I’m not overdecorating for Christmas. In fact, I’m not decorating at all. My Christmas OverDecorating Partner in Crime is fixin’ to move out. And so, … I weighed on the one side of the scale the energy it takes to turn The Farm into an awesome Christmas Lights & Display Contest winner– complete with Christ himself– against the time in January it would take to take the display down and accomplish all of the other January tasks, and I opted to just not go there. Though we will still use the Christmas dishes because this is Christmas, after all.
TV Guide ran a special “Closeup” feature to announce the debut of A Charlie Brown Christmas in December 1965.
From A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition, Lee Mendelson, Harper Resource, New York, 2000 (p.25).
This is a wonderful book. Every home– with or without children– should have it on the shelf. The first half is about the making, including first draft sketches, marked-up sheet music, stories of the children who were the voices, and so on. The second half is the “illustrated script.” Just delightful.
Story board; Soundtrack album went platinum, selling over 1 million copies; Adapted to a picture storybook; Lucy (Schultz) & Charlie Brown (Bill Mendelson)
In the previous post, John’s Pork Tamales there were several mentions of “making tamales suggestions” in Mr. Big Food’s Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide. These are the suggestions to which they refer, all from Master Chef, Louis P. De Gouy.
TAMALES AND TAMALES CARIBBEAN STYLE VARIATION
From Master Chef Louis P. De Gouy, The Gold Cook Book (1947)
The Spanish-American tamale, that delicious edible cigarette in a corn-husk wrapper, has preserved its identity even when jammed into tin cans, though its distant cousin, the dolma of the Near East, has been brought to ignominious disaster by American cook books. If vine leaves are not obtainable, say the cook books, parboiled cabbage leaves with do as well—and did they not say, also, under prohibition, that a little Worcestershire sauce would do as well as a glass of sherry for a Newburg and that milk was better than beer for a rarebit?
However, the tragedy of the dolma is another story, and the hot tamale is yours for the making in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Palm Beach, Chicago as well as in Mexico City, without makeshifts or apologies. But corn husks, you say, come only with the green corn and the watermelon for July 4. Aye but thousands of people make and eat tamales, and husks are harvested by proper husbandmen and stored away against the lean days of winter, when piping hot tamales fill empty stomachs and warm the cockles of fainting hearts.
Preparing the Corn Husks: Go to the Spanish and Latin-American shops and you’ll find the thin, tender husks of corn tied in neat bundles hanging on walls or packed in bins and boxes. Buy yourself a liberal supply and procure at the same time some of the best chili powder and a sack of Mexican corn meal, finely ground for tortillas.
Soak the husks in water until they are soft and pliant, then select the best ones and trim them neatly into rectangles about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Scald about 4 cups of corn meal with boiling stock of chicken, veal or beef and, if it is not rich, replace 1 cup of the stock with 1 cup Pique seasoning and stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir vigorously to make a soft but firm and workable paste and season with enough chili powder to make it as hot as you desire it. Do not salt if you have added Pique seasoning.
Your meat may be chicken, veal, beef or pork, or a mixture of beef and pork; and it may be cooked or raw; but at any rate you will grind or chop it coarsely, then brown it in a skillet with a medium-sized onion, grated, a clove of garlic, mashed, a green pepper, finely chopped with seeds and white ribs carefully removed and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley. Season generously with chili powder again, adding a little of the stock if the mixture seems too dry.
Rolling the Tamales. Spread your corn husk wrappers on a board and line each one with a thin layer of the corn meal paste, leaving a margin all around. On the corn meal paste place a spoonful of the meat mixture, then roll up carefully, folding in the ends as you compete the cylinder. Some cooks tie them with kitchen thread, but it is better to place them side by side, horizontally or vertically, in a steamer, so that they will bind one another. Steam for 2 long hours over boiling water, and when they are done they will stay rolled and keep their shape. Like the lamented dolmas, they are good hot or cold, and packed hot in a vacuum jar they will create a sensation as a cocktail, a picnic, or a buffet snack.”
Did you know tamales are a traditional Tex-Mex Christmas dish? Kid you not. They are a bit labor-intensive– but it’s Christmas season! Spend some time in the kitchen with someone you love making a batch of tamales!
To the recipe…
There are fivesix seven parts to this recipe. 1) Mr. Big Food’s introduction; 2) sweet chili (filling) recipe; 3) corn husk preparation; 4) tamale dough recipe; 5) assembly and steaming instructions; 6) tamale sauce recipe; and 7) serving instructions. [I’ve added a few comments along the way.]
As with many recipes in the Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide, Mr. Big Food begins this with a short commentary:
I developed these from a lot of inspirations. The Sweet Chili is derived from John’s Chili (in this section*) with inspiration from eating Chili Rellanos from Matt’s Rancho Martinez restaurant in East Dallas. The sauce comes from a tamale sauce from Stephen Pyles. These are good with or without the sauce. See the Making Tamales suggestions earlier in this section* if you’re still a novice at this. Make your own chili powder for extra fun and taste.
*refers to other parts of The Big Food Manual; I’ll post the suggestions separately
John’s Pork Tamales
Prepare Sweet Chili
1 C water 1 Tbsp sugar ½ C beef consommé 1 Tbsp paprika 1 Tbsp cumin 1 tsp cayenne 3 ½ Tbsp Pasilla (or any mild) chili powder (preferably Pure) ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp nutmeg 2 tsp mole (paste or powder) 1 tsp garlic powder ¾ – 1 C raisins 3 lbs pork butt, cut into small cubes More Pasilla chili powder 3 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 big yellow onion, chopped fine 5-6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed 1 small can chopped green chilies 10 oz tomato sauce (preferably homemade) 1 Tbsp masa harina [a finely ground corn flour available in the Mexican section of your market] 2 Tbsp water
Combine 1 cup water, sugar, consommé, paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, mole, garlic powder, and raisins in large stockpot over medium heat and stir until blended. Let mixture come to bubbling, stirring occasionally, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring once in awhile. Meanwhile, cover cubed pork with chili powder. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet until hot and fry pork in batches, pouring off excess pot liquor. Add cubed pork to stockpot when browned. Saute onions and garlic in pot liquor until soft. Add to stockpot. Add chopped chilies and tomato sauce to stock pot, mixing well. Bring to bubbling and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir masa into 2 Tbsp water and stir into chili. (If chili is too liquid, you can thicken with more masa. Keep the 1-2 ration of masa to water constant.) Let chili cool until cool enough to handle.
Corn husks, about 60, cleaned if necessary, silks removed [These are usually either in the Mexican section of your market, or in the produce section.]
Immerse corn husks in warm water and soak for at least one hour before preparing tamales. [Corn husks float so we soak in a big pot or bowl with a plate on top of the husks.] Make tamale dough. Continue reading →
As far as I’m concerned, white Christmases can stay in Vermont but I want you to have that tune in your head as I tell the story of little Israel Baline, and the man he came to be. Israel was born in Temun, Russia in 1888. His family was Jewish and lived in “perpetual terror” of the anti-Semitic Cossacks “who would swoop down on the town without warning to create havoc, devastation and death.” When little Israel was but four years old, he and his seven older siblings and their parents hid under blankets in the woods to escape a Cossack raid. Shortly thereafter his parents made the decision to leave Russia and come to America.
Israel was eight when his father died; he started selling newspapers on the streets of New York to help with the family finances. He was a normal kid with one special interest, “an inheritance from his father: singing.” Rather than chanting religious tracts though, Israel enjoyed singing the “sentimental ballads” of the 1890’s. At age 14 he quit school and ran away from home. He made do by singing in the streets and saloons for change. He had a daily income of about 50 cents. At 18 he got a permanent job at a popular cafe as a singing waiter, parody songwriter, and janitor– for which he was paid one dollar per day. His first original song was published a year later and earned a royalty of thirty-seven cents. Four years later, in 1911 at the age of 23, Israel—who by now had changed his name— had his first big hit, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”
Israel’s story—and there’s more of it to tell!—is from Great Men of American Popular Song, Revised and Enlarged Edition (1972). This book is a tool, a reference book of biographies and works of over 30 composers and lyricists. A passing familiarity with its material gives one a decided advantage in trivia games. But it’s much more than that. The “biographies were used as a framework in which to portray the evolution and growth of the American popular songs” as “products and voices of their times.” Hence, the revised edition includes the voices of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan in their times.
Even if one isn’t knowledgeable about music—I couldn’t tell a syncopation from a sycophant— this is the sort of book I love to sit down and wander through. No matter the topic—music, art, literature, sports— in such books the stroll reminds me that history is about more than when-where-what. History is about people. I am not an expert, but I think this is especially true of American history. After all, where but in America could little Israel Baline have become Irving Berlin, the man who “touched so many bases in the song and entertainment business” and made such a fortune?
Speaking of fortunes, in 1938 Berlin wrote and composed “God Bless America.” The “popularity and importance” of the song rose throughout the war years and continued long after. In the early ‘50’s Americans voted it “the most famous patriotic song” second only to our National Anthem. In 1955 President Eisenhower presented Berlin a Congressional gold medal recognizing the importance of “God Bless America” to the war effort. It was a real money-maker for the boy who’d once hidden from the Cossacks! However, “refusing to capitalize on his patriotism, Berlin from the very beginning assigned all the earnings… to the Boy and Girl Scouts.”
When this book was published (1972), Berlin was still alive. The final paragraph of the entry on him recounts his 80th birthday celebration on “The Ed Sullivan Show” during which President Johnson said, “America is richer for his presence. God bless Berlin.” The 1968 program “was a way of expressing gratitude to a man who has written over eight hundred songs, the scores for nineteen Broadway musicals … but more especially to a man whose patriotic songs … earn him the honor of being designated as America’s musical laureate.”
And thanks to Israel for writing “White Christmas,” too!
Great Men of American Popular Song Revised and Enlarged Edition. David Ewen. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1972.
[NOTE: A version of this post first appeared in The Webster Progress Times, January 2, 2013. And yes. The editor did apologize to me.]
Let’s pick this apart, shall we? Not in a snarky, negative way, but in a way to keep my brain in practice and to give you a few pointers on how to critically look at graphs.
While I find it somewhat unbelievable that there exist folks uninterested in Graphs 101, especially since it’s based just on critically looking (no stats!), I’m putting the rest below the fold. Continue reading →
The lazy ceiling fan spun in the humid Louisiana night. It was weighted poorly, letting out a loud squeak every fifth revolution. Annoying, but fixing it would have been more annoying.
I pushed myself up from the pleather sofa, navigated around a coffee table overrun with beer bottles, and shuffled to the entertainment center we had found on the street corner. With one hand I hit eject on the laser disc player and plucked out “Star Wars,” with the other slipped “Dazed and Confused” from its cardboard sleeve.
As it was probably the most prized possession in the apartment, I laid it into the player’s drawer like a newborn. Hit the button, grabbed another beer from the cooler, and threw myself back onto the couch between the dudes.
Our stomachs all tingled as those sensations we’d lived through a million times before once again kicked in: The black screen broken by the Gramercy Pictures logo, then the snake-charmer opening tones of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”
“Dude, fuckin’ Aerosmith,” came the call from under a pulled-down baseball cap.
“You know it.” The clinking of two bottles.
“Hey, you know…” A pause while Rick searched for the words. “You know, fuckin’… Steven Tyler and Mary Tyler Moore are brother and sister.”
The song played uninterrupted while those words hovered in the air. Five seconds, six seconds, seven seconds. Then four dudes erupted.
“Me-dI-us rez. Surely you know that term, Marica,” Missy answered. “It’s a literary devise meaning ‘to being in the middle of things’.”
“Ruffruffruff,” Rocky chuckled.
“Well, Missy,” Marica said holding back a giggle, “It’s pronounced in ME-dE-as race. I thought you knew Latin pronunciation.”
“I don’t know what you think is so funny, Dear Friend,” Missy scolded Rocky. “You have a vocabulary of literally one word. And no, Marica, I am quite certain I am pronouncing it properly. It derives from the French, I’m quite sure.”
“Ruff,” said Rocky shaking his big bulbous head.
“In any case, what are your thoughts on this devise?” Missy continued. She had been sidetracked too many times by these sorts of disagreements with Marica and her Dear Friend, Rocky. She wasn’t going to let it happen again.
“Well. Let’s see,” Marica thought for a moment, “I’d say pretty much everything begins in the middle of things when you get right down to it.”
“Ruff, ” Rocky agreed. “Ruff?”
“Good question, Rock. Why do you ask about in medias res?”
“Well,” Missy sighed and slid down on the floor near Marica’s desk. “I am in the early stages of planning my first novel.”
“And I am considering beginning it in the middle of things,” Missy ignored Rocky’s utterance of disbelief. “As you know, many of the classics begin in me-dI- …, I mean in ME-dI-…, in the middle of things. And as I intend my novel– nay, epic– to become a classic, I was considering, pardon my use of this vulgar word, but “hooking” my audience right from the start.”
“I think hooking your readers right up front is a fine way to begin, Missy,” said Marica, “But I really wouldn’t know because I have never written a novel much less an epic.”
“Thank you for asking, Dear Friend. I have not yet finished the plot line but in the most general of terms, it is a story– about canines, naturally– of courage, justice, friendship, magnanimity, honor, wit, … .”
“So, the virtues?” Marica asked.
“Exactly,” Missy replied. “But I seem to be missing… . Oh! Truthfulness, good temper, temperance… .”
“Temperance. That’ a good one, Missy,” Marica interrupted. “What have you learned about temperance in your studies?”
“Ruffruffruff,” Rocky chuckled. He could see where this was headed!
A while back, Mr. Big Food forwarded to me an email he’d received from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
“For ‘Phen?” Mr. Big Food queried, “He needs to add some cell biology to his current educational regime.”
I couldn’t agree more. I am not kidding– and this has been independently confirmed in the flesh by Daughter C and the J-Man– the boy can read. So I ordered the set of four which means I am now on the Oxford University Press (which houses Cold Spring) mailing list. Whoa boy.
You should see the TOC. Who. Boy. My thoughts on the issues of women (like most of ’em just fine), peace (all things considered, better than discord), and security (carry weapon is sitting right over there) are well known so I will not belabor the issues here other than to remark that $122 is a lot of money for one book. In the right used book store, $122 would go a long way.
It is time for me to weed my seed cabinet. Stay tuned.
When we hear Uncle Sidney tell About the long-ago An’ old, old friends he loved so well When he was young–My-oh!– Us childern all wish we’d ‘a’ bin A-livin’ then with Uncle,–so We could a-kindo’ happened in On them old friends he used to know!– The good, old-fashioned people– The hale, hard-working people– The kindly country people ‘At Uncle used to know!
They was God’s people, Uncle says, An’ gloried in His name, An’ worked, without no selfishness, An’ loved their neighbers same As they was kin: An’ when they biled Their tree-molasses, in the Spring, Er butchered in the Fall, they smiled An’ sheered with all jist ever’thing!–
The good, old-fashioned people– The hale, hard-working people– The kindly country people ‘At Uncle used to know!
He tells about ’em, lots o’ times, Till we’d all ruther hear About ’em than the Nurs’ry Rhymes Er Fairies–mighty near!– Only sometimes he stops so long An’ then talks on so low an’ slow, It’s purt’-nigh sad as any song To listen to him talkin’ so Of the good, old-fashioned people– The hale, hard-working people– The kindly country people ‘At Uncle used to know!
— James Whitcomb Riley, The Book of Joyous Children, 1902.
“This is a restaurant city, not a food city,” said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at NYU. “It’s as if nobody knows or cares about cooking. Young people barely know how to make coffee.”
In this respect, New York City is right in line with national trends. Since around 2012, restaurant spending has surged, especially among the young, rich, educated, and urban. For the richest 20 percent, restaurant spending has grown by twice as much as spending on food prepared at home since 2012. Americans between the age of 25 and 34 now spend about half of their food budget eating out, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. That is without precedent in American history. (In 1904, 90 percent of food was consumed at home.)
Derek Thompson at The Atlantic (I know. Say nothing.)
As a coincidental followup to my Toys R US Generation, here’s this. The headline, “What’s Really Happening to Retail? Manhattan’s shuttered storefronts tell a larger American story: Only Amazon-proof businesses can now survive in brick and mortar,” is a bit misleading. My quick skim suggests it’s more about restaurants vs. grocery stores, as above, but I’m not an editor at The Atlantic.
I also looked at the linked Carpe Diam Blog charts (who in their right mind uses Excel to generate charts?) and then traced back to the original Consumer Expenditure Survey data. (Didn’t look at methodology, though.) And it’s true. Many younger people in parts of the country barely know how to make coffee.
Back in the crappy olden days, one progressed through the years picking up new skill sets, learning the canons of one’s particular areas of (hopefully, growing) interests, saving money for a rainy day, and so on. It’s not my intension to sound like a little old lady here, but by the time I was 35 I was a biologist, a retailer, a mom, a cross stitcher, a children’s garment and toy maker, a house painter, and a gardener. I could operate a variety of power tools, a stick shift, and do routine emergency plumbing. What the hell can these people do? I bet when they go to all of those fancy restaurants they don’t even know the difference between a salad and a dessert fork.
We know, and interact with a lot of folks in this age range, so to be fair, they are not all like this. Many really are starting families, buying their first homes, cooking and saving. Our Pie Brunch™ friends are among them. But as we travel, we hang around many who look and act as if they physically couldn’t find their way out of a wet paper sack without the app for that. They are scrawny and pale and poorly dressed and broke. And sickly, too. They look helpless. They ought to buy a cast iron skillet and some bacon and eggs and potatoes and fry themselves up a good home cooked meal.
I’ve never gotten over growing up. I must’ve longed to grow up at some point, I suppose, fantasizing about unknown, illicit future pleasures as all kids do—but once I’d done it, I quickly wished I hadn’t. When I see a pair of third graders slumping home after school with backpacks and sneakers trading meaningless conversation, I feel nothing but surly envy. Passing a playground with careless shrieks and jeers from swing sets and monkey bars, I want to join. But I cannot; that would be creepy.
Anya Jaremko-Greenwold YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK: ON LOVING CHILDREN’S BOOKS AS AN ADULT
Here is the thing. Unless Anya’s real life is vastly different from the one she writes about, she hasn’t grown up. She’s a child in a young woman’s body who just happens to be possessed with enough self awareness to know it would be creepy to play on monkey bars with little kids. And even then, I wonder if she thinks it would be creepy, or that the self awareness she’s possessed with allows her to understand that grownups would think it was creepy?
In this article, she’s reviewing Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult (Bruce Handy). Commenting on his ability “to circumvent the social inconvenience of haunting library kid’s sections” by having children of his own, she asks,
But what if you don’t want kids? Those of us who still feel like children—anxious, sensitive, convinced of monsters—don’t necessarily feel equipped or interested in raising others.
To which I say, “Grow the F*&^ up.”
Wondering about the popularity of The Giving Tree she says, “… the book’s popularity is plain: don’t all children guiltily suspect we’ve stolen our parents’ lives?” No. They do not. Maybe your mother (or father, but more likely mother) made you feel that way, but that’s your problem. Do not project onto all children. That’s delusional.
As a feminine resistor, I’m insulted. Women have had to become mothers, housekeepers, nurturers—we grew up out of necessity and even via force. Handy is sharp enough to note that women writers like Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie) and Louisa May Alcott may have felt “obligated” to follow their fictional heroines all the way through to adulthood and marriage, a fate never inflicted on the likes of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, or on any boy book heroes excepting Harry Potter (whose creator was, non-coincidentally, a woman). Alcott’s editors and eager lady readers didn’t want Jo to remain an unfettered recluse, and the author was unable to shake the pressure. She married Jo off. This adherence to social stricture seems to me cause for pity—not contempt, as Handy implies. After all, sometimes we don’t get to become the sort of person we’d dreamt of being.
In answer to the question, “What the hell is wrong with these people,” I was tempted to suggest it must be genetic. But it’s worse than that. It’s epigenetic: “pertaining to the interaction of genetic factors and the developmental processes through which the genotype is expressed in the phenotype” (not that you care but, Lincoln et al., 1982, as quoted in Deans and Maggert, 2015). So in other words, how the environment, writ micro- and macroscopic, comes to affect gene expression and all that is downstream of it.
As all– let’s see how far down the tree do I want to go?– animals, these people are genetically predisposed to reproduce. (Not that that would be a good thing, I’ve seen Idiocracy.) And just as the vast majority of people past, present, and future, deep down in their genes they probably want to as well. But they were raised to distain the joy that comes from working hard to provide a warm, loving home in which one raised potential grownups. Because that’s what parents do: raise children who have the potential to be grownups. Their parents failed in this regard.
Anecdote. When the girls were little, they took “clay class” from the mother of one of their best friends (to this day!), Leslie. Leslie related a sad story to me. She had once asked a little girl who’d made something or other in clay class where her mom (more affluent than either of us) was going to put it. And the little girl replied “a drawer because it doesn’t go with Mommy’s decorating.” Is it any wonder they didn’t “get to become the sort of person we’d dreamt of being?”
Enough. I’m off to buy a copy of A Little Pretty Copy Book by John Newberry for grandson ‘Phen who, by the way, has the potential to be one awesome happy grownup.
It’s official. The Farm has entered the 21st century! A few months ago we kicked Verizon’s JetPack Mifi “unlimited” internet to the ditch (we don’t have curbs out here) and signed on for AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet. It’s faster, cheaper, and for all practical purposes really unlimited. And for that, we thank you! We could not have done this without your contributions to the Connect America Fund whereby the Federal Government collects from Citizens a monthly fee on all of your telecommunications bills and distributes those precious dollars to small companies such as AT&T which develop internet technologies for Americans who live in rural areas.
That said, we were still lagging behind. To watch Prime Video we had to connect a laptop to the television. Cumbersome. But no more! Last evening The J-Man and Daughter C gave me an Amazon FireFly thingy. And not only did they give it to me, The J-Man plugged it in and configured it! From my point of view, it went swimmingly. Not a single curse word was mumbled!
I was asked what I wanted to watch. I thought about this during the configuration. I arrived at an American Classic from the crappy olden days of three-channel television. A yearly ritual. One which nearly every family in America once had, I’d wager.
Remember when the Frenchman was a Farm guest? I hope to write more about this episode some other time, but an interesting exchange took place. The Frenchman– who lives in Pittsburgh– was speaking of his wife, who is Russian, and their daughter. He was commenting on aspects of French and Russia culture that they were sharing with and teaching her. Someone asked how she would identify. (Say nothing.) And he said, “Why, she’s American, of course!” He then related that not having grown up in The States, they were at something of a loss regarding what a typical American little girl should become familiar with.
And so it began. There was eventually a list! And very near the top of that list– and completely agreed upon by three different generations of women– was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, as first seen in 1965.
Several substitutions were made; the photograph is not representative of a slice of Creative Cooking Spiced Rye Bread made according to the recipe.
I don’t know how any of this happened because this is just not the way we do things. Ran out of molasses and had no dark Karo so I used light Karo. That probably didn’t make too much of a difference. Ran out of caraway seeds so I substituted aniseed. That’s an approved substitution, so okay. Did not think that red wine vinegar was the way I wanted to go, so I substituted malt vinegar. That, in my humble opinion, was genius. But as I added the rye flour, something felt amiss. Bread bakers know what I mean.
FYI: Bob’s Red Mill Rye Flour is not one & the same with Bob’s Red Mill Rye Pumpernickel Meal. Most decidedly not. What to do? I had committed to Sportsman’s Lodge Lentil Soup and rye bread for supper. I certainly could not renege on that commitment. So on I carried.
The end result was a very very heavy bread. Delicious, but dense. One loaf weighs in at 2 1/4 pounds. We’ll call it a hardy bread.
All the while I was wasting so much time engrossed with Volume Eight of Our Wonder World, I had in the back of my brain something I’d read a long time ago. I could paraphrase it well enough, but that wasn’t good enough. And then…
“He welcomed the story as an old and dear friend.” Just lovely.
I mention this because I perused Amazon’s “100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime” yesterday. What rubbish. I recognized 22 that I would consider classics, and I even allowed for modern classics like My Side of the Mountain and The Secret Garden. There were 14 such modern entries on my list. That leaves eight– of one hundred– that would have been both on Amazon’s list, and on the “Good Books to Read” in 1914 list. Or– and let me turn on that part of my brain that does arithmetic– to put it another way, 92 out of 100 (that’s about 92%) of the books Amazon recommends for kids of all ages (that’s how I interpret “to read in a lifetime”) have been written since 1914! That’s pretty freaking stunning.
But. As I approach Old Age, I’m tired of griping. What can I do?
If these two are representative, the Librarians will be of no help. Heck, the libraries themselves are going to black mold hell. Friends of Libraries are social clubs whose members would not know a classic if it whacked ’em on the head. Teachers? Don’t be silly.
Mr. Big Food was to have taken the ham bone (5/1/18) and ham stock (6/19/18) out of his deep freezer this morning before he went to campus, but he forgot.
Ring ring. Ring ring.
“Hey. I forgot. Sorry. The ham stock is in my freezer in a Tupperware like we take to the tailgate, and the ham bone is in a freezer bag in one of the top baskets.”
Trek out to Mr. Big Food’s freezer, lift lid, see things. “Got it!”
“Okay great. Love you!”
“Love you, too!”
Today I am making Sportsman Lodge Lentil Soup and Creative Cooking Spiced Rye Loaves. I’ll start the soup around 10 so that it can sit around all day and mellow out. I’ll time the bread baking so that the loaves will be perfectly warm by suppertime.
Also today, I am officially eligible for senior citizen’s coffee prices. No. I don’t mind cooking on my birthday. We had birthday dinner on Sunday. I requested steak, baked potato, and Spicy Frozen Cucumbers. And boy oh boy did my family deliver!
Mr. Big Food spent waaaay too much on five unbelievable filets mignons which he grilled to perfect perfection, Daughter C & the J-Man out did themselves with the baked potatoes, and as I’ve commented, “Spicy Frozen Cucumbers are a delight as a salad late in the fall when you want to rekindle a bit of Summer in front of a cozy fire.” Though because it was a birthday dinner, Daughter C & the J-Man set the dining table right proper like. They even washed all the fancy stuff by hand afterward!