Good Finds

Book Em, Dano.

Good morning!

CSA haul #5 arrived yesterday and what did we get this week?….

3 ears of corn
1 bunch of carrots
2 tomatoes
wax beans (kids looked at them and said “What ARE those?”)
1 perfect onion
10 cukes (= pickles!)
…and….4…oh God… zucchini. I’m officially intimidated by all these things.

Just call me the Zucchini Fairy. We went out with a friend last night and she ended up going home with four  and another friend is getting two in her mailbox today. If things get dire, they may appear in my daughter’s birthday goodie bags this weekend.

I’ll keep you posted on the great pickle experiment. Kids are excited about that one! Me too, in fact. Who doesn’t love a good pickle? When I was pregnant, a woman that I worked with came into work one day with an entire BUCKET of pickles for me that she got from a top-shelf Hebrew pickle-man in lower Manhattan. They rocked it something fierce. As she had never been pregnant before, she figured that a bucket would be ample for me, which was pretty adorable.

Onto other things…Summer. Summer to me includes, among other things, reading. Kids have their summer reading lists (somewhat begrudgingly) and I have mine (self-imposed). I’ve always been a big reader…from the earliest of days reading the big classics with my mom (Little Women, Treasure Island, The Hobbit) to now, I looove a book.

Two Christmases ago, I got a Kindle after much hemming and hawing. After my husband and I went on a trip and he packed a Kindle that was 1/2 inch thick and contained 3 books and I hauled 3 BIG “real” books, I thought enough is enough. Convenience and ease-of-travel wins. Not to mention, I need more room in my carry-on for snacks. There are two camps of thinking with this bit of technology…those who eschew the Kindle in favor of feeling, smelling and handling a “real” book and those who just want to read the printed word, no matter how it appears in front of them. I’m a bit of both, my compromise being that I will never purchase a cookbook on a Kindle, so now I have the best of both worlds.

I’ve stumbled on a few good reads lately and thought you might like to know about them….no report needed for the first day of school, just enjoy them.

Book #1. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Generally, anything with Paris in the title is enough to peak my interest, but this also did because I was intrigued to learn a bit more about Ernest Hemingway, whom I previously had known zip about. Great perspective in this book from Hadley, his first wife (“The Paris Wife”) who was the absolute love of his life and mother to his first child, Bumby. If you enjoyed the Woody Allen movie Midnight In Paris, then pick up this book. Great flavor and account of those roaring times with those crazy artistes.
Book #2. Bearing Down by Tom Trabulsi. The author of this book is actually a friend of mine that I went to high school with. Who knew…I know an author. I’m not usually a fan of short story collections, but Tom’s writing is worth the attention. The stories are gritty and the characters are er…colorful, shall we say, but the descriptions and the word-craft is what keeps me coming back for more. To tell a long story in a short format is a skill and Tom has done just that. Give him a whirl.
Book #3. Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand. This is a total good beach read. Fun, light, story moves along at a nice clip and you end up staying up way-t00-late one night (+) trying to finish it. Elin’s stories all take place on Nantucket and who wouldn’t want to be transported there? Not lofty literature by any stretch of the imagination, but something about her stories hits home. She’s a Mom, probably about my age, she mentions places that I know and comes across as one of my girlfriends. I would have lunch with her in a heartbeat. And happily accept an invite for a vacation on her beloved island.
Book #4. 40 Years of Chez Panisse-The Power of Gathering by Alice Waters. Ok. I am completely in love with Alice Waters. Big girl-crush time, here. I follow her and Michael Pollan pretty religiously because of their love of the earth, good, whole food, their smarts and their quest to just make the world and our lives better, healthier and more fulfilling. Reading this celebratory book makes me want to hop a plane to Berkeley and be at Chez Panisse in time for lunch. Alice is a true visionary who redefines the word “grow”…from food to ideas.
Book #5 Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. I’m in the midst of this book at the moment, but it’s proving to be so well-written and such a unique story, that it’s worth mentioning even now. Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. For twleve days, we follow one family, focusing on the daughter in the family-Esch, and their struggles, love and survival. I’ve been pretty glued to it for the last handful of nights…
As summer continues, I will continue to stretch the spines of books. Or at least, my Kindle will pretend to do that. Good words and stories never cease to enthrall and prove to be one of the best vacations out there.

7 thoughts on “Book Em, Dano.

  1. You know which camp I’m in! Cookbooks is your compromise?? <<>>

    In any case- the book recommendations look terrific- will look for some of them once I am done with the short stack I have by my bedside!

    Off to find a zuch recipe or two! 😉

    1. This looks really good! Must try it! We just had our first yollew squash from the garden tonight. Can’t give the zucchini and yollew squash away fast enough and was thinking about what to make.I wish we had a freezer! i am going to grate 2 cup servings of zucchini to freeze individually for zucchini bread in winter.I have been wondering about squash soup. Do you have any recipes for that or you have any good stuffed zucchini boat recipes you like?I put fresh blueberries in out garden salad tonight and yum..I’m hooked.

      1. I don’t have a squash soup recipe…that’s a new one to me (although I have butternut). As far as the zucchini boats, I simply scoop out the zucchinis, saute some onion, garlic, meat (hamburger or turkey) and cooked rice…add some diced tomatoes and restuff the zucchini. Top with parmesan or mozzarella cheese, a few breadcrumbs (panko) and then bake in a 350 oven until the zucchini are tender. Probably about a 1/2 hour, depending the on the size.

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