That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
And as is customary when I've been absent awhile, everyone else has still been blogging. I have found all kinds of fantastic treasures in my Bloglines and email inbox:
- The List Universe has put together the Top 10 Most Overrated Novels. I'm down with Emma being on that list, especially when compared with Austen's other work. The listmakers got the right one; if they had stuck Sense and Sensibility on there I would have had some choice words for them. However...the Lord of the Rings trilogy?! They're out of their minds...or they're just as bad as those trolls that come along and say useless things with the sole purpose of pissing people off.
- I heard from Ellen at Avec Sucre...who heard from Clotilde...about this complaint letter sent to Sir Richard Branson regarding the food on a Virgin flight from Mumbai to London. Funny, funny stuff, my friends. Read it and weep.
- ALA has posted the phone calls made to the authors and illustrators for the Youth Media Awards at ALA Midwinter. Fun stuff! My favorites were Laurie Halse Anderson saying over and over, "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" and when hearing that she would be invited to be on the Today show Beth Krommes said, "I watch that show every morning!" For the record, I found Neil Gaiman's swearing hilarious!
- In yet another intersection of food and children's literature, Readers' Books in Sonoma has a fantastic display idea: "homegrown stimulus package." In addition to having child-friendly books like Tillie Lays an Egg and Extraordinary Chickens on display, they also have locally grown eggs and will soon have local produce and preserves. Talk about exemplifying the idea of community! Thanks to my daily Shelf Awareness email for that tidbit.
- I can't believe I'm admitting this but...I found a version of milk chocolate that I actually like. Café-Tasse has been my chocolate of choice for awhile (with Dagoba, Vosges, and Scharffenberger making cameo appearances). My favorite Café-Tasse bar has been the Noir-Café (dark chocolate with coffee); however, I unintentionally grabbed the Lait-Café last time I was at the store. Well, you heard it from me first: it's Really Good. Incredibly creamy, equally rich. And it doesn't taste all jacked up on sugar. Granted, I'm not converted - I'll still go for the Noir. But I will thoroughly enjoy the Lait while it lasts. (And this all reminds me of an article in the NY Times a year ago today about milk chocolate making a comeback. I scoffed a year ago but now...)
- I'm a geek and here's why: I get the email updates about Spain...On the Road Again. I've been watching the show casually and enjoying it. It would be so wonderful to make some of the food that they eat but I feel that part of the reason it looks and sounds so good is because it is local to Spain. I'm just not going to get the same freshness of produce and seafood here...because, you know, I'm in NYC in February. Nevertheless, I might have to try this recipe. To quote Mario: "Fried bread soaked in wine...dangerous." Indeed. Here's it is:
* 3 cups olive oil
* 2 cups dry Spanish wine
* 3 large eggs
* Eighteen half–inch–thick slices crusty Spanish bread (or substitute a baguette)
* 1/4 cup sugar, mixed with 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
* Mosto (recipe for Mosto follows below)
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until it reaches 365 degrees Farenheit. Meanwhile, pour the wine into a large shallow bowl, add the bread, and let soak for 8 minutes. In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs until well mixed. Working in batches, remove the bread from the wine, draining well, add to the eggs, and let soak for 2 minutes; drain well, add to the hot oil, and cook for until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, drizzle with mosto, and serve to friends.
Mosto: Boil 3 cups of dry red wine with 1 cup of sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a splash of fresh apple cider until it is reduced by three-quarters (it will be thick and syrupy). Allow it to cool, then store it in a clean wine bottle. Use whenever you need a sweet, grapey punch, in everything from a salad dressing to an ice cream topping.
- I have only very recently discovered the blog of my two new friends, Cindy and Lynn. They reviewed Dear Julia and I loved what they had to say. I hadn't made the parallel between Zemser and Joan Bauer but I think Cindy is right on.
Eat, drink, and beware of that food on Virgin...or any airline really.