Lemony Snicket The Bad  Beginning Puttanesca sace

because he didn’t give them enough money to buy a cut of meat


hen I found out that we’d missed Lemony Snicket—that he had been here in Albuquerque, in the flesh, at one independent book store and two local schools—and I hadn’t gotten so much as a whiff of it, I almost cried.

I’ve been so sad since hearing the news last Friday, in fact, that I haven’t even had the heart to tell The Three.

We were late to Lemony Snicket’s (alright, you killjoys, Daniel Handler’s) 13-title series about the trials and tribulations of the Beaudelaire orphans, although I suppose late isn’t quite the word I want. Marcel was born two years before The Bad Beginning was published and so my children weren’t quite contemporaries of the outlandishly ill-fated Violet, Klaus and Sunny. When we did wash up on the dark and treacherous shores of their twisty adventures, we were as caught up as our beleaguered heroes, running from—and laughing at—that villain Olaf.

Since sending the Beaudelaires off to their shared fate, Handler has hardly been idle. There have been two collaborations with illustrator Maira Kalman, an end-of-love story (Why We Broke Up) and a children’s book of definitions, 13 Words. But last month, he did us the kindness of resurrecting our beloved narrator Lemony Snicket in Who Could That Be at This Hour? the first installment of a new series. I bought the book at our very favorite local bookstore to wrap and put under the tree, a gift for The Three and I to share.

Last night, with our Lemony Snicket-near miss heavy on my heart, I made Pasta Puttanesca, the spicy tomato sauce that the orphans are reduced to preparing for the terrible Count Olaf and his equally awful acting troupe in The Bad Beginning. I love to make it because of the gleeful recognition that it elicits from my children and the immediate shouts all round of ‘Pasta Puttanesca!’ it calls forth, rendered in their best British accents.

It tastes pretty good, too.