Shameful but Still Hungry

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We missed November. Blast. It was the one thing I inwardly vowed, to not leave the blog empty for a month’s entirety. And yet, December, here we sit, fatter, colder and not all that jolly.

Alas! Med. school applications and job fiascos took over our front burners. Sure, we still cooked, baked and ate, but I have a feeling that Krisla and I both looked at our cameras and computers…then back to our food…then to the effort-requiring-technology…then back to our food – and then we kept eating. All through November.

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So, in some way (I hope) a consolation (if not to any passerby-reader, then to me) I will do a sort of re-cap of what my November looked like: what I was eating, dreaming of, reading and listening to. And, not doing at all…this post might as well be called Everything I Wasn’t in November.

Is this an excuse to remember all the stuff I need, and want to follow through with, and otherwise, probably, wouldn’t? Well, who’s counting…

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First and foremost, I GOT ANOTHER KITTEN. It didn’t take much convincing for my dear friend, Michael, to invest in a companion for Luna.

And so I give you: Sir Cosmo Bacon Eugene Achilles Kramer; we call him Cosmo.

Second, I went through a great deal of books last month, but not in the productive sense. I began, leafed through then trailed away from the following:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

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This is, by far, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is concise and elaborate, clever and focused, honest and fair. To me, Pollan’s book on the American Eating Disorder (we may as well call it a corn-fetish in short) is ideal because he multitasks in cracking me up, educating and motivating me (to research the now-even-more-illuminated-flourescent-supermarkets and to look up that word he used in Chapter 2 and 4 that I pretended I understood for ten pages but I really didn’t). Why did I put it down? Laziness. Sheer, disgraceful laziness. But I won’t forget it.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

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I know, I know. Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana. Most people have probably assumed this is another book/movie Siamese twin birthed by the rather handsome and excessively formulaic Nicholas Sparks (incidentally, I kinda have crushes on both those actors…). But seriously, this is one of the better written fictions of our modern (and I mean late 20th to the 21st century modern) time that I’ve stumbled upon. It is so funny, original, and ironically human, alongside a smart plot and beautiful characters. Perhaps it is more relatable to the ladier folks out there. I still vote for this book. I stopped reading it because it was probably my fifth time and I didn’t want to be sad (dun-dun-dun).

Emma by Jane Austen

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Oh Emma! Although Pride & Prejudice will (likely) have my heart the most of all the Austen works, this is a real competitor. Re-reading Jane Austen’s books is an excellent way to realize how ignorant you were when you last read them, chuckle. Just me? Oh, well. Jane Austen is (yes, yes, you’ve heard it before) my literary and personal inspiration. Her sense of humor and great balls of fire are why I finally kick myself into writing every self-depracating day. Emma captures, from what I understand of her and her work, the best aspects of Jane Austen’s wit, extro…spective and introspective. I think I get afraid of commitment when it comes to this book, though, because I want to be able to devote all my attention to it and whenever  I pick it up, I seem overwhelmed with thoughts of what I’m going to wear tomorrow and Has it really been that long since I’ve had a bagel!

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

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This one stuck! Not for any reason to speak of its superiority, per se, but more because I am so lost in daydreams of traveling. I can hardly wait to explore the world more, and Adam Gopnik is keeping me grounded with hilarious, poignant truths about Parisians, New Yorkers, Americans and Europeans. I love it and heartily recommend it. He loves commas, too.

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Third, Thanksgiving happened. I’m sure it happened at your house, too, if you’re American and into turkey. Or maybe you had ham. That’s weird, but whatevs. Which brings me to something I haven’t really wanted to confess (not so much out of shame as I didn’t want to take the time to rant…again, laziness): I have returned to meat.

I can’t handle red meat (as I learned the hard way, though I do give in when I know how much heart was put into the meal and when I can, roughly, guess where it came from). But I have discovered a new love for seafood (generally speaking…I’m not that bold), and I do enjoy a Boarshead turkey sandwich every now and then. My guiding light for this whole meat-thing, though, is feeling good about how the animal felt and/or lived. Without getting too thoughtful about it, I should say. I had lamb for my first time when I went to Fontaine de Vaucluse, then again in Paris (the first time was rough – I couldn’t really feel okay about it, but the second time was, honestly, too delicious).

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And I had salmon, and ham, and chicken, and charcuterie…okay yeah I had a good amount of meat. But here’s the thing, man, (and yes Europe-traveling-Americans tout this a good deal): the Europeans just do their meat right. Really, they do their food right. Of course there are supermarkets and chains and slaughterhouses like most other societies. But down the street from your apartment is a butcher, a seafood merchant, a baker, a fromagerie, a charcuterie, a winery, and you can ask them where it’s all from. If it’s from Algeria three months ago, you’ll know. If it’s from a farm a few kilometers away in northern France, you’ll know. And it’s not because they’re better human beings than us, necessarily; it’s because that’s the way it’s been. Their history, their culture, their lives depend on plants and animals, and how they raise them. The French with their wine and cheese and pasta and bread, the Italians with their pasta and bread…and wine and cheese. It all varies, of course, but they care, and they care consistently.

Whew.

Fourth, I’ve been trying to write. I really have. It’s going pretty swell.

Fifth, I got a job, left a job, then got a new one again. I feel pretty good about it!

Sixth (jeez), Michael and his undecidedly-named-band, Turn Out the Dark, have been recording and I’ve been lucky enough to listen to it. I think they’re freaking great.

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Seventh, Michael’s sister, Jane, visited us from Paris for a month. She and Michael’s mom and grandpa are pretty much a rag-tag team of culinary, life and whiskey wisdom.

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Also, eighth, we had a Black Friday Party! This named confused most of the guests. We didn’t go shopping. We just talked and ate and drank and oh it was grand! I made these pumpkin cupcakes from Joy of Baking and added a lot of cream cheese to the frosting (plus swapped nutmeg for the cloves, as The Cake Merchant recommended). Delicious.

And now! December. I say that like the first two weeks haven’t already passed.

To food! To family! To love!

-Bette Jane

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