Friday, August 27, 2010

Looks at Books

courtesy of
photo courtesy of

This week's favorite: Aimee Bender's the Particular Sadness of Lemon cake.
It's about a girl who can taste the emotions of the people who have made the food she eats.  It's  a terrible experience, but she follows it along, and makes peace with it eventually.  Her family is of course, disjointed and disaffected and do not believe what she is saying.
I loved the writing.  And needless to say, I was entranced by the story.  You might want to find this one.  It's very popular.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Corn

Do me a favor.

Go to Johnson's farm. They have turned it into the kind of circus that will hurt your stomach, but you'll live.

In fact, I'd be surprised, if by the end of the day, you have not taken over.

Buy some corn, a couple of ears. Okay, maybe you have corn in the yard, maybe you don't eat it anyway.

Boil it for 6 minutes. If the stove is in the same shape as the truck, build a fire outside and boil it for 6 minutes.

Cut it off the cob. This goes against all reason, but since the braces went on, and even when they came off, I have done this, and the corn falls to the plate in little sections.

 I used to call them books of corn.

Eat them that way (use a fork). No butter, no salt, no anything else.

That's the way I'd do it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Little Night Music

Nory was not sleeping at all.  The air was cool but damp, and it was difficult to acchieve the right combination of warm and tired.

She was thinking about an ex of hers who was living in Cape Cod one winter.  He came down to get her and brought her back to a knotty pine house barely furnished but for a grand piano and a couch in the living room.

He had a bed, of course, and they would listen to the radio at night, falling asleep.  The radio had no knobs so they had to put a dime between the prongs to turn the dials. 

When she got there, she found a jazz station that played wonderful soft nightime music from the thirties.  Together, falling asleep they heard big bands play slow numbers and Billie sing the sad blues.

When Nory went home for a while, Kenneth called her to say he could not find the station anywhere.

It is as if it only plays when you are here by me, he said.

What happened to clock radios? Nory thought just before drifting into slumber.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two great books

Both these books are wonderful!  I would love to write like either one.  The Contssa's New Machine is a twisted little fairy tale, but plausible story, beautifully written by Carey Wallace.                                        

How Did You Get This Number is stories and observations by Sloane Crosley who just kills me, you will love the way she thinks.  Also by Sloane is I Was Told There'd Be Cake. A similar book with different stories.   Happy Reading!   

Breakfast of Champions

In which we find out that all new recipes need a trial run or three.
 At the farmer's market last week I found a free sample of peach- nectarine cobbler and the recipe printed nicely on heavy weight cardstock.  The cobbler was delicious if a bit too sweet so I took the recipe and bought a basket of nectarines, nice name, that.

No one really knows what nectar tastes like but the nectar you get in cans, surely must not be a food of the gods, should  it?

So yesterday I decided that I would make this dessert, even though I was a bit short of  the actual ingredients.

 This I have called Che Sera Cooking, which is kind of make do and usually does, but with caveats.  For more of this style see: oatmeal cookies.
Okay, so, it was supposed to be made with peaches and nectarines, but having way too many nectarines, I decided to go with them.  They tell you to use the largest pyrex pan and I was melting the butter in it so I would not have to wash another pot, and I notice there is only one cup of flour in the recipe.  That spelled disaster right there, so I pulled it out of the oven and transferred the half melted butter to the next size down, oblong baker.  I was talking on the phone to my sister while this dangerous exchange was going on, and holding the phone with my shoulder and giving her a blow by blow account of the proceedings.

Then, you are supposed to use whole milk, but I had buttermilk which needed to be used,  so I use that. With buttermilk, you should use baking SODA not Powder because of the acid thing, but I used  it anyway.  I used the full 1 T of Powder even though that seems to be a ludicrously large amount given the low ratio of flour.

Also, it's supposed to cook at 375 degrees but on my oven 375 is actually 400 but I forget and it cooks at, what, 350?

And it still is incredibly tasty.

I started this blog to write short stories, and there are some early on if you want to go back there, but now I am writing hair complaints and recipes, and I suppose that could get me more readers,which would be great, but it's not the glorious prose I had planned.  Please, feel free to send people to the recipe and the blog.

Here's the recipe:

Melt one stick (1/2 C of unsalted butter) in the smaller of the two pyrex rectangles, about 8x11.
Take two nectarines and two peaches and peel if you want, but I did not.
Slice thinly (not too thin) and put in a pot with 1/2C sugar and 1T lemon juice and boil lightly about 4 min  the fruit will be wilted and the juices will start to thicken.

Mix in a bowl: 1cup flour (it says one, but I think it might need more), 1/2 tsp salt, and 1T baking powder, and another 1/2to3/4C sugar and whisk to mix.

Add 1 cup of whole milk and stir to make a batter.  Really, use the milk.

Pour the batter into the butter in the pan, spread around (I did not quite do that right) and then add the fruit mixture on top, try to blob it all over instead of just in the center like I did, and put it into a 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown on top. put a cookie sheet underneath in case it boils over.  I don't know if it will rise more with the real milk.

There you go.  Foolproof, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Farmer

I have a friend whom I have known for most of my life.
He has of late become a recluse, a rower, a musician, a hoarder, living in ever mounting levels of squalor and deshabille.

He is the smartest, most self reliant person I have ever met.
He is also quite manipulating.
He is barking mad.

It's a conundrum.

Friday, August 06, 2010


I have a pile of t shirts on the floor of my craft room.  I was supposed to be making skirts or something else useful out of them.

The fact is, I'm procrastinating.  The first skirt, though I wore it several times, was not quite right, with the picture showing right at crotch level. 
 I should have cut it out, and made it into a pocket or something, but I did not want to cut it into so many bits, and it was still to be proved that my sewing machine would work on t shirt fabric.

I did not realize, until I took that photo, quite what a mess my studio has turned into.

Everywhere are piles of things to be sold on the internet.  Maybe it's just under that one table that things have gone completely wrong.  I know a lot of people who live in piles of junk.

I am the one who organizes their stuff and makes them give up a lot of it to recycle, or donate or trash if they have to.  How is it that I have come to this junction?
I blame it on the people who are not buying the stuff I need to get out of here.
I could blame myself for not cleaning up.  I am something of a neatnik, but lately, I need to find things that have sold, that are found at the bottom of that pile.  Actually, they are in a box, or were until recently.

Fantasy being preferable to admitting slobbery, I'm going with that.

Banking Blues

I got an email saying there was something wrong with my bank log on.  I called the bank and they said it was a spam, but since I could not log on online, they looked into it. 

"You responded to a spam in March, they said, so we disconnected your online log on".

What?  I've been getting bills, and paying them.  I check to see what I've bought that costs so much, and I don't see anything fraudluent going on.  There was a lot of who's on first with various Indian and non Indian persons. I could not decipher the names of any of them.

What they never made clear was how I could tell if the "spam" was really pork or something they sent me.

Now my card is cancelled.  No more fraudulent purchases from me.  I have to go back to March and see if there is anything odd there.  Another headache courtesy of the 21st century.

Ben Franklin didn't have to put up with this crap.