Category Archives: Miscellany

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a great 2011. I’m not one to make resolutions normally, but I’m really going to try and write more on this blog, both about books and food. They’re two things that matter to me the most.

I’m also going to try a redesign of the ol’ blog. The look is getting old. It’s not terribly hard. I just need to find some images for the banners and so forth.

So far, I haven’t finished a book and it’s already the fifth of January! I’m in the middle of two books actually: Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser and The Fates will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard. I’m loving them both. Hesser has such a way with words and food. I particularly like how her tastes range from the fussy to simple and yet she seems so down to earth. I’m also enjoying Pittard’s look into the young male’s mind. They’re both talented, young writers to keep your eye on.

Happy Holidays!

This is it—the craziest day of the year here at Harvard Book Store. I love coming into the square in the morning on Christmas Eve. It’s so quiet and there’s no traffic. We’re all ready here for the last minute shopping madness.

I’m working most of today while my family does their last minute preparations. Then we’ll sit down to a dinner of California crab and manicotti. Can’t wait. We’re all for trying new things in my family. Tomorrow I’m making Julia Child’s Daube de Boeuf and Dorie Greenspan’s Au Gratin Potatoes for dinner. Wish me luck!

On the reading front, I’ve been doing a lot of light reading lately–I’m too tired and busy for much more. I finished a young adult novel called The Emerald Atlas, the first in a trilogy. It’s about three siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma who have been passed from orphanage to orphanage over the past ten years. Taken away from the parents at a young age for protection from dark forces, they’re no ordinary children, no. At their latest home, they end up on a quest.  It basically follows the same paths as most of these types of books. They discover they’re not ordinary, there’s magic and dwarves and otherworldly stuff, there’s a magic book and a prophecy of course. You get the drift. It’s a fine read but I didn’t find anything new and interesting there. Then again, I’m not the target audience.

Now I’m onto another Scandinavian mystery, this one by Camilla Lackberg called The Ice Princess.  So far, so good.

Happy holidays everyone!

What Does a Peck of Peppers Look like Anyway?

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Peppers from My Garden

These are peppers I picked on my front porch. The odd shaped orange ones are Scotch Bonnet peppers! Supposedly they look like a tam, but they seem more UFO shaped to me. I’m a spice lover, but even I am terrified of these things. What should I do with them? There are four there, but the plant has about 20 more peppers growing on it. The red pepper in the background is a cayenne and the light green are some sort of  mild pepper.

I bought a new camera recently which I’m trying to learn more about it. It’s got way more features than my last point and shoot. This is my attempt at better food photography. The light is terrible but the peppers still look nice I think. Any suggestions for what to do with all these Scotch Bonnet peppers and recommendations on a book digital photography are welcome!

Lobster and Martinis or Lines We Love

Cape Ann also provides what I stubbornly maintain are the world’s best lobsters. I also stubbornly maintain that the only real way to cook lobsters is in three or four inches of sea water, in a covered kettle, for about twelve minutes (pound and a quarter lobsters being the ideal size). You then drape these dazzling creatures over the rocks until they cool off a bit, tear them apart with the bare hands, dip each piece in melted butter, and guzzle. There should be from two to six lobsters per person. While the lobsters cook and cool off, tow dry Martinis à la DeVoto should be served. Nothing whatever else should be served–we are eating  all the lobster we want, we are not fooling around with salad or strawberry shortcake or even coffee. All you need are the martinis, plenty of lobsters, millions of paper napkins, and a view.

–Avis Devoto to Julia Child, May 30th, 1952

Friday Miscellany

It’s finally Friday! I’m fussing around with the blog trying to prevent these comment spam attacks. I’m trying something called CAPTCHA codes. I hope they’re not annoying for folks trying to leave comments–I love comments! I’m just tired of these stupid spammers and their Gucci bags. They periodically get through all of the filters I’ve got set up. This might actually stop them. Let me know if this turns into a hassle.

I’ve got some thoughts about e-books which I’m trying to turn into a post. I’ll work on that over the weekend.

I finished reading Michele Huneven’s Round Rock earlier in the week and started Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. I loved Huneven’s novel Blame. It’s interesting going back to read earlier work. I think Blame is a stronger work, but Round Rock is a great novel too. Both books deal with alcoholism but in different ways. I’m going to track down a copy of Huneven’s second novel Jamesland, just for completion’s sake. Anyone else read it?

Enjoy the weekend!

Advice to Authors

Here is a bit of advice: When we’re selling your at an event for you, don’t try to convince customers to buy the book by selling them from your own stash. At a discount. In front of us. Not cool. That might get you immediately banned from our shelves.