>I don’t know how I let this challenge almost slip by me. I’m definitely in, tying on a napkin and going for the Bon Vivant level (4-6 books). This is the prompting that I need to finally read Becka’s copy of Chocolat, which I borrowed last fall. It’s also a great excuse to go shopping for some of those food memoirs I’ve been coveting. In addition, maybe this will compel me to stop circling copies of Good Morning, Kimchi! and take the plunge. The upcoming Readathon just got a little tastier. Is this ironic or just merely funny?… it’s the middle of the night, and I’m awake and wandering around in Blogland because of indigestion.
Category Archives: food
> I don’t know about you, but I can’t go into a Readathon lightly. I have to think about what to read and what to wear and sometimes, I even get a haircut for the occasion. Somehow it seems that when I’m freshly shorn, the words sink into my brain so much easier because my scalp feels so light and cool.
For luxury with a shot of protein, I would really recommend some cheese or at least that brie-in-a-can. I know it’s crap but it’s all we’ve got here. Or instead of that, but in the same price range, some E-Mart sushi. Either the sushi or the cheese would be a big splurge–either one would be close to 10,000 won. You need some pampering.
For more protein, I’m thinking tuna. Do you like it? Some hate it, I like it. Koreans have interesting canned tuna–have you ever tried the kind in hot sauce? There’s one in barbecue sauce too. You can eat it plain or you can mix it in with some cooked rice, so simple to prepare you won’t even lose your place on the page.
Do not neglect the important food group called chocolate. I know I said no carbs, but I was exaggerating. A little chocolate might be just what you need at 3 in the morning. Go with a Crunky Bar or Atlas (Korean Snickers doppelganger). Speaking of Snickers, if you can get a little packet of nuts, that’s another good protein-laden snack. Sunflower seeds are good too, but can be hard to eat while reading.
Drink plenty of water, just like the running marathoners. Have on hand some juice. I would not overdo it with the coffee but I think you’re going to want some. If you’re going to do outings, going to a coffee shop might be a nice pick-you-up or go to a nearby smoothie place or something. I think going out to eat something or drink something will give you some variety and fresh air and motivation. If you feel like falling asleep at 3 in the afternoon, maybe you should take your book out to a cafe.
Marathoners also load up on carbs before they run–you could do that too! A big huge plate of pasta before the marathon starts, but not during. It will make you too sleepy.Do you ever buy the meat-on-a-stick in the E-Mart deli? I know, a lot of it is processed meat, but it’s very tasty. It tastes good cold or microwaved.
Hard boiled eggs! Cook them ahead of time and have them waiting in the fridge. With lots of salt and pepper they are so delicious. I have a fool proof cooking method so if you want tips, just ask.
Yogurt! Crudites. You need some vegetables, and I’d recommend before the marathon starts, cut up some raw veggies and have them on standby. Cucumbers, red peppers, carrots. If you also have some lettuce leaves washed and ready, you could use them to wrap up gobs of the tuna, if you’re going to eat it. You’re going to have your frozen pizza on hand too, right?
Use the food to reward and motivate yourself, use it to wake yourself up (when you get sleepy stick with protein). Try not to overdo the coffee or it might bother your stomach and make you feel crazy. In the wee hours you’ll be happy to have some nice food as a reward.
Susan: Great ideas! I love tuna. I had 2 kinds of tuna things this week — cucumber sandwiches with tuna salad filling and tuna patties. I also buy hot spicy tuna regularly.
I’m stocked up on frozen pizza. I bought 3…they’re called Pizza Italiano and the package says they’re made in Italy.
Ooooh, I love Brie! (and this is the perfect time to indulge and not feel guilty) Asian pears make me feel like an international woman of mystery. The E-Mart sushi is nice.
I’ve never tried meat on a stick.
I’ll make a last-minute run for vegetables on Friday after work. Luckily, I have some Ranch for dip.
Hardboiled eggs — and I could check some Raymond Chandler out from the library!
Thanks so much for your much-needed help and your brilliant advice, Sandra — I owe you one. This should be my most successful Readathon.
>Pages read: 20
Blogs visited: 0
Snacks: finished off the aforementioned glass of Coke with lots of chipped ice
I read a few pages of Julie and Julia. That book is just all over the place. She can write and she can do funny, but there’s too much of everything about her life. She needed an editor with wit and style to pare down her prose.
Close call — I put the book over my face for a moment to think about how Maxwell Perkins might edit it. Suddenly, I heard this horrible sound like a 120-year-old woman with respiratory distress. It was me, snoring. It seemed like a good time to get up and visit the computer.
A few years ago, Barbara Kingsolver and her family decided to leave Arizona, where Kingsolver had been based for about 25 years, and move to her husband’s farm in southern Appalachia. They also determined at that time that they would eat locally — either grow/raise their own produce/livestock or buy it from neighboring farmers right in their own county. This decision came from their growing concern that a staggering amount of oil goes into bringing food to consumers –all the way from the tractors in the farms to the trucks and airplanes that get the food to the grocery stores.
When you read Barbara Kingsolver, you’re in for a good scolding; she tends to be a little preachy. In this case, I’m using good in the conventional sense as well as a synonym for “thorough”. About 99% of what she says is nothing but truth and sensible to boot. Plus, she put her money where her mouth is by embarking on a year-long journey of living off the land. Her account of this time makes for captivating reading — good solid reportage combined with memoir.
Kingsolver’s co-authors are also rich with insights. Her husband, Steven L. Hopp, an environmental studies professor provides succinct and informative sidebars pertaining to Kingsolver’s narrative in each chapter. Kingsolver’s college-age daughter, Camille, who plans to study nutrition in graduate school, gives her take on the experiment (very positive and encouraging) and includes dozens of recipes, many of which she created in her family’s kitchen. They all scan deliciously as well as healthfully.
Kingsolver’s younger daughter Lily, an elementary-schooler, was “too young to sign a book contract”, but her contribution to the year of food life was significant. She raised chickens organically, helping to provide her family with extra sustenance via poultry and eggs (“about 50 dozen”, notes Kingsolver) as well as generating some income for herself by selling eggs to the neighbors. Those are also Lily’s hands on the cover of the book, holding those gorgeous Christmas lima beans, an heirloom variety.
In the middle of their food year, Barbara and Steven visit Italy for about a month. Kingsolver’s account of the trip focuses on restaurants and farms throughout the country. Not surprisingly, eating locally is a way of life there rather than something that one must consciously decide to do. Readers should find the Italians’ passion for food — growing, gathering, preparing and eating — wonderfully compelling reading.
The family also decides to raise turkeys, so Kingsolver has a hilarious chapter about turkey sex and the subsequent results. She can come off as a little holier-than-thou, but she’s equally adept at telling a good story on herself, which is an admirable quality. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle also includes an excellent bibliography and a long list of resources regarding eating locally and the “Slow Food” movement.
I often find myself missing certain western foods like crazy, but AVM brought me up short. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve helped to contribute to the huge cost of food transportation and the squandering of vital resources. In AVM, a large part of Kingsolver’s ire is focuses on, of all things, the importing of bananas. To her credit, I’ve only eaten one banana since reading her book and I didn’t enjoy it!
Although I finished this book in January, AVM still has me thinking about the parallels between Korean and Italian food. Koreans take great pride in their distinctive cuisine and many, if not all cities and/or provinces are famed for a particular food which is celebrated with its own festival when it’s in season.
In addition, much of Korean food preparation is labor-intensive and there is especial care taken with the look and presentation that would seem like Martha Stewart-like fussiness to most Americans, but it shows a deep connection and appreciation for where the food came from and the traditions that accompany it.
I haven’t done a complete 180 since reading AVM (there are still those stubborn dark longings for Quizno’s) but my eyes have been somewhat opened and now when I eat Korean food, I’m curious. I long to have a conversation about the origins of my meal. If the Koreans and I could communicate fluently, I’m almost positive that they’d be happy and proud to inform and educate me. My sincere appreciate for their cuisine may be the very thing that springboards me into getting serious about learning Korean.
> I really tried not to join any challenges for 2009, but Book Nut made this sound so irresistible. Just my cup of tea. Easy, too. Piece of cake, so to speak. I don’t think I can fail at this one:
Rule 1# The challenge runs from January 1 – March 31. (No cheating or starting before!)
Rule 2# You must read 3 books. After that, it’s up to you how much you want to read.
Rule 3# The books must: Have a food name in the title OR be about cooking/eating OR have a place name in the title OR be about a specific culture OR be by an author whose ethnicity is other than your own.
Rule 4# The books must be middle-grade and on up, but can be either fiction or nonfiction.
This challenge not only screamed my name, it knocked me down and began chewing on my forearm. Now that I’ve succumbed, it’s like dominoes; I’ll be tumbling for those other challenges dancing in front of my eyes. Sigh. Stay tuned.