Pork braised with beer and cinnamon

April 11, 2012 § 20 Comments

Hello friends.  How are you?  I am well, but my head is quite lodged in a cloud of data.  Like the high peak of a mountain, caught in its own little weather pattern of eternal fog.  Would that I had some of the other characteristics of a mountain to compensate!  I trust that at some point it will all coalesce and I’ll be able to step out of it enough to see what shape it is – a bunny! a dragon! an armadillo! ah, the shapes clouds take on… – but right now I’m in the thick of it, hours upon hours of interview data.

(At least it’s the very best kind of data I could possibly be wanting to work with – people’s stories!  How precious!  Yet, I find this also makes it all the harder to do anything akin to analyzing.  I’d rather just listen…)

Also, along with Boston’s schoolchildren, whatever wonky muse I may be endowed with seems to be taking an April vacation.  Anyone who has seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s stellar TED talk on creativity and genius will know exactly what I mean when I say, my genius is being “kind of lame” at the moment.  (And, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  It’s fascinating and entertaining.) « Read the rest of this entry »

Lemon braised lamb with rosemary

January 20, 2012 § 7 Comments

Pretty much everyone in my family is a card carrying nerd in his or her spare time.  You may not perceive this on first glance.  It’s a sort of internal nerdiness.  Our spirits wear broken glasses, high water pants, and pocket protectors.  We pick up on Star Wars references, and occasionally sing little songs under our breath about whatever it is we’re doing in the moment.  Ok, maybe it’s actually just me who does that.  But, whatever.  (Have you seen New Girl?  Kind of like that.)

One of my brothers has read famous political figures’ dissertations, for fun.  The last time I spoke to my mother, she was gleefully reading a stack of dictionaries.  (Some of them have fascinating material in their appendices.  Seriously.)  I have a certain propensity toward exploring the thesaurus.  My reliance on it during college verged on the religious, zealous, fervid, a little over the top.

As many of the food obsessed are wont to do, I also like to read through cookbooks.  So, when my middle brother gave me The Flavor Thesaurus for Christmas, well it was clear that the book and I were going to need to get a room.  I’ve been slowly savoring my way through it ever since.  It’s truly a magnificent little oeuvre, informative, but not remotely boring.

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Beef short ribs with gorgonzola pudding

January 21, 2011 § 10 Comments

I think that one of the nicest things about having a parent from another country is all the funny turns of phrase or sayings you pick up as you grow up. Things translated directly from another language or phrases that were misheard but adopted nonetheless, which seem quite natural to you at home, but then as you head out into the wide world you discover that pretty much no one else says them. I suppose I could find this embarrassing, but instead it’s somehow incredibly endearing. And, I’m guessing that nearly every family has some idiomatic phrases belonging only to them. My mother has bestowed some particularly lovely sayings, mispronunciations, and the like upon her children.

In Norwegian, instead of saying “speak of the devil,” if you’re talking about someone and they suddenly show up, you say “speak of the sun and it shines!” Which probably has something to do with the national obsession with the weather, but which I also think is a much nicer way of referring to someone. No one wants to walk onto the scene only to be called the devil! My favorite saying, however is “necessity teaches the naked woman how to spin,” which is so much more colorful than “necessity is the mother of invention”…and will also earn you some strange looks if you use it offhandedly in conversation.

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