Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Update: A Soggy Weekend


Monday morning and the sun is finally shining again on Sanibel. It was a chilly, soggy weekend. Yesterday, for the first time ever here, I didn't even venture outside our front door! We picked up about four inches of rain Saturday night and Sunday, and it was still only 48 degrees when I woke up this morning. My beach walk won't happen until this afternoon... fingers crossed it hits 60.


Finished this week//


by Michael Gibney, narrated by Fred Berman
5 hours and 42 minutes
source: audiobook borrowed from the library via Overdrive

This book reminded me how much I like foodie nonfiction... which I have sadly neglected over the past year or two.  It's one of those "day in the life" kind of books, reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain. In fact, I learned afterward he'd blurbed the book:
“A terrific nuts-and-bolts account of the real business of cooking as told from the trenches. No nonsense. This is what it takes.”
Sous Chef  was unusual (and a little odd) in that it's told in the second person. Audiobook narrator Fred Berman effectively conveyed the resulting tension and drama. I could feel the pressure mount as the evening progressed!

The fast-paced narrative kept me walking more briskly and maybe even a bit longer... always a plus. What foodie nonfiction have you enjoyed recently?



Current reading//

by Jane Ziegelman,  Andy Coe

More foodie nonfiction... chalk it up to a case of perfect timing! I had just finished Sous Chef  when Lisa asked if I'd heard of this book. The author's 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement  was a hit with my book cub several years ago, but I was unfamiliar with this title. The description sounded interesting and I was able to download the audiobook instantly via hoopla from my library. Further investigation showed an ebook available through the county library system (oddly separate from our Sanibel Library) so I went to the closest branch signed up for yet another  library card. You can never have too many options, right? I've read and listened to a quarter of A Square Meal  so far... an interesting history.



Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum

My bookmark is still in this classic, but it only moved ten or twenty pages last week. I like the book well enough, but don't feel especially compelled to pick it up... if that makes any sense. I do plan to stick with it though.


Set aside for now//

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

I have every intention of returning to this book. After reading the first four chapters, I'm quite sure it will be a good one. But it's long and my daughter is bringing me her copy of The Great Believers on Friday... which I'm dying to read. My plan is to finish the other two books already underway, then start The Great Believers.


In the kitchen//

I've been in the mood for new recipes lately and tried a few last week:

First up was Kung Pao Beef from I Wash You Dry. It's made with ground beef (which I rarely eat) and the entire dinner can be on the table in twenty minutes... so convenient. The recipe calls for diced red pepper, but I added some peas, too - more veggies and more color. My husband and I liked it well enough to eat again (a quick dinner is always a welcome addition to my repertoire!) but our daughter wouldn't even try it. Maybe ground chicken or turkey next time...


Next was a Blackened Salmon with Avocado Goddess Sauce from Half Baked Harvest. My husband doesn't like avocados and I didn't have one on hand anyway, so I just roasted the salmon with garlic and spices. We has leftover roasted potatoes and I also served steamed broccoli. The blackened salmon was good, but next time I'll make it with  the avocado sauce!

For lunches we had Lentil Greek Salad with Dill Sauce from Pinch of Yum. I learned that I'm not a big fan of cold lentils. This would be good with shredded rotisserie chicken or tuna though.


Overall, a mixed bag in the kitchen last week.


Looking ahead//

Our oldest daughter arrives on Friday for a long weekend. We'll celebrate her birthday early next week. I probably won't have an update while she's here, but will post my review of the new RBG biography later this week.


How was your week? What are you reading?




39 comments:

  1. The most recent foodie nonfiction I've read was Give a Girl a Knife, a memoir from a northern MN woman who ended up cooking in some amazing NYC restaurants, then returned to her small town. I really enjoyed it.

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    1. Thanks, Amy... just added it to my goodreads list!

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  2. I wasn't really aware of foodie nonfiction as a genre. I don't do much nonfiction of any kind. Your recipes sound tempting but I don't care for avocados or cold lentils either but I'm always looking for new ground beef recipes. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. Kathy - That beef recipe was quick, easy, and delicious... can't go wrong with that combination!

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  3. Now I'm hungry! LOL.

    I don't usually read foodie books, but now I think I should.

    Enjoy...and stay cozy. I didn't go outside at all this weekend...but I had no good excuse. I just wanted to curl up and read.

    Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I finally did venture out Monday afternoon, but the still isn't typical south Florida weather. Maybe by the weekend it'll get back to normal...

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  4. Here's to more library cards! (Though I'm lucky in that the two I belong to have a system where they return books to each other if the patron messes up, as I often do.) I picked up a book of "medical nonfiction" at the library last week (after hearing about in on NPR) that I breezed through this week -- it was written by a transplant surgeon who traced the history of these procedures. It was a little too much of a wannabee next to some of the great medical writers and his descriptions of operations were a little too graphic but the history was fascinating. I'd still rather read foodie nonfiction. :)

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    1. Audrey - Medical nonfiction is another favorite area. It might be best for my entire family if I stay away from political books for the next year or two ;-)

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  5. All of the food you mentioned sounds good. That Kung Pao dish with ground beef... interesting. I think ground turkey would be even better.

    Right now I am planning, in my head, what to make for Superbowl Sunday. In my head because I keep changing my mind. No need to write out a list until I am all settled with what we want. Everyone has a request for their fave food item. Mine this year is ooey, gooey chicken enchiladas.

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    1. Ti - I'm going to try that Kung Pao dish again with turkey... everyone would eat it then. Our Super Bowl menu won't get finalized until our daughter arrives Friday night. Not sure what she is or isn't eating these days, but I think your chicken enchiladas sound perfect!

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  6. I like lentil salads, so I'll look for that recipe. I have access to a few libraries, which makes life grand! I liked Sous Chef, and I remember thinking Square Meal was interesting, but not necessarily my favorite foodie book. HOpe your weather clears up.

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    1. Beth F - I'm just over halfway through A Square Meal now and it really is interesting, but probably won't go down as a favorite. Still, it's good to be listening to foodie nonfiction again :)

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  7. You absolutely can't have too many library options! I use the library all the time. Saves me money for sure.
    Hope your walk turned out well and you get warmer weather.

    By the way, if you want that Gemma Hardy book I would be happy to mail it to you. If not I will donate to the library. You can email me if you'd like. tmculbertson AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Tina - Thank you for the offer, but go ahead and donate Gemma Hardy to your library. My sister still has my mother's copy and I doubt I'll get to it this winter anyway.

      It's still cooler than normal down here, but nothing compared to what's happening up north. I feel ridiculous even complaining about the weather here! Hope it'll be back to normal soon though...

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    2. I agree, this weather has been crazy. My son is in Omaha and work up to minus 16 with a wind chill of minus 34.
      I will donate the book then. The library doesn't have a copy which is how I ended up finding it at a used book store :-)

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  8. Food looks gorgeous. I think reading a classic slowly may be the way to go, no pressure just picking it up as it works out.

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    1. Kathryn - That approach seems to be working for now. It's taking a long time to finish the book, but I do enjoy it whenever I pick it up :)

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  9. I hope you got your beach walk. I spent my afternoon shoveling snow. That Kung Pao beef looks good. I’ve made Kung Pao chicken a few times. It’s one of my favorite meals. Have a great week!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. AJ - I finally did get out for my walk... it seemed so strange to stay indoors because of weather down here! Still on the cool side today, but hopefully back to normal by the weekend :)

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  10. Hmm he does not like avocados? Uh-oh. My folks grow them in Calif. and they are delicious! Western Canada hit over 50 degrees on Saturday ... so perhaps we were warmer than Florida, go figure!

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    1. Susan - LOL, you just may have been warmer than some parts of Florida! There's no explaining my husband's avocado aversion... makes absolutely no sense to me, but I'm happy to help out when they appear on his plate at a restaurant ;-)

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  11. My SIL was complaining about 60 degree cold FL temps today - hard to have sympathy LOL Hopefully, your temps will spike and you can enjoy warmer walks. Have a great week.

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    1. Diane - I know... and I feel ridiculous even mentioning the "cold" down here. But I did wear my SmartWool socks on Monday ;-)

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  12. Replies
    1. Pussreboots - A Square Meal is not going to be a favorite, but it sure is interesting.

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  13. I hope your rainy weather is long gone by now. We've been so lucky with dry, sunny days. Today we hit 60! First time in a long time. I'm ready to go camping! Have a great week, JoAnn.

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    1. Les - Rain has finally ended and temps should be closer to normal by the weekend, but I'm keeping my SmartWool socks handy for a couple more days! Enjoy your sunshine!

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  14. Glad you liked Sous Chef! The way it was told in the second person was new for me. I have a nonfiction book about an American opening a restaurant in Paris coming up soon!

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    1. Angela - The second person perspective in Sous Chef was so unusual, but it really did add to the pressured feeling on the line. Hope your upcoming foodie read is a good one!

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  15. Your foodie reading/listening looks interesting. My younger son is a chef, so I've heard lots of inside stories. It's a hard life. I'm excited to hear what you think of The Great Believers.

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    1. Susie - I remember you loved The Great Believers, so I'm glad to finally read it... I even have the audio available to make it a read/listen combo. Can't wait!

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  16. You have a great list of interesting books. I have cards with four different libraries. One of mine is in Fairfax, VA. because they accept out of state requests for a small fee. I also am trying one from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh because all PA residents can get a card there. With all of these libraries I can get most books that I can’t get from NetGalley and Edelweiss. Lentils are not well received by Den in our house which is sad because they are so good for you but I found a mix of lentils and other vegetables at Trader Joe’s that I mix with pasta and goat cheese that we love!

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    1. Patty - I've never had so many library cards and love having all the possibilities! Lentils are so good in soup, but having them cold in the salad was not... ended up tossing them, which I hate to do. There are no TJ's here, but I will look to see if Whole Foods has a lentil veggie mix. The pasta dish sounds good, especially with goat cheese!

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  17. Whoopsie...I forgot to tell you what I am reading! Tim Johnston’s The Descent. It’s very good.

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    1. Patty - That sounds like a chilling read. I'm such a wimp!

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  18. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and
    gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the
    shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
    it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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  19. I haven't read any good foodie fiction in a long time. I do have Sous Chef awaiting me. Maybe I'll pull it off the shelf soon.

    I hope you had a lovely time with your daughter.

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  20. Sous Chef! Oh I love foodie books to. I am so getting this one now!

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    1. Sheila - Hope you love it.... the audio version is really well done!

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