Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The New Docent in Town

Thanks to MP for drawing my attention to this delightful article!

From the New York Times:

IF my town were a person, I would have a crush on it. Six years after moving to Mill Valley, Calif., I am still very infatuated with it: the way it looks in the morning (so cute), the way it smells (like eucalyptus and ferns), the way the air feels (as if it’s always spring).

Hadley Hooper

I like to collect the sorts of stories — about the long-ago pig races in the town square, for instance — that might not interest other, less besotted residents.

So I thought I had hit pay dirt one day not so long ago when I was wandering around the basement of the public library and discovered a sign: “The history room is open.”

From the doorway, I could see a wall-size photo from a century ago. It was like a baby picture, and I angled in for a closer look.

“Please don’t touch anything,” a voice snapped behind me.

I turned and saw a woman who sat, proprietary as a spider, at a wooden desk in the center of the room.

“I’m just looking,” I said.


Friday, May 22, 2009


Someone recently asked about my use of the term "woot!" 

Woot is a term to denote excitement! According to the Online Slang Dictionary it is "used online mainly as an expression of joy." Another source said that it was mainly used by hackers. Now, I am no hacker--and would contend that I picked it up from Teen Girl Squad--which I think is the real source of the term. 

Now Teen Girl Squad--it is a hysterical parody of teen girls from the site HomeStarRunner. My roommate and I used to watch it in college all the time. Some of our favorite ways to acknowledge our moments of blatant shallowness come from the cartoon:

"Let's get cute!"
"I have a crush on every boy"
"Let's get ready to look soooo good"
"Msg'd!" "Ow! My stomach lining!"
"So good or no good?"

Bob Dylan is coming to Aberdeen in July...

Demand Bob Dylan in Fairfax!
Bob Dylan in Fairfax - Learn more about this Eventful Demand

View all Fairfax events on Eventful

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kids Restaurant Week

Thanks to CW for the heads up on this: 

Cookie and Gourmet invite you to join us for Kids' Restaurant Week 2009!

  • Week-long promotion in Washington, DC (June 13-21), New York and Chicago (June 20-28)
  • Prix fixe menus: Adults pay $29; Kids 11 and under pay their age
  • Early dinner seatings 5:00-7:00pm
  • A portion of proceeds to benefit local charities in each market

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Melting Pot

by Pat Willard

The manuscript for this book was the product of a project started by the WPA, but it was never published. Various authors, such as Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, and others were sent all over the United States to gather information on regional cuisine. The photos are originals as well, taken by Dorthea Lange, Ben Shahn, Marion Post Wolcott, and others. 

Cook's Books

I just found this interesting site, Cook's Books, that has, it seems, exhaustively compiled a list of all books of interest to those interested in cooking. Including this great selection of books for kids

It reminded me of the great used bookstore that I found in New Orleans: Kitchen Witch Cookbooks


Curry: A Tale of Cooks & Conquerors by Lizzie Collingham

I recently checked this out of the library, and can't wait to dig in! It's a great history of curry, and by proxy a history of India--specifically the relationship b/w British Imperialism and India. The focus is on the curries of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh (not Malaysia or Thailand). 

The book is full of wonderful maps and illustrations, as well as a couple recipes at the conclusion of each chapter. 


I attended a Smithsonian Associates lecture last night: "Spices of Life". It turned out that the lecture was by Fred Czarra, the author of Spices: A Global History. The books looks very interesting. Czarra is an historian, not a foodie, so it's a bit different from a lot of food writing that I have read. The book is one in a series called The Edible Series. Each book focuses on a different food or ingredient (Pizza, Hot Dog, Pancake, etc.).  

Focusing on the five premier spices—black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and chili pepper—while also relating the story of many others along the way, Czarra describes how spices have been used in cooking throughout history and how their spread has influenced regional cuisines around the world. Chili peppers, for example, migrated west from the Americas with European sailors and spread rapidly in the Philippines and then to India and the rest of Asia, where the spice quickly became essential to local cuisines. The chili pepper also traveled west from India to Hungary, where it eventually became the national spice—paprika.

            Mixing a wide range of spice fact with fascinating spice fable—such as giant birds building nests of cinnamon—Czarra details how the spice trade opened up the first age of globalization, prompting a cross-cultural exchange of culinary technique and tradition. This savory spice history will enliven any dinner table conversation—and give that meal an unforgettable dash of something extra.

"Mother, a Young Wife Learns to Sew"

by Geraldine Connolly
Those were the days
she slipped a silver needle
neat as a minnow
through a piece of cloth.

It went swimming
up and out
of the river of fabric
guided by her hand.

Was that glance up
at the open window
a happy gaze, or a cry
to be outside, running, free

through carpets of garnet
vines or azalea blaze,
or pushing the steel point
of an instrument through linen,

not putting hooks and loops
and buttonholes in order,
staying to the task, keeping on,
baste and stitch, as the world burned
and glittered and she held on
to purpose and industry.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sunday Activities

I have been trying to slowly amass things for G to do that are appropriate for Sundays. Here are some things we've found:

- The Amazing Book DVD (I also got some of the other "Amazing" line, and they are not as good)
- The Miracle Maker DVD. This tells the story of Jesus' ministry really thoughtfully, and with some great voice talent. The Rev. NT Wright was the theological advisor on this back in 2000 when it was made. 
- Bible stories cube puzzle (kind of like this)

Does anyone have any other good suggestions?


G and I have discovered audio books! I mean, I loved them as a kid, but thought of them as an older kid sort of thing. However, there are now a zillion great short stories available on iTunes, and at the library. We are even making our way through Wind and the Willows together, bit by bit. It's great that she is learning to sit and listen to stories for long periods of time! 

Some of our favorites:
The BBC has done a lot of them, and you can browse in iTunes by the BBC, like Pat-A-Cake, and Jack and the Bean Stalk.
- Caps for Sale
- Winnie-the-Pooh
- the Beatrix Potter tales
- the original Thomas the Tank Engine stories
- and of course the Rabbit Ears stories

America Digs too

Housewife, 49

Some friends and I just watched the BBC dramatization of the book, Nella Last's War . It was very poignant and well done. I noticed a poster on the wall in the movie and went about searching for it online. I have a weakness for WWII British printing! I found it, and a bunch of other really neat images supporting Victory Gardens:


G and I recently found these toys/games/puzzles made by Cranium (their Bloom line) at some Marshalls stores, and we love them so much, I thought I'd post about them. They are really FUN, firstly! and secondly, they are definitely getting G to figure things out. Now in general I am not all about ALL educational toys, ALL the time. Usually, I think educational toys are a marketing gimmick for hyper parents, and are really boring. These games, maybe b/c the are made by a game maker and not a baby-industry marketeer, are actually fun AND clever! 

The one to the left is a puzzle (with cute illustrations) of a zoo. Then are are two decks of cards that have you find different things (like find things that are blue), and an dry erase marker that you can use on the puzzle! G was loving that she could actually draw on the puzzle! 

Graceland Farm our CSA this year. Hopefully it won't die (like our last one did!). G and I went out to the open house and toured the farm. It's really nice! I'll post pictures when I get the first batch on May 14. G now thinks that ALL vegetables come from our farm!

My kitchen floor someday....

Design by Linda Florence.

le cool

I just stumbled across this really weird and interesting free weekly newsletter about cool things in major European cities: LeCool. The cities are separate (you have to get a different "subscription" to each), but the London one is awesome! and strange. Check it out!

le cool is a free weekly magazine featuring a selection of cultural events and leisure activities, revealing what is worthwhile and the things that you really should not miss. We filter out the best exhibitions, movies, concerts & DJs as well as a careful selection of extraordinary bars, restaurants and other fine places. All our content is chosen because we believe it is worth your time and will never be traded for money. le cool is distributed as a graphic e-mail every Thursday around noon.