It's funny, maybe not so funny, how much I can find to do instead of working - like writing this blog. The vagaries of a home office for starters: The cloth napkins that need to be ironed (not really but I use them every night), memorizing Uptown Funk for karaoke night, rearranging the pleasure books I never make enough time to read.
And the big decisions for the day: What PJs? With a bra or let the Girls go free?
If I'm comfy, am I ready to begin? Work? Write?
The alternative is to go to a public place, somewhere with few distractions, somewhere I feel oddly accountable with strangers around me.
Enter the Stranger. Not really a stranger it turns out - Christina. She remembers me as Nancy, not too far from Marcy. We have mutual friends and soon the conversation turns to why we both come to hipster coffee shops to be productive.
Christina works for a non-profit. I'm writing a book for Disney. We both have home offices that we avoid.
Soon we're discussing how hard it is to get started. So we drink our coffee more slowly, so we don't have to get started.
The Fit Guy at the next table (it wasn't just his physique that told me he was fit, but also the monster watch on his wrist that has GPS and all that macho tech information serious athletes need) interrupts, apologetically, and says that he overheard us and would like to add something: He has a home office and he wears a suit for conference calls. No one will see him, but dressing the part makes him feel business-y. We all nod our heads in agreement.
Our threesome is covering a lot of ground now. No one is working, but we talk a lot about how we work, when we are working, usually never at home. And now, not at the coffee shop.
The irony is not lost on us. We all look awkwardly at our devices. I hear a click or two from Christina's keyboard. Inspired, I tap out a sentence, then another, and suddenly I am writing.


There are lots of treats in store for the readers of The Kingdom of Good Eating: Celebrating the Food and Culinary History of Disneyland (Disney Editions, Fall 2017), including vintage, never before seen recipes from Walt's personal files. Typical of the era, measurements are at best, vague. Basics, such as salt and pepper are often omitted, and there are no photos to emulate. In comes recipe testing which a smattering of forensic research to identify mid-century ingredients and techniques.

Walt loved browned roast beef hash. Especially with one fried egg on top. Working with a short typewritten note, I am adapting the recipe for my book. Stay tuned! (And hungry.)


As I am deeply immersed in writing The Kingdom of Good Eating, and as I adore my subjects, Walt Disney and Disneyland, I have to wonder, speculate really, what Walt would think of his beloved park sixty years later:

LOVE: Smart Phones, how easily guests can take photos, make videos, and share with the world via social media.
HATE: Smart Phones, the light from people texting on dark rides (not to mention the distraction), and the noise from not silencing them.

LOVE: ADA and procedures to make every attraction accessible.
HATE: The fakers. That includes grandpa using his knee replacement surgery as an excuse to get cuts for his spoiled grandkids. Rest up until you're better, buddy, then wait in line like everyone else. Criminy - Walt waited in line!

LOVE: The tradition of the Flag Retreat at Town Square. The ultimate patriotic experience at Disneyland. Veterans honored daily. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
HATE: Any discussion of ending the ritual. Budget schmudget. Some things are priceless.

LOVE: The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars.
HATE: Star Wars Land in Disneyland. He would have found a way to buy property and put in DCA.

LOVE: The addition of 1,100 feet of railroad track and the trestles along the Rivers of America.
HATE: The Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad closed for two years because of Stars Wars Land construction.

LOVE: Annual passports.
HATE: Annual passports.

LOVE: Soarin' Over California -  It would absolutely blow his mind!
HATE: Nothin' but lovin'.

LOVE: Cars Land and the total immersion in an animated film. The oft repeated reaction of a little boy on Cars Land Opening Day says it all, "Mommy is this where they filmed Cars?"
HATE: Nothing to hate here. Move along.


I like to write the Kingdom of Good Eating for my audience, with my audience. Today I am working from the Mark Twain (which is temporarily docked while Star Wars Land is being built). I love the view of New Orleans Square, the last land Walt lived to supervise. 
The Mark Twain was very personal to Walt. After returning from his stint as an ambulance driver during WWI, Walt had planned to sail the Mississippi with his cohort Russell. When Russell got married, and unable to accompany Walt on the journey, the trip was canceled. Walt was not going to miss the opportunity to sail on a river a second time. When Disneyland funding fell short, he paid for the Mark Twain with his own money.
Even though the Mark Twain was an Opening Day attraction, its inaugural voyage was not on July 17, 1955. Walt saved that honor for he and Lillian's 30th "Tempus Fugit" wedding anniversary celebration on July 13. (If you flunked Latin, that means "Time Flies.")

One of Disney's greatest villians, Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog, popped over to see what I was doing with a laptop at Disneyland. He promised no voodoo if I mentioned him in my book. The Kingdom of Good Eating is a time capsule of Walt's life, so I can't include him, but we both agreed Walt would have been thrilled with Disney's first black princess, Tiana.


Fall 2017

The Kingdom of e Food and 

Celebrating the Food and Culinary History of Disneyland

 By Marcy Smothers

 John Lasseter

Happily Ever Afterward 
Tom Fitzgerald


I'm pretty sure Sara Moulton is one of the friendliest and most knowledgable chefs/television personalities/cookbook authors we've welcomed as a guest At the Table. I could have dished with her for hours. She makes home cooking fun and easy. No pretense and plenty of tips. Plus she worked with Julia Child for years - oh, the stories!

Listen to the podcast here


I am a McGee Geek. And proud of it. I have pored over and consulted his books for years. When I wrote my book, Snacks: Adventures in Food, Aisle by Aisle, Harold was gracious answering all of my queries. 
Every chef I know has a copy of On Food and Cooking in his/her kitchen. 
You should, too. 
This is one of my favorite At the Table interviews - ever. Listen here:
At the Table with Harold McGee