Thursday, November 11, 2010



I don't like to admit what I'm cooking for dinner. Oh sure, if the answer to the question "What's for dinner?" is "take-out" or "pizza" I can say it out loud with pride. Usually I say, "Food," but that doesn't fool anyone because if we were having something good, I would have said, "take out" or "pizza." I have a weakness for experimenting with new recipes. Have you noticed how many recipes there are that look interesting on paper and are absolute trash when cooked? The very worst--from back when I was a vegetarian--was "baked squash with tofu sauce" which has a nice ring to it--say it out loud-- that does not translate to the table. Jon, who has never made it a priority to model adult behavior for our children, lifted a ladle of tofu sauce to his mouth, and then "vomited" it back into the pot while making loud retching noises. One can not skulk forever, nor hide behind euphemisms like "a recipe I found in a magazine." The other night I decided to proclaim our dinner. I said, "Spinach-lentil-fish-curry." The house did not fall down. Indeed, small portions of spinach-lentil-fish-curry were consumed by all, and if the kids tactlessly baked themselves a batch of peanut butter cookies after dinner, and I will be stuck eating spinach-lentil-fish-curry leftovers for lunch for days, it's OK. I owned that dinner.


I took Brigid to National Portfolio Day at VCU in Richmond. National Portfolio Day is like American Idol of the art school world. Representatives from the country's best art schools were there and what you do is stand in line--you stand in line for hours--to show your portfolio to the schools you are hoping to get into. People travel from all over to attend and the line to get into the building stretched down the street and around the block. Once the doors opened, people scattered to the schools of their choice, but there was still a lot of standing around. Brigid had been warned that the art school reps are usually pissed-off grad students who will tell you that your portfolio sucks simply because they feel put-upon and want to spread the misery, but that was not our experience at all. We only got to see three schools--School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pratt Institute, and Cooper Union--but she got great feedback and positive response to her art. She started a portfolio blog, if anyone is interested in taking a peek.


I saw an book at the library the other day and I had to have it. I stick so doggedly to my written book list (to which I continuously add) that it takes an enormous effort of will to read something that isn't officially on the list. I also enjoy changing the font color of each book after I've read it. I have a color coded system that tells me how much I liked each book, and if I want to read more by that particular author, I highlight his or her name in pink. A bit rigid and obsessive, I know, but my book list is a harmless eccentricity, although I do have a vague feeling that if I ever get to the point where I've read every book, I might actually die. But anyway, the book that tempted me away from my list is The Maples Stories by John Updike. It's an exquisite little volume--I DO judge books by their covers--the kind that comes with its own cloth bookmark. It wasn't just the cover design or the bookmark that got me, it's also the fact that I like John Updike and this volume is a collection of short stories he wrote about the same married couple, starting in 1956 and ending in the seventies. (This is both when the stories were first published and the time period in which they are set.) It is a compelling portrait of a marriage. I haven't finished reading it yet, but I've read enough to tell you that it's awesome. Beautifully written, wryly funny, touching, sad--it's like looking at my own marriage, although this patently isn't my marriage. But some of the emotions are the same.


  1. oh we tried a slow cooker chicken curry last night and, though we ate it, I wish we'd had the foresight to have peanut butter cookie ingredients on hand... Next time!

  2. U said "an book". Hmmmm :(

  3. I left a comment on your talented daughter's portfolio blog.

  4. So tell us the truth. How was the spinach lentil fish curry REALLY? Because I am intrigued.

  5. It was edible. The problem was, the original recipe didn't call for fish, but I wanted to add some extra protein so I threw in some frozen cod that had been languishing in my freezer (which I bought on impulse after reading Mark Kurlansky's "Cod"). It turns out that frozen cod and coconut milk are not a happy combination.