Library Holds: Slice Of Life #SOL17

There is something satisfying about walking into the local library and picking up a delightful stack of books that I have put on hold. The Google Library Extension is my friend. I know that the more books I check out the more money the library receives so I feel good about it.

Yesterday I picked up:

Smoke and Mirrors from Neil Gaiman, to further my knowledge and read exemplars of short stories – I am a huge Gaiman fan and was surprised I had not downloaded this book on my Kindle already

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Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich which is my book club pick for December

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Out on A Wire by Jessica Abel which is a wonderful resource for writing and storytelling recommended by author Rachael Herron – Jessica also has a wonderful podcast that has workshop episodes

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I am looking forward to reading during my lunchtime today!

#happyreading

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Poem: Do Not Touch the Water

DO NOT TOUCH THE WATER

 

Pixies swirl and twitter

Conjuring memories

I do not want to remember

Pixies disguised as trolls

Is what they really are.

 

Do not shatter my dreams

I scream

To no one

And everyone

I have ever known

At the same time.

 

They are precious

And mine.

Let me hide behind

What is really true

Do not fracture my illusion.

 

I am teased by the

Pixies empty promises.

Do not torment me

Leave me be

To my own fantasy

In the trees.

 

One ripple on the lake

Will remind me

Do not touch the water…

DO NOT touch the water.

 

Being A Better Cook and Food Gossip

I can cook well but have been out the habit lately. I do have a few signature dishes which makes it appear like I am a better cook than I actually am. Some of my recipes are ones that I have graciously stolen from friends and then made them my own. Some are fancier than others but all are delicious. Otherwise, what would be the point?

There might not be a perfect meal, but there are perfect recipes.

When talking to others, if you mention an unusual ingredient you have cooked with like bok choy that not too many people are familiar with then your cooking street cred goes way up. Having a few signature dishes makes it appear as if you are a better chef than you actually are. My husband is really good at taking what’s in the refrigerator and producing a meal out of it or taking leftovers and making it look completely different. I have not honed that particular cooking skill myself.

What seems like another lifetime ago, I was a Pampered Chef consultant and worked my way through the cookbooks. The goal was to not only try new recipes but also practice cooking because I wanted to get better. I learned how different things went together to combine to have a new taste. I learned what lemon zest was used for and how baking needed to be exact. The first time I heard about working your way through a cookbook was when Calista Flockheart said in an interview she was working through a cookbook with her husband, Harrison Ford one recipe at a time. It sounded romantic and fun.

Honing my cooking skills was intrinsically rewarding. The people I lived with at the time were not so enthusiastic about my culinary adventures. He frequently did not eat the dishes I prepared not because it tasted bad but because it was the wrong mix of texture or used an ingredient that he didn’t like.

 

 

 

 

 

In my quest to be better at something I read. As with all my other obsessions, I have books that I refer to when thinking about any topic. Now I have expanded the digital repertoire to interesting websites as well. Michael Pollen is popular food writer In Defense of Food , and I enjoyed the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker. It was a life experiment for her and she chose only 7 foods to eat for a period of time. Which of course made me think of the 7 foods I would choose.

 

There is an online magazine called Life & Thyme which has beautiful photography and articles about food. There was a whole issue about nostalgia and as I read I made notes of what food is nostalgic for me. Most of it is what my Oma used to make. I had forgotten so many dishes until I was reading someone elses writing. That often happens. Some ideas just seem to appear out of no where to me.

 

 

 

The food memoir MY BERLIN KITCHEN was written by a woman raised in Germany who had the knack to cook for her friends without a recipe. The idea of being able to make several things without a recipe that are more complicated than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich intrigues me. She writes about food she makes for her friends. I imagine a time when people would come over and I could just whip up something with items from the fridge. I made her recipe for chicken with tomatoes and wine and shallots and garlic. I should have put it over noodles.

When I was living by myself I would stop at the store and see what struck my fancy and then I would use what I had in the fridge. Whatever protein was on sale was what I made. I experimented. I made dinner for my parents. I tired new recipes on the weekend. Coconut bread, avocado taco salad, but nothing too crazy.

Food has become part of my family’s entertainment and it has been fun along the way! It is always fun to talk about food! Almost as much as book gossip! Is there food gossip?

#happyreading!

 

 

 

The Perfect Meal #SOL17

slice of life_individualIs there such a thing as a perfect meal?

I think there are perfect recipes.

There are favorite meals, memory meals, and the storied snack.

Favorite meals are the ones you eat because they are delicious. My husband makes his signature spaghetti that is requested on birthdays and special events. A book club friend always makes her food with so much love and care that we can taste it when she serves it. I have “stolen” several recipes from her including Birthday Pasta. A relatively simple meal that is so good it is requested on birthdays…hence the name. It is made with butter, cream, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. In my own version, I add chicken and spinach. Almost all her recipes have a story to go with them too.

Memory meals remind you of a specific event or remind you of someone or a certain time in your life. My brother dropped an entire plate full of spaghetti and sauce down the stairs in the house I grew up in which makes me laugh to think about it. My mother in law makes smoked butt and rutabagas because it reminds her of her childhood. Cabbage soup, scrambled egg sandwiches,  and crepes remind me of my Oma.

The storied snack is what you bring to someone and it has a story. In the Southern Living cookbook, there is a recipe for Praline Grahams that are always a hit and so simple to make.

The experience matters too. Creating hygge with candles, a fire, and the special people around you can add to the delight of a meal. I have made roasted lemon chicken with potatoes and carrots (Ina Garten recipe) with my son so many times at his request. We have eaten the whole dish just the two of us! It is about the food, the people, the lighting, the conversation, and the plates! I am a big believer is real plates for special occasions, even when there are 40 people in the house for dinner!

One of my new favorite recipes is the prosciutto wrapped chicken thighs with pesto cream sauce and asparagus. It will be the recipe of choice when we have dinner guests over. Last weekend, we made brown sugar balsamic pork loin that was a huge hit too.

What is your perfect meal? I am making myself hungry!

Welcome to November!

Today has been a good day!

  1. An early morning run
  2. Coffee routine with my hubby
  3. Good morning meeting
  4. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started today! Today’s word count: 1,807 – The goal is to write 50,000 by the end of the month
    1. This did not go as well as I thought it would. I had plans in place and then sat down in front of the BLANK screen and I panicked a bit. It is ok. I have many more days to go.
  5. Book of the Month selections came out today!My Pick!
  6. Great evening planned!

If I can squeeze in some reading, it will be even better!

#happyreading #happywriting