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Note the light blue band below where you can find the last 10 diary entries. If you are looking for an item that is older (more than 10 entries ago), click on the word "Archive" to link to all the entries, which are listed by month and year. If you want to do a specific search, put a keyword in the Search the Site box.

I'm Back...and you can join me on a delicious Mediterranean cruise

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dear Friends,

I’m back. I know it has been a long time – 16 months – since I last wrote. Many of you have emailed notes to me wondering if I was okay. My health. My life. Where are you? Are you so busy you can’t write? What are you doing?

The answer , in order, is: My health is fine, although my weight could be lower. My life is tranquil (My mother used to say “Happy? Isn’t content enough?”)  I am in Brooklyn, where I belong, and I am not terribly busy. In fact, to the “what are you doing” question I usually answer  “I am doing as little as possible.” Actually, I cook two meals a day, which I enjoy, and that helps keep the weight somewhat under control. But more on that another time.

In short, I have been trying,  not totally successfully, to be retired, which is to say I decided not to write anymore because that has been my main occupation in life. I started at Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, in 1969, and I wrote (and edited others’ writing) nearly every day for the next 42 years, either for a newspaper or magazine or to you. I thought maybe it was time to take a break. I have, however, until the end of last year, continued my cooking school in Italy, Cook at Seliano, on Baronessa Cecilia’s water buffalo farm. I also teach in cooking schools around the metropolitan area and privately at home, and I have been on Robin Hood Radio, a National Public Radio station in Sharon, Connecticut, every Monday morning for about the last five years. I’ve lost count. Most of you cannot hear the station. It’s a small station with a signal that is heard mainly in northwest Connecticut and the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. A few communities on the New York State border of northwest Connecticut and the Berkshires also get the station. Many of you, however, have been keeping up with me via the internet: My Monday morning 25 minutes are podcast and archived for about six months at Just click on “On Demand” and you’ll see my name. Click on it and you’ll find a list of broadcasts, organized by date.

After 10 years and 35 sessions of Cook at Seliano, I have taken this year off, mainly so I can see some other parts of the world, namely Australia and Southeast Asia. I just returned from this nearly two-month odyssey with a much greater appreciation for where I live – Brooklyn, New York – as well as for Europe, where, almost no matter where I go – Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, England, Ireland, Sweden, to name some of my favorite places – I enjoy myself, seeing beautiful and/or wondrous things and interacting with the locals.  I will in future newsletters (yes, I am going to keep this up again) give you more details about Thailand and Vietnam, my favorite places on this last trip...

Arthur Schwartz cruiseBut right now I want to invite you on my next trip, a week-long Mediterranean cruise on one of the world’s most luxurious ships, Regent Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner.

From August 6 to 13, I will be hosting, along with my “radio wife,” WOR’s Joan Hamburg, a cruise that begins in Monaco, then travels to Livorno (the port of Tuscany), Civitavecchia (the port of Rome), Sorrento, Olbia (on Sardinia), San Tropez, Marseilles (the gateway to Provence), and, finally, Barcelona, where, I for one will be staying on for several days.

I will be planning your excursion when we anchor in Sorrento, taking you, with my partner, archaeologist Bob Harned, to ancient Stabia, where the super-rich Pompeii-era Romans lived in villas that still have their original mosaic floors, walls with frescos, where you can get a real feeling about how these people lives. Bob and I love taking our groups here. It’s better than Pompeii we think. Next we’ll go to one of my favorite restaurants in Vietri sul Mare, a place that I often take my cooking school groups because it serves superb, old-fashioned Neapolitan/ Salernitana food. Vietri is the first town on the Amalfi Coast, giving you a glimpse of this famous resort area, and it is famous for its pottery production. We’ll return to Sorrento with enough time to take you to my favorite shop for table and bath linens, and a great gelato. On board the ship, Joan and I will host a cocktail party, and probably do a schmooze session one evening before dinner.

The cruise is “all inclusive,” which means your airfare is included, a night in Monte Carlo before the cruise begins is included, excursions are free, your wine and other alcoholic beverages are free, and your tips are included. The fare starts at $5,399 a person, which is quite reasonable. Truly. I hope you’ll join us. For more information, call 888-414-2323 or go to

All best,
And I promise to write again soon,

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