Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - September 11, 2006

Hi everyone,

Its been a non-stop weekend following a week of not a lot of reading and not a lot of cooking but I'm sure I can come up with something.

Since we anticipated a rainy Saturday morning, we walkers met for coffee at Caffe Sole. The rain didn't come so some of us did do a turn around Viele Lake.

Jackie shared a book with us - The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig - he's one of the great writers of life in the West.

From Publishers WeeklyReviewed by Rick Bass - Any writer's work should be judged solely on its own merits, yet in this fine novel by Ivan Doig, one may be forgiven for marveling at the creation of such a work at an advanced stage of this writer's illustrious career. (Wallace Stegner—to whom, as with Doig, landscape was character and event in any story, and particularly Western landscapes—comes to mind with his classic Crossing to Safety.)Like many of Doig's earlier novels, The Whistling Season is set in the past in rural eastern Montana—and addresses that time and place in distinct, uncluttered prose that carries the full enthusiasm of affection and even love—for the landscape, the characters, and the events of the story—without being sentimental or elegiac. The novel is narrated by an aging Montana state superintendent of schools, Paul Milliron, who is charged with deciding the fate of the state's last scattered rural schools, and who, in the hours preceding his meeting to determine those schools' fate, recalls the autumn of 1909, when he was 13 and attending his own one-room school in Marias Coulee.Recently widowed, Paul's father, overwhelmed by the child-rearing duties presented by his three sons, in addition to his challenging farming duties, hires a housekeeper, sight unseen, from a newspaper ad. The housekeeper, Rose, proclaims that she "can't cook but doesn't bite." She turns out to be a beguiling character, and she brings with her a surprise guest—her brother, the scholarly Morris, who, though one of the most bookish characters in recent times, also carries brass knuckles and—not to give away too much plot—somehow knows how to use them.The schoolteacher in Marias Coulee runs away to get married, leaving Morris to step up and take over her job. The verve and inspiration that he, an utter novice to the West, to children and to teaching children, brings to the task is told brilliantly and passionate ly, and is the core of the book's narrative, with its themes of all the different ways of knowing and learning, at any age.Doig's strengths in this novel are character and language—the latter manifesting itself at a level of old-fashioned high-octane grandeur not seen previously in Doig's novels, and few others': the sheer joy of word choices, phrases, sentences, situations, and character bubbling up and out, as fecund and nurturing as the dryland farmscape the story inhabits is sere and arid. The Whistling Season is a book to pass on to your favorite readers: a story of lives of active choice, lived actively.

Susan's pick of the week is Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I read this book several years ago and it really inspired me to start journaling. I've been listening to a newly recorded version on tape this week. In addition to narrating the book that she wrote 20 years ago, she comments on what she wrote back then and shares insights into changes she would make today. Its a wonderful "read" and it just might inspire you to write! Audiobook Review
Natalie Goldberg's love of writing stems from her desire to connect with herself. In this audio version of her bestselling Writing Down the Bones, this is a potentially self-absorbed wish, especially considering that the author reads from her own work and interjects morsels of wisdom gleaned from a long writing career, which includes books on writing (Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highway), creativity (The Well of Creativity), and art (Living Color). However, Goldberg's relaxed narration and Everywoman sensibility help her avoid this danger. The classroom-like reading gives listeners a growing acquaintance with Goldberg and a friendly assurance of her methods as she quips: "you can hear my New York Jewish voice nagging you." The recording also includes an interview with Goldberg, focusing on her use of Zen meditation in writing and offering additional insight into her own rule-free writing habits

Recipes and Restaurants:
I didn't do a lot of cooking this week except for Sunday when I cooked "make-ahead" dishes for my book group tonight. I'll hold off on sharing the "untested ones" for now but I did make an old stand-by that is a no-fail - my Sauteed Mushrooms from The Pleasures of Italian Cooking by Romeo Salta, published in 1962. Romeo Salta ran a wonderful Italian restaurant in New York that Jack and I went to several times with my parents. It is long gone and the cookbook is pretty worn-out but it was and is a gem. Here's a review of the restaurant from a list of "most missed restaurants":

Pleasures of Italian Cooking.
Born in Italy, Romeo Salta arrived in New York in 1929 for a job as an assistant waiter. By 1953 he was presiding at lunch and dinner at his own New York City restaurant, justly called "one of the three or four best Italian restaurants in the world (including Italy)." This rare 1962 First Edition cookbook features adaptations of the classic dishes that made him famous.

Sautéed Mushrooms (great to make ahead and reheat in the microwave):

1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (not too large), leave whole (I do halve or quarter large ones)

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Wash and dry the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a skillet; mix in the mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.

2. Cook over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Local Restaurant Reviews:

Martini's at Terry and 6th in Historic West Longmont - my sister-in-law, Lucinda and I had a lovely dinner there on Friday night. We both had seafood - I think Lucinda had salmon and I had tilapia - the restaurant, formerly known as Chris Saris (?) is in a charming Victorian house with a good size outdoor patio. We sat outside under the heaters and it was very pleasant.

Jerry and Drew's Deli on 28th just south of Valmont on the west side of the street - I may have already mentioned this place but Janet, Chris and I had lunch there on Friday. The matzoh ball soup was pretty good (not as good as my mother's) and Janet and Chris rhapsodized over the brisket sandwich they shared. We all enjoyed the fries - they were outstanding. We had hoped to share rice pudding but they've stopped making it - they say no one ever ordered and they took it off the menu - this may merit a letter to the editor of the Daily Camera! The word is that the most popular sandwich is the Flatirons with pastrami sandwiched between two potato latkes. Sounds strange to me but Jack loved it when he had it there.

Have a great week - I'll be in New York this weekend with Jexy and Libby (just the girls - Jacob will be home with his Dad) - if you have any great books, recipes or restaurants to share, just send me an e-mail. I'm sure I'll be enjoying some great food on the weekend!


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