Here's what has my attention at the moment.
I Came as a Shadow
I started reading this for work about a week ago. It’s the common read title for the upcoming academic year. The library provides a support guide to help faculty with assignments and to direct students to research. So, I read the books to enable me to put that together. I’m learning a lot about basketball - but that’s actually the least interesting stuff in the book. The writing style is more interview transcript than narrative which is not to my taste, but the substance makes up for that. Would recommend.
The first two titles, which I found on an "if you liked this, read that" list, are already on their way to me. I can't wait to dive in!
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.
On Fridays, I sit down to meal plan for the week. Some weeks it's easy; some weeks it's hard. This was a hard week. We dine out one dinner a week, so there are six dinners to fill. Neither the husband or I had a craving to slot in to one of the spots. So, six dinners, no cravings, and a toddler who is mostly consuming berries and quesadillas.
I mentally went through our freezer to base dinners off of what needs to be eaten. This week, that meant a half pound of ground pork and some chicken breast. Monday is meatless so I searched my vegetarian tag in Evernote. Saturday dinner is almost always shrimp. Sunday night dinner has to be a slow cooker or quick since we have a standing family FaceTime that wraps up right before dinner time. Even with these parameters, I struggled this week. I would default to all pasta and/or cheese based recipes. That doesn't work when you're trying to get your kiddo to try new foods.
I love food. In high school, I even considered going to culinary school. Cooking is not a chore to me - but the planning can be. It's hard to balance a week of dinners when you want an assortment of ingredients, need to use certain ingredients by a certain time, and have to consider the whims of a toddler who adores peas one day and pushes them away the next.
I eventually settled on a menu but I get why so many people just order in, get pizza, or simply pour out some cereal. Meal planning can be tough, but I like that it helps me reduce food waste, limits our shops to once a week, and makes the rest of the week easy. I may struggle to meal plan, but at least that battle is limited to one day a week.
How do you decide on dinner?
DC had a string of glorious weather days. It was so nice, we were able to turn off our AC and open the windows. For over 48 hours, we got to enjoy shockingly low humidity and gentle breezes. It's back to the sweat box now, but I am going to savor the memory of those days and add them to my happy place.
I'm reading an autobiography for work right now - it's our common read for the upcoming year - and it chronicles a basketball coach. I am not a basketball watcher. This book has a lot of basketball terms. A lot. Thank goodness for Google and YouTube. It's helping my understand things like "full court press."
Here's what else I looked up this week.
One thing I like about working from home is my desk area. Halfway through the pandemic, we got a new desk/bookcase for our bedroom. It's a lot nicer than the temporary IKEA table we picked up before our move. The desk is small but I don't need much. Plus, it sits right next to a window. Sometimes, it feels like I'm working in a treehouse. Our unit is on the second floor, but there is an alley with trees and bushes right out our window. This puts some branching foliage right at eye level. It's nice to see nature and the sunshine as I type away. Sometimes birds scary the sh*t out of me when they land on the windowsill - but what can you do.
Now I just need to get around to styling the bookshelf part of the desk... maybe this weekend.
Do you ever have a chore you know you should do, but you keep putting it off indefinitely because you know you don't have to do it?
For me, that was getting our knives professionally sharpened. I know with how much we use our knives - particularly our workhorse of a chef's knife - we should at least hone them on a steel every month and get them professionally sharpened once a year. But that never happens. I never hone them at home and they haven't been professionally sharpened since September 2019.
This chore has been sitting in the back of my mind for months. Every time I cooked, I was reminded that I should take a few hours to just get it done. On Friday, I packed up our knives (with an oh-so-professional wrap job of a deconstructed soda box and painter's tape) and headed out to Union Market. Despite before opening, a professional chef somehow snuck up to the counter right before me. While I was bummed that my wait time doubled, it was fascinating to see the chef discuss his knives and sharpening preferences. They went knife by knife. The chef was bummed to learn that one little paring blade could no longer be sharpened without losing integrity in the blade geometry. It was fascinating to hear such detailed discussion about what I considered to be an annoying chore.
If you're in the DC area, give District Cutlery at Union Market a look. We've used them twice now and their work is both stellar and affordable.
I was ecstatic when apps that could tell you what you were listening to came along. Now someone needs to invent something similar, but for actors in shows you're watching. I spend far too much time looking up people through IMDB. That works, but it only goes so far for bit parts.
Aside from lots of people in Doctor Who, I only looked up the phrase "old hat." I was interested in the etymology of the word.
Sometimes, I am convinced that I was a cat in a previous life. I don't like getting wet in the rain, I find napping in sun beams to be a joy, and I am easily distracted by shiny things. Right now the light outside my window is shining through the trees making the coolest patterns on the floor next to my WFH desk. I keep stopping to look at them.
Here's what else has my attention at the moment.
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Bourdain was a divisive personality in the culinary world. Many found him brash, pompous, arrogant, and entitled. I don't think they're wrong. He was also, however, a gifted chef and writer. I am not going to forgive his shortcomings but I am still intrigued by his life and work. Many of his books have been on my TBR list for years. I was able to grab this book off our building's community bookcase.
I came to know Bourdain's work through his television show, No Reservations. I was always impressed by his narration and lyrical writing. So far, his seminal work shows that he had those skills from the start. I'm several chapters in and, while I can't say that I like Bourdain as a person, his writing still impresses and his stories are enthralling.