Life Is Just A Bowl Of ...
One thing I have kept up with is my reading. As the years pass, more and more, I find I turn to non-fiction, as opposed to the fiction choices of my youth. I once attended a PEN-Faulkner reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library to hear Don DeLillo and he confessed to the same. I will admit I re-read Dorothy Sayers Gaudy Night this week. Gaudy Night is a British mystery novel, written in 1936, set in Oxford. I was craving the passage Sayers wrote about a woman studying a man she cares for, watching him while he sleeps in the boat on a drowsy afternoon on the River Isis. It truly is one of the more passionate things ever written (in my opinion) in terms of how a woman feels about a man’s body:
“…but now she saw details, magnified as it were by some glass in her own mind. The flat setting and fine scroll-work of the ear, and the height of the skull above it. The glitter of close-cropped hair where the neck-muscles lifted to meet the head. A minute sickle-shaped scar on the left temple. The faint laughter-lines at the corner of the eye and the droop of the lid at its outer end. The gleam of gold down on the cheek-bone. The wide spring of the nostril. An almost imperceptible beading of sweat on the upper lip and a tiny muscle that twitched the sensitive corner of the mouth. The slight sun-reddening of the fair skin and its sudden whiteness below the base of the throat. The little hollow above the points of the collarbone. He looked up; and she was instantly scarlet, as though she had been dipped in boiling water. Through the confusion of her darkened eyes and drumming ears some enormous bulk seemed to stoop over her. Then the mist cleared. His eyes were riveted upon the manuscript again, but he breathed as thought he had been running.” That, my friends, is a passage that captures passion. It also explains volumes, to those men who think they understand the female mind so well, just how women do feel about men’s bodies. Our eyes are not glommed onto what you might expect. The woman who wrote that? Plain as a boiled Sunday supper.
I order most books via the intralibrary loan system, because I often can’t find what I want to read, and I no longer have full blown access to the Library of Congress. Sometimes, I’ll idle around the “new” shelves and pluck at random, never with much hope. I was getting books ready to go back to the library later today. I have The Bush Tragedy waiting, and some other books. I just finished Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s Journals from 1952 to 2000. That was a treat. I tracked down all of the Cormac McCarthy books I hadn’t read. That was a mixed blessing. His writing is perfection. His apolcalyptic visions can become so oppressive, you have to walk away and find reaffirmations in humanity, the best way you can. Either that, or invest in good weaponry.
I’ll give it to you…fast and hot.
Just yesterday, when I was going through books needing to be returned to the library, I put aside Nigella Express: 130 Recipes For Good Food, Fast by Nigella Lawson. Nigella is one of those television food performers who spends a lot of time in the kitchen showing what Ms. Sayers would call an inordinate amount of bosom, and she spends a lot of time….licking things under a vaselined lens. Goujons of Sole, rated R.
Ms. Lawson had been widowed from a highly regarded journalist, but is now married to a well known advertising mogul, Charles Saatchi (think £££££,) so why she isn’t lounging around having oiled slave boys bring her nibbly things, *clapclap* I’ll never know. I realized that I had read all of her books, never cared for one of them, never made a recipe from one of them, and had to wonder what I was doing with the latest.
Nigella Express is the usual. A lot of photographs of her wearing tight sweaters or bathrobes (don’t we all cook that way?) One page of the book was nothing but this. I was baffled.
Proof that she isn’t a victim of bad British dental hygiene courtesy of the National Health?
….as opposed to…..
I realized while flipping through the receipes that there was a lot of repetition of food types: fried, oily things, greasy cuts of meat (invariably shown with beans,) pureed soups that are often green, molten chocolate thingies and then a slew of what I put into the slop-glop-plop school of cooking, but the British have evolved into whimsical names like...
...and syllabub jumble
...and jumbleberry crumble
...and Eton Mess
and roly poly and steamed spotted dick . I was trying to explain the concept behind steamed spotted dick just the other day.
Never mind the bollocks, where's your spotted dick?
Then there was this mess: "Ginger Passion Fruit Trifle," which reminded me very much of going to the creek as a child in the Spring and gathering up frog eggs:
You never see frogs anymore. Now you know why. Actually it’s an environmental pollution thing, but you just never know, do you?
Cooking is about balance and harmony." ~~ Nigella Lawson
"Please Sir? Can I have some more?"
Sure you can, Pete…and you’ll be on the bowl for a fortnight.