Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lunch advice.

I made this only once before, about two years ago, and I don't know why I haven't made it since. I guess I forgot about it, because it's easy and delicious.

Shrimp and Mango Wraps:

You know, I used to not like mangoes. Crazytalk! I know. Don't I know...

Here's what you do.

Smoosh up (technical term) 1/3 cup of sour cream and 1/3 cup of mayo, a handful of fresh basil and some salt in your food processor.

Slice up some fresh mango.

Either cook your own shrimp, or be lazy (like me) and buy it already cooked.

Mix that business up.

Add to wrap.


I understand that food photography is an art I do not get.
Bring it for your lunch. Make a huge mess, but be satisfied.

Afterwards, do some lunchtime shopping.

Friday, June 22, 2012

good on paper

There's an interesting post on NPR Books, Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books which got me to thinking: I am not an e-book reader, I am a print-book reader, and I can't really imagine I'll change.

The story, which you don't really need to read to get the gist of, describes inheriting books from family or friends, and the future of such hand-me-downs in the digital world.  I choose print books because I have an emotional (good or bad or indifferent) attachment to books: they're like a souvenir, or a trophy for me. H. is the same, and our shared library is increasingly daunting in a Brooklyn apartment of limited space.

I like to own my books, and hold them in my hand, and have them on my shelf. Which is not to say I keep every book (see above about Brooklyn apartment/limited space). H. and I both work in book publishing (and so right there have an heightened attachment to the printed word), so we acquire books almost by accident. Book swaps with other publishers, recommended books in your mailbox from friends, conferences where books are cheap or free - a book hoarder's dream! Seasonal book culls are necessary. But for most books that I've chosen to read, I like to keep them. Sometimes I revisit them, and often I forget I ever read them, but each one is a souvenir of sorts.

I have a habit of leaving a little memento in books I've read. Nothing much - just a bookmark, a receipt, a random piece of paper. Because I travel a lot for work and play, I most often leave boarding passes or ticket stubs in my books.

Similarly, H. writes his name and date in his books.

I like going back and looking through the books I've read, and being reminded of when and where I read the book, what was going on, even of my old name (hello Abigail "Cox", old friend!). Even more, I like the idea of my children or grandchildren looking back one day and wondering about my trips and my life, and maybe being inspired to read one of my old books.

Sure, it might never happen. Listen, I work in publishing, I know just how shoddily and cheaply books are made these days - but, you never know. I recently inherited a 3 volume set of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with this inscription:

From an affectionate friend, "on leaving Eton...1866"
I can't imagine Stuart here thought his gift would be sitting in Brooklyn 146 years later. Who knows where our library will be in 50!

Someone once told me that I should pick up the hobby of collecting books. He meant books of monetary value. Meh, I have no interest in first editions and autographed copies. We tend to pick up random old books here and there - books of poetry, sometimes, or household management, or games for kids. I guess we are collectors of a sort.

FYI, Sex Without Fear was a wedding gift from some "funny" friends.
The books have no monetary value, and never will, but they once meant something to their original owners, and they now have value to us.

I put too much value in the book as an object, and not just a story (or manual), to give up on the printed book in favor of e-books. Of course, you never know - I also once said I'd never get a smartphone, and look at me now.

{{P.S. I should say that I take no issue with e-books. I think anyone would agree that reading is good, no matter what format or what is read. Everyone has their own relationship to writing, and this is just part of mine.}}

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back to Basics

Back when I started my blog, it was a way for me to remain accountable to some of the goals I set out for myself that year. Chief among those was to save money, and one of the main ways I was going to do that was to bring my lunch to work 4 out of 5 days a week.

Back then I would show you what I made that week. Slowly, I stopped doing it. Not because I stopped making my lunch, but because I got into a habit of making the same things, or just shoving some veggies and hummus into a bag and calling it "lunch".

Well, we're all bored of hummus round here, so I'm trying to get myself back into the habit of making proper lunches.

Let me take a moment to say that H. and I have a system of eating. He makes dinner and I make lunches. It works well. But here are the difficulties in deciding what to make for lunch:

1) I get bored of food easily. I can't eat a turkey sandwich every day for a week. I need to make something to keep me interested.

2) I don't like to make anything that needs to be microwaved. Why not? Because I'm just neurotic enough to not want to do that. I am a crazy person, I know. But it means I like to make things that can be eaten cold.

3) H. doesn't eat cheese. This is a HUGE problem in finding new recipes.

4) Make-ahead recipes are key. We're talking brown bag lunches, here. I don't have a kitchen at work for any prep.

Ok, so those are the biggies. 

Anyway, here we are today and H. and I are re-committed to saving money. And I am re-committed to making new and delicious and hopefully healthy things for our lunches.

This week I made quinoa cakes with an eggplant tomato ragu, but I didn't add cheese because, well, see point 3 above.

Eggplant Hat
How do you feel about quinoa? People either love it or hate it. Or, like me, they like it but don't love it. It's handy, it's good filler, it's easy to have a box in the cupboard, but it's not like totally amazeballs delicious, is it?

My verdict on these was that they were a little bland. H. liked them, but I think I'll have a hard time eating them all week. Also, I'm not a fan of eggplant. I don't hate it, and I don't really like it. Tomorrow I will be adding a boatload of cheese to mine.

If you make the Epicurious recipe for this, you totally need two eggs to make these suckers sticky.

Do you have any suggestions for lunches?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The June 12 Thing

Happy anniversary to my favorite! It's been three years since we got married, with just 27 loved ones and a dog.

City Hall wedding.
Happy Mums.

Are those plastic knives and forks? You bet they are!
I think I threatened divorce if he tried to put cake on my face.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Weekenders

On Friday we loaded up the (rental) car with cat and dirty laundry for a weekend in Bethlehem, PA. Possibly you have never heard of Bethlehem, unless you are 1) savvy on the history of steel in America 2) A Moravian history buff or 3) a huge fan of JTT

Leaving the city.
You may even know that H. and I sneak off to Bethlehem with some regularity. What is my connection, besides being an expert on steel in America? Well, I was born there. Truth! I lived there as a youth, before my parents moved to Toronto in 1988.
That's our old house!
But you thought I was Canadian? Well, I am that too. I spent most of my youngsterdom in Toronto, and consider it my hometown. But I'm also American, which is why it was so easy for me to decide to come to the US when I graduated from university. It's all clear now, yes?

My best friend since age 3 (that's 30 years, if you're counting) still has a base in Bethlehem, which means we have a bed there for trips out of the city.

How cute? And we still like each other, usually.
Anyway, this is a lead-up to say we had a nice weekend away from the city. Besides some unsuccessful thrifting (promising leads, disappointing finds), there was a whole lot of sitting around, which is just what the doctor ordered.

And just a little bit of walking around.

Here's hoping we get a few more trips to PA before the end of summer!
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