Hello from the Dogpatch! Being Thanksgiving week, we’d like to give thanks for our readers and also let you know what we are . . .
Eating & Reading.
Laurel Leigh: Having just started doing some work for a publisher of health-related cookbooks, my brain is swirling with low-fat, low-cal, low-cholesterol, low-GI foods not to mention pictures my doc gave me of my own recent colonoscopy. So I’m eating potato chips. I’m so embarrassed, but honesty is the best policy and it wouldn’t be fair to say, while I’m typing in this post right now, that I’m eating eggplant. I did eat eggplant today though, and I put tofu instead of hamburger in the spaghetti sauce I made a couple days ago, and I bought some carrots. So I think I get a few points back. Plus these chips, which are freakin’ good, are zero-cholesterol.
What I’m reading right now is Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern by Selah J. Tay-Song. Since Selah is a Dogpatch blogger, this could seem like a pitch, but I fessed up about the Deep River Original Salted Kettle Cooked Potato Chips in the above paragraph, so you know I’m sticking to the truth today. It’s always so amazing to read a book by someone you know and then forget that you know the writer and just get lost in the story. There’s Stasia, who is an Icer and a Dreamer, meaning she can form stuff out of ice with her mind and dream foretelling visions that are significant for her underground world. This guy Glace, who is dying to hook up with Stasia only he can’t because she’s a princess and he’s her guard, so he has to be all stoic and stuff. But you just know they’re gonna get together at some point. Maybe? The other person in the story I like a lot is Larc, who’s not a very talented ice-molder but she has a great mind for politics and strategy, so she balances out Stasia’s impetuous nature and I think she’s going to factor greatly in what happens during the war that just started. The Icers just got attached by the Flames—they are busy burning through the ice the good guys just used to seal off their city. The cool thing about this book is that I’m not having a hard time believing that Icers and Flames exist. In fact I’m pretty sure they do. This book is just so much fun I know I’m gonna be sorry when it’s over, but the good news is the sequel is on the way. Okay, that last part was a little bit of a pitch, but a well-deserved one.
Jilanne: Um, is it my turn? Well, I’m gonna start with the food. We’re having some folks over for a little bird. Oh, yeah, I should first say that NaNoWriMo isn’t going well (whose idea was it to have it in November??), so I’m going to console myself with food. That said, I’ll be making a 15-pounder with gravy (using golden turkey stock made from scratch- look for it on Epicurious), sweet potatoes, Sausage/Cranberry/Cornbread dressing (yeah, ya can’t call it stuffing if it’s not seeing the inside of a bird), and pumpkin pie with Straus Family Farm whipped cream. Oh, and can’t forget Cranberry Jezebel, a recipe from Cooking Light magazine circa Nov/Dec 1994. It contains fresh cranberries, brown and white sugar, horseradish and Dijon mustard. And does it make those sandwiches zing! Friends are bringing a bacon/brussel sprouts dish, mashed potatoes made with smoked paprika, kale salad, and chocolate and apple pies. Oh, and persimmon-chocolate chip bread. Hmmm, did I forget anything? A little pinot noir, a little champagne, a little of this, a little of that. I’m hungry. Gotta finish this post.
What I’m reading? Dan Chaon is my man, right now. His work has been called “superbly disquieting” by the NYTimes—and I’m going to include him as co-author if I ever get this NaNoWriMo novel out the door. I love all of his books: Stay Awake, You Remind Me of Me, Among the Missing (National Book Award Finalist), and Await Your Reply. I’m finishing this last one right now. It’s a brilliant novel about identity, identity theft, and missed connections. Literary page-turning at its finest. All of his books deal with “ghosts,” not of the Casper variety. Check them out! Now, like I said, gotta go eat some celery just to take the edge off, so I’ll have a bit of an appetite for all that grub I’ll be serving in two days. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Wes sez: I’m eating padron peppers. If you’ve known about them for years, please don’t make fun. I’ve just discovered them, and they’re the greatest. Just toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes and out pop the most wonderful bits of awesomeness ever. As a side for pasta or meat, they can’t be beat. I’m like a convert to a new religion. I can’t shut up about padron peppers!
As for what I’m reading: A friend bought me J.R. Moehringer’s coming-of-age memoir, ‘The Tender Bar.’ The only son of a single mother, a boy goes in search of father figures in all the wrong places, including the neighborhood dive bar. Also reading Jared Diamond’s ‘The World Until Yesterday,’ a nonfiction work about the innate wisdom of aboriginal peoples. Also re-reading Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia,’ the best book (to my knowledge) about the Spanish Civil War, the great tragedy of the last century, as well as the little war that determined how the remainder of the 20th Century was going to play out—with World War II, the Cold War, etc., etc. a direct result. With the failure of Western powers to come to the aid of a bunch of anarchists trying to throw out the fascists, and with the failure of like-minded people (socialists, Communists, haters of Fascism) unable to find common cause, it led directly to the rise of Hitler and subjugation of Europe. In other words, I’m doing a little light reading.
Cate: Tonight, my soon-to-be-adopted-daughter and I are eating Chicken Terragon and Potato Wedges. No joke. Since we lost our dining table to the Christmas tree, we’re eating the way most American families eat: at the coffee table, in front of the TV. Why a Christmas tree so early? Because I’ve waited a long time to be a mom, and danged if I’m not going to make up for lost time by extending this year’s holiday season!
Based on the aforementioned holiday trimmings, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my most current reads are “Pete the Cat Saves Christmas” by James Dean and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi and Ronald Barrett. In my high school English classes, we’re reading Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, but I don’t suppose those really count. On my own, slowly but surely, I’m thoroughly enjoying The Age of Miracles – an exceptional first novel by Karen Thompson Walker and in nonfiction, Sensory Integration and the Child by A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D.
I have more to be thankful for this season than ever before, and I wish the same for all of you!
Selah: Since I don’t really want to talk about the fried egg smothered in butter and cheese and Sriracha sandwich I’m currently eating, I’ll borrow a passage from the book I’m reading. See if you can guess what it is without scrolling down.
“We’re going to have jellied chicken and cold tongue. We’re to have two kinds of jelly, red and yellow, and whipped cream and lemon pie, and cherry pie, and three kinds of cookies, and fruitcake, and Marilla’s famous yellow plum preserves that she keeps especially for ministers, and pound cake and layer cake, and biscuits as aforesaid …”
If you guessed Anne of Green Gables, you guessed correctly! Anne is describing to her Bosom Friend Diana what they are going to serve the new minister and his wife when they have them to tea. Why is a thirty-something woman reading Anne of Green Gables, you might ask? Believe it or not, I have two reasons. One is that when I’m under a lot of stress, I like to read something extremely light, and children’s books of this caliber fit the bill. Picture books are a little too simplistic, but Anne is working, as have the Little House Books, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, and The Chronicles of Narnia, among others, in the past.
The other reason is that I have never actually read Anne of Green Gables, or any of the other books by L. M. Montgomery. Somehow it passed me by as a child, which is a real mystery considering I was inhaling every other book in the library. So not only do I get a nice, gentle, soothing read, but I also get to read a book that is new to me! So far I’m quite enjoying it; I can certainly relate to Anne’s overabundance of imagination, though her optimism and enthusiasm are a little wearying. I’d better wrap this up, I’m getting butter on my keyboard. Happy Thanksgiving!
Amy: Today I am eating leftovers – pulled chicken and kale salad (really freakin’ good – just chopped kale, shredded carrot and apple with coleslaw dressing) – balanced off with salt-and-vinegar potato chips. I love leftovers. In fact, I always overcook just for that reason. But I have to give a shout-out to my favorite fall/winter meal: SOUP. Chicken noodle, beef barley, roasted red pepper and tomato, pumpkin, lentil vegetable, chipotle sweet potato – I’m not picky. I’ll usually add a grilled cheese sandwich for good measure. Beverages are just as important to my palate as food, so I’ll tell you I’m also drinking a LOT of coffee throughout the day, and red wine or rum-and-gingers in the evening. OK, all this talk has me hungry again! Better put on another pot of java, too …
What I’m reading, or technically rereading, is Hunger Games. I like to say it’s for research on a book I’m working on – and it is – but I’m definitely enjoying the heck out of it. I always feel a little bit guilty for rereading when my stack of To Read is looming precariously before me, but I never regret taking the time to do it. I’m impatient, so the first time I read, I’m on a race to find out How It All Turns Out. I rush to unearth secrets, discover twists and basically get to the ending. However, the second or third (or 29th) time I am able to relax and truly experience the story. That said, I have recently read two new (to me) books, from Veronica Roth’s trilogy, Divergent and Insurgent. Again, I chose alternative-universe, futuristic, Young Adult fiction and also for a mix of business and pleasure. I found (the first especially) to be very inspirational, and I’ll definitely read Allegiant.
What are you eating and reading??? Don’t be shy. You can tell us. After all, what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet.
~ Happy Thanksgiving! ~
Laurel, Jilanne, Wes, Cate, Selah, Amy, and our fearless leader even when he’s not here, David