Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Always late to the party ...

I am SO upset at SELF these days. In the last two weeks, I have learned about three, THREE I say, books that I SO should have known about when they were new to the public and therefore exciting readers throughout the country, and maybe even the world.
Quickly, here are the titles, in the order of my retarded discovery:
1) Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, by Julie Powell
2) The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner), by Jill Conner Browne
3) Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader, edited by Martha McIntosh

Aargghh! As usual, I showed up late to the party and missed the opening of the presents. Missed the presentation and silver-trayed passage of the crudites. Wasn't there to see the most beautiful woman on the planet trip over an extension cord, hysterically exposing her granny panties (when previously EVERYONE figured she was a thong-wearing princess... .)

No exaggeration, I am PEEVED for missing these titles. Upset because I loved them so much, albeit only recently. I could have been feeling this love and sharing the fun for the last four, five years. And longer when it comes to the Jan Karon cookbook, considering this woman created an entirely fictional town called Mitford, and then went and populated it, apparently, with Anne Tyler type characters (and everyone who knows me well knows how much I lust for Tyler's writing) LONG before this cookbook ever came into being. The silver lining in my dark, dark cloud is that I now have a list of Jan Karon titles (I understand there's a boxed set, even!) to look forward to reading.
Now, in terms of the Julie/Julia book, it's one of my favorite reads EVER ... and I read a lot, so this endorsement is really saying something. Reader: If you love to cook and read about cooking and don't get all freaked out when someone has a potty mouth, this is the book for you. Anyway, here's a synopsis: A bored, 29-year-old NYC secretary concocts, to escape the ennui that is her pathetic little life, a "deranged assignment" to cook, over the course of one year, every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Hilarity ensues. I read this book by midnight's oil, in bed with a sleeve of saltine crackers, with only one eye open (the eye with perfect vision thanks to a 1996 RK surgery). The other eye I sqinted closed for hours on end, having removed my contact lens for sleeping. (Yeah, I'm lame: I wear only one contact lens.)
What makes this book especially exciting is that I found out yesterday that Powell's book is being made into a movie STARRING MY ALL-TIME FAVE ACTRESS MERYL STREEP. I am giddy awaiting the launch of this film. Streep will play Julia Child. Can you believe it? In case you cannot remember the warbling voice that made the giantess (OK, she's only 6'2) a kitchen character of mythic proportions, you must check out some Julia Child vintage clips on I spent the better half of an hour last evening watching her make a "20-second" omelette. Delightful! Imagine Streep playing Child! My pulse quickens!!!!!
And then, in terms of the Sweet Potato cookbook, I laughed out loud about 36 times reading the little book, kinda misnamed on account of its "Big-Ass" title. It's not just recipes: There's good ole Southern-style aphorisms thrown in. Already (today, actually, before noon) I've cooked three items from its pages: Pig Candy (OMG), Bacon Monkey Bread (OMG again), and, the cherry on the sundae ... (drumroll, please ...) The Gooiest Cake in the World. This I haven't sampled yet, as it's currently sitting on my kitchen counter, cooling.
I'll get back to you after the official taste testing!


Susan said...

Hey, Kate ~

What a sincere blessing to have you find me - the pleasure is all mine!

Looks like we have much in common (reading and scrabble and music, oh my!) - we're even sister Leos... :-)

You're a wonderful writer... and I look forward to continued path-crossing - might I have your permission to add you to my blogroll?

P.S. Have you read Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos? (my new favorite book recommendation) - amazing novel...

Kate said...

Your note is so nice!
Of course you may add my blog to your roll. Likewise, may I do the same?
When's your birthday? I turn 43 August 11 ... the same day I return to school. With my luck, my period will start that day, too!
(I've never known a fellow Leo I didn't like. And it's not like I'm some sort of woo-woo astrology person, but how are you when it comes to dealing with Geminis? I'm drawn to the twins; however, there's always strife. Always!)
It's interesting that you ask about Kallos's book. I actually have it on my bookshelf ... bought it a few years back when it was featured as a Today show title. Never read it, though. (I have lots of books sitting on the shelves waiting for my attention. Thank goodness they're patient.)
I'm thinkin' I'm gonna pick it up soon, based on your glowing endorsement.
Hope to cross paths again!

Susan said...

Hey, Kate ~

I turn 54 on August 5 - funny... in that I feel 19... until I pass a mirror... :-)

I think I am magnetically attracted (love/hat relationship to Sagittarius people - no surprise it's another fire sign...

Believe me, I can relate to the always-imposing and, yes, ever-patient Book Pile - my family is headed to the beach the week of August 2 - 9... and I'm already mentally packing my tote bag of Can't-Wait-to-Reads... :-)

Bee said...

Oh Kate,
This post made me laugh. And I know just what you mean! If I had read Julie and Julia earlier, I could have gone to hear her speak about the book in Houston. There was a book/food do at a restaurant just down the street from me!