Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lavender and books, cooking and other food for thought

More books showed up in my world, this one being impossible to resist




I read it right there at the library, thereby probably proving its title.  Found that as compulsiveness goes, I'm about as bad or good as other people who make art.  But not as neurotic as some.  

One of my art teachers used to warn students that if you are serious about art, you are most probably compulsive, since art takes such effort and focus and energy.  So steer clear of substances when you're not making art.  He said there's a reason a lot of artists are users.  

My compulsions fortunately apply only to making things and using tools.  And Twitter, but that's a recent development.  Anyway, this book is worth a look, but does tend to pile up the anecdotes, possibly to fill more pages, or am I just being cynical..


Then cookbooks, I always check out ones that teach you 1,000 ways to cook chicken, 367 ways to deal with an egg, and so on, just to see what they're actually doing.  And the Five Ingredients one is a bit of a swizz.  They don't create a meal, which for me is more than just the main course (and those look pretty sparse to me, in the pix, too), but I did get a great recipe for fettucine alfredo from it, and recommend it.

Instead of just dressing the cooked fettucine with the butter and parmigian, you take a scoop of pasta water before draining the pasta, simmer it with the butter and cheese, then add in the drained pasta, finally a bit more cheese and butter on top.  It's really good. Also as simple as he promised.

The Austen one was meant as kind of beach reading, and I have to admit, reader, I failed at it.  Just couldn't keep reading.  One of those books that are fun for a while, but don't kind of get anywhere.  I couldn't help wondering if the writer just wanted to be writing, rather than wanting to be writing something specific. 

But there are loads of people without my cranky nature who might really like this, fairly light, fairly literate, reading, so I would say take a look.  I had thought I'd like it as summer stuff that didn't take great mental energy.  But I realized as I went along, that really good writing, Lively, Pym, Wesley, creates the energy that you need to read it and enter their world.  

It's actually harder work to get through this sort of book than theirs.  Middlemarch just picks you up and sweeps you before it.  Which brings us to Joyce...Ulysses, to be exact, which swept me before it about two thirds of the way, then I sort of fell off at the curve in the road.

Then I was doing the Harvesting of the Lavender.  



Some of it anyway, needing to keep some out there blooming because my neighbors love it.  I had planned on making one of those woven wands, but ended up deciding it wasn't for me -- lavender is not very pleasant  to handle,not exactly oily, but a kind of blunt feeling -- so I just made a spray 





and hung it in the downstairs bathroom.  




It's being guarded by a doll I made and a little wooden man from 50s England.  And observed by a little ceramic turtle, gift from Handsome Son when he was about four, shopping with Handsome Partner.

The other thing I realized about trying to make a wand is that I don't like manhandling plant material.  I felt like a bit of a brute, bending stems and starting to weave.  Same way I feel about terraria, too, something supremacist about making plants do what I want.    Not entirely rational, I agree. 

But I have such a fellow feeling for plant life that it just feels wrong.  Not even fond of cutting flowers, I mean the act of doing it, but that may be early childhood conditioning. I remember my Mom who wasn't a fan of cut flowers, quoting George Bernard Shaw saying he liked children but not with their heads cut off, same with flowers!  But I have broken through this taboo with my monthly flowers in the house.   I do prune plants, because it's actually good for them, and in the wild, wind and weather would do it anyway. Same with cutting herbs, which encourages them.



 

1 comment:

dogonart said...

As I was cutting a single Hosta leaf to pair with one flower stem (minimalist display in mind), I found myself mentally apologizing while cutting the leaf from the most inconspicuous part of the plant. Didn't realize I should blame GBS!