Friday, May 14, 2010

Weather, books, memoirs and food--and poison

When I set out for errands this morning, it was cloudy but fairly warm, delightful top-down day. So, I kept putting the top up and down--I don't leave it down for fear someone will steal my handicap tag, my booster seat, or my pretty felt flower. But it's so easy to put the top down and up, now that it's finally repaired, that I don't mind. But once I was safely home, about noon, the sky grew ominously dark and the wind picked up at a great rate. Greg was in the driveway, and I asked if we could switch places, since I wanted to get my car in the garage if it hailed. We did but then he went back to trimming bushes--I was terrified he would be electrocuted and relieved when he called it a day. It rained hard for a  long time, but then we had a sunny respite--the porch was too wet to sit on and the weather too cool. More rain about midnight and all weekend. There goes lunch on the patio at Joe T.'s, and Jordan's barbecue Sunday night is going to be indoors and crowded. But we'll manage.
One of my errands was to Barnes & Noble. I had a gift card with about $20 left on it, and I decided I would buy one signifcant book, not my usual mystery, that I wanted to read. I spent something like $43 and bought Pat Conroy's South of Broad (I've always enjoyed his books), It Is Well with My Soul: The Extraordinary Life of a 106-Year-Od Woman by Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson with Patricial Mulcahy--Johnson is the oldest living black graduate of Case Western Reserve University; I thought it appropriate because I'm teaching that class on memoir. The third book I bought, on impulse, was I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. Okay, that's a case where the title got me, and I may yet regret buying another "young chick" memoir of loves and cooking, but I'll try it. I'm increasingly interested in memoir. I'm currently rereading a manuscript I acquired for the press some time ago--The Legacy of the Sacred Harp--a memoir through which Sacred Harp or shape-note singing forms the unifying thread. Fascinating. So I look forward to reading these three books, though first I must finish the mystery I'm in the mdst of. Despite my determination to write successful mysteries and the lessons I've earned from reading others, I do feel the need to read more broadly.
Tonight Elizabeth came for happy hour, so we could plan the next class meeting,which is this coming Thursday. It was my turn to make snacks, so I used those six big mushrooms I'd bought for Jordan that she never came to eat. Stuffed them with my mom's concoction--grated cheese, dry mustard, Worcestershire, and mayonnaise to bind. Because I'd made good pimiento cheese lately, I added a sprinkle of cayenne. It occurred to me this mixture (which Jordan loves) is a lot like pimiento cheese without the pimientos (which Jordan hates). You have to bake the mushrooms slowly; otherwise the cheese melts while the mushrooms are still raw.
We planned the class easily, since it's mostly class participation, but then we sat and visited and realized how much more we told each other, compared to what we wrote down. Idea for an exercise for a future class.
After Elizabeth left, I scrambled myself two eggs--I haven't done this in a long time--but I added chopped tomato, diced scallions, and cut up smoked salmon. So good. Now I'm wondering if I could put smoked salmon on my morning cottage cheese in the morning!
I talked to a friend the other night about cottage cheese. His baby is just beginning to eat table food, and I suggested cottage cheese; he and his wife both made horrible faces,but I said I had raised all my babies on it. Then I suggested scrambling eggs with cottage cheese instead of milk, and he, a gourmet cook, was interested. I don't know if he'll try it or not.
Meantime, I'm investigating ways to poison people. I called my brother last night to talk about digitalis and strychnine, until he finally said, "I don't know, Judith. I never poisoned anyone." Well, I need to find a way for a fictional character to die suddenly, no symptoms, from tasting food. I've been all over the internet, still working on it.

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