31 January 2009


The family lore puts Christian, at age four, lying under the luscious 1920's nine foot Steinway in Kingston, Ontario while his mother practiced the Bach Partita in C minor; at age seven he decided to become a composer.  As far as I know, he never wavered from that decision, and almost every moment of his life has been devoted to this calling.

Last night at the Madsen recital hall, I saw Christian at what his mother called his apogee.  Two premieres were made, an organ piece performed by Neil Thornock and a piano sonata played by Scott Holden.  And then a set of prepared viola improvisations performed by Christian.

The organ piece was funky and mysterious.  I love organ, Christian's writing for organ, and Neil's playing.  The piano piece was gorgeous, and Scott is so complete as an artist, so expressive, but balanced by a deep intellectualism, and so virtuosic and yet soulful.  

Christian's viola set was mesmerizing.  Grandpa Woody called it a magic show, and he was right.  The exploration of sound was expansive and compelling, suspenseful even.  I loved every minute.

And how does this happen?  Just to dispel the myth of the crazy, romantic, composer, it happens when a person works unceasingly for most of his life.  There were years when Christian arose at four a.m. every day to practice and compose, works an eight-hour day job to support the family and then stayed up late in the night to continue working.  He loves his work and spends every spare minute on it, but even still he manages to be there most nights to eat dinner with us and put the kids to bed.  And then work until two in the morning again.  I've watched him sit at a desk for eighteen hours a day for months finishing a symphony.  

In his student days, he was legendary for keeping a bag of potatoes in his locker that he could nuke and eat while walking across campus so as not to spend any money or time on anything that would take away from his focus. 

Christian's unceasing devotion, his unflagging faith in his calling, and his passion for his work, all astound me.  He is an amazing man and an amazing composer, and you all should get out to hear his music someday soon.

Sam Hawk

Tonight I decided to face my fear of Korean food and Christian and I went for our weekly dinner date to Sam Hawk, a modest looking storefront of a restaurant that I had heard was the preferred Korean restaurant in town.    I don't know why I've never wanted to eat Korean food--maybe because my perception has been that it is very meaty and not vegetable-y, and also the overwhelmingly red-chilied kimchee is sometimes too much for me.  The chili sometimes seems to completely take over the flavor.  But Alice's obsession with Korean drama  and Korean food, the delicious Korean bean sprout pancakes she made for us when she visited, and the homemade kim chee that Kjirsten brought to book club last week conspired to convince me that I should expand my palate to include some Korean.

I chose an unadventurous pork bulgogi with scallions and mushrooms, lettuce leaves for wrapping, and red bean paste.  Christian chose  a rice bowl with seaweed, beef, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and a runny sunny-side up egg.  For accompaniment, they brought kim chee, bean sprouts with sesame dressing, fermented black beans (yum), tiny omelets, and yummy potatoes.  I loved the sticky rice with fermented black bean, and the pork bulgogi was delicious. The rice bowl was sizzling, and we mixed the vegetables with the rice as it sizzled, almost like making fried rice at home.  I liked the egg and the seaweed, but when it was all mixed together the different textures were undistinguishable from one another and the flavor was not as deep as I wanted.  I might have mixed it wrong, and maybe I should have eaten kim chee with it.   Next time I might branch out with something a bit less familiar tasting.

Also, the place was packed, but the servers were excellent and efficient, the restaurant was very clean and tidy, and the food was fresh. Even though the tables were laminate and the overhead lighting was florescent, my HUGE pet peeve, it somehow transcended the bad lighting and felt comfortable and even a bit cozy.  I think it was because the staff was so nice.

So, Korean food aficianados, please advise on what I should try next (the menu isn't very big; each meat dish is prepared with either pork, beef or octopus, but I'm squeamish about eating octopus in the desert.)

Also, if you don't have a weekly dinner date with your main squeeze, I recommend it.

29 January 2009


do you ever wonder if you will one day sleep again?

27 January 2009


P.S.--I'm sorry, Alice Waters, for suggesting dried milk in a pinch. It's what we do here in Utah.

End of the Month Menus

I hope I'm not the only one who sometimes runs out of grocery money at the end of the month. With tuition due, Christmas bills to pay off and a (hold your breath) 524.00$$ gas bill to pay, we're coming up a bit short this month. So I'm digging into the pantry for meals, and here's what I found:

Menu One:

*Layered and Baked Elk Pasta (Wade killed and butchered the elk. I was afraid to cook it until now, when I bravely defrosted it and cooked it into a really terrific meat sauce layered between bowties tossed in bechamel--a great pantry staple--then baked until buttered parmesean breadcrumbs--made from leftover pieces of baguette and frozen until a time of desperation--another great pantry staple--become crunchy.)
*Seared Garlic Cauliflower
*Cut up candied apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Staples on hand:

*Bowtie Pasta (Ziti would have been better, but would have cost $$)
*Milk (dried milk works well for Bechamel in a pinch)
*Frozen butter ( I always buy a lot on sale and freeze)
*Huge bag of onions in the garage (five bucks for 25 lbs.)
*Canned tomatoes

Had to purchase:

*Cauliflower for 1$

From the End of the Month Fairy:

*Candied apple

Menu Two:

*Brown Rice
*Black Beans
*Fried Eggs

Pantry Staples:

*Rice, Beans, Eggs


*misshapen oranges, but very delicious five pounds for a dollar (bought three pounds)

Menu Three:

*Mark Bittman's Chicken Chickpea Tangine (I'm sorry Mark Bittman, but I don't have a vanilla bean in my pantry--I have to leave it out, so it probably won't be quite as good as you intended it to be).

Pantry Staples:

*Chick peas
*Frozen cut-up chicken
*Dried Spices


*Fresh Broccoli (1.00)

Menu Four:

*Homemade Pita (I went to Carlon's house and ground some wheat that I have in storage in her wheat grinder. Nothing is better than freshly ground flour. If I have enough energy tomorrow, I'll bake bread.)
*Red Pepper Hummus
*Carrot Cake

Pantry Staples:

*Wheat Berries
*Canola and Olive Oils
*Chick Peas
*Red Pepper Hummus


*Cauliflower (1.00)
*Lemon (.33)

End of the Month Fairy:

*Carrot Cake

For after school snacks we're eating oranges and popcorn, apples (we still have a half bushel in the garage from Allred's) and peanut butter, cheese and toast, peanuts, and hot chocolate, all from the pantry.

Grocery Total: $6.33

Questions: What's in your pantry? Freezer? What do you cook when your dough runs low?


26 January 2009

Farmer Boy: An American Foodie

Farmer Boy: An American Foodie

I'm reading Farmer Boy to Lula and Cecily right now, and remembering some of the best food writing around.

(I was scolded by a colleague once for reading the Little House series to my children because of it's politically un-correct writing about "injuns" and homesteading. Rest assured that I explain as I read why characters in the book talk that way and why it is problematic. Hope that makes it ok, because these books are so fascinating.)

In regards to home cooking,though, no one has ever impressed me as much as Mother Wilder. She makes delectable things for breakfast, like stacked pancakes, with each cake lavishly buttered and sprinkled with maple sugar and placed on the stack as it comes of the griddle. In this scene, she has ten stacks working and adds to them as she goes. In addition to huge stacks of pancakes, the family eats oatmeal, sausage, apples, and pie for breakfast.

And Sunday dinner--three plump hens under a crust: "Father's spoon cut deep into the chicken pie; he scooped out big pieces of thick crust and turned up their fluffy yellow under-sides on the plate. He poured gravy over them; he dipped up big pieces of tender chicken, dark meat and white meat sliding from the bones."

But my favorite scene, which highlights mother's skill and industry, as she cooks on a wood stove, is this one, from pp. 75-76: "That night was Saturday night. All day long Mother had been baking, and when Almanzo went into the kitchen for the milk-pails, she was still frying doughnuts. The place was full of their hot, brown smell, and the wheaty smell of new bread, the spicy smell of cakes, and the syrupy smell of pies.

"Almanzo took the biggest doughnut from the pan and bit off its crisp end. Mother was rolling out the golden dough, slashing it into long strips, rolling and doubling and twisting the strips. Her fingers flew; you could hardly see them. The strips seemed to twist themselves under her hands, and to leap into the big copper kettle of swirling hot fat.

"Plump! they went to the bottom, sending up bubbles. Then quickly they came popping up, to float and slowly swell, till they rolled themselves over, their pale golden backs going into the fat and their plump brown bellies rising out of it.

"They rolled over, Mother said, because they were twisted. Some women made a new-fangled shape, round, with a hole in the middle. But round doughnuts wouldn't turn themselves over. Mother didn't have time to waste turning doughnuts; it was quicker to twist them"

1) Don't you love the crisp end of the doughnut that Almanzo bites off? New-fangled round doughnuts wouldn't have a crisp end.
2) I love mother's adherence to tradition--she's not going with every little foolish trend in doughnut making. I'm absolutely positive that twisted doughnuts are tastier than round. ( I despise doughnuts, except for homemade--Mother's doughnuts couldn't possibly be related to the corn syrup-drenched food product we buy in the stores.)
3) It would definitely be easier and faster for me to turn doughnuts than to twist them. Mother's an iron chef with mad skills--she bakes all day Saturday, plus she weaves and dyes her own cloth, sews everyone's clothes, processes raw ingredients every day all day long while maintaining her position as mistress of the best farm in the county. Plus she's hot.

If you've not read this book, or if it's been more than five years, go out and pick it up. And post your doughnut recipes in comments (Emily, I'm talkin' to you!)


Farmer Boy: an American Foodie

25 January 2009

Steak Conference

I had a fun time at Stake Conference today with Elder Moon and Elder Russell M. Ballard. Elder Ballard said recounted his experience at the inauguration with Pres. Uchdorf. He said it was an unprecedentedly amazing experience. He said that the church is politically neutral. Then he said that "no matter what our party affliction..." that got a laugh, that we should all support and pray for our new president. It felt a little like 1978, I have to say. He also talked a lot about the economy and quoted at length Pres. Hincley's 1998 talk about preparing for economic hardship. In the afternoon I heard a talk on KBYU from Ezra Taft Benson, maybe from the '60s or '70s about communism. Not sure why they chose to broadcast that one.

We went to Goblin Valley yestreen. Really incredible. The drive was half the fun. But Goblin Valley was such an immanent experience. There are no trails so the kids can basically go anywhere and you can see people from pretty far away. You can climb any of the goblin-like structures. If you fall, the ground is really soft. We finally started going barefoot.

24 January 2009

fine dine & conflict

Okay, it feels so luxuriously decadent to go to a nice restaurant, and I do have a thing for restaurants coming from a family in the restaurant business (and both of my parents' parents were also in the biz), but what I love much more than restaurant food is home cooking.  The restaurant is a fantasy, an indulgence, and in the best cases like  you're a princess or a baby for an hour and everything is taken care of. 

(I realize not everyone shares my proclivity for dependence and shirking responsibility. . . .)

But daily life.

As much as I'm tempted to be an evangelist for home cooking and family dinners, there's a price to pay in time, money, energy, calories.  People I know who don't cook a lot have much cleaner houses than I do.

So here are the issues:

1)  fine dining is decadent--love it but feel guilty doing it
2)  most affordable restaurant food isn't very good, or prepared under ignomious circumstances, or terrible for you
3)  home cooking is the best, but sometimes i feel oppressed when i'm cleaning up and still have laundry, homework and practicing, and bedtime routines to do with the kids
4)  it's hard for me not to over eat when i'm cooking a lot--sometimes just because i spent so much time cooking!
5)  sitting down to dinner with my family everyday is usually my favorite time of the day, but sometimes i feel cranky when i've been rushing to prepare a meal
6)  we need sound absorption in our kitchen

Talk to me about dining.  Are you morally opposed to a fancy dinner out?   How do you solve your dinner dilemmas?   Diet issues?  What's your fantasy meal?  Your ideal dinner?  

Talk to me people.  (DNC, jr., my bro, are you out there?)

22 January 2009


Lola is one of the Tom Douglas restaurants in Seattle, a locavore-ish restaurant "in the Greek spirit" named after his grandmother.  When we left Seattle in 1999, Douglas owned Dahlia Lounge and Etta's.   Now he runs Dahlia Lounge, Etta's, Lola, Palace Kitchen, Serious Pie, and the Dahlia Bakery.

On the night before we left Seattle, Marni said, "You know what what we need to do?  We need to go downtown and get a piece of coconut cream pie from the Dahlia Bakery."  Whenever Marni says, "You know what we need to do?"  you should listen.  Marni always knows what a person needs when a person is in a gloom, which I certainly was because my laptop had been stolen hours before.  I was in a traumatized state.

So on Saturday afternoon, we headed downtown to Dahlia Bakery, only to find they had no seating, just take away.  Dahlia Lounge was closed until dinner, so we walked across the street to Lola, which didn't have coconut cream pie on the menu, but the server kindly procured a piece for us from the bakery (the server was weird and awesome.)  Here's what we ate (the best parts were the mushroom kebab, the homemade hamburger bun, and the tamarind ketchup):

*Portabella Oyster Kebab with Lemon Thyme
*Spreads and Pita:  Sweet Red Pepper, Kalamata-Fig, Cauliflower-Anchovy
*Anderson Valley Lamb Burger with Spicy Lola Ketchup and Chickpea Fries
*Chocolate Cashew Tart with Poached Pears
*Coconut Cream Pie

Thank you, Marni and Greg, for always putting us up when we're in town and taking the time to play with us!

20 January 2009


Back from Seattle, back to daily cooking: simple, fast, as good as I can make it on about ten bucks a meal with a bunch of kids running around:

Menu One:
*Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup
*Apple-Walnut-Cabbage Salad
*French Bread

Menu Two:
*Neapolitan Baked Ziti
*Seared Garlic Cauliflower

Menu Three:
*Cream of Broccoli Soup
*Ten Grain Hazelnut Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
*Chocolate Mint Annas

Lark—Local Northwest Cuisine—I Heart Foragers

Alice and Jim treated us to a beautiful evening at Lark, on Capitol Hill in Seattle. The food was inspiring and engaging to all of the senses, as was the conversation and company. Lark is, Jim said, Alice’s favorite Seattle restaurant, and Chef John Sundstrom’s menu “features a range of small plates, allowing you to savor courses of cheese, charcuterie, vegetables, grains, fish, and meats. We work with local artisans, farmers, and foragers for an ever-changing selection that offers the best of each season, bright and intense with summer, heartening and rich in the fall. Sundstrom’s version of small plates is intended to inspire communal dining with waves of courses coming to your table, a blend of simple, seasonal, classic, and adventurous dishes. You dine, talk, and laugh while experiencing more flavors than with traditional entrées.”

So, small plates. We ordered eleven, plus four desserts. We ate for a very long time, and shared everything, which is the best way to eat with friends. I’ll post our menu and a few pictures. The stars of the evening were the foie gras, the carpaccio of yellowtail, the beet salad, the pork belly, the frozen lemon mousse and the quince tart.

And the butter. Does anyone know who makes their butter?

Watercress salad with beets,
sherry vinegar and guanciale wrapped date

Sautéed wild mushrooms
with garlic, olive oil and sea salt

Bluebird Grain Farms farro
with salsify and black trumpet mushrooms

Salumi Winter salami
with preserved quince

Oyster pan roast with cream,
bacon, salsify and chives

Carpaccio of Yellowtail
with preserved lemons and green olives

Roasted eel with saba
and new potato salad

Seared Sonoma foie gras
with caramelized pear and pain d’epice

Pork belly with braised cabbage,
potatoes, apple and crème fraiche

And, items I don’t have full descriptions for:

*Fish with white beans and Kale
*Frozen Meyer Lemon Mousse
*Quince Tart
*Sticky Toffee Steamed Pudding
*Chocolate Madeleines

19 January 2009

Max Roach, Ghandi

Also, if you want even more inspiration:

-Watch "Ghandi"--King got many of his ideas from Ghandi

-A Ghandi quote for Obama: "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

-Read the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

-Listen to Max Roach playing with the "I Have a Dream Speech"

-Three Ghandi Quotes for me, creeds for 2009:

(All of these quotes are mantras to keep me on track for my New Year's resolution to be a better parent. And for one of my children (she knows who she is) I vow to not even THINK sermons to her, passively, passive-agressively, or otherwise.)

1)"An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching."

2)"We do not need to proselytise either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study." and
3)"Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience."

Required MLK, Jr. Day/Inauguration Eve Reading

This is the end of the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. It's a great one. It always makes me weep. What do you think of it in the context of this week's events?

You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, "Are you Martin Luther King?"

And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that's punctured, you drown in your own blood—that's the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've forgotten what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it. It said simply, "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze."

And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

14 January 2009

broken vow renewed

I vowed not to let it affect me this way, but the theft of my laptop and the attendant writings that were lost has thrown me into (choose your cliche: black pit of despair, tizzy fit, deep mourning, etc.).

Among other things I lost the final draft of my poetry mss., the first draft of my latest poetry mss., and the latest draft (about 50,000 words) of my novel, in other words, most of the work of August '08 to January '09, six precious months I had free of teaching duties. I also lost a many-sectioned post I was working on about our Seattle trip last week, which was fabulous except for the robbery part. So before I devolve into an even deeper and less appealing whine, let me just say that this is the part of the movie where I stand up and say "I WILL not let this stop me!" or maybe "I will NOT let this stop me!" or perhaps even "I will not let THIS stop me!"

As soon as I can think straight, I'll be posting about dinners out at Lark, Lola, and an anonymous Pho house in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood, right across the LEGS strip club (did I get the name right, Seattleites?)

I'm off to C's gig at the Penny Royal Cafe (what's up with that name?)

11 January 2009

A sunbeam.

SO. First week back at school. not too bad, actually.
I'm really loving learning a new language-- I kind of though that it would be one of those things that is mostly hard/frustrating/tedious but with lots of good rewards, but I really haven't found that to be the case--I wake up every morning excited about all of the German I'm going to speak, and I really really love German-- the etymology (sp?) is so straightforward! That is exceedingly helpful for an exchange student. Do you want to know what the word for lightbulb is? Gluhberne (sp?), which literally means glowing pear. Isn't that wonderful? Also, they have good idioms. One that I picked up this week after much confusion is called that when you are fed up you say you have your nose full of something. I love Germans! All of my teachers were saying that to us this week, but I am kind of feeling like they must not have exceedingly capacious nostrils, because we are Gymnasium kids-- Thüringian Gymnasium kids-- and therefore perfect.
But the road to bilingualism is paved with low self-esteem, so will you guys give me cyber-gold stars and tell me I'm great? I know that I am shamelessly fishing for compliments here, but shame stopped being a factor in my life months ago. I'll reciprocate if you want.
This week was the beginning of the drama program. Actually, I think it's been going on for a while. But I joined it this week. I was standing there looking awkward, and somebody handed me a white jumpsuit and gloves and mask and commanded me to put it on. I thought about giving them a bemused look, but in the end I just went with it. So we interpretively danced for a few minutes, and then I sat and watched for the rest. The teacher gave me a script, though, so next week.
Also, I gave a presentation. But don't get excited, it was in English-- the advanced English class wanted to hear me mother tounging (that sounds really dirty. It's not supposed to) about Utah, so I told them about High School Musical and Zion's National Park and The Mormons. It was fun.
What else? I love you all.

08 January 2009

seattle menu one

After picking up our rental car and creeping up the flooding I-5 to Marni and Greg's house, we weren't sure we wanted to drive all the way back to the International District (ID) and then wait for a table at the Tamarind Tree, but in the end we couldn't think of a good, close alternative, so we got back in the car and went downtown.

The Tamarind Tree is one of my favorite restaurants, and it's not just their food, which is very good, it's their beautiful little patio that makes the experience feel tropical even in the middle of one of the darkest foggy, windy and floody Seattle nights.  The patio is covered and surrounded by nearly opaque amber panels and is snuggled up against a retaining wall that takes you up to the higher levels of the ID.  We sat next to a concrete wall with a waterfall running down it under a very warm heater and were provided with blankets in case we got chilly.  Our waitress was terrific.  As Marni said:  "I'd buy the Brooklyn Bridge from her."

Okay, here's what we ate:

*Nam Tau Lui--Shitake Mushroom Satay (one of the best items of the evening)
*Ca Tim Lui--Asian Eggplant Satay
*Gie Cuon Cai Me--Tamarind Tree Roll
*Bahn Xeo Cai Me--Vegetarian Tamarind Tree Crepe
*Dau Que Xao Hu--Garlic Green Beans Tofu
*Bahn Mi Tom Bot Chien--Crispy Prawns Baguette
*and my other favorite, which I can't find the Vietnamese name for, butterflied grilled prawns wrapped around a grilled sugar cane

And dessert!  

*Quartet of mini ice creams:  black sesame seed, roasted coconut, ginger, and taro
*Banana Cakes: rice wrapped in red banana, grilled and served with a coconut sauce with green onion
*White Chocolate Ginger mousse

And drinks!
*Something with lime and coconut
*Something delish with seaweed, longon fruit, plum floating inside.  I think it was tamarind.

I won't recount each dish, but rather make a wholistc proclamation about this restaurant and it's rustic food:  you get a full sensory experience here--the crunch of peanuts, big plates piled with fresh herbs and lettuces against tangy dipping sauces, savory grilled tofu and vegetables, cool wraps around hot foods, steaming noodle bowls, desserts with delicately sweet green onions, etc. etc., and this is all echoed in the physical environment--the very warm heaters with periodic gusts of wind, the clouds moving over Boeing Field, drops of rain, splashes from the waterfall--and when you leave the Tamarind Tree, you're a little shocked to find you're right next to a produce market in an industrial corner of the ID.

It wasn't quite the same without Solid Gold Buddah there encouraging excessive ordering--he's in India now and was the discoverer of Tamarind Tree way back before it was so popular.

07 January 2009

more circular logic

momo and mommy, driving to 'benture time--a platonic dialogue:

-why do i not live with lions?

-because you're not a lion child.

-why not?

-because you're a human child.

-what's a human?

-a person.

-am i a bear child?



-because your mommy and daddy are humans, not bears.

-why do icicles make raindrops?

-because icicles are frozen water, and when it warms up they drip.

-why do icicles make other icicles?

-because when it warms up they drip and then it gets cold again and they freeze in the shape of two icicles.

-what if everyone didn't go to school?

-then everyone wouldn't be very smart.

-what if school was flying?

-then it would be really fun.

-why does snoopy not want to play with charlie brown?

-because he's not very nice.

-why does that girl say, "bad dog!" to snoopy?

06 January 2009


finally posted!  And a recipe for celery remoulade, no less, which I will by trying asap.  It's so not fair that she's so cute and young looking (probably young, too) and talented at writing and cooking and photographing plus she's opening a restaurant and releasing a book that looks fantastic.  And she lives in Seattle.  And she's married to a composer, just like me, though she probably doesn't have five kids.  What else?  If I wasn't too tired to search her blog there would be at least ten more things on her list.

New Years' Rez Numero Cinco:

No coveting.

05 January 2009

momo post-it

Today MOSES was putting two toys together and he said that he was "making a friendship."  So cute!


Miss Kelsey


By the way, I'm curious about everyone's resolutions, or if you don't make them, how you feel about the whole resolution thing.  I haven't consciously written them down, or even made them yet, but I'm going to try now (by the way, I ALWAYS make resolutions, even when I try not to.)

1)  Lookin' fine in '09--be super hot by the time our next family picture session rolls around.  This will entail weight loss and a lot of shopping.  Plus, I'm getting a few (only a very few, mind you) visible greys--should I dye?
2)  Finish novel.  This is the part I can control, which the number one rule of resolutions.  Only make goals that you can control.  What I really meant was:  "Write best-selling, Edgar-winning mystery novel with five book contract and movie options.  Look hot on book tour."
3) Write food book proposal (see #2 for details).
4) Be a way better mother.  This means not letting Lula and Cecily stay up watching Hannah Montana while I fall asleep reading mystery novels.  Among other things which I will not divulge at this time.

I told you, now you tell me.

i had a horrible feeling

i was leaving something really important off the menus from last week, and it was true, i didn't mention the fantastic mixed berry dumplings a la emily.

Family Dining

new year's eve:

*split pea & vegetable/guiness soup
*homemade caramelized onion, eggplant, feta and rosemary pizza
*homemade caramelized leek, pear, sage, and blue cheese pizza (bittman)
*marni's famous seven layer dip
*bam's romaine & orange gem salad
*grandpa noel's roasted chiles salsa
*roasted carrot/ginger/orange dip with pomegranate seeds (from my boyfriend mark bittman's blog)
*daddy's apricot nectar punch
*lula's bacon/cheese quiche
*deviled egg's
*giada's stuffed mushrooms

&. . .

*emily's cherry/chocolate/kirsch trifle

. . . and thus begins 2009's theme of bountiful, simple, homemade food. . .

sunday dinner:

*chicken marbella
*rice (the non-special kind--i can't make myself go to orem right now)
*garlic grilled green beans
*shredded napa salad with parmasean vinaigrette

04 January 2009

Wir lieben das Leben, die Liebe und der Lust!

The title of this is an exerpt from one of my favorite drinking songs. I went to two parties this week (or rather, the same party twice)and they were fun. I got a lot of lechery-- somebody actually tried to kiss me, and I thanked heavens for all of the backbends I practiced in yoga and circus and ballet. Keep in mind, this was exactly five seconds after the man advised me to make a move on his cousin and I explained that I do not want a boyfriend. He insisted upon getting a kiss on the cheek, and I didn't argue because he was dangerously drunk. The problem with German parties is that they're really tiring because you have to act like your having WAY more fun than anyone else so that they won't think that being stone-cold sober is less fun (it is) (But don't worry Brother Barrow, I remembered what you taught me about how joy is better than fun) and also so that they won't think that Americans are all lame and give Angela Merkel backrubs (somehow I feel like many of the boys I met would not have minded an unsolicited backrub... but I was a good, clean-cut little exchange student, don't worry) I have started translating the anti-rape song into German, partially because I promised the Walden anti-rape team that I would as soon as I got good enough and partially because I'm probably going to the Gotha bahnhof again next week and want to be prepared.
But that's enough about forward men.
I went on a walk on Friday because it snowed for once and the sun was shining for once and I ran into my sweet cousin Paulina with her dog! The one thing that I had wished for on these walks was a friend and a dog (okay, and some bubble liquid and a picnic) so it was lovely, of course. We had come seperately and therefore with iPods so we talked sometimes but it wasn't a big deal when we didn't and I saw actual human beings skating on an actual frozen pond! Can you believe it? I thought that only happened in movies/daydreams/stories about my dad's life, but there they were, in the flesh. We walked almost to Mülhausen, but then the sun set because it was four in the afternoon (deep sigh) and we went home. It was very nice. You know what esle this place has? Good stars. Sometimes living in a small town isn't so bad, especially when you're walking home in the wee hours of 2009 with your eyes in the heavens. Not so bad at all.

03 January 2009

nerd party

On Boxing Day, I had a goal to relax and just live in the now, but instead I chose to throw a dinner for 23, thus proving the theory that I have an adrenaline addiction. When the guests arrived, I heard Christian in the other room say, “Hey—this is an all nerd party! And we have every type of nerd represented.” I was at first nonplussed by this statement, which could be construed as offensive and uncouth, however, a few hours later, I found this lying on the table after overhearing a conversation between two of the guests about Absolute Zero:

This paper had a companion sheet, but it disappeared (that story will come later on in the post.) I’m not sure how unfathomable these formulas are, as I never made it past Algebra 1. It does seem like there’s a whole universe there into which I have no entrée whatsoever.

This paper makes it seem like the world is way too big and, what's the word--ineffable, maybe? But I digress. We were talking about Boxing Day, not numbers.

For an all nerd party, it was exceedingly fun, though. For one thing, there were two guests who were flirting vociferously, and were this party set in a Jane Austen novel, it might have been commented upon as being unseemly for two guests to so monopolize each other in conversation, and with such enthusiasm as to exclude all other guests.

For another thing, nerds are much more interesting than cool people. So overall, it was a good night: much progress was made by one of the guests on a multi-colored argyle sweater, a small amount of progress was made on absolute zero, several hilarious musicology jokes were told, and one of the flirters left with the other flirter’s email address folded into a page of algorithims. Or whatever those things are called.

Wish all the rest of you nerds could have been there!


Today I made the ambitious goal of cleaning out my purse. Whenever I get really busy, I start throwing everything in my purse, and since it's the size of a piece of carry-0n luggage, a lot of detritus can accumulate in its cavernous depths. The longer I go without delving into the purse, the more odious the task becomes, something akin to weighing after the holidays or balancing my checking account. I was scared to go in there, but guess what I found?

1) Three FULL packs of Stride gum
2) Three crisp dollar bills
3) My Bath and Body Works headache cream
4) A full bag of homemade chocolate covered toffee

I was feeling rather sluggish and depressed, but my clean purse has given my a new hope and optimism for 2009: maybe I can be organized, thin, and successful!

At the very least, I'll have fresh breath at church tomorrow, and a delicious treat for movie night tonight.

momo post-it

Moses had frosting ALL over hius face from our graham cracker houses we made, but he said to me, "I don't have any frosting on my face." I said, "Oh, really?" He said, "Yeah, I wiped it off with my shirt." Too cute!


Miss Christy