If it's Tuesday, this must be pancakes

Hello and happy Mardi Gras! Or, more accurately for our purposes, Pancake Tuesday! Laissez les bon temps be smothered in syrup. Fortunately for all of us, the blog project that I continue to be right on top of provides the perfect material for this hallowed occasion.

One of the best features of The Book Lover's Cookbook is that once in a while it makes room for the slower more deliberate reader by throwing in an eight-line poem, such as this one by Shel Silverstein:

Who wants a pancake,
Sweet and piping hot?
Good little Grace looks up and says,
"I'll take the one on top."
Who else wants a pancake,
Fresh off the griddle?
Terrible Teresa smiles and says,
"I'll take the one in the middle."

As the recipe included is quite standard and boring, I thought I would run the Silverstein test on Ivy to add a little interest to this section. I was right on the edge of my seat!

I'm not going to lie, this outcome was a surprise.

I also finished Cold Mountain, which means that so far I am keeping up my grueling pace of one to two books per month. The things I do for you people! ALERT--Since this is really the first grown-up fiction that I've covered, it seems like a good time to expressly lay out my policy on spoilers, which is: they will be raining down up on you fast and furious. All spoilers, all the time. Forget it, Jake. It's Spoilertown. END ALERT.

Considering the fact that this book is largely about death and destruction and the worst impulses of humanity, I was surprised to find that it was somewhat less bleak than I anticipated. It's even the type of human will to endure story that I generally go well out of my way to avoid! It's possible that after a couple of things written for children and one very unhappy memoir I was just so desperate for adult fiction that this felt like a relief, no matter how many people died horribly or how much bear cub meat got eaten. A couple of things near the end started to be too much for me, as children-in-peril always are, but for the most part it was a nicely-drawn world that I was eager to return to.

If I had to guess, I would say the real reason I enjoyed it was that Ada and Ruby's storyline scratched my productivity-porn itch left unfulfilled by Little House. Such thorough descriptions of hard work! Cleaning up! Planting! Clearing! Harvesting! Preserving! Lovingly detailed schedules and rules, aaaaaahhhhh that's the stuff. I need Ruby to come here and instruct me to scrub my baseboards. How can I scrub my baseboards if no one tells me to do it? Sigh. I also need her to come make some potato salad for me.

That noon, Ruby said she wanted to walk up and check on the apple orchard, so Ada suggested they have their lunch there. They made a picnic of the leftover pieces of last night's fried chicken, a small bowl of potato salad for which Ruby had whipped up the mayonnaise, and some vinegared cucumber slices.

Boom, perfect recreation.

Since nothing absurdly terrible happens immediately following this paragraph, I'm tempted to say that this is the most appropriate recipe-to-excerpt match so far except that there is not actually mayonnaise in this potato salad and again there is HALF A CUP OF WHITE SUGAR for no reason. Now, look. Setting aside the fact that people who can only obtain white sugar by finding the rare individual who stashed it away before the war and are willing to trade for it PROBABLY WON'T THEN PUT IT ALL INTO A POTATO SALAD, potatoes do not need sugar. They don't. I like carbohydrates as much as the next lady! The simpler the better! Potatoes do not need sugar.

Let's see how we do with the White Bean Soup.
Feeding herself was Ruby's to do as soon as she was old enough to be held accountable for it, which in Stobrod's opinion fell close after learning to walk. As an infant, Ruby foraged for food in the woods up and down the river at charitable farms. Her brightest childhood memory was of walking up the river trail for some of Sally Swanger's white bean soup and on the way home having her nightgown--for several years her usual attire, even in the daytime--get caught on the trailside blackthorn briar.

Immediately following: she is stuck there all night long, to the point that she has either a spiritual experience or an auditory hallucination. Also, it seems unlikely that Mrs. Swanger used an electric slow cooker for this soup. Small quibbles, though. I like bean soup.

It's beans and soup.

Did I like the ending of the book? I mean…when one character spends the entire novel in immediate danger of death and then has two entire pages of hopeful planning for the future…let's just say I was resigned to it. Also I was in the doctor's office waiting to get a boot on my foot when I read it. So obviously my own pain and suffering eclipsed Inman's sad fate, I mean, this thing is really pretty aggravating. I clomp everywhere!

Up next: The Accidental Tourist. I know absolutely nothing about this book except that Geena Davis is in the movie version. I guess I'm just hoping the body count is fewer than ten. Please don't tell me if I'm wrong.

Ugh, you guys, that was exhausting. I'm going to let Anna dictate the rest of the picture captions.

Ivy is completely wearing her mushroom hat and I don't know what she is doing but I think she is, um, chewing something and putting something in her mouth and she is wearing a shirt and I think she is also watching something. 

Ivy is wearing her hat again and she looks like she is looking at the windows and she is funny right now I think. She looks like her is chewing something. That's all.

ETA: I JUST LOOKED UP THE PREMISE OF THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST. I'm going to go lie down now. Happy Mardi Gras.