Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Waking up! Welcome back!

I'm waking up this long-dormant blog because in this time of COVID-19 intentional social isolating I find (despite my intense introversion) that I still crave conversation. So let's wake up together and keep each other sane! For today, I'd love to hear about:

1. what you are reading
2. what you are cooking

I'll start:
1. It could not have arrived at a better time: Hilary Mantel's final book in the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. (The link will take you to one of my local bookstores; support your local folks if you can particularly when their storefronts are closed.) It is 757 pages of intricate Tudor historical fiction requiring me to regularly refresh my memory of who exactly had claims to the throne and looking up family trees from the War of the Roses onward to see how they are leveraging their claims. I am happy as a pig in shit reading this. 

For levity (because I can't spend every moment of my day with murderous Tudors without starting to consider keeping a knife in my doublet/jacket pocket), I'm listening to another Terry Pratchett Discworld audiobook read by the amazing Stephen Briggs. Thud! is the one I'm currently listening to with The Truth waiting in the wings for when I finish. (The link takes you to the digital library download where you can request it. I assume it is probably also available if you have an audible subscription. Unfortunately, with the library closed getting it on CD isn't an option right now, but normally they do have a decent supply of Pratchett books). It is truly a sanity saver to still have more Discworld books to read--there are 47!--even after years of enjoying them.

2. On the cooking front, I'm doing some freezer and pantry clearing-out which, let's face it, really needed to be done. Yesterday I pulled a pound of freezer-burned ground pork out and made some great rice noodles w/pork, tofu, peanuts and cilantro (no one could tell in that format that the meat was less than ideal), served with celery and cucumber salad (chop them up and toss them together with a spoonful of chili crisp, a little tamari, rice vinegar and a pinch of sugar). Tonight, we're having roasted pork loin (because apparently I stash pork in my freezer? I don't even really like pork...) and roasted cauliflower with this coconut tumeric relish and a salad. I haven't tried the relish before but it sounds promising and the picky eaters in my house can skip it and just eat beige food.

And I've been baking. I gave up gluten about 6 weeks ago (and I feel so much better) so I'm experimenting with gluten-free recipes and have come across some really good ones (there is a NYTimes almond-flour chocolate chip cookie recipe that is amazing but sadly is also behind a paywall...) And I'm trying to teach my helpless-in-the-kitchen children to bake their favorites with all the regular wheat flour we still have on hand. So far, my strategy for dealing with grumpy teenagers has been to a) throw a brownie or cookie at them and then b) make them go for a walk with me. It probably won't work for the length of our shelter-in-place behavior, but it's working for now so I'm not going to knock it.

I'd love to hear what you are up to!


Alex said...

BLOGS! What a concept!!

I just finished reading The Casual Vacancy (I know JK Rowling is on everyone's shit list right now but I already owned it so, oh well.) I think I'm about to start Lincoln in the Bardo.

The last thing I cooked... a baked sweet potato 🤣 Which is pretty good, for me, because I can't cook and don't like it. Thinkin' bout baking some bread soon though.

Kate said...

Yes, setting aside JK's trans-phobic comments, The Casual Vacancy is excellent and scathing and what I want to push on anglophiles who romanticize the British and don't want to see the ugly parts of their culture. If you can get your hands on the audio of Lincoln in the Bardo it's really helpful in trying to keep all the voices straight and there are some really good actors playing the parts.

And don't dis the baked sweet potato! That's my favorite lunch and so easy to use as a base to chuck whatever the hell is in the fridge on top (or just butter, salt and pepper which can be splendid in its simplicity!) Might make one today for lunch as a way to use up the last few tablespoons of leftover peanut sauce that needs to be eaten.

Now I'm hungry again...

Valerie said...

I just finished reading "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik. It was absorbing reading. The part that caught my attention, though, was that I read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, and it turns out that Novik is married to one of my sister's classmates from elementary/middle/high school, which I thought was cool.

Now I'm reading an e-book by Andrew Rowe, because my kids told me to. :) I'm at the start of the second book. The first book in the series is called "Sufficiently Advanced Magic," and one thing they like about it is that the main character builds friendships and alliances with people who you wouldn't expect him to. I like that they like that!

Cookingwise, today I made chocolate marbled banana bread, mostly because we had bananas that had gone over the hill and there are already too many bananas in our freezer.

Come join us on the Gluten-Free Ann Arbor group!
The e-mail list is here: https://groups.io/g/GlutenFreeAnnArbor
and the Facebook group is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlutenFreeAnnArbor/

Kate said...

I think it's pretty wonderful how many parents I know are reading books along with their kids. I can't remember craving that kind of dialogue with my parents when I was a teenager!

Cynthia said...

glad you are back!!!

Unknown said...

Ha! We are on the same page, I am also reading "The Mirror and the Light". I am transported and apprehensive. Baking and cooking for my teenagers, we are far from peeling eels but I am going to sow some spinach seeds today.

Juliet said...

Thanks, Kate. After reading your first sentence, I went straight to Literati's website and ordered The Mirrow and the Light. I've read Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. I recommend shopping online at Literati, since they are local Ann Arbor, and closed to customers because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Stay well, everyone.