Random things cooked this week, some old, some new:
Plentiful and cheap tomatoes mean that I do this a lot.
The twist that I’ve added this year is to do the initial roasting in the evening and then leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight.
I had “roasted tomatoes” as part of an antipasto in a fancy-shmancy restaurant in these parts a couple of weeks ago , and I tell you they had nothing on mine. They seriously just tasted like stewed tomatoes…out of a can, even.
Made Spanish Romesco sauce (or at least this version of it) the other day – a new thing for me, and really good. I used roasted red peppers that I’d done myself. I probably won’t do anything fancy with it – I’ll just use it as a spread/dip for myself.
And pizza. Always pizza. It’s nine o’clock at night, and I think, “I really don’t want to make pizza dough right now…”
But then I do, dragging out the mixer and the flour, pulling it all together and then pulling it apart into six firm little discs of dough, and then the next day at noon I’m so glad I did because I can answer the question “What’s for lunch?” in a very exciting way.
To balance out the food, the past couple of week’s exercise podcasts have included some In Our Times that are worth mentioning not only because of their quality, but because they took religion seriously and without the usual American narrative voice which reflexively dismisses religious conviction and the spiritual dimension of human life.
One was on the 17th century scientist Robert Boyle, often regarded as one of the fathers of modern chemistry and, like most of his contemporaries, a very religious man. It was interesting to me that Melvin Bragg kept pushing the question of the connection between Boyle’s faith and his scientific pursuit, which the panel generally affirmed, but not specifically enough for Bragg until one of them finally made the fascinating connection between Boyle’s interest in casuitry and self-examination and his scientific method. Really interesting – and observations made by Michael Hunter on the connections between Boyle’s “practical religious life and practical scientific life,” the author of a book called Boyle: Between God and Science.…so that makes sense.
The program on the Bluestockings – a salon-type movement among British women - also took for granted these women’s religiosity – although I wish it had gone a bit more into it.
There’s another BBC4 show called The Food Programme – which had a recent episode on “Holy Food” – it wasn’t the most thorough treatment of the very rich subject of the connection between monasteries and food and drink, but it was good for what it was. One of the subjects interviewed was Madeleine Scherb, the author of a book called A Taste of Heaven and a blog called The Hungry Pilgrim.
This week’s In Our Time is on Hildegard of Bingen – haven’t listened yet, but I’m trusting the tradition of decent treatment of religion will continue….
This week I read Penelope Lively’s Judgment Day which I picked up for ten cents at a library book sale. It had its moments, but as a whole was too episodic and without much depth. I’m continuing to read Collins’ No Name, which astonishes me because I read and read and read and the Kindle Ticker is telling me that I’ve still only made it through twenty percent of the thing. It must be a thousand pages long. But it’s a good, melodramatic, 19th century beach read, and although there’s no beach nearby right now, I’m enjoying it.
This is Rocky.
Yes, me – the person who never had a pet as a child and has only allowed thirty years’ worth of children to own 1) some hamsters for a couple of months and 2) some fish for about the same amount of time – for some reason got all crazy and bought a snake at a reptile show.
My youngest is reptile-mad, we were at a reptile show, and so the next day we went back and bought Rocky. We won’t be traveling as much as we have been over the next year, and besides, snakes can go a week (they say) by themselves…
I’d say he even has sort of a nice face, don’t you think?
I have no problem with snakes and I’m surprised to say that so far, he seems low-maintenance.
It’s kind of crazy, though. When you see snakes in the wild, the pattern is for both you and the snake to scoot, both as fast as you can. These ball pythons are relaxed creatures. They loll around, they curl and climb, but never too fast, and yes, we may be crazy but it does seem that Rocky has a special affection for his keeper. Well, not affection. But a comfort level that’s readily apparent.
It’s ironic, though, that his brother and I read this Ambrose Bierce story, “The Man and the Snake,” earlier this year. I admit I think about it sometimes when Rocky’s snaking around….
(Was the photo a “trigger” for anyone? Sorry. I worked for a principal once who had such a morbid fear of spiders and snakes she had to clip together pages of books that had pictures of either so she wouldn’t accidentally open up to them. She was a science teacher, so this was a bit of a challenge for her.)
(The name “Rocky” happened because they saw the movie just a couple of days before the snake came into our house, and it just seemed right.)
Rectify continues to absorb. As with a novel, it’s hard to pass judgment this soon – being only two chapters in. But what I’m seeing so far is the continued weaving of complex themes of culpability, honesty and consequences as well as that intriguing and fairly accurate depiction of an individual’s spiritual life – in this case, Daniel’s sister-in-law, Tawney. In one stressful, but well-done and sensitive scene she confesses and works through her confusion about spiritual and emotional motivations. Another scene depicts a women’s small group – meeting outdoors around a fire pit – I do wonder about Georgia evangelicals breaking open the wine during small group, but I’ll just assume that they’re part of a church where the pastor sports jeans, hipster glasses and a soul patch and we’re good.
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