great storm of early July, which nearly drowned Scallions. There were the droughts of mid-April, May, June, and July during which I was just sort of distracted and depressed and forgot to water everything, from which Sage has never quite recovered. And there was the mild panic of late July, in which I realized a recipe called for Scallions, and even though using them in recipes is precisely what I grew them for, I worried by picking one I’d be undoing months of work and somehow jinxing the entire country’s epidemiological progress.

Scallions only really yielded flavorless, hollow greens as I attempted to preserve the white roots, even though that’s the part I wanted, and Sage’s leaves were never big enough to impressively adorn any dish. And so, we bid them farewell. Perhaps on another plane they will find a new destiny. But we can all take heart in knowing they will be reunited with their siblings from around the world: Celery base, Sourdough Starter, and DIY Embroidery Kit. May your memories be a blessing.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Everyone’s dressing like they’re in ‘Little Women’ now

Lauren Wades was a jeans and T-shirt kinda girl. But as the title credits rolled for “Little Women” — the buzzy new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel about sisters in 1860s New England, which has six 2020 Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture — the 19-year-old English major was daydreaming about billowing blouses, sweeping skirts and capacious capes.

“I loved basically everything [Jo March] wore,” Wades tells The Post of the movie’s tomboyish heroine played by Saoirse Ronan.

Lauren Wades.
Lauren Wades.Lauren Wades

So she headed to Anthropologie, where she promptly snapped up a navy cotton-and-lace smock with a high neck and ruffled bib.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! This is just like the “Little Women” aesthetic!’ ” says Wades, who lives in Pinehurst, NC. “It had that Victorian twist, but still felt comfortable and freeing.”

Lots of women — and even men — have fallen in love with “Little Women’s” Civil War chic. Fans of the Greta Gerwig-directed flick and its fashions are blowing up Instagram with outfits befitting of March sisters Jo, Meg (Emma Watson), Beth (Eliza Scanlen) and Amy (Florence Pugh), as well as their cute next-door neighbor, Laurie (Timothée Chalamet, impossibly elegant in the era’s romantic poet blouses and high-waisted pants).

“I had prairie dresses that had been sitting [in the shop] for a year,” says Lynnette Peck, owner of online resale shop Lovely’s Vintage Emporium. “Then ‘Little Women’ came out, and they suddenly just went.”

The craze drove Kate Resler, owner of online shop Augusta Anne Vintage, to filch a vest from her own stock.

“It looks like the vest that both Jo and Laurie wear in the film,” says the 33-year-old of the cream-colored, floral-printed 1990s Ralph Lauren piece. “I had it for sale in the shop, but I decided to just keep it for myself.”

Kaitlin Resler.
Kate Resler.Kaitlin Resler

Coveters of the look don’t necessarily have to go secondhand. Vintage-inspired ensembles — featuring high necks, ruffles and full-coverage skirts — are also en vogue among high-end brands, including Gucci, Batsheva and the Vampire’s Wife (a recent red-carpet favorite).

“There’s a strain of romanticism that’s pervading fashion in 2020,” says historian Laura Anne Gust. “ ‘Little Women’ really speaks to that desire to escape to a simpler, more wholesome time. Plus, the costumes are beautiful and unique and really stand out on social media.”

That’s what drew Park Sloper Deborah Colella to the film. The 49-year-old dog trainer was already obsessed with 19th-century America: She churns her own butter, bakes biscuits from scratch and regularly dons ruffled gingham dresses and tailored Edwardian jackets from designers such as Justine Tabak, who recently released a “Little Women”-themed capsule collection.

Justine Tabak designs.
Justine Tabak designs.Craig Fordham

“I have the world’s largest collection of neckerchiefs and blouses with ruffles,” jokes the British expat.

Now she can polish them off with a red knit Pendleton cape — just like the one Jo wears in the film.

“I was smitten with it,” Colella says. “I spent hours on eBay looking for it, and I am wearing it everywhere!”

While Colella loves period dramas in general, she says “Little Women” spoke to her more than “Anne of Green Gables” or “Pride and Prejudice.”

“There’s something about this film that makes it more modern and fresher, especially with the costumes,” she says.

That was intentional, the film’s Oscar-nominated costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, tells The Post.

“[Director] Greta Gerwig wanted the film to feel alive and modern, not like a period film,” says Durran, whose résumé includes the 1930s drama “Atonement” and Keira Knightley’s “Pride & Prejudice.” “So I tried to come up with period-appropriate clothes but let [the actresses] style them the way they felt comfortable.”

Deborah Colella in Prospect Park.
Deborah Colella in Prospect Park.Stephen Yang

That meant untucked blouses, bright colors and surprising combinations, like a plain petticoat worn with fairy wings or a green military-style jacket with ornate gray embroidery. There’s not a stiff hoop skirt in sight.

“These are creative girls,” says Durran of the characters. “I wanted to give the clothes the feeling of something they would pull out of their fancy dress box.”

That sense of whimsy resonated with Tatum Dooley, a writer based in Toronto.

The "Little Women" poster.
The “Little Women” poster.Alamy

“There was just something so appealing about the way all the characters moved, constantly running and touching each other and tumbling over furniture while wearing these leggings with intricate embroidery and Peter Pan collars and just being really free,” says the 26-year-old. “It made me think that my life would be more fun and interesting if I wore clothes like that, too.”

So she plunked down $100 on an Isabel Marant newsboy hat, like the one Ronan wears in the movie’s poster.

“It was kind of expensive for a hat, but I saw it and thought, ‘I am going to get it and be Jo March,’ ” says Dooley, who ordered it online.

When the package arrived, she tore it open — and then, sadly, taped it back up after trying the hat on.

“I thought I was gonna look like Saoirse Ronan,” Dooley says, “but I looked [frumpy] — like Susie from ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.’ ”

Still, she’s not ready to call it quits.

“I’ll keep trying to find a hat,” she says.

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