A little Madness in the Spring

Ah, Spring. Yes indeed. I realize that for some of you in more unforgiving temperate zones, the first official day of spring is a rather sad joke, the same way the "first day of autumn" makes those of us down here think "Yes, I suppose it was slightly under 100 degrees today." So I shall endeavor to enjoy the springiness on your behalf, although to be honest I generally view it as a depressing harbinger of the Endless Furnace Days to come. It means that bugs are back, as are my avian vent-dwelling friends. It calls to mind the word "itchy." Emily Dickinson wrote a lot of poems about spring.

Best bury ourselves in a book project and try to ignore the swiftly tilting planet beneath us, is what I always say. The Accidental Tourist! It was my favorite so far, although the spectre of the murdered-child-premise has outlived the actual reading of the book for me, as expected. If you haven't read or seen it, you will probably not believe me when I say that having been so gruesomely set up, this book goes on to be very funny and engaging. I really, really loved the obsessive-compulsive semi-helplessness of all the Leary brothers, as I could see myself similarly trying and failing to establish order and efficiency were I suddenly on my own. I also thought it ended well, which is pretty rare even in novels that I like a lot. I still have a clear picture of the very last visual. I think I shall read more Anne Tyler.

It's funny that The Book Lover's Cookbook includes two recipes for The Accidental Tourist, as Macon Leary is the least culinarily adventurous protagonist I've encountered…possibly ever. First up, My-wife-just-left-me-and-this-is-my-sad-contribution-to-my-neighbors-sympathy-potluck Macaroni and Cheese. (Accompanied by Wilted Collard Greens with Lemon and Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the March section of Cook This Now.)

This was a fine version of macaroni and cheese, and I ate two helpings plus another "clearing the dishes" bonus helping. HOWEVER. I do not believe for a minute that Macon would have put a noticeable amount of Dijon mustard in this dish. Do you know how I can tell? Because I'm pretty certain that he and Anna have the same palate and she flat out refused to eat this. Good thing I cooked the entire two pounds of macaroni, we'll have plenty of chances to try and change her mind! Anywaaaay, let me know if you're in the market for some slightly mustardy macaroni and cheese. Seems like it would ship well.

Next up: Genuine Roasting Idaho Potato Boats. Now, here's where I confess something. I was starting to feel a little bit bad about giving The Book Lover's Cookbook such a hard time regarding the inappropriateness of some recipes for the characters who would theoretically be eating them. Maybe the intention wasn't for it to be authentic, but rather something they consider the best possible version (read: highest possible sugar content) of the food mentioned in the book, and it was mean-spirited of me to interpret it otherwise. BUT THEN THIS RECIPE IS A LITERAL STEP-BY-STEP RECREATION OF WHAT HE EATS IN THE BOOK. It even offers the alternative version (re-stuffing the potatoes) that Macon specifically doesn't like. It makes the paprika optional, because "Personally, Macon could do without paprika altogether." So they ARE trying to tie the food to the characters, sort of, at least sometimes. Is this the saddest, most potato-y "gotcha" you've ever experienced? Probably! Too bad! I am vindicated!

These are just deconstructed baked potatoes, by the way.

Also, I threw in a little more Cook This Now greenery: Raw Mustard Greens Salad with Gruyere and Anchovy Croutons. It's not a kissin'-after kind of salad.

Next up on the book list: Plain Truth. It's my first Jodi Picoult! About a quarter of the way in I'm going to say it's, uuuuuuuhhhhh, probably my last! But who knows. Never say never. I should also note that literally all of my understanding of the Amish comes from pop cultural references to Witness, a movie I have never seen. So, you know, who am I to criticize? Join me, English!

I can certainly appreciate the YMCA's need to supplement their resources by making use of the young charges in their child care room, but I doubt they anticipated the hurricane of charisma that is unleashed when a toddler of mine is put in a position to interact with strangers.

Just a real flurry of salesmanship.