Sunday, December 24, 2006

God bless us every one

Unfortunately, Jamaica Pond doesn't have its Narnia snow this Christmas; Richard took this picture last year. It's virtually Christmas. I hope you and yours are enjoying the season.

Very sad news about Philippa Pearce, who died Thursday. NB: do not click to read Nicholas Tucker's comprehensive appreciation unless you've already read Tom's Midnight Garden, as he gives away the ending, the finest, I reckon, in children's literature.

I am on vacation through New Year's Day, so posting and reading will be erratic. Looking for suggestions, though, to burgeon my Provincetown reading list: so far I have Orhan Pamuk's The Black Book, Kipling's Kim, and Greg Iles's Turning Angel; Miss Pod is bringing a gloomy mystery by Henning Mankell and Maeve Binchy's Tara Road (which is a better class of the same story told in the appallingly written if gamely performed The Holiday, which we saw last night.) I know, it sounds like I have enough already but a boy likes to have options.


Andy Laties said...

This review of Phillipa Pearce's "Tom's Midnight Garden" says that Tom had a series of dreams. But in the book his adventures are portrayed as quite "real" although taking place in a time/world only accessible in the middle of the night. Definitely not dreams.

I read the book when I was ten (1969). Years later -- after having become a children's bookseller -- it was a book for sale in my store, and I got around to reading it again -- and was upset with myself for having done so. It had been one of those books that was so intensely luminous in my memory that I shouldn't have overlaid that with an adult reading.

GraceAnne said...

What a lovely photograph. I made it my wallpaper.

Making lasagne. Cookies already made. Hordes arrive this evening.

Merry Holly to all

Roger Sutton said...

GraceAnne, if your recipe for lasgne made it onto this blog it wouldn't be off topic at all. Have a great holiday!

GraceAnne said...

Merry Christmas! Here it is. Be fussy about ingredients.

Mama Graziana’s Lasagne

First, the sauce:
Two large cans of good imported San Marzano plum tomatoes, with or without basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Sea salt

Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Sauté as much sliced garlic in it as you can stand and cook until it is golden. Pour in the two cans of plum tomatoes. Add a tablespoonful of salt. Take a teaspoon each of oregano, basil, and marjoram, and crumble them in your hands as you add them. Add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 2-4 hours, depending on how thick you like your sauce.
The amount of herbs and spices in this is approximate. As you make it, you will discover what you love.

1 lb lasagne noodles (I prefer dry rather than fresh pasta for this)
1 big fat fresh mozzarella
3 lbs fresh ricotta
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley

Put the fresh ricotta in a bowl, grate your huge mozzarella into it with the big holes on the grater. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil (more if it is dry), and a bit of red pepper if you like. I also add a bit of salt and chopped fresh parsley, but you don’t have to. Mix thoroughly.
Cook the lasagne noodles until al dente, drain, then lay flat on paper towels so you can handle them. Put a layer of sauce with a bit of extra olive oil in your lasagne pan, then lay down a layer of pasta. Put sauce on that, and put a layer of the cheese mixture. Continue until everything is used up, ending with a layer of pasta with sauce, but not cheese, on the top. Sprinkle top with parmesan. Getting it all to come out even is a bit tricky, but just go with it. Cook for about an hour at 350 degrees, longer if everything was cold to start out. It is done when the top is beginning to get crisp and the parmesan is melted and golden and you can see bubbles at the edge of the pan. Let sit for ten minutes before serving.

rindawriter said...

Yummers! It is making me think about growing basil upstairs again this year. Very simple at our house this year: Buffalo roast with rosemary.

Joy to all!

JeanneB said...

Andy, what you say about your adult reading of Midnight Garden interests me. It was written too late for me to read as a child, so I read it only as an adult, and I just didn't see the wonderful-ness of it. I feel cheated.

Andy Laties said...

Well -- for me this was the real tragedy of becoming a children's bookseller. "Tom's Midnight Garden" wasn't the only title that happened with. It was completely unexpected at first, but I did finally learn to stop rereading my childhood favorites. Of course, it wasn't always "brilliant" books that lost their special magic. I think to tell you the truth now that I consider this that it may have been rereading the rather mediocre "Danny Dunn And The Homework Machine" that finally functioned as the warning bell. "Tom's Midnight Garden" is one thing, but overall, one's childhood tastes do NOT generally stand up to one's adult scrutiny. (I definitely remember that I was also addicted to Roadrunner cartoons on Saturday morning for instance.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, honestly, must I do everything myself? What is wrong with you people, you've had a week. Okay, it's late for this vacation but you can bring it along next time. Islandia, by Austin Tappan Wright. It's a grown up boy's own adventure story and the best one ever. Forget the idea of utopian novel. Good luck finding a copy.

Anonymous said...

p.s. I meant to sign the above o. darklady but I have forgotten my password yet again. I'll have to start over with a new blogger name. It is so tedious to be brain dead.

Melinda said...

I wouldn't worry about it; I've found that it's easier to navigate the day without a brain, so generally I leave mine at home!