Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The price of paperbacks and culture

Recently I purchased three paperback books. "A Patriot's History of the United States" by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen ($25); "The reason for God" by Timothy Keller ($16); and "The Lutherans in North America" (2d ed., used $10). It takes my breath away to pay that much for a paperback, but I think these books will last longer than anything on my computer, or access to their scanned versions on some future computer.

The history book--of which I've only read about 10 pages--is very well written, with copious notes and excerpts, and reverses many of the losses of the last 40-50 years in anti-American, anti-capitalism, anti-Christian trends in American history. It's so refreshing!

The history of the Lutherans I'm really enjoying too, because I love the layout. Unfortunately, it confirms something I've often thought--that the church has been losing to the culture for years. The story of Lutherans is really an immigration story, and at one time there were 48 squabbling synods. We have fewer synods today, but still battles are going on the congregational level. ELCA will be losing many congregations because of its unfortunate acquiescence to cultural standards of sexuality instead of biblical. Since the days when St. Paul wrote the first century church, Christians have been struggling with how to be "the church."

The Keller book comes highly recommended by friend Sharon, and we've chosen that for our next Monday morning book, having finished up the Kullberg book this week, a book I will reread many times.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Desperate Housewives Cookbook; juicy dishes and saucy bits

Yesterday at Marc's I found this cookbook for $2.00. I glanced through it wondering why in the world I needed yet another cookbook I probably wouldn't use, and then saw two pudding recipes! That's all it took.

I think I've only seen this show once, but I think I got a hint of the story line by following the different chapters with the characters and their recipes in this 2007 title.
    Bree: Basil Purée Soup, Braised Duck, and Chicken Cutlets Saltimbocca.

    Lynette: French Toast for Breakfast (or Dinner) with Blueberry Syrup; Warm Turkey, Muenster, and Coleslaw Wraps; and Potato Casserole.

    Susan: a Salad of Roasted Peppers, Fresh Mozzarella, and Arugula; Foolproof Macaroni and Cheese; Chocolate Butterscotch Bars; and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

    Gabrielle: Shrimp with Chorizo and Red Pepper, Guacamole with Warm Chips, and Pineapple-Peach Smoothies.

    Edie: Oysters Poached in Champagne and Cream, Sausage Puttanesca, and Ambrosia.
Then there's also recipes by the neighbors like Mike, Felicia and Mrs. Huber. The formatting is elegant, the text delightful, and the recipes look devine. The recipes are by Christopher Styler and the text by Scott S. Tobis. The final section tells how food is presented on TV by April Falzone Garen, a food stylist, and Melody Miller-Melton, the property master. And for the character (Susan) who is a bad cook, they actually have to simulate poorly prepared or burned food! The scene where Lynette had to eat raw bacon? That was a special cured and smoked bacon from Germany cut to resembe raw bacon. Steak so tough it couldn't be cut? They had to insert toothpicks horizontally to make it as difficult as possible.

Cross posted at Collecting my thoughts

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'll race you back to the farm--memoirs from home

This week I received a copy of "I'll race you back to the farm" written by a high school classmate of mine about her growing up and maturing years living and working and having fun on her parents' farm near Mt. Morris, Illinois. Very few small towns have as much written about them as Mt. Morris because the printing industry, first for the Church of the Brethren, then for Kable Brothers, then for Watt Publishing and for smaller independents like Murray's dad really supported the community and surrounding area for many years. A number of residents and locals have written their memoirs about growing up or living there. I think I own at least 12 books, plus I have my 4 high school year books and old church directories, plus my old photo albums and some of my parents. This will be a wonderful addition to my collection.

Nancy kept a diary many years, so I found out things about my friends and school life that either I'd forgotten or never knew--like details about the local hang-outs (where was I?) or tricks played at school. She has carefully selected photographs to illustrate her memories, so that if you grew up in the 1940s or 1950s in the rural midwest, you'll enjoy this book even if you didn't live there. You might also think, as I did, "Wow--I missed so much by not living on a farm." In a way, it's everyone's story of a time that was more quiet, but still complex and multi-layered. Today's helicopter parents will be horrified at some of the tasks children, especially farm children, used to do. Mucking stalls, digging thistles in the hot sun, driving tractors, baling hay, etc. And the discipline! Oh. My. Goodness. Our teachers actually swatted us and expected respect and good behavior.

Nancy and I were friends in grade school and we both had horses. I didn't even realize she had four horses (couldn't believe she actually sold Flicka!) because we pretty much settled into separate groups when we got to high school, and only recently through class reunions have reconnected.

This is a huge accomplishment--don't miss it if you grew up in the area! You will need to contact Nancy personally to get a copy--she has them printed as she gets orders.

With Nancy (center) and Lynne last April.