Thursday, December 20, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
A Friday Night Moment
One of the most charming and ubiquitous decorating trends in this part of New Jersey (and in many parts of eastern Pennsylvania, I've noticed) is the use of electric candles in the front windows. We break them out around Thanksgiving in our neighborhood and put them away after New Year's and for six weeks or so I feel like I live in a magical village from another century. (Okay, so maybe I'm being slightly hyperbolic but I'm a writer. I can't help myself.)
Anyway, I was futzing around with the candles in our living room window earlier this evening and I was having trouble making one of them stand up the way I wanted it to. I was working up a pretty good head of extremely annoyed steam when I finally decided to step outside, breathe some of the cool crisp almost-winter air, and take a look at the window from a different perspective.
It was almost dark. The sky was a beautiful shade of silvered mauve with a curved slice of moon rising overhead. I could smell woodsmoke from our neighbors' chimneys. Somewhere in the distance a train whistle sounded and I heard the unmistakable cries of a flock of geese heading homeward. I looked up and waited and seconds later was rewarded by the sight of over fifty Canada geese in a giant V formation heading toward the field a few blocks away. I held my breath as the formation shifted as they flew, one giant V turned into three smaller Vs, then an elongated wing shape, then melding seamlessly back into the original configuration, honking loudly the whole time.
I don't know what it was: the season, the beauty of the night, the fact that I get extremely emotional when I'm writing, but I started to cry. Nothing major. No shoulder-wracking sobs. Just a stream of tears I couldn't quite stop. I'm a kid from Queens whose bedroom window looked out on the railroad tracks forty feet away and I still can't believe I'm living a life that includes flocks of geese overhead, and rabbits in my back yard, and deer peering in my dining room window.
Lucky doesn't begin to cover it.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Garlic and Sapphires - Ruth Reichl
Garlic and Sapphires is Ruth Reichl's third memoir. This one is focused on her time as food critic for the New York Times and it's funny, fascinating, and compulsively readable.
True foodies don't think like the rest of us and they especially don't eat like us. Food, both preparation and eating, is a religious experience. Have you ever heard an oenophile describe a wine? An oenophile will taste butterscotch and raisins and a hint of cherry while the rest of us will wince and say, "Vinegar!" Reading Reichl's description of a truffle melting on her tongue delighted both the writer and the food lover in me.
The thing about Reichl is it's never just about food. She has a well-honed wit and a keen eye for the human condition and she never fails to make you stop and think about the world and your place in it. I loved Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples and am delighted to say that Garlic and Sapphires is every bit as wonderful. I can't wait to read about her Gourmet Magazine years.