Look what just arrived in the mail!
One of the women in my writing group co-wrote a book, whoop! Congratulations, Shirley! Each time I see the book on my desk, I grin. It’s ridiculous how proud I am, like I helped birth a baby or something (even though I did hardly anything).
I knew she was sending me the book but I thought it was, oh, I don’t know, like a mock-up or something* (probably because I didn’t read her email closely enough … which is a problem I have; just ask my mom). I haven’t read the book yet, but I love its heft — the cover is gorgeous! — and the short chapters are enticing. I’m eager to dive in.
Actually, I lie. I have read parts of it since she shared chapters with our group — and my name’s in the book to prove it, squeee! — but a book in process is very different from the finished product, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t read any of the chapters that her co-author wrote.
I have a hunch it’s gonna be a fast, fun book and a great one to share with my grandparenty friends.
*Just checked Amazon and it won’t be ready until May 3 (so I did get a pre-sale book after all, ha!), but no worries: you can still preorder it now.
A few months ago when one of the cooks at the bakery made a tart-sweet passion fruit curd, I went nuts for it. “It’s just from a purée that I get at the international store,” she said, shrugging off my admiration.
Apparently, one of the international stores in town (or maybe all of them? I have no idea) sells frozen bags of all kinds of fruit purée — mango, coconut, soursop, lime, blackberry, pineapple, etc — which doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but think about it for a minute: purée is just fresh fruit, but more accessible since there’s no peeling or juicing necessary. Just snap off a chunk (since the purée is frozen in thin rectangles, it’s easy to break apart and it thaws quickly) and pop it in the blender with yogurt and a banana for your smoothie, or simmer it with cornstarch and sugar for a fruit sauce, or cook it with egg yolks and butter for a curd to spread between layers of butter cake.
mango curd and cream sunshine cake
I have a few bags in the freezer — passion fruit, mango, soursop* — and I plan to stock up on more soon. Summer is coming!
*I used the soursop in smoothies last weekend. The fruit itself was disappointingly bland, but the gentle sweet flavor did bring back memories of my favorite (Guanábana) yogurt when we were in Nicaragua, so maybe that’s just how it is?
Check out this video about making Salers de Buron, a French cheese.
One of the people in my cheesemaking group shared the link with me (and then another friend told me this cheese was discussed on The Splendid Table podcast in an episode about saving rare foods). I find their cheesemaking methods — wooden barrels, salt on the calves’ backs — utterly bewitching, though I’m not sure how I feel about those unwashed teets….
My husband didn’t make any comments for weeks (months?) so it’s obviously not offensive, and a number of girlfriends have commented that I smell nice. (If I use it after my shower at night, I notice that my sheets smell like warm vanilla sugar cookies the next night.) So it’s just the thing: a light, sweet scent primarily for me that other people like, or don’t notice.
I’m on my second bottle.
On the train to New York last month, I noticed a girl sitting across the aisle from me had a book resting in her lap. “Is that Crying in H-Mart?” I asked. She said yes, and I asked if she liked it — I had it on hold at the library I said. And then the guy sitting behind her stuck his head around the seat and said, “I read that book — it’s good!” And then the older gentleman sitting beside him intoned, “And so begins another Amtrak Book Club meeting.”
I’m enjoying the book so far. It’s all about food (HUGE bonus points) and I’m learning, retroactively, so much about that delicious meal we had in NY’s Koreatown. (Also, when I learned that the author’s mother had a “kimchi fridge” for her fermented foods, I felt seen.)
Everyone says the book’s good as long as one doesn’t mind crying while reading, but I haven’t felt even a little bit sad and I’m nearing the end so either I haven’t reached the sad part yet or my heart’s a rock.
Have you seen After Life? It’s a British comedy-drama about a man struggling to go on after the death of his wife. My husband and I both loved it.
Even though it’s occasionally didactic and cliché and (disturbingly) crass, it gets away with it because there’s a rawness to it, and a simple beauty and warmth, that has me still thinking even months after I finished watching all three seasons. It’s not every day there’s a show that delves deep into grief and makes me laugh even as I tear up and makes my husband appreciate me more. (The woman [Kerry Godliman] who plays the wife is spectacular.)