Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blog notes

  • Megg writes of her frustration that real life intrudes too much when she's writing fiction. I fully get where she's coming from - except the other way around. I haven't written much fiction in recent years but I have done and am gearing up to do so again. When I'm writing fiction I often get frustrated by my characters who grow to inhabit every nook and cranny of my mind, who won't leave me alone for a few hours to get on with my real life!

  • As you may have guessed from the judgment meme, I've become more intolerant of people the older I've become. I can fully see myself as a crabby, cranky old woman shaking my fist at all and sundry. Ink On My Fingers, however, reminds me that I need to be more compassionate, more understanding, more humane. She writes of walking along the seaside promenade last week, "...carrying my camera and a fast-disappearing Cornetto, I couldn’t take my eyes off the people I saw: wobbly tummies, burnt shoulders, hairy backs, dimpled thighs, peachy bottoms on toddlers and shiny bald heads. I saw human beings in every shape, size and colour (including scarlet) and it made me feel such compassion for humanity. None of us are perfect yet it’s easy to forget that we’re all trying to do our best. We all carry a million thoughts and dreams and plans in our heads, a million ambitions and disappointments and sorrows. We all look in the mirror and see who we used to be and who we want to be, rarely seeing who we are today. We really are all the same. I wanted to take the portrait of every person I passed..."

    I am humbled by her attitude.

  • I love cooking with my husband (or in reality, eating what my husband has cooked!), but when I’m alone I inexplicably revert to ready-made foods from Marks & Spencers - quiches and salads from a bag, pre-made tomato sauces and stuffed pasta, vegetable spring rolls… My husband on the other hand relishes cooking for both himself and for others and can spend hours poring over cookbooks or thinking about what ingredients to put together - perhaps it's the chemist in him...

    I need to rediscover the pleasures I took in experimenting and playing with ingredients when I was a vegetarian undergraduate and had no choice but to cook delicious food for myself.

    So I was interested in this book featured on Hooked On Heat's blog - a collection of essays by writers such as Haruki Murakami and M.F.K. Fisher on the pleasures of dining alone and cooking for one.

    Dining alone - I have little problem with, so long as it's lunch. When I was single and not dating I dined out alot alone. I dined out at lunch time when it's easier to disappear with a book, a magazine or just people-watching. But I was rarely brave enough to dine out at night unless it was for an early dinner say at 6pm when a restaurant was more likely to be quiet.

  • It's so easy to cite Wikipedia all the time, but I really enjoyed reading their entry on the History of Bengali Cuisine.

  • I've always wondered why parents push the Dr Seuss books so much - I get that they're fun, but what about the story? So I enjoyed reading Bong Mom's Cookbook's post on her young daughter S's response to Dr Seuss: "So that S gets a hang of reading, we got her the Dr Seuss which is brilliant if you think ease of reading but not really interesting when seen through the eyes of a 3 year old or her X year old Mom. So Hop On Pop does rhyme and also can be read but then what... nothing really story is spun...and so the 3 year old girl and the X year old's interest wane."

    Give me Enid Blyton any day (not very politically correct I know, but she served me fine growing up).

    Incidentally, I am a huge fan of the Bong Cookbook Book blog where this young mum makes lots of lovely Bengali recipes like alu posto, alu seddho and kalai er dal. My own attempts at Bengali cooking (that have appeared on this blog at least) are here, here and here.

  • I need to go visit Latin America. My husband's been to Mexico and Argentina already and I've had friends from Chile, Venezuela and Colombia, so really I've had no excuse. Maybe next year - what do you think M?

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