Saturday, February 29, 2020

New in My Kitchen in February

In the kitchen in February I've acquired quite a few new condiments and flavorings needed for some of the new recipes I've been trying out. Also one or two other things. I have more new stuff than usual!

From my Japanese/Asian market: two kinds of fish sauce, 100% sesame oil, black vinegar, and ponzu. I've used ponzu before. The others are new to me.
The very helpful proprietor of the market assures me that the
character in white at top left means "black," so it is black vinegar.
I've found it quite delicious in the salads I've made.
You can't really see the black vinegar, but it was in this salad!
Also at the Asian market I impulse bought this serving bowl.
This is called the Seigaiha pattern, or wave pattern, and is often used in
textile art as well as on ceramics.
For a French preparation I bought this Demi-Glace sauce.
What would Escoffier say?
Terrine de legumes: this terrine contained
goat cheese and leeks, decorated with parsley.
Terrine of mushrooms, which was made with the Demi-Glace
sauce in the earlier photo. My biggest cooking experiment this month.
It's still winter, but our local produce market still has some turnips that a farmer stored away.
I peeled them and added them to a number of other vegetables to be roasted.
A tray of cauliflower, multi-colored carrots, red onion,
and the turnips, ready to go in the oven.
This was far more than we needed: the rest were planned
for soup, which we ate another day.

In My Kitchen at Sherry's Blog.
On the last day of each month I look back at what's been happening in my kitchen, and share this information with a number of similarly-minded bloggers on a link party at Sherry's blog:

This blog post and all photos copyright © 2020 mae sander.
Published at mae's food blog: Maefood dot blog spot dot com.
If you read this at another site, it's been pirated.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

"The Bloomsbury Cookbook"

Virginia Woolf, 1917. Photo by Ottoline Morrell. National Portrait Gallery.
Perhaps the most famous member of Bloomsbury.
What did the famous men and women of the Bloomsbury group eat? In The Bloomsbury Cookbook, author Jans Ondaatje Rolls used letters, memoirs, kitchen notebooks, interviews, and many other published and archived writings by the members of the group and by their cooks to answer this question. With every recipe, the author includes fascinating historic detail from the writings and art of the group. We learn how Virginia Woolf might walk into town to buy a chicken, we hear how they gardened or even hunted game, and there's occasional analysis of how Virginia Woolf used food imagery in her innovative writing.

The Bloomsbury Cookbook covers the Bloomsbury activities from the late 19th century until 1956 when the few survivors had their last meeting, and extends with a few notes about the group's grandchildren. Much to my liking: the many recipes in the book are mainly from the notes of the subjects or from contemporary cookbooks -- some handwritten recipes are reproduced as illustrations in the book.

To get a feel for the level of wonderful detail in the book, let's look at a single passage about the meals at Charleston, home of Vanessa and Clive Bell, in the 1930s:
"Anne Olivier Bell recalled that 'lunch on the whole was usually ham or some salads and bread and cheese and possibly some beer.' But a letter from Angelica Garnet reveals a more varied lunchtime diet: on Sundays, heavenly aromas of roast Southdown mutton, sirloin or ham wafted through the house and mingled with the sweet smell of hot apple pie, treacle tart, roly-poly pudding, spotted dog or queen of pudding. On Mondays, they ate the leftovers from the Sunday roast (always carved by Vanessa) together with a mixed salad (usually dressed by Duncan [Grant]), baked potatoes and pickled walnuts. On Tuesdays, there was fish -- haddock or cod -- and on Wednesdays, lamb or mutton. Grace [the cook] made a shepherd's pie on Thursdays. On Fridays, she made sausages and, on Saturdays, her half-day off, it was eggs and bacon. Harveys beer, or water, was available to drink, and a freshly brewed pot of strong coffee was always enjoed at the table at the end of each midday meal." (The Bloomsbury Cookbook, p. 272-273) 
Evidently the Boomsburys loved food and made it an important part of their very active life socializing and discussing the art, literature, and culture of the day, as shown in this and many passages in the book. For me, the illustrations, which appear on almost every page, are even more exciting than the recipes. Several of the Bloomsbury participants were highly recognized artists, such as Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Dora Carrington, and Vanessa Bell, and all of them painted still lifes and other food scenes. Here are two of my favorites:

Dora Carrington, "The Servant Girl," 1917. The Bloomsbury Cookbook p. 99.
Vanessa Bell, "The Kitchen," 1943. The Bloomsbury Cookbook p. 173.
In the early days of the twentieth century, their upper-class and upper-middle-class way of life included cooks and housemaids who cooked their meals, did the grocery shopping, and more importantly did the heavy lifting such as carrying coal and pumping water for kitchens without modern conveniences. After the first World War, kitchens improved but social changes made it less likely to have many servants. (Another book on the topic is Mrs. Woolf and the Servants, which treats this topic in even more detail: blogged here: Virginia Woolf's Kitchen.)

By organizing the book chronologically, Rolls manages to introduce the core Bloomsburys who met at Cambridge University around the turn of the twentieth century, and then to introduce the many other great writers, artists, and so on who were part of the group. The Cambridge students were all men: the Stephen brothers, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, Leonard Woolf, and several others. The Stephen brothers introduced their fellow-students to their sisters (always said to be stunningly beautiful): Virginia and Vanessa, later known as Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. If you have read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, you know that she very much regretted and resented that she had not been given the opportunity to study at Cambridge, but that's the way it was.

Duncan Grant, "Helen Anrep in the Dining Room at Charleston," 1945. The Bloomsbury Cookbook p. 339.

I loved reading this cookbook, including in many cases reading through the recipes -- though I haven't tried any of them so I can't speak to their usefulness. I feel as if I could really sense the presence of those cooks 100 years ago or so, in their maybe-inadequate kitchens, working on delicious meals. I've been a fan of Bloomsbury for a very long time, and I love the way that the core members challenged so many of the stodgy moral and intellectual constraints of Victorian England and broke out into a new way of living, including -- to some extent -- their meals. Note: my fellow-blogger and Bloomsbury fan Sherry did try recipes from the book. See this post: Chocolate Angelique.

As a very young woman, Virginia Woolf tested middle-class norms when she roomed with men who were not her relatives, having moved to the Bloomsbury area of London that gave the group its name. She and her sister violated many of the strictures of Victorian life and sexual mores. Virginia also baked bread, an activity she loved, as well as founding a publishing company where she set the type herself: both things that maybe a woman of her social class wouldn't have done a generation earlier. This book covers the social revolutions of the twentieth century in an absolutely wonderful way -- and it's totally readable!

A page from the book.
To conclude, here's a very apt quote from Dorothy Parker about the lives that are documented in this book: the Bloomsburys “lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.”

Book review © 2020 mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com.
Photos credited to their sources.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Street Art in Our Town

In downtown Ann Arbor, many shops and restaurants have murals painted on their
window glass. The one in this photo combines with the reflection of the street
tree and sky in a very interesting way.
Jerusalem Garden restaurant porch. Signed by “Brush Monkeys” 

Under the Railroad Bridge... 

Mural under a railroad bridge, downtown Ann Arbor.
On the other side of the street. 

The Bus Station Murals

Real people standing around the bus station blend in with the figures in this mural.
More real people joining those in the mural
On the same block, the back of an entrance to the garage offers this image
from "Singing in the Rain." The bricks are all painted on the smooth wall.
I should have lined up the hand with the lamppost!
Artist: David Zinn.

This post for mostly wordless Wednesday by mae sander.
© 2020 mae’s food blog — maefood dot blog spot dot com.
If you read this elsewhere it’s been pirated.
Sharing with Sami’s link party Monday Murals:

Monday, February 24, 2020

Food Books from the Library

Here’s what I plan to read soon... I’ll report on these food and cooking books if they are good reading. The Bloomsbury Cookbook looks full of wonderful art reproductions. I’m already intrigued by some of Harold McGee’s essays in The Curious Cook.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Legend of Halcyone, the Kingfisher

Each winter during seven full days of calm
Halcyone broods on her floating nest—
her nest that sails upon a halcyon sea:
the passage of the deep is free from storms,
throughout those seven full days; and Aeolus
restraining harmful winds, within their cave,
for his descendants' sake gives halcyon seas.
-- Ovid. Metamorphoses. Brookes More. Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.
Internet source: Perseus Digigal Library.

-- Kingfisher, Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center, S.C. 

Of the approximately 110 species of kingfisher found worldwide on every continent except Antarctica, we have seen and photographed three of them on our various birding trips. Most recently, we saw this bird on our trip to South Carolina.

Kingfishers are beautiful birds, often brightly colored or vividly marked. They generally perch briefly on tree branches or utility wires near water where they wait to swoop down and catch fish. There's always something exciting about catching sight of one of these swiftly moving birds in a salt marsh, beside a river, or near a pond.

panamalifers 51
-- Amazon Kingfisher, Summit Pond, Gamboa, Panama

The ancient Greeks believed that the kingfisher nested during mid-winter, and that the gods provided special calm days, named halcyon days after the Greek name of this bird. In reality, kingfishers lay eggs in holes not nests, but maybe the ancient Greeks didn't know this. Whenever I see the bird, I think of this lovely ancient name for calm seas or just for happy days with beautiful weather. The ancient Greek sailors attributed such luck to the kingfisher: I can see how they loved the bird.

lifers_peru 33
-- Ringed Kingfisher, Maranon River, Peru

Ovid and other classical poets relate the myth of Alcyone (the Greek name for the kingfisher) and her husband Ceyx. Through arrogance, they angered Zeus and Hera, who first punished them with death, and then relented and turned them into birds that nested in winter during a period of calm ordered by Zeus and carried out by her father, Aeolus, ruler of the winds. Myth collector Robert Graves identified several versions of the story, including various stories of her parentage. He identified Alcyone to be a manifestation of a moon goddess from earlier myths.

Belted Kingfisher from Audubon's Birds of America (1827-1838).
The most surprising members of the kingfisher family are the kookaburras of Australia and New Guinea, which differ from other kingfishers because they rarely eat fish, and do not live near water.

Original photos and blog post copyright © 2020 mae sander for maefood dot blog spot dot com.
If you see this at another location on the web, it's been pirated.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

"All About the Burger" by Sef Gonzalez

This self-published pile of trivia was for some reason the selection of my culinary reading group this month. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the meeting. Unfortunately, I did buy and read the book.

If for some reason you do want to know the details of the founding of some huge number of hamburger chains in twentieth and twenty-first century America, you will find it here. From White Castle to Shake Shack, from Hardee's to Five Guys, not missing In-N-Out, Culver's, Whataburger, or special ethnic and regional burgers like the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger or the Miami/Cuban Frita.

Doesn't it sound interesting? Sorry, it's just a compendium of miscellaneous facts, presented in a formulaic way. Who, where, how many, did they have pickles? There's a ton of detail. The author also covers various advertising campaigns and rivalries from MacDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and so on, but I found a lack of any perspective on public reactions -- sometimes he says they failed, sometimes they brought in customers, but there's no insight.

In fact, that's my reaction to the whole book: it lacks insight. Yes, the man loves burgers, and he's tasted a humongous number of brands and types of burgers. That's all, folks.

This review is by Mae Sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com. 
If you read it elsewhere, it's been pirated. © 2020 mae sander.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Mona Lisa for This Moment

-- from Roll Call

-- from The Guardian
In the news today: this wonderful example of street art by “TVBoy” a graffiti artist whose real name is Salvatore Benintende. I first found out about it here: "Mona Lisa's face mask and Boris Johnson's 'backside': Tuesday's best photos." Then I checked for more about Benintende, a really interesting painter. The surgical-masked Mona Lisa appears in Barcelona, and a few more photos of it have already appeared in various news items, and a big collection here: "TVBOY."

Here's a bit about the painter from "Collateral" --  
"Born in Palermo in 1980 as Salvatore Benintende, he grew up in Milan where he began painting in the streets at only sixteen, where he attended the Polytechnic studying graphic design and where Tvboy was born. Now he lives in Barcelona, where, with the technique of an engineer, he designs and creates his works. 
"His style is influenced by American Pop Art, in particular by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring, but at the same time is inspired by the work of the great artists of the past, such as Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo." 
Another image from TVBOY:

It's been a while since I found a really good new Mona Lisa for my collection. This is a perfect way to illustrate what's happening in the world right now!

Obviously, these are not my photos, and I've linked to their original sources. This blog post is written by me, Mae Sander, for my blog, maefood dot blogspot dot com, and if you find this post elsewhere, it's being pirated.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

"The Resisters" by Gish Jen

The Resisters by Gish Jen.
Published February 4, 2020.
This review contains spoilers.
Baseball and knitting are two subjects that do not interest me at all. Unfortunately the usually wonderful author Gish Jen chose them as a centerpiece of her newly-published book The Resisters. Well, I made the best of it, and tried to enjoy the dystopian world Jen has invented. I managed to like her main characters despite how much time is spent describing their love of baseball and knitting. I even tried to be positive about baseball trivia. I did like many little jokes such as characters named Beetle Samsa and Joe March— and I was sure I missed many more of these jokes, especially the baseball ones.

What do we fear will happen to our world? You name a fear, it’s already happened in Jen’s dystopian world. The members of the family at the center of the novel belong to a despised class of people who no longer have jobs, but whose obligation is to eat industrial food from food trucks to keep the economy going. As a family they grow their own vegetables and avoid the probably poisonous food truck food — in fact they are active in protesting some of its worst excesses, and attempting to adjust to the many ways they are excluded from education, culture, and an all-around satisfying life. Their view:
“We would not eat the food purveyed by the ubiquitous mall trucks. Of course, the mall-truck food—NettieFood, as we called it—was free. In fact, we Surplus received Living Points for eating it, as we did for consuming generally: what with the efficiency boost of Aunt Nettie, the Netted overproduced wildly. But might those endless trays of dumplings and calzones and taquitos contain a mood-and-mind mute that amounted to a love sap—the ultimate aim of which was to reduce our numbers or, as we Surplus put it, to winnow us? Let’s just say that our household grew our own food, thank you, and that we shared it with our friends, who viewed it as lifesaving.” (Kindle locations 164 ff)
Another fear in our world, climate change, has already happened in The Resisters. However, the characters have adapted to it, finding seeds that will grow in their small garden in the heat, protecting their skin from the sun, and figuring out how to deal with to constant gusts of wind, temperature changes, and huge storms at sea.

More fortunate than some of the other members of their disadvantaged class, the central family have a house to live in, as well as a garden. However, the house is constantly under surveillance by a semi-intelligent system that they call “Aunt Nettie.” Needless to say, she’s a greatly extended version of Siri or Alexa, and embodies all the worst potential that pundits are projecting right now. Aunt Nettie can read the characters' minds, sort of, but they complain about "how little an algorithm understands people." (Kindle Locations 3278-3279).

Many technology fears experienced by members of our society (now, in 2020) are fully realized by theirs, which seems to be around a century in the future. Everyone is constantly watched. Punishment for not going along with the authoritarian system can be small or can be extreme. The worst is semi-disguised euthanasia. Moreover, the ever-present household robots are part of the reason why the underclass members have no jobs: automation has taken over. They don't even have the satisfaction of making their own beds.

The privileges of the upper classes aren’t fully described, though they have rewarding jobs, better living conditions, and access to education. Nevertheless, they also seem to live with omnipresent computer control. In fact their work is designed to expand it. The main example of this extreme technology, beyond the surveillance and the terrible industrial food situation, is rampant medical experimentation including things like embedded chips and “enhancements” to one’s body and one’s mind, mostly involuntary or forced by manipulation of one’s will.

That’s pretty much the dystopian situation in the book. Gish Jen does a great job of bringing to life all the dysfunction that our own pathetic future might hold. She vividly creates examples of excessive totalitarianism, nationalism, classism, racism, capitalism for the sake of making money with no respect for human life, institutionalized protection of sexual predators, medical misdeeds, thuggish characters flaunting their guns, and above all the tyranny of computers gone amok.

In contrast, the courage of the main characters and their friends in finding secret meeting places where they can play baseball and creating a sense of community with pot-luck meals, a variety of deliciously described pies, and more, is impressive. Or as the Washington Post reviewer says: "At its heart, the novel is about the act of resistance and its attendant forces of courage and hope." (Review by Diana Abu-Jaber, February 17, 2020.)

Overall, Jen's dystopian world is only a kind of background to the plot, which is entirely about playing baseball. I read it tolerantly, but I couldn’t get excited about all the descriptions of how the central character learns to be the world’s greatest pitcher, and about the detailed presentation of the games she pitches, her admiration for other pitchers of the past: I did know the name Satchel Paige, but so what. It’s just not really my kind of book, which is sad because I really liked Gish Jen’s earlier novels.

Another great thing about the book's vision is how so many news articles reinforce its vision of a dystopian future in our computerized world. Somehow, for example, the following paragraph about the way that AirBnB has made people in Cuba unhappy reminded me of the way the characters in the book suffered as they tried to avoid being swamped by smart robots and surveillance devices —
"In 2018, when I reached out to Airbnb's customer support and tried to discuss these issues related to emotional labor, the answer I received was that these issues were actually caused by the lack of proper access to the internet; that access to the internet was increasing and Cuban hosts would have a better experience when interacting with guests. This response shows us exactly how Silicon Valley operates — it operates on techno-solutionism, in which the solution to people's problems is actually more technology, as if technology that people use were not embedded in a network with different power structures." -- From  As Airbnb grows in Cuba, locals suffer the emotional burden of entitled tourists by David Nemer.

This review by mae sander copyright © 2020 for maefood dot blogspot dot com. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020


A stack of crepes based on the Julia Child recipe (I substituted some whole wheat flour in the pancake batter). My fillings
were based on the offering of our favorite Paris crêperie. My counter was crowded with all the ready foods.

Bilbo Baggins, the original Hobbit in Tolkien's first book, "liked visitors, but he liked to know them before they arrived, and he preferred to ask them himself. He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he -- as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful -- he might have to go without."

When first one, then another, a third... and finally thirteen dwarves plus Gandalf the Wizard appeared at Bilbo's underground hobbit house for breakfast one fine morning, he managed to serve them all. They demanded beer, ale, tea, seed cakes, wine, raspberry jam, apple tart, mince pies with cheese, pork pie with salad, cold chicken with pickles, and on and on until they consumed everything in Bilbo's larder. I think this scene at the beginning of The Hobbit is one of the most unforgettable meals in all literature ... I bet  you remember it too.

This morning I passed the Bilbo Baggins test when my invited guests turned out to have invited a friend of theirs to join them at my house for brunch. In fact, I had asked if they wanted me to invite more friends, but they did the inviting themselves. I was surprised, but not as confused as Bilbo.

In fact, I was perfectly happy and able to make enough filled crepes for us all. Fortunately I had prepared a big stack of them. My savory fillings included smoked salmon, sour cream, spinach, and cheese. Sweet fillings were apricot preserves and chocolate chips. I had garnishes: tomatoes and fruits. All based on my favorite crepe restaurant in Paris!

Unlike Gandalf's friends the dwarves, our unexpected guest brought us some strawberries and chocolate raisins, which complimented my selection. Also unlike the dwarves, our guests didn't all decide to stay to supper. And they didn't volunteer to help while singing:
"Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
Blunt the knives and bend the forks!
That's what Bilbo Baggins hates --
Smash the bottles and burn the corks!"
We really enjoyed the meal and the company! And I think Bilbo would have approved.

To finish the crepes I took each one from the stack, placed it on the hot griddle, and spread it with the filling.
The sour cream with salmon was delicious. The chocolate chips and apricot preserves melted deliciously into the crepe.

My Model: La Crêperie de  Josselin, Paris
Breton Crepes as we had them in Paris, November 2018.
Google photo of the interior of the crêperie in Paris.

Blog post copyright © 2020 mae sander for mae food dot blogspot dot com.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

"Skinny DIp" and "Lucky You" by Carl Hiaasen

Lucky You, published 1997.
"The Everglades empties off the Florida peninsula into a shimmering panorama of tidal flats, serpentine channels and bright-green mangrove islets. The balance of life there depends upon a seasonal infusion of freshwater from the mainland. Once it was a certainty of nature, but no more. The drones who in the 1940s carved levees and gouged canals throughout the upper Everglades gave absolutely no thought to what would happen downstream to the fish and birds, not to mention the Indians. For the engineers, the holy mission was to ensure the comfort and prosperity of non-native humans. In the dry season the state drained water off the Everglades for immediate delivery to cities and farms. In the wet season it pumped millions of gallons seaward to prevent flooding of subdivisions, pastures and crops.

"Over time, less and less freshwater reached Florida Bay, and what ultimately got there wasn’t so pure. When the inevitable drought came, the parched bay changed drastically. Sea grasses began to die off by the acre. The bottom turned to mud. Pea-green algae blooms erupted to blanket hundreds of square miles, a stain so large as to be visible from NASA satellites. Starved for sunlight, sponges died and floated to the surface in rotting clumps." (Lucky You, p. 337).

Skinny Dip, published 2004.
(Skink book 5)
Carl Hiaasen's books have these two subjects in common:
  • "the destruction of the Florida Everglades and the $8 billion effort to save what remains." (Skinny Dip, dedication)
  • "the pestilential abundance of lowlifes in South Florida." (Skinny Dip, p. 271).
About his first subject, the ruin of the Everglades, Hiaasen is deadly serious. The second observation inspires him to create comic plots and situations that are enormously fun to read. I've read several of his books in the past, and just finished these two.

Although every book I've read contains some very serious descriptions of the Everglades and their destruction, his invention of special instances of the lowlife characters of Florida and their antics is consistently hilarious. I think I especially like the fact that I've been to the areas he describes. For example, some of the key scenes in Skinny Dip were in the Loxahatchie National Wildlife Refuge, where we went for birdwatching during our visit to Florida last month.

Some of the key action in Skinny Dip takes place on a cruise ship. Obviously this is a setting where Hiaasen can find comic themes; as he observes: "gluttony being the principal recreation aboard cruise liners" (p. 5). Hiaasen is especially vivid when it comes to gluttony and more generally to the characteristic eating habits of his characters. For example, before the ship even sailed, there was a problem:
"... a raccoon had turned up berserk in the pastry kitchen. One of the chefs had wrestled the frothing critter into a sixty-gallon tin of guava custard before it had shredded the man’s jowls and humped snarling to the depths of the ship. A capture team from Broward Animal Control had arrived, along with health inspectors and paramedics. Evacuated passengers were appeased with rum drinks and canapés. (p. 4).
Skinny Dip has a small number of scenes with Hiaasen's very weird character Skink, who lives a hermit's life in the Everglades wilderness and eats roadkill and all-around disgusting foods, as well as making other people eat with him if they stray into his territory. He doesn't play a big role here, but in his brief apparance he's up to his old tricks, frying a dead otter and making one of his visitors share it "because that was better than leaving it to the buzzards" (p. 317).

The weird character unique to this book is nicknamed Tool. He's huge, hairy, mean, and stupid. Also funny. One of his antics is to steal pain-killer patches from nursing homes, and use them to assuage the pain of a bullet wound. He's also funny when he eats; for example at one point, he "emerged wearing black denim overalls and carrying a pizza that was frozen solid. When he took a bite, it sounded like the crack of a .22" (p. 113). As in other Hiaasen books, the course of events causes Tool to reform his very nasty attitudes, while other mean and nasty characters -- especially those that conspire to keep polluting the swamps -- receive quite drastic punishments. Comic and cruel!

On the other hand, there are scenes where food is normal -- Florida normal! For example, the novel's two sympathetic characters share "a lunch of conch chowder, grapefruit salad, sardine sandwiches and sangria" (p. 285). On another occasion, one cooks for the other: "Each slice of fish went first into a bowl of bread crumbs, then the frying pan. Joey heard the sizzle when the fillets landed in the hot oil; she counted eight and wondered if that would be enough for both of them. Never had she felt so famished" (pp. 41-42).

I like Hiaasen's books despite the repeated themes, the relentless dwelling on the tragic ecological disaster (which we've witnessed are getting worse and worse each time we visit Florida), and similarity of the overall plot in which evil characters conspire to do bad things to not-so-evil characters, and the good win out in the end.

To learn much more about Hiaasen, I recommend the recent article "Carl Hiaasen: A Crime Reader's Guide to the Classics" by Neil Nyren, which includes thumbnail sketches of his most amusing characters and a summary of his career as a writer, including the terrible tragedy of his brother's death in a mass murder. The first of Hiaasen's numerous books for kids and adults were published in the 1980s, and --
"Hiaasen’s adult and kids’ books have won nearly a dozen honors since, his journalism has brought him four of the most prestigious awards in that field, including the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and his books have been published in 34 languages, 'which is 33 more than I can read or write.' 
"There hasn’t been a new adult book since 2016, though. "There’s an obstacle to my kind of writing if you have a lot of stuff going on in your personal life,' he has said. 'I think it’s a particular obstacle if you’re trying to be funny and the stuff in your life isn’t particularly funny.' That was the case in 2018, when in June of that year, a man with a vendetta came to the office of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, and killed five people. One of them was Carl’s younger brother Rob, age 59, a columnist and assistant editor."
I've only read a small percent of Hiaasen's twenty books, and look forward to more, especially to the new one that's scheduled for publication later this year.

Blog post copyright © 2020 mae sander
for mae's food blog at maefood dot blog spot dot com.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Exigencies: A Poem

How happy is the little Stone 
That rambles in the Road alone, 
And doesn't care about Careers 
And Exigencies never fears— 
Whose Coat of elemental Brown 
A passing Universe put on, 
And independent as the Sun 
Associates or glows alone, 
Fulfilling absolute Decree 
In casual simplicity
— Emily Dickinson

I remember reading this untitled poem in high school. You probably remember it too, if you are old enough to have gone to high school before they modernized poetry classes. I don't know if Emily Dickinson is still in, or if she's out.

I believe the time I read this in high school was my first encounter with the word exigencies. A nice word, but it's a little obscure for every-day use. 

I have never memorized the poem, and when I looked it up, I realized that it was longer than I thought (though in fact it's pretty short). Like all poetry, this one makes me afraid that I'm missing the meanings or failing to grasp the depths. Despite my inadequacy, from time to time I like to think about the little rambling stone and the exigencies that don't frighten it. I'll skip the absolute Decree and the passing Universe, and just take the simplicity.

I hear this poem in my head when I walk on the beach and see the little stones, shells, and bits of seaweed tumbled by the water and scattered on the sand.

This blog post written for Wordy Wednesday at maefood dot blogspot dot com. 
© 2020 mae sander.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Home Again in the Snow

We are back in Ann Arbor, where it’s been snowing. Happily, it was clear when our plane
landed, and the entire trip went smoothly.
The last evening before we left, we saw a magnificent moonrise over the ocean.
This is called the snow moon.

After watching the moon, we went to a nice bar & grill for
one last fish dinner. The clam linguini was the most photogenic.

The airport in Myrtle Beach — a very nice convenient little airport where the car-rental area is immediately across
from the terminal: no shuttle needed! All flights left on time and arrived early. Very good luck.
This post and all photos copyright © 2020 mae sander for maefood dot blog spot dot com.
If you read this elsewhere it’s been pirated.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Litchfield, South Carolina, a Great Place to Visit!

Sunrise from the balcony of Arny and Tracy's condo where we stayed in Litchfield. It's on the fifth floor.
Sunset over the salt marsh on the grounds of the condo complex a few blocks from our place.
Again from the balcony: the moon's reflection on the ocean a few hours after sunset.

Inside the condo

The living room has a great view of the ocean.
Sometimes we don't feel the need to go anywhere -- we just look out the window.
The kitchen is large and fairly well-equipped. Some people like to go out for
every meal, but we are happy to be able to cook for ourselves for most meals.
The dining area. In the photo you can see the second very-fresh-fish dinner that we cooked.
Fish filets wrapped in wilted lettuce leaves with lemon and herb butter. 
For more local fish, we went back to Harrellson's Fish
Market for the third time. We bought two whole lane snapper
and had them filleted and scaled so we could cook them.
(OK, this isn't a photo of the condo.)
Len did the cooking. First he pan-fried the fish.
Then he made a sauce with capers, lemon juice, white wine, and parsley.
These fish fillets were absolutely wonderful!

Where we are staying. 
Sandpipers on the beach nearby.
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