30 November 2007

Fatigue










Want to dip into nostalgia for the pleasing mustiness of library stacks and the tactile joy of oak-fronted card catalogues? Click here.

29 November 2007

CSA Week 24

I took a half a vacation day yesterday because it was my day to babysit the CSA pick-up site. I got there at about 2:15 to help unload the truck and organize the boxes. And those boxes were heavy! Moving a handtruck with four crates of cabbage uphill is hard work.

But it was fun to meet all the other participants, to share cooking ideas, to bemoan the lack of leeks, to groan about more cabbage. Everyone loves onions and potatoes. Beets? Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. Everyone was sorry that we only have one more week, but thrilled that the enrollment packets for next year were available.

  • Celeriac (1)
  • Potatoes (a small basket, ~6)
  • Carrots (1 bag)
  • Sweet Potatoes (paper bag)
  • Beets (3)
  • Onions (2)
  • Butternut Squash (1)
  • Green Cabbage (1 head)

And while I was hanging out, between checking people in and rearranging the crates, I finished one Christmas present and made some headway on another. So, a productive afternoon, in lots of ways. Moral of the story? Sign up next year for a summer day - it was COLD yesterday.

28 November 2007

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Clothes Horse

I swear, I don't know where she came from sometimes. Me, I hardly ever wear a skirt and rarely wear heels. She changes her clothes at the drop of hat, prefers skirts to pants, and keeps asking me to buy her some "heel highs".

The last time I went shoe shopping, I was trying on some comfortable flat shoes, while she was trying on all the heels in the place. Note, please, that the shoes don't match and she has two right feet. I suppose it's better than two left feet.

[I think I am constitutionally incapable of letting the picture tell the story - hence it's almost wordless Wednesday.]

27 November 2007

It's All About The Pegboard

Julia Child in her kitchen:
My mother in her kitchen:
And you know what? They both went to Smith.

26 November 2007

Damned Cablevision

I watch hardly any television, but I got all excited reading the paper this morning. In December, Ovation is running the Battle of the Nutcrackers: four different versions with a chance to vote on your favorite. I'd watch that in a minute, and so would the little girl. But, our cable provider doesn't carry Ovation. I am bereft.

Watching the "same" thing over and over again is a terrific way to train the eye and sharpen one's critical faculties. In this case, two of the productions are pretty traditional (New York City Ballet and the Bolshoi), while two are a bit more out there (Mark Morris and Matthew Bourne). But they all use the same music, and the same basic story line.

Again, I am bereft. We'll have to make do by listening to lots of "covers" of the Tschaikovsky score and dancing around the kitchen ourselves. Damned Cablevision.

25 November 2007

Rhymes With Sunday

The child is completely erratic as to identifying letters, and can't spell her name past the first two or three letters, but she’s into rhyming.

Sometimes she quizzes me:

  • What rhymes with steeple? (People)
  • What rhymes with pink? (Sink, mink, slink)
  • What rhymes with medusa? (Kousa)

And sometimes she just announces, with glee: Cat and bat rhyme! Tree and key rhyme!

At the doctor last week, for her four-year-old checkup, I mentioned this to him and then prompted her: "What rhymes with bill?" Her answer? "Kill." His dry comment? "I saw that movie". My response? Mortification.

Speaking of rhyming, I met S. and Z. of Rhymes with Javelin the other day. It's a funny thing, knowing someone on-line and then meeting them in person. On the one hand, one learns a lot of stuff about a person from reading their blog (and their breadcrumb trail through other people's blogs). On the other hand, it's a complete stranger! In your house! I had a lovely time, and I'm happy to now have face and voice to put to a small piece of the interblogs. Thanks for coming to visit, S.

24 November 2007

Seven Sept Sieben Siete Syv Sette Hét

Dawn tagged me to disclose seven weird and/or random things about me. There are rules and stuff, but rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules.

  1. I have never colored my hair.
  2. The only A+ I got in college was in Philosophy of Art - which was not in my major. I was very proud of that grade.
  3. I didn't want to get married - W. had to talk me into it over several dinners at the bar in a restaurant near our apartment. The bartender was distinctly amused; he said it was usually the other way around. In the end, it was a good excuse for a party.
  4. I love Christmas even though I'm a heathen pagan atheist.
  5. I prefer to sleep without nightclothes, but I started wearing a nightgown when my child was born - all that getting up in the cold, cold night was too much to bear naked.
  6. If circumstances had been different, I would have tried cloth diapers. But now we use cloth napkins.
  7. In my next life, I want to be a coloratura soprano so I can sing Der Hölle Rache. In the meantime, you can watch Diana Damrau do it. (The aria starts at about 2 minutes in.)




*English, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Italian, Hungarian

23 November 2007

Thanksgiving Past

Yesterday, we traveled (10 minutes) over the (tiny) river and through the (suburban) woods to Miss M.'s paternal grandparents' house, for a lovely meal:

  • turkey
  • gravy
  • tuscan kale sauteed with olive oil and garlic
  • mashed potatoes
  • stuffing
  • cauliflower braised in red wine*
  • salad with feta and grapefruit
  • steamed carrots
  • cranberry orange relish
  • cornbread
  • rolls
  • pumpkin pie
  • cranberry tart

And now the turkey carcass is aboiling for stock, and so the house smells divine.

Growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at my paternal grandparents' house. The meal was always the same - turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, kale with hazelnuts - and my aunt always brought dessert. There was always a children's table, and one year there were two children's tables because there were so many people. I always liked hanging out in the kitchen, especially hoping for that first slice of breast meat - the one with the biggest piece of crackly brown skin.

After a time, my grandparents relinquished the cooking to one of my uncles, but the celebration remained at their house. So that he'd have everything he wanted for the preparation, my uncle brought with him a bunch of stuff from home, including a couple of containers of stock from his freezer. He merrily cooked along, using the stock to enhance the gravy. Alas, it turned out that the (unmarked) container was fish stock - not chicken or turkey. Fish stock. He swore me to secrecy in the kitchen and proceeded to serve the fishy gravy. I, knowing better, politely declined the gravy at the table. Everyone else ate it, puzzled. To this day, I can't remember if he fessed up that day or not. I've never forgotten it. The moral of the story: label what you put in the freezer!

I can think of other skeletons in the pantry, but they're more along the lines of the year I made creamed fennel for Thanksgiving and no one ate it, or the year it took me seven hours to drive from Boston to New York and my mother's lasagne was ruined and she hasn't made lasagne since. But the fish stock in the gravy - and the hush-hush surrounding it - that takes the cake.



Cauliflower Stained with Red Wine
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Cut the cauliflower into 2-inch chunks. Arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan. Dot with garlic, drizzle with oil and wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 450°F for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender at the stalk when pierced with a fork. Serve at room temperature. If you're feeling fancy, simmer the pan juices until reduced some and drizzle over the top of the cauliflower. (Adapted from the Campagna cookbook)

22 November 2007

Giving Thanks

In preparation for Thanksgiving, the children at Miss M.'s daycare discussed what they were thankful for and the teachers wrote it all up.

In one go-round, Miss M. said "I am thankful for my family, my aunt and uncle".

On the other? "I am thankful that I am going to marry Nico."

Oh dear.

Happy Thanksgiving, to one and all.







(Nico is a boy in her class, not the Nico of the Velvet Underground. We have not gotten that far in her musical education.)

21 November 2007

We Shall Not Be Moved

I was going to post a picture for Wordless Wednesday, but I got waylaid by Julie’s Hump Day Hmm topic – music: What does it mean for you, in your life? Do you simply listen? Are you a singer? A musician? Were you one? The picture can wait. The earworm in my head is trying to crawl out.

My musical upbringing was idiosyncratic, completely.

I grew up with show tunes and folk singers on the stereo – Hair, Joni Mitchell, A Chorus Line, Tom Paxton, Candide, Odetta. I grew up with a favorite recording of Britten’s "Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra" – a rare recording without narration, because who needs narration when the music tells you what’s happening?

By high school, I was hanging out with a geek crowd. Other than classical music, the only two songs I remember listening to in high school were “Stairway to Heaven” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”. Pretty lame, huh? Don’t bother with the math – I graduated from high school in 1978.

I ended up as a music major in college – and therefore listened to and played mostly classical music. And I went to a lot of concerts. The aberration was Bruce Springsteen – I spent many an evening listening to Bruce while drinking Mount Gay rum & Tab and playing Boggle.

The fall after I graduated from college, I spent four months in London, working but alone. I still had my student ID, and I used it to go out to concerts, operas, ballets 5 or 6 nights a week. And while in graduate school, I went out a lot – to concerts, operas, ballets, and the occasional night club.

But gradually, slowly, I’ve very nearly given up attending live performances of classical music. I’d simply rather not be in a concert hall. Because, it’s boring. And that saddens me. Because if I can’t bear it – me – who used to play the flute and who majored in music in college and who actually knows some stuff about what's going on – where the hell is the audience going to come from? I don’t even listen to all that much classical music anymore – because too often I’m in the car or on the train and I just don’t have the attention span that a 25 minute symphony requires, not to mention the fact that many of my CDs never got unpacked when we moved more than three years ago.

I’d much rather listen to stuff on my iPod – I’m addicted to shuffle. I put the thing on random and enjoy the felicitous (or not) juxtapositions of Bob Dylan against Stephin Merritt, Wilco followed by Sweet Honey in the Rock, Emmylou Harris after Brian Wilson, Billie Holiday next to the Talking Heads, Morphine before Jeff Buckley. Or sometimes I listen to all the versions of "Hallelujah" in a row (I've got five). And I add stuff – I rummage around on the web or in iTunes, I follow through on suggestions, I hear what co-workers are playing through their computers in the office, I buy the new Springsteen record. I own one Fiona Apple song because I heard it on Jonathan Schwartz’s weekend radio show – and it’s divine, though nothing else of hers grabs me. I even downloaded a free song that I got because I bought a cup of coffee at Starbucks. And that’s today’s earworm: Mavis Staples singing We Shall Not Be Moved. It’s a great song, a protest song, and she does it with power and subtlety. It’s so good that I think I need to buy the whole record.

Julie - you pushed a couple of buttons. I think I have at least two more posts related to this one, if not more. Because I didn't talk about playing music. I didn't talk about singing. I didn't talk about the future, I didn't talk about the joys of modern technology. So, stay tuned.

20 November 2007

Mother Goose in the Night Kitchen

Every time I read Mother Goose to Miss M., I think of In The Night Kitchen, and vice versa:

Mother Goose (Iona Opie & Rosemary Wells)

Blow, wind, blow! And go, mill, go!
That the miller may grind his corn;
That the baker may take it,
and into bread make it,
and bring us a loaf in the morn.
In the Night Kitchen (Maurice Sendak)
…Where the bakers who bake till the dawn,
so we can have cake in the morn…

So, which is it? Cake for breakfast, or bread?

19 November 2007

Wait, Make that a Genius!

I did it again (don't ask me why) and this time my site came up Genius! Maybe it's self-reflexive - maybe when I tested it again, it saw its own link and figured anyone displaying the Reading Level link had to be Genius? Then again, who knows. I like Genius better than Post Grad anyway. And I'll stop this nonsense now.

Sub-Genius

Well, it's a good thing I've got an MA, so I can read my own damned blog. But still. I thought I was a genius.

18 November 2007

Wonderful Women Who Hit the Mark

It's prize season again! Maybe it's because all the NaBloPoMo participants (6152 last I looked) are looking for easy content. After all, posting EVERY SINGLE DAY starts to feel like a millstone around the neck.

I've gotten two prizes recently. BLC, a feisty person of the female persuasion, gave me the "Wonderful Women of the Web" prize (originated by Marci). And I am tickled to pass it on to Alejna, because she's cool and smart, and also of the female persuasion.

And the lovely and funny Jessica of Oh, The Joys gave me the Splat, also known as "Blogging That Hits The Mark". That one I'd like to give to Emily of Wheels on the Bus - who writes beautifully of her dysfunctional family, and her functional one.

17 November 2007

Just What is an Opera Singer, Anyway?

When I picked up Miss M. at daycare yesterday, she announced to me: I'm going to be an opera singer when I grow up, when I'm 16.

Later in the car, while listening to Springsteen's Girls in Their Summer Clothes, she declared that Bruce Springsteen's a good opera singer.

And this morning, with Ella Fitzgerald singing over breakfast, she wanted to know who it was and then asked Is she an opera singer?

I think her musical education needs a little work.

16 November 2007

Just Posts Kvelling

I'm thrilled to be on the list of Just Posts again for November. Thrilled. Especially because while I nominated one of my own posts (yes, that's kosher), a second of my posts also made the list. The whole list is at Mad's and at Jen's. Check out the many voices of conscience.

In the past month, since I wrote a Blog Action Day post about the environment, I've been on a junk mail rampage. If there's a postage paid return envelope, I return the address panel marked "REMOVE FROM LIST". If there's no envelope, but there is a fax number, I fax back the address panel, marked in the same way. If I have to, I resort to using the web or (horrors) the telephone. I've faxed back 62*. I didn't keep track of the phone/mail/internet removal requests, but maybe there were another twenty.

But I have a new outlet for my crankiness. My mother-in-law told me about a website where you can enter your name (and variants) and decline various catalogues. I don't know if it'll work, but it feels like a pro-active thing to do. So I declined five yesterday.




*Yes, I kept them in a pile and counted them yesterday before I threw them out - I'm some kind of a crazy person.

15 November 2007

Non-Local Eating, or This is Not the CSA

I'm home sick today, and the doorbell just rang. It was the mailman, with a box that was too big for the mailbox.

Within?

Meyer lemons, persimmons and baby artichokes - mailed from California by a friend, out of the blue, unexpectedly. I am delighted and flabbergasted and excited.

Thank you, Alisha!

CSA Week 23

It's dark now when we pick up our vegetables. And last night, the light in the barn went out just when we got there. So while someone was scrambling for a new light bulb, I was feeling around blindly in the potato bin. By the time she was back with the bulb, I could nearly see what I was doing. Still, the potatoes that came home with me are somewhat less than beautiful.

  • Winterboer Kale
  • Onions (3)
  • Green Cabbage
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Carnival Winter Squash (3)
  • Potatoes (7)
  • Tomatoes (1 quart)

Unlike the tuscan kale and red russian kale of past weeks at the CSA, the kale this week reminds me of the unloved kale of my childhood. Every year for Thanksgiving, my paternal grandfather served kale with hazelnuts. And he - I think - habitually undercooked it, because it always seemed to me to be like eating steel wool. It was not one of my favorites.

14 November 2007

In The Forest

Among the pleasures of raising a little person is the revisiting and rediscovery of books from my childhood. And, as my mother saved everything and my sister has shared the spoils (she had kids first), many of these books really are from my childhood - the actual, tangible copies, battered and repaired.

One that we've come back to again and again is a sweet illustrated story by Marie Hall Ets, called In the Forest. The book is a little bit of make believe: a boy plays in forest with imaginary animals, with the refrain "when I went for a walk in the forest". They make a parade and then a picnic, and then poof! Dad comes and the make-believe evaporates, and the last line is "when I come for a walk in the forest". It's dear, with lovely quiet poetic text and sweet black & white drawings. The book was originally published in 1944, and received a Caldecott Honor in 1945. Alas, the copy we have is a cheap Scholastic edition from 1966. It kind of makes me want to find a first edition.

(PS - #3 for Children's Book Week)

13 November 2007

Boys in Ballet

Through work, I came by a copy of a new kids book by Denise Gruska called The Only Boy in Ballet Class.

It's quite sweet - it's written by a mom whose son loves ballet - but other parents looked at her disparagingly, "how could you let your son take dancing lessons?". In the book, the boy takes ballet classes, and his schoolmates tease him - until the day he gets roped into playing football because they're short a kid, and he saves the day because he knows how to move. And the day after they win, all the boys from football turn up in his ballet class so that they too can learn to move.

Ballet dancers are athletes, and awesome athletes at that. They train hard, they take care of their bodies, and they have a grace about their movement that can enhance other activity. See here and here if you don't believe me. Remember Lynn Swann, football player?" He credits dance classes with his grace on the gridiron. How about Edward Villella? He played baseball AND was a welterweight boxer.

I read the book to Miss M. last night and realized that the book's message - that boys can be ballet dancers - is a good message for both boys and girls. Both need to understand that ballet isn't just pink and tutus and pink and sparkles and pink. It's hard work in the service of music and beauty and line. Hard work. You can't do it without being a superb athlete.

(PS - #2 for Children's Book Week)

12 November 2007

Rhymes with Wright

It's Children's Book Week this week, or so says the Children's Book Council, and since I've had some musings on books rattling around in my head, I thought this would be a good week to get them out.

Despite the fact that Miss M. is now FOUR, we have a sweet little board book that still comes out from time to time. It's called Bear and Kite and it's a quick poem of opposites, in which all of the second words rhyme:

Bear and kite
Black and white
Play and fight
Loose and tight
Wrong and right
Day and night.
Best of all? The author is Cliff Wright.

11 November 2007

Aftermath

The party was a success. The birthday girl wore her Glinda costume until it was time to run around outside. Adults ate adult food, kids ate peanut butter and jelly. Everyone had cake, even though the frosting was more mauve than pink. [Red food color plus yellow butter equals a peachy color; I tried to compensate with a little blue and ended up with mauve.]

I may have been a little harsh yesterday - there's absolutely a place in the world for juice boxes and pizza. It's just that I think there should be food for the grown-ups too. We're not yet at the drop-off stage of birthday parties, so there are at least as many adults as kids at the parties we attend, and I am tired of hanging out for hours at birthday parties making small talk with no food or drink.

Now that the dust has settled, I've had a chance to render my verdicts on the gifts. Her favorite is one of the scariest things I have ever seen: Ariel's disembodied head, with a comb and a spritz bottle and clips and rollers, so you can style her hair. It is truly appalling, and, of course, it was the hit of the four-year-old set. My favorite? A divine and witty book called Tidying Up Art.

10 November 2007

Party!

Party favors for kiddie birthday parties are a scourge to which I am generally opposed. Usually it's a handful of junky plastic toys and some candy, neither of which we need. Last year, for Miss M.'s third birthday, I didn't bother. Each of her little classmates got to take home one of the mylar balloons - which meant that there were fewer balloons in my little house. This year, inspiration struck me and I put together what I think are fabulous party favors.

Each kid gets a translucent plastic harmonica (a real one, by Hohner), wrapped in a pair of cotton bandannas, held together with a ponytail holder.

A harmonica! To make noise with! And pretend to be Bob Dylan!

Bandannas! To wear as skirts or scarves! To wrap your dollies or teddies in!

And it didn't cost an arm and a leg - the harmonicas were $2.49 each and the bandannas were $9.90 a dozen.

I am easily amused. I hope the four year olds are too.

And, to amuse the grown-ups, we're having real food and real wine. No pizza, no juice boxes. Instead: smoked pork loin, onion pie, coleslaw, potato pie, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, bread & jam sandwiches, local apple cider, seltzer, a dry riesling from Bonny Doon and a red velvet cake with pink icing.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Miss M.!!

09 November 2007

CSA - Make-up Week

I had the strangest dream last night. I was in a drugstore, and hanging on the wall, for sale, were plastic bags of onion sets. But they weren't like any onion sets that exist - they were pelletized in dirt, and had fake greenery coming out the top (like fake scallions). Peculiar.

I reported this to W. who instantly told me that it was because I hadn't yet catalogued this week's CSA produce. I do believe he's right! We'd gone out on Wednesday night, so not only had I not catalogued it, I hadn't even looked at it - my mother-in-law had picked up the vegetables.

My mind's at rest now. Here's what we got:

  • Tomatoes (3)
  • White Potatoes
  • Salad greens
  • Carrots
  • Onions (5)
  • Red Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Tuscan Kale

Yes, tomatoes again, a week into November. I confess that I am very nearly tired of tomatoes. I may just roast the rest of them.

08 November 2007

13 Google Searches

It's time for another edition of search queries! Here are thirteen ways that people ended up on my blog.

  1. Magpie eggs for sale
  2. What happened to my 9 cell embryos
  3. How to paint leopard spots on bathroom
  4. Is your husband in green paint
  5. what does it mean if a cyst biopsy on my forehead comes back positive?
  6. My chickens are sick
  7. worksheets on the woods for preschool
  8. Bun hairpin how to old-fashioned
  9. Cabbage kings sea pigs
  10. breastfeeding husband photo
  11. "did you really make that face?"
  12. one day at a time what was julies stuffed teddy bears name
  13. leif garrett mom's birthday

The last one slays me, in part because I never wrote anything about Leif Garrett...it shows up in a comment left by the inimitable Bossy.

One of the things about looking at other people's search queries is parsing how they construct the query. Do they use full sentences? Do they use a question mark? In what order do the key words appear? And then there's the subject. Was query #10 trying to find a picture of a father breastfeeding? Apparently it is possible to induce lactation in men, but I think it's pretty rare.

Two queries that I get a lot are choreography ideas and extended breastfeeding. Extended breastfeeding I understand - I did write about it, and it is something that's a concern to people. But choreography ideas? It wouldn't occur to me that there were enough choreographers out there needing ideas and thinking that they might find ideas on the interwebs. Get in the studio, put on some music, and get your ass in gear!

07 November 2007

Commenting Etiquette

A question. If you comment on a post of mine, and your comment triggers a response from me, I usually email you back instead of responding in the comments (that is, assuming I can find your email address). Mostly it’s because of how I behave with regard to other people’s blogs – I nearly never go back and read comments that appear after I’ve commented – not because I’m not interested, but because there’s only so much I can keep up with.

  • Do you like that?
  • Do you hate that?
  • Do you like to get a response via email?
  • Or do you prefer to see responses in the comments?
  • Do you know that Blogger now has an option whereby you can subscribe to comments via email? Have you tried that?

Despite this looking like a quiz, it isn't. I'd really like to know your habits and your preferences. Do tell!

06 November 2007

Grammar Woes

I got an email from someone that read, in part, as follows:

...brought to my tension the error on the...

Um, that should have been attention. The scary thing? He's the principal of a public school.

05 November 2007

Housekeeping!

I never dust at home, so there are scary things under and behind all the furniture. But I've taken advantage of a sick day - the girlie, not me - to move prizes and the blogroll to another home: virtual dusting. I suppose I should have been actually dusting.

Gender Questions

This blew my mind a bit - at work recently, I got a survey about non-profit leadership. The general demographic information at the end asked the following question:

What is your gender?
  • Male
  • Female
  • Transgender
  • Inter-sex
  • Decline to State
  • Self-identify:___________

I travel in liberal lefty arty circles, and I have never seen those available responses before. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I'm just amused.

And eBay seems to be on a similar bandwagon. I was listing some of my spare possessions (yeah, I get on that kick once in a while), one of which was a brand new baby blanket. There was a drop-down window with the following choices for gender:

  • Boy
  • Girl
  • Unisex
  • Enter Your Own

I clicked "girl" because it was a pink blanket. But why is it generally understood that "pink is for girls" and "blue is for boys"? It apparently wasn't a convention until the 50s, when the rise of the middle class meant that "people who could afford to make the gender assignment did so". And it may date to 1868, when Louisa May Alcott published Little Women, and "Amy put a blue ribbon on the boy and a pink on the girl, French fashion, so you can always tell."

The head spins.

At this very moment, my little girl is curled on the couch in her Glinda the Good Witch costume from last week, home sick with a fever. That is, dressed in PINK! Because it seems to be hard-wired into her.

04 November 2007

Butter Tarts

A couple of weeks ago, Beck mentioned some butter tarts, and followed up with the recipe. I was intrigued; anything called butter tarts sounds good to me. Apparently they're some kind of Canadian treat. And since I have a Canadian sister-in-law who had a birthday not so long ago, I figured that butter tarts would be a perfect thing to make.

The recipe called for corn syrup. Not having any in the house, I trotted off to the supermarket to get some. The bottle of Karo corn syrup was emblazoned with "With Real Vanilla". Hmm - I don't remember that corn syrup had flavor added. So I read the label: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Damn HFCS is in EVERYTHING - even corn syrup. But nearby on the same shelf was Lyle's Golden Syrup - a pure cane sugar syrup - nothing but cane sugar syrup. So I bought and used that instead.

And, those butter tarts were FINE. They are very sweet, and maybe could have used a touch more salt in the filling, but splendid none-the-less. I left out the raisins. They are rather like pecan pie without the pecans.

And the Canadian? She said they were better than her Grammy's. I thought that was pretty good validation.

03 November 2007

CSA Week 22 - Tomatoes, Strawberries, Squash and Kale

We finally turned the heat on on Wednesday, the same day that I picked up a quart of tomatoes from the CSA. And yesterday, there were strawberries at the greenmarket. Local strawberries! In November! I bought 2 pints. How could I pass them by? But, what strange weather it's been.

  • Potatoes (~3 1/2 lbs)
  • Cauliflower
  • Toscana Kale
  • Beets (3, ~2 lbs)
  • Salad Mix
  • Tomatoes (quart)
  • Red Onions (3)
  • Parsley

Brave girl that I am, I finally tackled a squash - one of the acorn squashes from a week or two ago. It smelled revolting while I was scraping the seeds out, it smelled disgusting in the oven, it smelled nauseating while I was spooning the pulp out of the shell. But I persisted and made Pinknest's pumpkin bread - without icing, with some whole wheat flour, with dried lemon peel instead of fresh orange rind, and with freshly cooked acorn squash in lieu of canned pumpkin. It's terrific. Even the girl and the husband had some. Of course, it's not really bread. It's cake. There's no two ways about it.

For dinner tonight, I may try a recipe for the black kale that was in the Times last week - a salad of raw kale with a garlicky cheese-laced dressing. Then again, it's blustery and raw, and salad might not be in the cards.

CSA Week 21

Hmmm...

Somehow I completely forgot to post this - this was the CSA distribution for 10/24. I think there are too many posts in my drafts folder...

  • Broccoli
  • Red Cabbage
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Acorn Squash (2)
  • Salad Mix
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes (5)
  • Collard Greens
  • Onions (1)
  • Red Onions (2)
  • Carrots (3+ lbs)

02 November 2007

Spanning the Centuries

Yesterday would have been my grandfather's 108th birthday. He was born in 1899, in the 19th century.

Next week is our daughter's 4th birthday. She was born in 2003, in the 21st century.

I'm the fulcrum - born more-or-less midway through the 20th century with close relatives in each century surrounding. Of course, my mother can say the same - it's her father, and her granddaughter.

My grandfather was a sweet man. He was good with his hands - at drawing, building, fixing. He composted his leaves, but always called it humus. He smoked a pipe and watched baseball from his recliner. He ate his corn off the cob because he had false teeth. He didn't drive because he couldn't feel his feet - much later, it turned out that he'd had a benign brain tumor, probably for 20 or 30 years. He ate, or claimed to, peanut butter and sardines on rye - using the peanut butter to glue the sardines in place. He was a first generation American - born in Brooklyn to parents from the Frisian Islands. His surname is German but three of his four grandparents had Danish names. He loved CDB!

Owl, this is for you.

F U N-E X ?
S, I F X .
F U N-E M ?
S, I F M.
OK, I-L F M N X .

01 November 2007

13 Kinds of Apples

Continuing last week's apple thread...

There's a world of apples out there, beyond Macintosh and Granny Smith and Red Delicious. I just ordered my annual sampler pack from Apple Source. They'll send you a divided box of 12 perfectly picked and packed apples, with a chart like on the back of the Whitman Sampler chocolate box so you know what you're eating. Side by side, the many varieties are surprisingly diverse and differently delectable. And, they have fabulous, whimsical, evocative names. Like these thirteen:

  1. Black Gilliflower
  2. Dr. Matthews
  3. Gold Coast
  4. Grimes Golden
  5. Hidden Rose
  6. Moyer's Prize
  7. Newtown Pippin
  8. Kandil Sinap
  9. Pitmaston Pineapple
  10. Razor Russet
  11. Turley Winesap
  12. Ashmead's Kernel
  13. Esopus Spitzenberg

I ordered the Antique Sampler, so I don't know what I'm going to get. But whatever turns up, it'll be fun. And tasty. And different. And not Red Delicious.