Category Archives: books

What is the first rule . . . .

You do not blog while drunk.

Except if you are celebrating your 65th Birthday.

It was an excellent day. Unfortunately, the temperature in Boston has been in the mid 90s for three days and it feels like triple digits and there is an end in site maybe at the end of next week.

But if you postponed your dinner with the person you love the most, your son, till it cools down–that makes it a better Birthday for you. Which is what I did. But I proposed visiting him early this morning about 9:30am at his place and that was awesome.

Now I am reading a book about the war in Afghanistan and drinking champagne at the same time. A bad combination for someone like me who is basically a peaceful person but wants to understand war. Here is something I can understand. According to this book, the Pentagon spends billions of dollars on public relations on the war in  Afghanistan. I am concerned about the men and women who are dying there or coming home wounded. I will never really understand that aspect of war which is the whole reason I try to understand it.

So here is my 65th Birthday picture.

65th bday

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new cook book for me–tried the corn muffin recipe (successfully)

For Mother’s Day my son gave me a new cookbook. Martha’s American Food, A celebration of our nation’s most treasured dishes, from coast to coast. Martha Stewart’s latest cookbook is truly a collection of America’s best and most loved dishes. One recipe after another that brings back feelings of nostalgia, community, euphoria, and more. The photographs are a perfect complement to the recipes. I am not going to review the book here except to say that it is excellent.

Baked goods, my favorite, are well represented in this cookbook. Here is my first treat from Martha’s American Food cookbook–corn muffins. They taste delicious.

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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Irish Raisin Bread
“Irish Soda Bread”

From The Bread Tray by  Louis P. DeGouy, copyright 1944, renewed copyright 1974.

I bought this cookbook in Canada in the mid 70s during the early days of building a cookbook library. I have tried many Irish “soda” bread recipes over the years. I like this one the best. It has the fewest ingredients and is simple and basically foolproof. Photos of the finished bread are featured in my previous blog post.

Oven temp: 350 degrees F.
Baking time: 40 minutes.

2 cups bread flour, sifted (I use all purpose flour also)
1 1/2 teasp baking powder
1/2 generous teasp salt
1/4 teasp baking soda
1/2 cup seedless raisins (or currants), cut (I don’t always cut them)
1 tables caraway seeds (optional)
1 cup buttermilk (about)

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and soda, and sift together over the washed, dried, cut raisins (or currants) and caraway seeds. Blend thoroughly. Stir in enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Turn dough upon a scantily floured board and knead lightly until smooth and not sticky (about a minute). Shape the dough into a round loaf; place in a greased round pan. (I don’t do this. I place it on a flat baking sheet.) With a knife cut a cross on the top and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until loaf is brown and shrinks from sides of pan. Should the loaf be very thick in the center, bake a few minutes longer. Let cool before cutting. The bread should sound hollow when tapped with the knuckles. Tilt on end to cool.

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instant convert

My son gave me my Christmas gift early. A Kindle. I am a dedicated library user.  I have been since my childhood. I love to read. The thought of buying a Kindle had not occurred to me but then my son told me about the partnership between public libraries and Amazon that makes it possible to download library books directly to Kindle, free. I did not really see myself as ever giving up paper books because I love them but . . . . . . I am 57% through Then Again, Diane Keaton’s autobiography.

I had placed Then Again on my library request list for a Kindle copy and was 21st on the waiting list which is common when I am requesting paper books but somehow the lure of an instant download at $12.99 to my kindle was just too seductive. I’ll definitely be able to restrain myself on The Chocolate Covered Mystery where I am also wait-listed at the library for the Kindle version.  It is part of a mystery series I have been reading for years and the author has gotten worse with time. The books basically suck but I am curious about the characters.

If you are wondering about the wait list for an electronic copy of a book, libraries have to purchase licenses for Kindle books. So like books they will have one copy (license) per Kindle book. Hopefully, like books, each branch will have its own license and if the book is really popular there will be multiple licenses.  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY.

I know that I am going to be buying more Kindle books rather than be wait-listed at the library. I love reading books off my Kindle. Reading in bed, which I do every night, is much easier and I read more of the book because of the comfort. I am totally sold on Kindle and I will be taking it everywhere.

I am not going to totally give up on paper and never on public libraries. I have a real dedication to libraries. However, I am an instant gratification type of person and having a new book at my fingertips is awesome.

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