I appreciated that the article made the point that a lot of kids "diagnosed" with ADHD could simply have an underdeveloped executive function, which makes complete sense. They aren't actually being hyper...they only lack the skills to self-regulate. And there was also the interesting section at the end that talked about Wii's role in executive function: while it does get kids moving and may help with childhood obesity, it doesn't encourage executive function.
What I found frustrating was that, even with an innovative program like the one discussed in the article, the end result - how the kids "perform" - is still a major focus. I'm just irked in general at the mentality that kids are "products" of their parents, their upbringing, their generation, and we measure their "performance" in order to make us adults seem productive and successful. Ugh. I'm tired of the whole thing.
And reading the article made me wish I was working directly with kids again: I would love to play the "Freeze" game with them! What a fun thing to work into a program!
Amateur Gourmet wasn’t lying – this really is the simplest dang recipe in the world to make. The AG says you need one onion, one stalk of celery, one carrot, and a knob of ginger. It looked like too little to me so I added another carrot and another stalk of celery. Even then, I could have added more veggies – I’m always a fan of more fresh ginger. The point is that this recipe is ideal for improvisation, which is always a plus in my mind. I didn’t have the lemongrass, which wasn’t missed at all, and I also didn’t have “five spice powder.” Instead, I used the “Thai seasoning” I had on hand and that worked brilliantly. You simmer all the vegetables, put the duck on top of them, and into the oven for 2 hours. Done. That simple, really. And WOW it tasted perfect.
The only problem was that I got my worst kitchen burn to date making this one. I used my stainless steel skillet so I could go from stovetop to oven without any problems, and I pulled the skillet out of the oven with my oven mitt and placed it on the stovetop. Then I put the oven mitt back in the drawer. But I’m so used to grabbing pans on the stove that I went to pick up the skillet with my bare hand, lifted it up, and received burning skin in return. Adam sprayed a ton of Bactine anti-burn stuff on my hand, I ran my hand under cold water, and I said every swear word in the book through clenched teeth. And I spent our entire meal with an ice pack on my hand to stop the throbbing. So not fun. But I don’t know – is it completely nuts that I sort of take pride in these moments? Like it’s a battle scar. It means I’m a serious cook because, you know, I’ve sustained injuries. See? Look, how hard-core I am! Yeah, I even got blisters. Rad, right?
And as if this amazing meal wasn’t enough, I was able to skim off all the rendered duck fat and keep it in the fridge for those roasted potatoes I had been dying to make. I roasted some
* God, I loathe coming up with titles for my blog posts. I'm going to start naming them like Friends episodes, i.e. "The One about French Milk" or the "The One about the Random House Summer 2008 preview."
* God, I loathe coming up with titles for my blog posts. I'm going to start naming them like Friends episodes, i.e. "The One about French Milk" or the "The One about the Random House Summer 2008 preview."
So I get the fish, wrapped up in paper and sitting in a Styrofoam tray, from the refrigerator. The first thing I notice is that there’s a ridiculous amount of fish for just me and Adam. Fresh Direct screwed up and gave me 2 lbs. rather than 1 lb. So the fish ended up costing me $30. No biggie – I’ll just freeze half of it. I unwrap it all and think to myself that the filets are awfully thin for monkfish; they didn't seem to have monkfish's typically firm texture or pink color. But I push the thought aside and cook it, searing it for one minute on each side, as the recipe dictates. And the fish is nearly fully cooked and just falls apart on me as I transfer it to a plate. What??? Okay, monkfish, the “poor man’s lobster”, most definitely does not behave that way. It should not have flaked apart like that. Hmmm…I don’t think this is monkfish. Needless to say, the taste and texture confirmed it. I’m all irritated with Fresh Direct but, really, it’s my own fault. This is what laziness about my food will get me: really expensive monkfish-that’s-really-more-like-cod. My only remaining issue is whether Fresh Direct knowingly jacked me (twice!) or if this was an honest mistake*.
The meal ended up not being too bad, but the flavors and textures were rather odd together. The recipe says that the fish and mushrooms can be served over rice, steamed potatoes, or shell pasta. I chose to serve the mushrooms and non-monkfish over rice, but portabellas have such a deep, earthbound flavor that they didn’t mesh well with the rice – it would have been more successful over steamed fingerlings. The non-monkfish didn’t help – it’s extremely light, flaky texture and flavor were a poor match with the portabellas. Oyster mushrooms would have been nice with the cod-like fish.
You know, as a full-time working parent, I need to take shortcuts while cooking on the weekdays. But now I know that taking a shortcut in the selection of my ingredients is not the way to go. Especially for such a fresh, simple recipe. I was left feeling like a schmuck for making such a novice mistake. Kids, don’t try this at home.
* Epilogue: Adam emailed Fresh Direct and they refunded us the full $30.00 for the non-monkfish.
I also got a comment on MySpace from a friend of mine (hi, Amy!), beckoning me to the CIA campus (Culinary Institute of America) in Napa – she told me she went there for an open house…but gave me no more information than that (that’s right, Amy, I’m calling you out)! I know I have an unrealistic, idyllic vision in my head of how that all goes…nevertheless, California is totally calling me right now. I want to go to the CIA with Amy where, in my head, we leisurely learn how to cook from gentle, passionate, earthy chefs. Drinking a glass of wine in class, of course. Then I open my own cheese shop where you can also find some locally made breads, carefully selected cookbooks, and local olive oil and wines that will complement the cheeses. Because I’m guessing there probably isn’t a shop like that in Napa, right? Right? And I’ll have a house with some property – because those are easy to come by in Napa too – and I’ll have a small herb garden and some grapevines. You know, something like that.
Don’t mind me – it’s just the 20-degree weather talking.
One of the first books I got excited about was presented by the Golden House group: The Big Tidy-Up by Norah Smaridge. It was published in 1970 – this is a reissue – and I’m not familiar at all with the original. But this just looks darling. (Note: the endpapers they showed us for the book were fantastic) 5.13.08
This looks insanely promising, and it’s called Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye. A colleague of mine started it and wasn’t terribly happy with it…but also claimed that she may have just been feeling grumpy that day. So the verdict is still out. Nevertheless, I think you could put it on display and it’ll fly off the shelves based on the name and cover alone. 7.22.08
The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy has a cool cover and the editors described it as “Roald Dahl meets Monty Python.” Could be cool. 8.12.08
The editors also talked about the reissue of Sweet Valley High, a well-covered topic on this blog. Needless to say, lots of people cheering in the room about this one (someone even yelled "Elizabeth and Jessica forever!" when the book was announced)! 4.22.08
For you Giselle Potter fans out there, Schwartz and Wade promoted their book, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, illustrated by…you know…Giselle Potter. The trouble is that I’ve never been a fan of her work. It’s not that I don’t like it…it’s just…meh. And her faces remind me of all those Middle Ages paintings where the babies have the faces of grown men. But that’s just me. 5.13.08
Yay! Lenore Look, author of the Ruby Lu series, has a chapter book coming out for boys: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things. It’s next in my stack of galleys to read. Can’t wait! 7.8.08
Meghan McCarthy is doing astronauts this time in Astronaut Handbook. I received the F&Gs and my initial impression is that it’s really fantastic. Especially as we see the space program being phased out, it’s good to see a book that will capture kids’ imagination and encourage them to dream about being astronauts. A few more years and this book might seem more nostalgic and, perhaps, old-fashioned. But it’s just right for now. 6.10.08
The Penderwicks are back in Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. I feel like I’m the last librarian to not have read the first book! Nevertheless, I guessed that most of you would be happy to hear about this so here it is. 4.8.08
And, once again, my love of food and youth literature collide in the form of two books: A La Carte by Tanita Davis and High Dive by Tammar Stein. In A La Carte, an African-American, vegetarian teenager dreams of having her own cooking show. There are recipes at the end of each chapter. In High Dive, Arden travels around Europe, taking in all the culinary pleasures. Naturally, I have both books at the top of my huge galley pile – you can imagine how stoked I am. A La Carte - 6.10.08, High Dive - 6.10.08
Last, Wendelin Van Draanen was the guest, promoting her upcoming non-Sammy Keyes book, Confessions of a Serial Kisser. Wendelin was a complete treat and she table-hopped while we ate lunch…meaning that I was able to be a bit of an arse and tell her how much Sammy Keyes reminds me of my own daughter, blah, blah, blah. God, just don’t let me be anywhere near authors. There are two authors I have never been a jerk around: Peter Sís (because I had no idea who he was until 45 minutes into the conversation – which is why everyone should where name tags at the damn conferences) and Patricia MacLachlan (because she’s so down-to-earth, she wouldn’t have stood for any fussing, and my daughter fell in love with her). Except for those two, I’m an idiot. Serial Kisser - 5.13.08
And on another culinary note, marketing extraordinaire Tracy Lerner passed around really pretty iced cookies while we were talking with Wendelin. Naturally, they were heart-shaped.
Note: Copyright stuff baffles me to no end. Can anyone tell me if I'm breaking copyright laws here by posting the pictures of the book covers??? God, I hope not.
Thanks to Carlie over at A Chair, A Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy for the heads-up...and for sharing the geekdom.
I’ve been wanting to talk for days about Educating Alice’s post about Christo and Jeanne Claude’s The Gates in
I was still living in
Truly, I can’t put my finger on why I feel so inspired by Monica’s story and her photos. Perhaps it’s because I just finished ranting about the deprofessionalization of libraries. Perhaps because I’m wintered out. Perhaps it’s because I feel like my daughter’s homework consists mainly of drilling her in “math facts” and leveled reading. Perhaps because it reminded that I wasn’t looking through the eyes of a child enough.
The glorious thing, though, is that sometimes even New Yorkers – and, especially, the children growing up here – can be inspired by bright swaths of orange in the middle of a gray winter. I can hardly wait to read Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Christo and Jeanne Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond!
Thanks to Monica at Educating Alice!
Walter Minkel, over at The Monkey Speaks, has an alarming post up right now.
This, of course, is part of a reorganization to save the flailing budget of the city. The library director, Phyllis Christenson is quoted in the Wausau Daily Herald as saying, “I would rather keep people on staff at a lower pay than fire somebody.” Well, dur! Once again, this is an example of library upper management coming to a half-assed decision because they’re afraid to make the difficult choice and have the difficult conversation. Never mind that you’ll have people on your staff who are undervalued and demoted so you have to guess that the morale at the Marathon County Library System is swell, right? Right? Sheesh. Not to mention that Christenson also states this reason for the reorg: “Librarians today do less complex work, she said -- calling for pay adjustments and more technological assistance.” Whoa. That smells like a cop-out to me. A big, ol’ stinky one. I have seen nothing but evidence to the contrary in my own day-to-day job. Nevertheless, library science/information science programs nationwide should pay attention – if library directors are seeing our work as relevant, then Master’s programs will need to double-time to make sure that they’re producing librarians well-versed in all things relevant to libraries today…like how to be a manager or a director.
I can only hope that this is not going to be a trend elsewhere in the country. I can only hope that this is just the misguided attempts of some
For an alternate perspective, check out the Annoyed Librarian's post about this.
So I felt like I had a bit of a respite when I bought the NYT yesterday. Right there on the Dining section front page was a large, bright photo of fresh milk, butter, ice cream, and yogurt. Aaaah. Thank goodness there are so many small dairies in the NY area! As it is, I already get nearly all our dairy products from Ronnybrook. Nevertheless, I hope to try some of the others listed soon.
There was a small article about medlar preserves from
There has been a lot of press lately about Kim Sunée’s book, Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home, and the NYT has an interview with her this week. I actually received the ARC of this book from my marketing friend at Hachette, but I haven’t gotten more than 20 pages deep. I found Sunée to be a very detached narrator, as if she was constantly holding something back, as if she constantly had her guard up. But I’ll have to give it another try after reading the article. (Note: since I wasn’t into it, I passed the ARC on to my mother-in-law. Last I checked, she was also having trouble really connecting with the book.)
That was about it. Winter is yucky and I’m tired of my neverending cold. Blah.
A young 22-year-old woman, Lucy, and her mother decide to take a month-long trip to
I thoroughly enjoyed this, and Lucy Knisley really grasps the sense of place. Truly, reading this does make you wish you were in
That’s not to say that the book doesn’t have its problems, and I’m wondering if any of these will be addressed once Simon and Schuster reissues the book this year. First, one doesn’t really get a sense of Lucy’s relationship with her mother. The back of the book makes some mention of their “shifting relationship” as Lucy faces post-college life and her mother approaches 50…but I really got no sense of conflict or tension at all. Lucy makes references to conflicts with her boyfriend, but the reader never finds out what’s going on there. It didn’t bother me so much, but there really wasn’t a traditional story arc (or, one could argue, a story at all). They go to
Overall, French Milk is a choice read for any teenage Francophile...or, in my case, any armchair-traveling, young-adult-book-loving, grown-up Francophile.
Lucy's website, Stop Paying Attention
Deadlines at work
Deadlines from SLJ
Parents in town from Cali
So you're all (all 10 of you, anyway) going to need to wait just a little bit longer for proper posts. But in the meantime, feast your eyes on this from last week's NYT Dining section:
Fabulous, no? Stay tuned...
A Grace is an extreme skill that someone is blessed with, and those who have one of these skills are called Gracelings – you can tell who is Graced by their different colored eyes. Katsa can kill a man with her bare hands and is sent out by her uncle, the king, to torture those who have wronged him. To undo the evil deeds of her uncle and the other kings of the six surrounding kingdoms, Katsa forms a Council. When a prince from a nearby kingdom is kidnapped, Katsa and her Council must rescue him and find out who was behind the kidnapping. Needless to say, the one behind the abduction is not who they expected and they encounter a Graceling that could destroy them all.
The premise of this book is fascinating – you can be endlessly entertained by people with superhuman powers: a Grace that allows you to swim like a fish! A Grace that allows you to read minds! A Grace that allows you to see approaching storms! And it’s not very often that I’m compelled enough to read a book in nearly one sitting - I was completely sucked into the story. That said, there were definitely some slow parts that could have used some tighter editing (think Harry Potter and the Interminable Camping Trip). Also, this book may be more adult…but with very strong YA crossover possibilities: when a book refers to the main character taking a “lover”, I tend to think that pushes it to adult. I don’t recall the ages of the main characters being mentioned, but I did get the distinct impression they were grown adults. But teens will still love this, and it should definitely be marketed to them. This should be enormously popular…though I’ll hold off final judgment until I see the final cover, of course. It all hinges on the cover, doesn’t it?
I did finally encounter Princess Bitterblue…and Ellen’s Cosmo-style quiz was right on with that description.
Note: to recap, the pub date for Graceling isn’t until October 2008 (damn) and I only read the ARC so the story can still change from here…and I didn’t see the final cover (double damn).
Cue college and I fell in love with and married a huge TMBG fan.
Now I have a kid who watches the Disney Channel where it’s impossible not to hear They Might Be Giants.
So you can probably guess what happened: 18 years later, after making fun of April, I’m a dedicated fan of the band. Check out Zooglobble’s interview with TBMG member John Flansburgh as they chat about the new kids’ album, Here Come the 123s.
** Publishers Weekly has the scoop on the joint book tour with Shannon Hale and Libba Bray, and I just have to ask: are there two authors more fun than these two? I don’t think so. I just want to be best friends with them. (Thanks to PW for the photo!)
And I’m consciously not giving you any more information about the book because I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that gives everything away and causes the publisher to stop giving out ARCs. Without this ARC, I’d be reading the book 7 months from now and, thank you, I’d rather be reading it now. So mum’s the word.
See, I was on a mission: to buy a non-Food Network cookbook. I have cookbooks by Rachael, Ina, Michael (Chiarello),
So I can’t make anything from my new cookbook until Wednesday this week: I begin my French class at NYU on Monday and the husband is taking a class of his own on Tuesday. So we’re going to have to pull out the old warhorses at the beginning of the week: antipasti on Monday and poached eggs with creamy polenta on Tuesday. But come Wednesday…well, let’s just say you’re probably all going to want to come to my apartment for dinner. I’m just sayin’…
Wednesday: brioche with mushrooms/brioche aux champignons, salad with walnuts/salade aux noix
Thursday: cauliflower soup/soupe au chou-fleur
Friday: chicken breasts with
* How telling that every single one of these chefs has a glossy, pretty website of their own!
** And this is actually Joanne Harris' second cookbook. The first one was The French Kitchen and it actually has a recipe for " Vianne's Spiced Hot Chocolate" from the movie, Chocolat. I know I spent my previous post practically bragging about my lack of a sweet tooth, but I think I have to make this hot chocolate at some point. How could I not???
So, all that said, I still love looking at baking cookbooks and dogearing the desserts in all my cookbooks. And that goes for blogs lately, as well. Becks and Posh made some lovely, delicate “Jasmine Dragon Pearl Tea Cookies” that look divine. This is a dessert I can get on board with: crisp, light, subtle, only moderately sweet. I’m sooo tempted to make them. But can I use some other tea? I’ve got English Breakfast,
Likewise, Cream Puffs in Venice is having a whole month of chocolate-themed posts so there’s just endless amounts of mouth-watering and eye candy on display over there. I will readily admit, though, that I’ll most likely never make this recipe – I would never make chocolate for myself when I get the most pleasure out of a small
The recipe is from Maxine Clark's Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Lovers. Thanks to Cream Puffs in
I've got more tidbits to share, but the husband is golfing in NC right now so it's just the kiddo and me all weekend (who declared about the chocolate mousse picture: "Wow! Let's make that!"). Which means she's challenging me to a game of Uno as I type this. Gotta go show her who's the champion.
Lest I digress waaaaay too much, I’d love to chat about what I’m reading. I’m in one of my schizo moods where I’m reading a little bit of everything, nothing is exciting me too much (or I’m getting excited about everything), and I can’t make up my mind.
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen by Wendelin Van Draanen: I have to admit that this is my first Sammy Keyes book…and I’ll admit that I’m wondering what took me so long! I’m totally loving this. This is the perfect antidote to all those girly-girl books out there – which have their place too, of course – because Sammy just kicks butt. From wrestling at Slammin’ Dave’s to beating up the Queen Bee (deservedly), I’m having a blast reading it. Especially since I predict my 6-year-old daughter is a Sammy in the making. I’m two-thirds through and I’ll probably pick up another one when I’m done.
Jellaby by Kean Soo: I just got a review copy sent to me and I immediately picked it up because I had heard so many great things about it. I’m 35 pages in and I’m just charmed beyond belief.
A History of Western Art: From Prehistory to the 20th Century by Antony Mason. I received this from SLJ about a month ago to review it. And it’s taking me that long to get through it. It’s fascinating and I’m really enjoying it (I’m a frustrated art history lover), but it’s very dense and very browser-friendly so I keep sitting down, reading about 4 pages, and then moving on (it's taking me about 30 minutes to get through only 4 pages because there is just sooo much to look at!). The photographs and reproductions are wonderful quality.
Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson: It’s my newest cookbook and I’m loving it so far. When she says “express”, she means it. The meals I’ve made so far (mustard pork chops, Mexican scrambled eggs, quesadillas, et al) have been delicious and way easy. Not to mention that I love all the gorgeous photos. I will say, though, that I made the gnocchi with the mustard pork chops and I really screwed it up. I’ve never made gnocchi before – how do you keep them from turning into a globby mess???
I hope you voted, if you could, today and huzzah to the Giants for ensuring that the Patriots didn't get their perfect season (and proving - again! - that Tom Brady is useless without Adam Vinatieri)...And I digress again...