Up and running: Harry Potter and NYU

Like so many others, I’m in the midst of reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Unlike so many others, I’m reading it pretty slowly. I was at the very start of my career as a children’s librarian when Sorcerer’s Stone came out – I remember that we actually got review copies of it. And since then I’ve been on many adventures of my own so I’m feeling particularly nostalgic about this book and a little sad it’s going to be over soon.

Thus far, I have the same complaint about Harry Potter that I (and so many others) have had about the past three books: it needs tighter editing! There are just some scenes that drag on for unnecessary amounts of time. It really gets ridiculous sometimes. But I also feel like that’s a minor quibble at this point: Rowling is a master at creating suspense, tension, and excitement in her stories, and I’m so along for the ride.

On my other favorite subject, I went to a food-related event at NYU last night: “Sustainable Agriculture vs. Industrial Food: A Conversation with Dan Imhoff and Dan Barber. Clark Wolf was the moderator. For the most part, I didn’t learn anything I hadn’t already read in Omnivore’s Dilemma. What I did learn more about was the Farm Bill which, as Marian Burros points out in her Times article, needs to be called the Food Bill. The conversation got me completely fired up about supporting a movement that has the potential to reverse the dangerous course American food culture is currently on. As soon as I finish Harry Potter and a book I need to review for SLJ, I’m going to pick up Dan Imhoff’s Food Fight: A Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill.

Here are a couple things I got out of the event:
  • California produces 50% of our nation’s fruits and vegetables but they receive no subsidies – those all go to farmers of corn, wheat, soybeans, and other commodity crops.
  • Transparency is the biggest issue of the Farm Bill. We want to know where our food is coming from, how it’s processed, what is used to make it.
  • Mondavi has an organic wine out…I’m going to buy a couple of bottles and enjoy them while I read House of Mondavi, which is on my long long long reading list.
Apparently the next NYU talk is “Chefs Who Grow Their Own”. Can’t wait!

After the talk, Adam and I went to dinner at Rouge, our favorite restaurant in our neighborhood. We had a bottle of Valley of the Moon Sangiovese, which has become one of our new favorite versatile wines, and shared a cheese and meat platter along with a frisee salad with gorgonzola, hazelnuts, and bacon. Simple but fantastic. And because I had such a light dinner, I went for the out-of-this-world gateau au chocolat avec crème anglaise, a flourless cake they serve that is really a small slice of heaven. Adam had vanilla custard with berries: he liked it, but it was a little too gelatinous for my tastes.

We finished off the evening by going to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Overall, a lovely evening.


Rich Hovey said...

So I'm not alone in finding Deathly Hallows to be under-edited? What you have is a tightly wound book called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, interrupted about half-way through by another book called Harry Potter and the Interminable Camping Trip.

Anonymous said...

yeah, that camping bit was unbearable. what we really needed was a montage.

laura, i'm finally catching up on what you've posted so far -- you've got to try the mousse at Rouge. it's like the richest, most amazing chocolate icing in a giant martini glass. i couldn't finish it, so you might want to share.