Tag Archives: books

Monday Morning Links

  • Vena Cava has amassed a comprehensive to-do list for LA.  I’m homesick. (Viva Vena Cava)
  • P.S.: Vena Cava’s Fall 2009 collection just hit stores, see the collection (Style.com) and shop (Barneys)
  • UPDATE: how did I miss this?  Am I the last to know about this or what?  Please advise.  (Amazon)
  • Dylan Fareed makes a video of Santa Monica beach, I’m still homesick. (Dylan Fareed)
  • On a separate note: Thankfully, I’m not the only one who is tortured by the issue of pruning lavender. (Gardenweb)
  • It’s peach season, and this looks really good.  (The Kitchen Sink)
  • But it just makes crave a real old-fashioned cobbler, and there’s no one I can think of I trust more on the subject of peach cobbler than Lee Bailey (NPR)

peach4Image from thekitchensinkrecipes.com

I think I’ll just have to make both.


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Perhaps My Favorite Souvenir

I’m not entirely over my vacation.  I miss it–a little.  I bought very little, but I did manage to get myself a few little souvenirs.  This book is one of my favorite things.  It combines flowers and food–what else could be more perfect for me?


Behold, the introduction of Gourmandises en Fleurs (Delicacies in Flowers) (translated by yours truly with help from a few free translation websites)…

If the times have changes, people’s love of beautiful things remains the same.  As cuisine gets lighter, dishes have more moderate flavors, and often when we are surrounded by concrete gardens, we try to cultivate the illusion of nature…

Thus the idea was born to present a collection of complimentary recipes and bouquets.

From small lunches to large galas, create an occasion to host friends.  Give a theme to your receptions.  Taste and imagination alone can bring the heart joy.  In summer, think of refined simplicity and soft colors, or use a bit of eccentricity to accent the fragrances that emit from your kitchen.

By using the charm of flowers, your garden will grace your table with its colors, and accent your menu choices.  Some original and unexpected ideas will give your tables a personal touch–and even provide amusement.  Whether it be the Beaujolais nouveau or basket of apples from your orchard, the beginning of the fishing season or a welcome home, a red dinner, a white dinner, a dinner on the grass… the fanciful possibilities created with flowers, color, and food will make you the envy of all your guests!

The arrangements range from the somewhat ridiculous…


Title of Arrangement: Poisson d’avril (April Fish)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Terrine de saumon au coulis de tomates (Salmon terrine with tomato coulis) (note the goldfish)

to pretty…


Title of Arrangement: Voulez-vous goûter, grand-mère? (Would you like a taste grandmother?)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Mousse aux fruits de la passion (Passion fruit mousse)

to “fanciful”


Title of Arrangement: Symphonie aubergine (Eggplant symphony)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Petits flans d’aubergines (Eggplant flan)

to perhaps a bit out-dated


Title of Arrangement: Joyeux enfants de la Bourgogne! (Happy children of Burgundy)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Poirs au vin (Pears in wine)

It’s taking a lot of restraint to not scan the entire book.  Maybe I’ll have to start publishing one arrangement/recipe pairing per day.  I found a website where the book is available for purchase, for about the same price I paid in the used book store in Biarritz.  I’m dying to try the Magret de canard au miel et au vinaigre de cidre in my kitchen (yes, duck figurines are featured in the accompanying arrangment in Gourmandise en fleurs)!

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Petty Business

If Petty Business is convinced to have sympathy for Norman Mailer, should we too?  I must admit, I can (could) hardly bear him, but I’m a woman.  I never thought about how much power NM had to piss off the universe, but I think he succeeded. Petty Business

Apparently his letters are a good read.  While I’m at it I might subscribe to the electronic version of the New York Review of Books.  In the mean time I had no idea that so much content was available gratis from the NYRB online.  Thanks you PB.  

A link to Mailer’s letters on the NYRB website.


The eyebrows in this pic do make him a bit sympathetic.  Note to self: whenever reading an essay by Norman Mailer keep a picture of him with sympathetic eyebrows near by so you don’t punch your fist through a wall. 


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Books We Like

Apparently the “we” in the “Books We Like” from npr.org includes me.  I’ll be lying back on my chaise longue contemplating my navel with The Paris Reviews Interviews this weekend, focusing mostly on the mysterious character of Ralph Ellison that I’ve been preoccupied with since age 17, in my minds eye. 

Oscar Villalon reviews the book and provides an excerpt here. 


The chaise longue in my minds eye:

img_255119th Century Recamier at Downtown Joe Nye New York via 1st Dibs

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Morning Links

Is Saddleshoos channeling Sontag? Rimpletide

Mark Bittman is out-food-journaling me and I like it. Bitten

The author of Pink Wallpaper is soothing my inauguration fatigue with an update on David Collins work and boy do I love those ikat panels in the bar!  Why am I so ikat-obsessed?  Is ikat over? Pink Wallpaper

Jenny Davidson is teaching 18th century English satire this semester, may I join in? Light Reading



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Update: Underground Undergrads

In regards to:


I erroneously typed that the event held by the authors was January 2, 2009. 

The event is today Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 2PM at Laney College in the Library Browsing Area on the Main Floor and at 4:15PM in room 401 on the 4th floor of the Student Center.

Should be an interesting afternoon.

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Recommended Reading

Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students, and Their High School

Samuel Freedman writes beautifully about the experience of high school students at Seward Park on the Lower East Side in the late 1980’s.  This book is fabulous for understanding the lives of people different from yourself through deep and thoughtful reporting and narrative.  It will reawaken your belief in urban public schools, or perhaps awaken that belief for the first time.

Samuel Freedman is currently a professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Link to Amazon to buy Small Victories.

Link to Samuel Freedman’s website.

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We Have A Lot Of Work To Do

You can’t all drop everything you are doing right now and become a teacher.

BUT you CAN and you MUST wake up tomorrow morning and pledge to do one thing, one small thing, for a needy public school.  


The children in our needy public schools are the children who are left behind, left behind enemy lines, not presented with opportunities, fail to learn, and end up the victims of our prison industrial complex.  This is the condition that perpetuates racism and injustice in our society.  

What you can do: 

…if you have $: http://www.donorschoose.org/homepage/main.html ANY amount is welcome.  $5 can help teachers fund projects and opportunities often beyond the reach of our public school budgets. 

…if you have time: walk down to your local public school and offer to volunteer: tutor, provide admin help, offer to speak to kids about your job.  Children need to see what is beyond the classroom walls and too often aren’t given the opportunity. If you need ideas, contact Saddleshoos, or visit http://www.idealist.org/ I typed in “San Francisco, School” and came up with dozens of opportunities.

Do it for a Rockridge Life.  There’s a complimentary copy of Dewey’s Experience and Education in it for the first reader who takes action.

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I’m Rarely Jealous

But Mrs. Blandings Flair Annual find has me a little on the green side.

I was lucky enough to be given several original issues of Flair back in 1999 when I was working the desk at Hollyhock.  A kind client thought it was darling that a teenager shop girl thought Flair was “it” and brought in a couple watermarked copies from her attic for me. 

But this Flair Annual has my vintage copies beat.

Here’s an image of the open book:

Some amazing garden illustrations:

and an owl with a butterfly for a face:

I just love that owl.  It’s like kitsch crossed with fashion crossed with botanicals.  LOVE IT.

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“We Must Cultivate Our Garden.” Candide

Last night at dinner with friends we were talking about how the crash that caused the Great Depression actually took two years to fully play out and cause dire effects to peoples’ lives.  Who knows what eight years of Bush, and the events of the last month will have in the coming months and years on our economy.  Scary to think.

Let us look to Voltaire’s Candide, and the metaphor of the garden.  In answer to Pangloss’ optimism, Candide declares at the end that “we must cultivate our garden.”  Critics argue that Voltaire advocates pessimism; that Candide’s ambiguous declaration was a repudiation of Pangloss, and that isolation on the farm was a rejection of society and represented a loss of hope in mankind.  

I don’t think Candide was all that pessimistic, and often I think about this quote as a dictum on how to live life.  I read it as every individuals’ responsibility to themselves and their livelihood.  It is rather isolationist, which could be viewed as pessimism.  It certainly doesn’t align with the side of me devoted to public service.  On the other hand I often fantasize about returning to some kind of agrarian ideal, alone on the land and sustaining myself free from capitalism and the free market.  

But in light of my literal reading of the text, the stock market, and our increasingly meaningless dollars, I continue to commit myself to the cultivation of my garden.  A casual hobby may increase my chances for survival one of these dark days.  I don’t know about you, but I’m stockpiling seeds.  

My carrots are finally maturing.  Very exciting.  Carrots take a long time.

This is very exciting too, my lettuces just re-grew on their own.  No new seeding required.  New growth of fresh beautiful leaves.  So tasty.


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