Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review: The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love.

My new job has me traveling more often. While the trips can be exhausting, one of the benefits I’ve found is the time to read.

With so many meetings, schedules to keep, and general running around – I’ve come to look forward to that quiet time on the plane, when I can bend back the spine of a book, forgetting all the stresses my day of travel has already created.
My most recent read was a Christmas gift from Husband. He saw a review somewhere and thought I might enjoy it. He was right.

The book per Amazon:
“First-time memoirist Maisto turns out a subtle valentine to cooking and New York City life in this chronicle of two foodies in love. Maisto is a charming writer with a keen wit and sense of setting, whether describing tennis in her beloved Brooklyn neighborhood, or reluctantly making Jell-O for her fiancĂ©.” The review continues but I disagree with the rest.

While it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As with most memoirs, I am curious how the author’s life has changed since publishing. Did the people she wrote about ever feel misrepresented? Has she had much success with this book? What is she doing now?

There was something that I can’t exactly put my finger on that I related to within the book. Her story is not similar to mine. Maybe it is the similar life stage, the goal to make the best of a new marriage and a small kitchen.
Then there was the food. Not over-flowery descriptions, but clean and true to the flavors. Her descriptions of beautifully simple Asian flavors and the hearty Italian meals never seemed to compete, each having its place on the palate.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find the author on twitter. Even more delighted that she was so approachable.

I am the first one to pass on books to my friends, except in this case. There are RECIPIES in this book. For that reason, if you are so inspired, you’ll have to buy it my friends.

As for a recommendation, I’m not sure that you will find the same kinship in this
book, but if you’re like me, you’re always looking for new titles to discover.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The white death

During this time of year, there isn't much going on. It's too cold to be outside, the sun had drained all local inhabitants of any positive attitude, and because of a stupid groundhog, there is no end in sight.

This means the only thing anyone ever talks about is the weather. Even the local news reporters are consumed by it. You can't turn on the TV without being blasted by some station claiming to be the WINTER WEATHER AUTHORITY.

They must wet their pants when there is actually a WINTER STORM WARNING. Last week the local news peed all over themselves when the warning actually came true and we got a foot of snow. More 90% of the local news was devoted to weather, the other 10% was devoted to things the weather affected, traffic, busy grocery stores, salt supplies, and the lot. I was actually embarrassed for them when I saw the breaking news broadcast that was an hour long, above and beyond their regularly scheduled programing. IT WAS ONE FOOT OF SNOW, people.

But wait, I can't completely blame the media outlets. They are IMHO, a reflection of society, giving people what they want. And all I heard people talk about was THE WHITE DEATH. Ok, they didn't call it "the white death" verbatim, but they were saying it with their fear.

The office CLEARED out by 2PM. Every event in town was cancelled. Before I got in my car, the warnings followed "BE CAREFUL!" "Drive Safely." "Call me if you get stuck." "Do you have a blanket in your car?"

Then there are the drivers. In the snow, in our city, there are two kinds - Petrified and Uninhibited. Both are scary.

The petrified drivers are a little more frightening. They are the ones that on the snow covered interstate ride the ass of the car in front of them. They find comfort in the ridiculously close proximity of the other car. Because of their own fear and the proximity of the other cars, they often do the dumbest thing, they hit their brakes...incessantly. If you are driving straight on a slippery surface, there are only a couple of things that will aid in loss of control, one of them is BRAKING. Now people, I'm not saying you shouldn't brake, but If you are traveling at a reasonable speed with REASONABLE distance between you and the car in front of you, LETTING YOUR FOOT OFF THE GAS should suffice in slowing down. These petrified drivers are the ones to stay away from, they will brake, fishtail and behave erratically all due to FEAR.

On the other end of the spectrum are the uninhibited drivers. You can find me in this category. These are the drivers that sometimes don't respect how slippery the road is. They are the ones flying by, weaving in and out of traffic because they are so annoyed with the petrified drivers. The weaving is one of the other things that will aid in loss of control. This group is a little less frightening because they aren't ruled by fear. And, considering I'm in this group, the uninhibited group tends to be better drivers. It's the drivers that make the road a dangerous place to be.

Have i mentioned lately that I hate winter?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Home Movies

Recently Padre got a new toy. It converts VHS tapes to computer files. This means that the drawers of home videos from holidays, birthdays and kids-without-cable entertaining themselves, will never be lost. There are hours and hours of video. The cumbersome VHS format used to mean editing that took hours, or in our case, no editing at all.

Now, with this new toy, Padre can cut out the unwanted video from shaky children videographers and the camera being left on, to the hours of taping nothing just for the novelty of the technology.

When I was home last weekend I got to see just two of the videos. When I first saw myself, it was hard not to cringe. I was immediately thrown back into the self consciousness that plagues all kids as a certain age. YUCK, you couldn’t pay me to go back.

Once I got past that emotional baggage, we laughed until we almost peed. There is one scene where Monkers is INTERROGATING on of my aunt’s boyfriends. The questions she asked him on camera included, but were not limited to: “Where do you live?” “ Is that your real hair?” and “Where did you learn to talk like that?” He was British. Oh what he must have thought. We didn’t see him after that.

And I wasn’t the only one cringing after seeing my younger self. The early 90’s style with the baggy clothes, made even the size four momma T look big. And then there were the glasses, the kind that took over someone’s face. I’m not talking about the classic Jackie O style sunglasses. I’m referring to the everyday glasses that went from hairline to lip. WHAT WAS THAT?

Then there are the flashes of the unguarded character. That split second that Momma T got mad and you could see her angry face flash before she remembered this was being recorded. The times I was so mad, I didn’t care that the roll of my eyes would be captured forever.

I highly recommend you take some time this winter (cause it’s cold and there is nothing else to do) and revisit your old videos. You’ll be in for a laugh or two, I promise.

PS, there is a chance that some of these awful, embarrassing videos might re-surface around my b-day. IF so, don’t laugh TOO hard.