Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - November 26, 2006

Hi everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We just got back from our visit to Jacob and family in California. We had a great time and a delicious turkey dinner - I'll have details below.
I did get some reading done and have a couple of other recommendations from Joe's mom, Barbara.

Book Report:
Susan: I finished Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer - a very timely account of Fundamentalist Mormons in Utah and a related murder. The story held my interest for most of the book and I learned a great deal but it got a bit tedious towards the end.

Amazon.comIn 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. While Krakauer's research into the history of the church is admirably extensive, the real power of the book comes from present-day information, notably jailhouse interviews with Dan Lafferty. Far from being the brooding maniac one might expect, Lafferty is chillingly coherent, still insisting that his motive was merely to obey God's command. Krakauer's accounts of the actual murders are graphic and disturbing, but such detail makes the brothers' claim of divine instruction all the more horrifying. In an age where Westerners have trouble comprehending what drives Islamic fundamentalists to kill, Jon Krakauer advises us to look within America's own borders

Barbara Rowland: Barbara recommended two books by Edward Rutherford, Sarum and London.


From Library Journal

A first novel, Rutherfurd's sweeping saga of the area surrounding Stonehenge and Salisbury, England, covers 10,000 years and includes many generations of five families. Each family has one or more characteristic types who appear in successive centuries: the round-headed balding man who is good with his hands; the blue-eyed blonde woman who insists on having her independence; the dark, narrow-faced fisher of river waters and secrets. Their fortunes rise and fall both economically and politically, but the land triumphs over the passage of time and the ravages of humans. Rutherfurd has told the story of the land he was born in and has told it well. The verbosity of a Michener is missing, but all the other elements are present, from geology and archaeology to a rich story of human life. Highly recommended.


Edward Rutherfurd belongs to the James Michener school: he writes big, sprawling history-by- the-pound. His novel, London, stretches two millennia all the way from Roman times to the present. The author places his vignettes at the most dramatic moments of that city's history, leaping from Caesar's invasion to the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire to (of course) the Blitz, with many stops in between. London is ambitious, and students of English history will eat it up. The author doesn't skimp on historical detail, and that's a signal pleasure of the book. Ultimately, though, the structure of the novel determines the lion's share of its success. Rutherfurd is a good storyteller and each vignette makes for a good story; however, he has given himself the inevitable task of beginning what amounts to a new book every 40 pages or so. Just as one begins to warm to the characters, they are hurried off the stage. You can't read London without a scorecard—but that's part of the fun.

Jacob Rowland: Jacob and Jexy brought a Thanksgiving book to The Garden School on Wednesday for "circle". It is called The Firefighters' Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts and Terry Widener (illustrator)

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2 - On Thanksgiving Day, the firefighters at Station 1 are busy preparing a holiday dinner. While two of them are grocery shopping in the morning, a call comes in over their cell phone and they rush out, leaving behind a full shopping cart. After they've put out the fire, they go back to the store, help mop up the melted ice cream, and return to the station. Then another call comes in. In fact, every time they put out a fire and return to the firehouse, they inevitably get another call. In one of the later fires, Lou, who had volunteered to cook, is injured. This time, when the others return, they find a sumptuous holiday feast with a heartfelt thank-you note attached, and they take some of this food to Lou in the hospital. Vibrant, somewhat surreal illustrations vividly depict the firefighters walking through doorways ablaze in orange flames. Despite a tendency toward a crowded, sometimes confusing look to the spreads and some forced rhyming structure, firefighter fans should enjoy this story.

Food and Cooking Report: Needless to say, the featured player this week was our turkey. Following a long-standing tradition in my family, we always name our poultry. This year we named our bird, Borat. Jexy wanted to try the dry brine method that was featured in the LA Times. We did that and added a touch of our own, as well. Basically, you rub the bird with salt, inside and out, then seal it in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days before cooking. Once it was ready to go into the oven, we created an herb butter (we used Earth Balance - works great!) with some thyme, marjoram and sage. We rubbed that under the breast skin and all over the outside of the bird. You could use any herbs you like - we had those left over from other dishes we were preparing. Here's the LA Times recipe with all the details. It turned out great and I will definitely do it again.

Roasted Salted Turkey
Servings: 11 to 15

Note: This is more a technique than a recipe. It makes a bird that has concentrated turkey flavor and fine, firm flesh and that is delicious as it is. But you can add other flavors as you wish. Minced rosemary would be a nice finishing addition. Or brush the bird lightly with butter before roasting.

1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey

Kosher salt

1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons).

2. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You'll probably use a little more than a tablespoon. It should look liberally seasoned, but not over-salted.

3. Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.

4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2 -gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day.

5. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place the turkey breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.

6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

7. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up (it's easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts).

8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.

9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.

Of course, we had the usual cranberries, stuffing (we did not stuff the bird so I guess it is actually dressing), mashed potatoes and yams. Our veggie was particularly good - Sizzled Green Beans with Crispy Proscuitto and Pine Nuts - this recipe was from Eating Well -

Dessert was Pumpkin Pie made by the students at Roosevelt High School and Brownies - a Wadle family favorite - here's the recipe:

2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Flour
Pinch Salt
1 Cup Pecans, Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease pan.
2. Melt chocolate (ideally use a double boiler)
3 .Cream butter until soft. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one a time, beating after addition.
4. Mix flour with salt and stir into mixture.
5. Stir in nuts, melted chocolate and vanilla.
6. Spread mixture in 8" square pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes.
7. Let cool before cutting into squares.

We served the brownies with vanilla ice cream!

Well, now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to gear up for Chanukah and Christmas holidays. Join me in keeping the emphasis on family, friends and great food. One thing that I'd like to share with you are a couple of traditions that our book group has established. We "publish" a cookbook each year which makes a great holiday gift and we collect children's books to donate to the Boulder Safehouse.

Also, Jexy and I were talking about how overwhelming last year was for Jacob with Chanukah and Christmas happening all at once. Jexy's idea for the eight days of Chanukah is to rotate activities throughout the eight days - one day for a present for Jacob to open, one day for Jacob to donate a present for a child who wouldn't otherwise have one, and one day for a craft activity related to Chanukah, etc.

Send me any special traditions your family has and share them with the rest of us.

Until next week......


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