Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Apple Pie

Here on the east coast we've been bracing for Hurricane Sandy. I think we've got all the necessary supplies for bad weather: bottled water, cans of tuna, rolls of duct tape, flashlights and extra batteries, candles and matches, extra Cheerios, red wine, and, of course, homemade apple pie.

For the past month I've been imagining a blog post entitled "Suck it, CSA!" more often after I've been unusually successful at cooking and eating everything in the weekly CSA box. It's been a lot of collard greens, kale, green beans, butter beans, cabbage (geez, it's been a lot of cabbage), asian pears, and apples. Every week there are different apples in that box. They are generally very tasty--even the Red Delicious, a variety I'd never buy in the store because they are pretty fecking boring, as apples go. As I am the only raw apple eater in the house, the apples have piled up.

 So last night I put on my brave pants and made a pie. I used this recipe for both the pate brisee and filling.

I should admit that I have not made a pie crust from scratch in many MANY years. While I am not a bad baker, pie crusts were never my thing. Back in Seattle, I had three good friends who took care of all my homemade pie crust needs. Now that they're 3,500 miles away, I have to do it myself. Sniff. 

It was labor intensive. It was time consuming. It was fecking worth it. Oh FLAKEY flakeness. Oh complex, inviting, warm filling. Oh $7.89-a-carton Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream on top.

Hurricane Tableau: Irony wine, apple pie, and pistols, just in case
Here, by the way, is my child in her cabbage leaf hat, which she thinks is hilarious. How I wish that kid would eat some of the things I cook from my weekly CSA, instead of just wearing it all.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pure Gold

Preliminary results from tonight's rushed research session conducted at another local university's better-stocked library (God bless them for having nineteenth-century British newspaper databases!):
HARPOCRATES.—Young and pure love is as bashful as bashful can be. Its language is sighs, furtive glances, blushes, and strange, but warm heart-flutterings. It is intuitive, and needs no interpreter. Love on; you are bathed in sunshine, if you only knew it. When the mystic time comes, your tongue will be loosened, and gallop fast enough.
J. N. solicits our advice upon a delicate subject. She says, a widower, about sixty, has paid his addresses to her for some time. He has no incumbrance, but has some cash. Therefore she asks, whether it would be an imprudent match, as she is but six-and-twenty, and considered handsome. Has our fair correspondent any other lover nearer her own age? And if she has not, does she entertain a suitable affection for the old gentleman? If she can answer these two plain questions satisfactorily to herself, and her ancient bean is of good moral character, we don’t see any very dreadful objection to the match. In these economizing days, competence with an old husband is preferable to poverty with a young one. But we must warn her that old husbands are horridly jealous of young wives, and apt to play the tyrant on every trivial occasion. In matrimony all violent disparities are avenged some way or another. Still we do not pronounce against the match. Men are scarce, women plentiful; and no woman ought to refuse an offer at all decent and prudent.

I think the clear disparity of tone is what I love most about these entries in the Notices to Correspondents section of an 1852 issue of the London Journal. To the dude, the editor is like, "keep cool and dulcet locution will follow; the girl is destined to comply" To the gal, the editor is like, "take the old guy--your choices are slim as it is."

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Courtesy of Wayne Booth's ideas about Tristram Shandy circa 1952, I just realized that matrimonial advertisements must be discussed as a comic genre with a recognizable set of literary devices. Because every time I present my research on "the mats" (as I call them), people find it quite funny. At VSAWC last spring, an audience member asked if I'd ever worked as a stand-up. Perhaps I should quit my day job. More on this later--my conference paper for Victorians Institute percolates.

Mat's many breakthroughs? In one short period of time she's learned how to say no, and to walk away from me. This coincides with a refusal to nurse--and we were down to once a day, first thing in the morning, combined with major family snuggle time. The last time I nursed her was about a week ago. I miss it. But I can be only a little sad about this: my girl has discovered independence. She is hell bent on being the boss of herself, and I can't blame her. In fact I'll help her. She's mini-me but she's Big-Her.

The usual view of the kid these days...
Good thing that fence was there, or we might have lost her!