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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - February 24, 2008

Hi everyone!

I joined Christie, Jan, Barb and Laila for part of their hike on the South Boulder Creek Trail on Saturday morning. I left them part way to head over to my CPR class and they apparently continued on for a great 4 mile hike.

Book Report:

Terri read and enjoyed a book that I had recommended to her - The Mezuzzah in the Madonna's Foot by Trudy Alexy - this is an amazing account of Jews who survived the Nazis and World War II.
Book Description
Acclaimed in the Progressive's "Best Reading of 1993," these thrilling and harrowing firsthand stories of survivors and their rescuers vividly reveal the secret history of the Jews who found asylum from Hitler's Final Solution under Franco's Fascist regime.
Cass told us about a book that she just loved - she read it with her Spanish Book Club and it is due out in the English version in just a few months. The title is La Isla de los Amores Infinitos by Daina Chaviano. Apparently, Amazon is taking advance orders. Unfortunately, the review on Amazon right now is only available in Spanish!

I am on the last few pages of a wonderful new historical novel by Geraldine Brooks - People of the Book. She weaves a fascinating story about the journey throughout history of a precious and sacred Jewish manuscript, the Sarajevo Haggadah. It is both historical fiction and somewhat of a mystery/detective story.
Amazon Significant Seven, January 2008: One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it. Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, has turned the intriguing but sparely detailed history of this precious volume into an emotionally rich, thrilling fictionalization that retraces its turbulent journey. In the hands of Hanna Heath, an impassioned rare-book expert restoring the manuscript in 1996 Sarajevo, it yields clues to its guardians and whereabouts: an insect wing, a wine stain, salt crystals, and a white hair. While readers experience crucial moments in the book's history through a series of fascinating, fleshed-out short stories, Hanna pursues its secrets scientifically, and finds that some interests will still risk everything in the name of protecting this treasure. A complex love story, thrilling mystery, vivid history lesson, and celebration of the enduring power of ideas, People of the Book will surely be hailed as one of the best of 2008. --Mari Malcolm

I am enjoying a new cookbook that I got recently - Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse fame, has written a wonderful book called The Art of Simple Food. Waters has been promoting and preparing organic, seasonal and local foods for many years. Chez Panisse is her fabulous restaurant in Berkeley, California. Jack and I were so lucky to have dined there many years ago. The book is a primer on preparing simple, uncomplicated foods, emphasizing the freshest ingredients. It is a perfect gift for both the newest and most experienced home cook. Check out the recipe below that we had last night!
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The delicious dishes described in the latest cookbook from Chez Panisse founder Waters, such as a four-ingredient Soda Bread and Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Capers, are simple indeed, though the book's structure is complex, if intuitive. After a useful discussion of ingredients and equipment come chapters on techniques, such as making broth and soup. Each of these includes three or four recipes that rely on the technique described, which can lead to repetition (still preferable to a lack of guidance): a chapter on roasting contains two pages of instructions on roasting a chicken (including a hint to salt it a day in advance for juicy results), followed by a recipe for Roast Chicken that is simply an abbreviated version of those two pages. The final third of the book divides many more recipes traditionally into salads, pasta and so forth. Waters taps an almost endless supply of ideas for appealing and fresh yet low-stress dishes: Zucchini Ragout with Bacon and Tomato, Onion Custard Pie, Chocolate Crackle Cookies with almonds and a little brandy. Whether explaining why salting food properly is key or describing the steps to creating the ideal Grilled Cheese Sandwich, she continues to prove herself one of our best modern-day food writers. (Oct.)

Website of the Week: a great used book site -

Podcast of the Week: The Get it Done Guy - A Quick and Dirty Guide to Work Less and Do More -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Emeritus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Emeritus (pronounced /ɨˈmɛrɨtəs/) is an adjective that is used in the title of a retired professor, bishop or other professional. Emerita (/ɨˈmɛrɨtə/) was used for women, but is rarely used today. The term is used when a person of importance in a given profession retires, so that his or her former rank can still be used in his or her title. This is particularly useful when establishing the authority a person might have to comment, lecture or write on a particular subject.

The word is typically used as a postpositional adjective but can also be used as a preposition adjective. It is frequently capitalized when it forms part of a title. The word originated in the mid-18th century from Latin as the past participle of emereri meaning to "earn one's discharge by service". Emereri itself is a compound of the prefix e- (a variant of ex-) meaning "out of or from" and merēre meaning "earn". The word is always associated with the title, not the name, of a person. For example, "Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Alex Robertson".

Emeritus does not imply that the person must be retired from all duties of his or her previous title.

Cooking and Dining Report:

A lot more cooking has been happening around here this week, now that the cook is healthy again!

From Fine Cooking Magazine, we had Seared Flank Steak with Shallot-Mustard Sauce - a great, quick cooking and tasty dish -

Last night we had a great recipe from The Art of Simple Food for Linguine with Clams- her basic recipe is for a white sauce but I tried one of her variations using fennel and tomato sauce - really interesting flavor:

Wash well under cold water, 2 pounds small clams (I used Littleneck)
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat in a heavy-bottomed pan: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
When hot, add 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped fine. Cook over medium heat until almost soft, about 5 minutes, then add the clams, 5 finely chopped garlic cloves, pinch of dried chile flakes and 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used marinara sauce). Cover and cook over medium high until the clams open, about 6 or 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook 3/4 pound of linguine according to package directions in the boiling salted water.
Once the clams have opened, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley and 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
Drain the noodles well, toss with the clam sauce and more salt, if needed, and serve.

Two other cooking projects today - one is Crisp Roast Chicken prepared according to Cook's Illustrated technique for most crispy chicken. That turned out great - we enjoyed it for dinner tonight.
"For best flavor, use a high-quality chicken, such as one from Bell & Evans. Do not brine the bird; it will prohibit the skin from becoming crisp. The sheet of foil between the roasting pan and V-rack will keep drippings from burning and smoking."


1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds), giblets removed and discarded
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place chicken breast-side down on work surface. Following photos above, use tip of sharp knife to make four 1-inch incisions along back of chicken. Using fingers or handle of wooden spoon, carefully separate skin from thighs and breast. Using metal skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken.
2. Combine salt, baking powder, and pepper in small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt mixture. Rub in mixture with hands, coating entire surface evenly. Set chicken, breast-side up, in V-rack set on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using paring knife, poke 20 holes about 1 1/2 inches apart in 16- by 12-inch piece of foil. Place foil loosely in large roasting pan. Flip chicken so breast side faces down, and set V-rack in roasting pan on top of foil. Roast chicken 25 minutes.
4. Remove roasting pan from oven. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, rotate chicken breast-side up. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 135 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes.
5. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Continue to roast until skin is golden brown, crisp, and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 10 to 20 minutes.
6. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carve and serve immediately.

The other cooking project is in the oven right now and will be our dinner tomorrow night - it looks and smells promising! From Fine Cooking Magazine, Slow-Cooked Pot Roast with Mustard and Horseradish Gravy. I am not preparing it in a slow cooker but rather in a dutch oven in a very slow oven.
Well, that's all for now - have a terrific week!


Saturday Morning Walkers - February 20, 2008

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the delayed and abbreviated edition - I've been sick for the last several days but finally feeling better. I did get to our Saturday morning walk and coffee but that was the last time I ventured out of the house until this morning. We walked around North Boulder and ended up at Breadworks for coffee.

Book Report:

Barb and her book group read The Tender Bar, a memoir by J.R. Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the Los Angeles Times
"Long before it legally served me, the bar saved me," asserts J.R. Moehringer, and his compelling memoir The Tender Bar is the story of how and why. A Pulitzer-Prize winning writer for the Los Angeles Times, Moehringer grew up fatherless in pub-heavy Manhasset, New York, in a ramshackle house crammed with cousins and ruled by an eccentric, unkind grandfather. Desperate for a paternal figure, he turns first to his father, a DJ whom he can only access via the radio (Moehringer calls him The Voice and pictures him as "talking smoke"). When The Voice suddenly disappears from the airwaves, Moehringer turns to his hairless Uncle Charlie, and subsequently, Uncle Charlie's place of employment--a bar called Dickens that soon takes center stage. While Moehringer may occasionally resort to an overwrought metaphor (the footsteps of his family sound like "storm troopers on stilts"), his writing moves at a quick clip and his tale of a dysfunctional but tightly knit community is warmly told. "While I fear that we're drawn to what abandons us, and to what seems most likely to abandon us, in the end I believe we're defined by what embraces us," Moehringer says, and his story makes us believe it. --

Laila continues exploring Indian writers with The Twentieth Wife by Indu
In The Twentieth Wife, first-time novelist Indu Sundaresan introduces readers to life inside a bejeweled, dazzling birdcage--the world of the Mughal Court's zenana, or imperial harem. Her heroine exercises power in the only way available to a woman in 17th-century India: from behind the veil. At the age of 8, Mehrunissa (the name means "Sun of Women") has already settled on her life's goal. After just one glimpse of his face, she wants to marry the Crown Prince Salim. And marry him she does, albeit some 26 years later, after overcoming the opposition of her family, an ill-starred early marriage, numerous miscarriages, and the scheming of other wives. The story's gothic trappings have a basis in fact. As Sundaresan writes in her afterword, the historical Mehrunissa exercised far more power than was usually allotted to an empress, issuing coins in her own name, giving orders, trading, owning property, and patronizing the arts. (Curiously, the book ends just as Mehrunissa is ascending to the throne as empress, dwelling on her years of powerlessness and struggle rather than those of her enormous political influence.) Although the empress was fabled in her time, we know next to nothing about the woman herself. Unfortunately, Sundaresan does little to flesh out this intriguing figure. Despite the vivid historical detail, the reader remains more aware of the author's presence--and her own contemporary take on women's issues--than of her characters' inner lives

Jan recommends a DVD called Yesterday.
Product Description
Yesterday- A spirited and happy young mother living in a remote village in South Africa's Zululand - doesn't have an easy life. A heart-breaking film

Website and Podcast of the Week - - Nextbook is a Jewish cultural organization that produces an online magazine, a book series and cultural events. I don't think you have to be Jewish to appreciate some of their offerings. Check it out.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - catachresis
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Catachresis (from Greek κατάχρησις), which literally means the incorrect or improper use of a word -- such as using the word decimate (e.g., "they were severely decimated") mistakenly for devastated -- is a term used to denote the (usually intentional) use of any figure of speech that flagrantly violates the norms of a language community. Compare malapropism.

Catachresis is often used to convey extreme emotion or alienation, and is prominent in baroque literature and, more recently, in the avant-garde.

Cooking and Dining Report - nothing from our house this week but Jexy made a very successful dinner on their weekend away in the mountains of California.

From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, she made Linguine with Shrimp Scampi -,1977,FOOD_9936_32175,00.html

She served it with Arugula with Parmesan -,1977,FOOD_9936_32175,00.html - both of these recipes are from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook.

An upcoming event to mark on your calendar:

The 60th Annual Conference on World Affairs is scheduled for April 7 through April 11. This is a world-renowned event hosted each year by the University of Colorado. "The Conference on World Affairs was founded in 1948, originally as a forum on international affairs. CWA expanded rapidly to encompass the arts, media, science, diplomacy, technology, environment, spirituality, politics, business, medicine, human rights, and so on. Roger Ebert, who holds a record of thirty-seven consecutive years of participation in the CWA, refers to the event as “the Conference on Everything Conceivable.” Every seminar and event is absolutely free - check out the schedule and list of participants!

I hope that all of you stay well - enjoy the rest of the week!



Saturday Morning Walkers - February 11, 2008

Hi everyone!

Actually starting to write this edition on Sunday morning, February 10 sitting in Libby and David's gorgeous new apartment in Brooklyn. The floor to ceiling windows in the living room/dining room/kitchen area have an incredible view across the East River of the New York skyline, featuring the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

I arrived here on Friday morning following my first experience on a “red-eye” from Denver to New York. Jack had been in New York all week on business and I was meeting him here. In between naps on Friday, David and I went to lunch at a funky little place here in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, The Egg. I had a yummy grilled cheese sandwich on 5 grain bread (healthy, huh?) and David had a amazing looking cheeseburger. Here’s a review -

When Jack arrived at the apartment at the end of the day, we headed out for dinner at a tiny little French bistro in Long Island City which is just minutes away in Queens. I had heard about Tournesol after listening to the audiobook memoir,Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. In an interview, Julie Powell, who lives in Long Island City, was asked about her favorite restaurant and she talked about Tournesol. I mentioned that to Libby and it turns out that it is one of David’s favorite spots. We were not disappointed! Libby had skate with cauliflower gratin, David had braised lamb with ratatouille, Jack had steak frite with béarnaise and I had flounder with ratatouille. Check out this review -

Saturday morning, we were up early and out for a walk to the dog park with Violet, Libby and David’s Black Russian Terrier. We had a wonderful waffle breakfast back at the house and then headed out for a ride around Brooklyn so I could see the apartment building and neighborhood, Flatbush, that my aunt and uncle lived in when I was a kid. Our family has strong roots in Brooklyn and I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up on Long Island. It was a nostalgic tour for me. We had intended to visit the Brooklyn Museum (the 2nd largest museum in NYC) but got sidetracked when we ventured into the aircraft museum at Floyd Bennett Field. It turned out to be a fascinating personal tour of this hangar filled with restored aircraft led by a very sweet volunteer, Tony.

The highlight of the afternoon was pizza at a little joint called Di Fara Pizza on Avenue J in the Midwood section of Brooklyn - Mandy's dad, Martin went to Midwood High School. Dominic DeMarco has been making every pizza there for the last 40 years, always assisted by a family member. Check out the review:

We had big plans for Saturday night - a before theatre dinner at a wonderful seafood restaurant on West 43rd and Ninth Avenue called Esca. It was a delicious meal and the service was impeccable. We even got to chat with Chef David Pasternack.
Following dinner, we enjoyed a terrific play at the Music Box Theatre on 45th Street. It was The Farnsworth Invention starring Hank Azaria. This play by West Wing's creator, Aaron Sorkin, deals with the invention of television and the conflict between RCA founder David Sarnoff and inventor Filo T. Farnsworth. The actor who played Farnsworth, Jimmi Simpson, was outstanding.

When I left off writing on Sunday morning (I'm now back home on Monday night and trying to catch up!), we were getting ready to head out for brunch at the same restaurant that David and I had lunch in on Friday, The Egg. Great breakfast, especially the cheese grits and homemade sausage. Jack had oatmeal which was filled with pears, raisins and figs - looked yummy!

We'll skip the book reports and other cooking reports for this week - I have started Geraldine Brooks new novel, People of the Book and am already hooked. More later.....

Website of the Week - - book review site

Podcast of the Week - - All You Can Eat podcast - about food and wine

That's all for now.....



Saturday Morning Walkers - February 3, 2008

Hi everyone!

As I write this today, Jack and I are watching Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey and yes, Maria Shriver (pretty gutsy!) speak at the rally for Barack Obama at UCLA. It is so energizing and motivating - I just want to remind all of you who have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday in a primary or a caucus to please do that and become a part of this historic election.

Yesterday, Mary led us on our "first Saturday of the month" walk and meeting at Caffe Sole. Mary, Christie, Andrea and I missed the rest of you but we had a lovely walk and talk.

Book Report:

I finished two books that have been mentioned on the blog before but they are definintely worth repeating.

Jenn shared with me a wonderful coming-of-age novel by Jim Lynch, The Highest Tide.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The fertile strangeness of marine tidal life becomes a subtly executed metaphor for the bewilderments of adolescence in this tender and authentic coming-of-age novel, Lynch's first. As a precocious, undersized 13-year-old living on the shore of Puget Sound, in Washington State, Miles O'Malley has developed a consuming passion for the abundant life of the tidal flats. His simple pleasure in observing is tested and complicated over the course of a remarkable summer, when he finds a giant squid, a discovery that brings him the unwelcome attention of scientists, TV reporters and a local cult. Meanwhile, Miles's remote parents are considering a divorce; his best friend, Florence, an elderly retired psychic, is dying of a degenerative disease; his sex-obsessed buddy, Phelps, mocks his science-geek knowledge; and his desperate crush on Angie Stegner, the troubled girl next door, both inspires and humiliates him. Events build toward the date of a record high tide, and Miles slowly sorts out his place in the adult world. While occasionally Lynch packs too much into a small story, this moving, unusual take on the summers of childhood conveys a contagious sense of wonder at the variety and mystery of the natural world.

I listened to an audio version of the memoir Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. This was a recommendation from Jeff who had seen a show on the Discovery Channel which featured Tammet, called Brainman.
Tammet is one of only a handful of autistic savants and this is a unique opportunity to learn about this phenomenon from his own perspective.
One of the world's 50 living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story and explain how his incredible mind works.
Worldwide, there are fewer than 50 living savants, those autistic individuals who can perform miraculous mental calculations or artistic feats. (Think Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man.) Until now, none of them has been able to discuss his or her thought processes, much less write a book. Daniel Tammet is the first.

Tammet's problems were apparent from childhood. He was shunned by his classmates and often resorted to rocking and humming quietly. Yet he could memorize almost anything, and his math and language skills were astonishing. By high school, Daniel was diagnosed as autistic, and he began to discover his own superhuman abilities: calculating huge sums in his head in seconds, learning new languages in one week, and memorizing more than 22,000 digits of pi.

With heart-melting simplicity and astonishing self-awareness, Born on a Blue Day tells Daniel's story: from his childhood frustrations to adult triumphs, while explaining how his mind works. He thinks in pictures. He sees numbers as complex shapes: 37 is lumpy like porridge; 89 reminds him of falling snow. Today, Daniel has emerged as one of the world's most fascinating minds and inspiring stories. His brain has amazed scientists for years, and everyone will be moved by his remarkable life story.

Website of the Week: - check out their great campaign for Valentines Day to raise money to end poverty among children - kids can make small donations and send valentines.

Podcast of the Week: - many of our favorite shows from TV's C-span, including Booknotes and Road to the White House.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - savant
sa·vant (s-vänt)
1. A learned person; a scholar.
2. An idiot savant.


[French, learned, savant, from Old French, present participle of savoir, to know, from Vulgar Latin sapre, from Latin sapere, to be wise; see sep- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Cooking and Dining Report:

I've got some great recipes to share - this week was Jack's birthday and I enjoyed preparing this dinner - all the recipes are from Fine Cooking Magazine:

Arugula Salad with Blood Oranges, Fennel & Ricotta Salata -

Steak au Poivre -

Creamy Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes -

Chocolate-Espresso Mini Souffles - - important note - there is an error in the list of ingredients - it should be two eggs separated, not one.

One other "keeper" of a recipe is Bucatini in a Spicy Tomato Sauce with Crisped Pancetta - also from Fine Cooking. I couldn't find bucatini but spaghetti worked just fine.

That's all for now - once again, don't forget to vote this Tuesday if your state is part of Super Tuesday.



Saturday Morning Walkers - January 27, 2008

Hi everyone!

Some of the walkers - Mary, Barb, Andrea and Laila (hope I haven't left anyone out) - walked out in Lafayette on Saturday and met up with Chris at Cino's Cafe. I am sorry I missed being with all of you but I did have a wonderful day at the Tattered Cover Writers Respond to Readers event. I was happy to have met up with Lynda Parker, an old friend of Chris', and a few of her friends. They graciously invited me to have lunch with them which was just lovely.

Book Report: I'd like to tell you a little bit about each of the writers that participated in the event. I wasn't familiar with any of them and hadn't read even one of their books prior to the event. I generally do try to read at least one of the books but it really doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the presentations if you haven't gotten to do that. This was an eclectic collection of four bright, witty and entertaining young women who shared their personal stories, their writing process and readings from their books.

Tahmima Anam is a first-time novelist who was born in Bangladesh. Her novel, The Golden Age, portrays a family in East Pakistan caught up in the Liberation War of 1971 fighting for their freedom to become Bangladesh. This is the first novel in what will become a trilogy following this family prior to the war, during the conflict and finally in contemporary Bangladesh.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The experiences of a woman drawn into the 1971 Bangladesh war for independence illuminate the conflict's wider resonances in Anam's impressive debut, the first installment in a proposed trilogy. Rehana Haque is a widow and university student in Dhaka with two children, 17-year-old daughter Maya and 19-year-old son Soheil. As she follows the daily patterns of domesticity—cooking, visiting the cemetery, marking religious holidays—she is only dimly aware of the growing political unrest until Pakistani tanks arrive and the fighting begins. Suddenly, Rehana's family is in peril and her children become involved in the rebellion. The elegantly understated restraint with which Anam recounts ensuing events gives credibility to Rehana's evolution from a devoted mother to a woman who allows her son's guerrilla comrades to bury guns in her backyard and who shelters a Bengali army major after he is wounded. The reader takes the emotional journey from atmospheric scenes of the marketplace to the mayhem of invasion, the ruin of the city, evidence of the rape and torture of Hindus and Bengali nationalists, and the stench and squalor of a refugee camp. Rehana's metamorphosis encapsulates her country's tragedy and makes for an immersive, wrenching narrative

Samantha Hunt has written a novel based on the life of scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla - The Invention of Everything Else. She did impeccable research into the entire life and work of Tesla, but the focus of the novel is on the later years of his life spent living in the classic Hotel New Yorker in New York City.
Book Description
A wondrous imagining of an unlikely friendship between the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla and a young chambermaid in the Hotel New Yorker where Tesla lives out his last days From the moment she first catches sight of the Hotel New Yorkers most famous resident on New Years Day 1943, Louisa -- obsessed with radio dramas and the secret lives of the guests -- is determined to befriend this strange man. As Louisa discovers their shared affinity for pigeons, she also begins to piece together Teslas extraordinary story of life as an immigrant, a genius, and a halfhearted capitalist. Meanwhile, Louisa-faced with her fathers imminent departure in a time machine to reunite with his late wife, and pleasantly unsettled by the arrival in her life of a mysterious mechanic (perhaps from the future) named Arthur -- begins to suspect that she has understood something about the relationship of love and invention that Tesla, for all his brilliance, never did. The Invention of Everything Else luminously resurrects one of the greatest scientists of all time, Nikola Tesla, while magically transporting us -- la Steven Millhauser and Michael Chabon -- to an early twentieth-century New York City thrumming with energy, wonder, and possibility.

Min Jin Lee was born in Korea and immigrated with her family to Queens, New York when she was 7 years old. Her first novel, Free Food for Millionaires, features characters based on her experiences growing up in New York.
From Publishers Weekly
In her noteworthy debut, Lee filters through a lively postfeminist perspective a tale of first-generation immigrants stuck between stodgy parents and the hip new world. Lee's heroine, 22-year-old Casey Han, graduates magna cum laude in economics from Princeton with a taste for expensive clothes and an "enviable golf handicap," but hasn't found a "real" job yet, so her father kicks her out of his house. She heads to her white boyfriend's apartment only to find him in bed with two sorority girls. Next stop: running up her credit card at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. Casey's luck turns after a chance encounter with Ella Shim, an old acquaintance. Ella gives Casey a place to stay, while Ella's fiancé gets Casey a "low pay, high abuse" job at his investment firm and Ella's cousin Unu becomes Casey's new romance. Lee creates a large canvas, following Casey as she shifts between jobs, careers, friends, mentors and lovers; Ella and Ted as they hit a blazingly rocky patch; and Casey's mother, Leah, as she belatedly discovers her own talents and desires. Though a first-novel timidity sometimes weakens the narrative, Lee's take on contemporary intergenerational cultural friction is wide-ranging, sympathetic and well worth reading

Heidi Julavits is a journalist, author and founding editor of The Believer Magazine, a literary journal. She has written three novels, the latest of which is The Uses of Enchantment. I have to admit that I did start listening to this book on my Ipod but lost interest part way through. After hearing Heidi yesterday, I am now interested in picking it up again.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. On November 7, 1985, Mary Veal, 16, a not especially distinguished upper-middle-class girl, disappears from New England's Semmering Academy. A month later she reappears at Semmering, claiming amnesia, but hinting at abduction and ravishment. The events in Believer editor Julavits's third, beautifully executed novel take place on three levels: one, dedicated to "what might have happened," is the story of the supposedly blank interval; another is dedicated to the inevitable therapeutic aftermath, as Mary's therapist, Dr. Hammer, tries to discover whether Mary is lying, either about the abduction or the amnesia; and the present of the novel, which revolves around the funeral of Mary's mother, Paula, in 1999. There, Mary feels not only the hostility of her sisters, Regina (an unsuccessful poet) and Gaby (a disheveled lesbian) but Paula's posthumous hostility. Or is that an illusion? This structure delicately balances between gothic and comic, allowing Julavits to play variations on Mary's life and on the '80s moral panic of repressed memory syndromes and wild fears of child abuse. While Julavits (The Effect of Living Backwards) sometimes lets an overheated style distract from her central story, as its various layers coalesce, the mystery of what did happen to Mary Veal will enthrall the reader to the very last page.

Website of the Week: - when we were having lunch yesterday, we talked about forming women's groups. Lynda told us about friends of hers who have developed a format for facilitating a women's group (could be a men's group also). Check out this website for more details on what they are doing.

Podcast of the Week: - part of the Quick and Dirty Tips series - short, succinct podcast answering common legal questions.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - diatribe
Pronunciation: diatribe

Latin diatriba, from Greek diatribē pastime, discourse, from diatribein to spend (time), wear away, from dia- + tribein to rub — more at throw
1archaic : a prolonged discourse2: a bitter and abusive speech or writing3: ironic or satirical criticis

Cooking and Dining Report:

Not much cooking going on here this week but here's the recipe I'm using tonight for Linguine with Clam Sauce from Fine Cooking Magazine:

Serves two to three.
24 littleneck clams
6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
8 oz. linguine or spaghettini (I like De Cecco, Due Pastori, and Rustichella d’Abruzzo brands)
Freshly ground black pepper

how to make
Scrub the clams under cold water and set aside. In a heavy 3-qt. saucepan, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes and cook briefly to infuse the oil, about 20 seconds. Immediately add the wine, 2 Tbs. of the chopped parsley, and half of the minced garlic. Cook for 20 seconds and add the clams.

Cover and cook over medium-high heat, checking every 2 minutes and removing each clam as it opens. It will take 5 to 6 minutes total for all the clams to open. Transfer the clams to a cutting board and reserve the broth. Remove the clams from the shells and cut them in half, or quarters if they’re large. Return the clams to the broth. Discard the shells.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it’s almost al dente, 6 to 9 minutes. Don’t overcook.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. chopped parsley and the rest of the garlic and cook until the garlic is just soft, about 1 minute. Set the skillet aside.

When the pasta is done, reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta, the clams, and the broth the clams were cooked in to the skillet. Return to low heat, toss the pasta in the sauce, and simmer for another minute to finish cooking it, adding a little of the pasta water if you prefer a wetter dish.

Taste for salt and add a large grind of black pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with the parsley leaves.

From Fine Cooking 88, pp. 69

Have a great week ahead!