Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Review: Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Eat This Not That.

So, my ode to National Poetry Month has been a dismal failure. Last year I was so into it, but this year I can't even bring myself to read the poem-a-day emails sent by Knopf, which gives you a poem, poet's bio, biblio and poem analysis in 250 words or less. Nope.

Rather, I've I've been out walking, hiking or at least reading on the porch-couch until it's too dark to see. We even started a garden! Anyway, being outside has definitely made me feel more alive, so to hell with being behind on the blog posts. I'm sure Mary Oliver would approve, too.

When I saw these exotic looking fiddleferns for sale at the farmer's market, I thought "eee!"

My practical side said beware. The little coiled beasts reminded me quite a lot of my potted fern house plant, the one Belvedere chews on for fiber. A popular phrase "eat this not that" came to mind, so I went for it. I ate this (ferns from the market) not that (ferns from the bookshelf).

I improvised a crunchy stir fry of fiddleheads, shitakke mushrooms and a minced scallion, which reminded me a bit of eating the floor of an old-growth forest, but classier looking (and still surprisingly bawdy.) Summer fare? Bring it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book Review: God Clobbers Us All

God Clobbers Us All God Clobbers Us All by Poe Ballantine

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Poe Ballantine is scum. Poe Ballantine is my hero. He's so amazingly honest and down to earth, his characters are intensely human. And because I know *this much* about him (I took a workshop from him called "How to Write the Lost Years") I appreciate how brave he is to write. It's inspirational. And damn funny and devastating to read. Which, if I understand anything about life, is that it's funny and devastating. So, four stars! Because only Alice Munro gets five.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quick as Lightning

Photo by Vangelis

Yes yes. National Poetry Month is flying by, and I'm too distracted with spring to celebrate. Ironic, hmm? Something more in depth soon but for now, here's a sweet little poem from the great Sherman Alexie, who hails from my homeland of eastern Washington. I snagged this via the Seattle Times.

"How to Create an Agnostic"

Singing with my son, I clapped my hands

Just as lightning struck.

It was dumb luck,

But my son, in awe, thought

That I'd created the electricity.

He asked, "Dad, how'd you do that?"

Before I could answer, thunder shook the house

And set off neighborhood car alarms.

I thought that my son, always in love with me,

Might fall to his knees with adoration.

"Dad," he said. "Can you burn

down that tree outside my window?

The one that looks like a giant owl?"

O, my little disciple, my one-boy choir,

I can't do that because your father,

Your half-assed messiah, is afraid of fire.

— Sherman Alexie

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This, That and the Other

Sylvia, front and center on my bookshelf.

April is National Poetry Month (!) and I will be posting about our poetry-related world at least once a week for the rest of the month. And poems, but not my own. Never my own.

And, I think I might've just found a vocation that suits. Did you know that the New York Pubic Library has a full-time Culinary Librarian? I think I've found my dream occupation. You can read the lucky lady's blog here.

I am an April Fool

Ooh, new feature: Gmail Autopilot.

Congrats, gmail. You got me.