April 20, 2015
April 19, 2015
“. . . when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle class, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language — and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It’s a finding place.” — Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
I graduated in 1976 with a liberal arts degree in English literature, and pretty much all of my adult life the value of this degree has eroded. It seemed to me that the 1980s began the rejection of all values other than money, and now our culture defines success by one’s monetary and material wealth. Someone like me, who is not naturally inclined to math, economics, sciences, engineering or technology, but who prefers the arts, philosophy, the humanities feels like a misfit. But when I look back on my life, I know I have been saved by reading. Books are my “finding place.” In the words of Lynda Barry, books have given me a world to “dwell and travel in.”
Poetry matters. Literature matters. Art matters. Beauty matters. They are priceless.
April 18, 2015
April 17, 2015
April 16, 2015
My sister-in-law gave me this recipe for Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad. I had never before cooked with tomatillos, and I rarely buy jalapenos, so my trip to the grocery store was more adventurous than normal as I hunted down the necessary ingredients. It was worth it, though. The salad is very good, and I will make it again.
Here is the recipe:
Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad
4 c rehydrated back-eyed peas, cooked until tender, drained and rinsed (or use two 15-oz. cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed)
6 tomatillos, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 – 4 jalapenos, chopped (I used just one because my family is not fond of highly spiced food)
1/2 onion, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
large handful of cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 c cilantro leaves, chopped
black pepper to taste
powdered cumin to taste
dash tamari sauce (I skipped this)
juice of one fresh lime
Combine all ingredients, preferably a day ahead of time to allow the marinade to work.
Before tossing, I roasted, with a drizzle of olive oil, 2/3 of the green pepper, 4 of the tomatillos, the onion, the garlic, and half of the tomatoes. I was worried I would not like the taste of so much raw tomatillo, and the roasting worked very well.
April 15, 2015
April 10, 2015
“These remnants, the flowers and pinecones and photographs and binoculars and dog-eared field guides, were the trappings of life lived as though nature were both wings and nest. Touchstones to places where wounds got tended.”
— Gary Ferguson, The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness