Category Archives: Books

Books Travel

Happy New Year!

I’m sure this is the subject line of everyone’s blog post around the world today, but I never claimed to be original. I have a good feeling about 2012, despite the fact that in the last remaining hours of 2011 we ran over a dead skunk (I say “we” because I am being gracious and not pointing out who the actual driver was, (my husband)) with our car, with the result that our car needs to be parked outside for the next month, or that I somehow managed to skirt mortality during our ski trip (you can comfortably conclude that I’m not the world’s best skier — at this writing I rank at approximately 7,000,000,001st worldwide, and yes, that would be behind some newborn babies) but received a large, painful rug burn from an actual rug by slipping down the stairs in the rental house. My hair’s a little messed up today but aside from that, it seems to be a pretty good start to the year.

I could do a list of New Year’s resolutions but they’re not ready yet so I’m just going to show some pictures. Below, the view from our rental house in Big Bear Lake, CA. It was so hot up there that I skied in short sleeves and was still too hot. It was actually not that much fun, skiing in the heat, but then again, I also find walking slightly more pleasurable than skiing.

Big Bear Lake

This is what the same scene looks like at sunset:

Big Bear Sunset

Like Mindy Kaling says in her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), “There is no sunrise so beuatiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.” I know this because this past year I’ve had a job where I get up before the sunrise, so I see a lot of sunrises, and the sunset is just as good if not better, and you’ll feel a lot more normal all day if you see a sunset. Also, you’re probably going to hear me talk about Mindy a lot like she’s a friend of mine because I just read her book and I kind of want to be her.

I would share other pictures too but despite being on a ski trip, all my photos are of kids in the hot tub or people eating fatty foods.

Happy 2012! It’s also my dad’s birthday, so happy birthday Dad! Now to get dressed.

Books Cooking Food

Mastering the Art of Cooking (so that you can master the art of eating)

I’m taking this week between Christmas and New Year’s off from work, and I am very, very happy. I think that one of the things that contributes most to one’s quality of life is the ability to sleep until one naturally wakes up, as well as not having to scream at people to brush their teeth and comb their hair and eat breakfast while packing their lunches in order to get them sent off to two different schools. It’s times like these that I fantasize about moving to a cozy mountain cabin, free of television, where we’d subsist on the land and the land alone. With my stamina for physical labor we’d surely starve, but what is food when you have love? (As a side note, for Christmas my very kind husband (who apparently does read my blog after all) surprised me with the LV Tivoli PM…spectacular! So even though the mountain life might be quiet, the deer probably couldn’t fully appreciate the Louis, so maybe we’re better off being part of society after all.)

This week I’ve been thinking that although I wouldn’t make a very good stay-at-home mom, I would indeed make quite a good stay at home person. There would be thousands of activities I could explore, none of which need to be revenue-generating: I could paint movie sets, knit hats and experiment with butter all to my heart’s content. This week, I did something that I never usually get to do: watched movies. I watched The Devil Wears Prada (I told you, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie), which was basically like my experience on Wall Street but with more attractive people and nicer clothes, and Julie and Julia, which I really didn’t think I’d like but which I found quite entertaining. I love to cook. And even more, I love to eat. But lately I’d been feeling like all the new cookbooks I’d seen were recycled variations on everything I’ve already tried. The best go-to cookbook I have is The New Best Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which, aside from providing the best recipe for cooking well-known recipes, gives you scientific detail, and results of kitchen testing, resulting in a fascinating course on cooking. For entertaining, I love Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home from which all my dinner party greatest hits are spawned. But after watching Julie and Julia, being properly and overtly influenced by the media, I flipped through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it’s far flung from the cookbooks of today — no pictures, just recipes. But in looking through it, it did pique my interest — Julia (and Simone and Lisette) did do her own kitchen testing a la America’s Test Kitchen, and it can’t hurt to have the classics. She also provides helpful and effective substitutes for French ingredients that can be found in American grocery stores. I’ve linked above to Amazon, which currently has a great deal going — a 2-volume set, hardcover, for $39.98 (56% off list price). So at that price, the risk is pretty low, and should pay for itself with a single use (think at least $100 for a party of two to dine on anything close), so go ahead — follow my lead –and buy lots of butter.