Category Archives: books

Primary Courses: or old cookbooks

I’ve always loved used bookstores. When I was in school, not only were they the best place for a bookworm to score some deals, it was also a great place to find what my history teacher described as “primary source information”, artifacts of history to show the existence of a specific trend or set of expectations. 

For example, a modern reading of “Jane Eyre”, would show that Rochester is a terrible human being and why the hell would anyone think he was decent marriage material? 

Ok. So I still think that’s the case. But Charlotte Brontë was writing from a time when there were no mental institutions, and shutting one’s crazy wife in an attic with a caretaker, was the more humane thing to do. Not to say it wasn’t still awful for everyone involved. But it’s sort of like saying “well, the only things to eat at the time were bugs; otherwise everyone starved.” 

The right response is not “why didn’t they just eat sandwiches?” Because this was a time before sandwiches! And you can’t learn about this sandwich free era by reading “Jane  Eyre” because the author assumed her readers were contemporaries in this time of no sandwiches. You actually have to read books about the state of sandwiches  in the early 1800s, England. (In case you’re unclear, in this metaphor, sandwiches = psychiatric care, which was very bad at that time.) 

Now of course, we are in a heavily sandwich rich time, so there are no such excuses. 

One of my favorite sources of primary source information are old cookbooks. They are so much more than just a collection of recipes that remind you of how novel a microwave used to be, or the prevalence of Jell-O as an ingredient, they can also be a reminder of who used to be famous enough that they assumed people wanted to know what they wished to eat. They are a reflection of the times in which they wre published, and the state of mind of their authors. They’re  an unexpected window intro the fleeting nature of trends, of celebrity, of who used to be rich and famous… 



There’s a grilled eggplant recipe from Bruce and Kris Jenner are in here…with family pictures showing a very young Kim Kardashian in what appears to be a denim jumpsuit



Cookbooks are ostensibly about the preparation of food: everyone needs to eat. But outside of perennial, practical staples, like “The Joy of Cooking”, most of them are about something else. How to transform your body, and thus your life. How to solve some existential problem by cooking. How to somehow become more like someone successful by eating what they eat. The subtext of them say a lot about the culture from which they came; from the ingredient lists to whose recipes were considered worth collecting. They are advice and value systems, wrapped up in a food prescription. 

Like, when you think “what should I make for dinner”, you probably never think, “what should I make if I were a Laker?” But maybe you should! Why wouldn’t you want to be like an entire well compensated basketball team? They seem like they have good lives! Eat like a Laker!



Or if you’ve just discovered an evil twin, committed incest, have amnesia, or are unfortunate to have experienced all three, The last thing you want to think about is what to make for dinner. So this is the cookbook for you! 



Or if all of the above happens to you while trying to establish a political dynasty, AND you are a fan of the Renaissance Faire and Italian  food …



not only does this give you recipes that the Mediciicis would have enjoyed, it also reminds you that there was once a 13 part PBS special about them.



There are a reminders of what events people at a time wished to commemorate, but people are vague about now. 



I went to this as a kid. And I only just noticed how much the logo looks like a short penis with a third ball.



Cookbooks about movies that were popular enough at the time to warrant a cookbook  



Cookbooks for OCD physicists, or for those inviting some over for dinner. 



Cookbooks for those seeking a creative solution to pest control, or who are unable to travel to restaurants who serve unusual proteins. 



this must have been a challenge for the food photographers: judging from the results, I’ll say they failed to make the food look appetizing.



Cookbooks for lovers of a specific genre of music…



I eagerly await the dance music cookbook, the metal cookbook, and the synth pop cookbook.



And of course, one for fans of Star Trek. Recipes for a long and prosperous life!



If you have favorite, very specific cookbooks, I’d love to hear about them! 

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What do you mean it’s not realistic?!?

Not to beat a dead horse (HAHA!) but I want to talk about my book again.

Because I got my first bad review!

While I’m okay with bad reviews (it’s really impossible to be universally loved) I do feel a bit bad about someone buying my book and being disappointed because she thought she was buying something else. Rather like thinking you were going to get chocolate, and finding a bar of soap instead.

I mean, soap is great and all, but so different!

So in case some of you out there are going, “I want to spend 99 cents (special promotional rate, going on now!) on a great centaur themed romance that makes me feel dreamy and see horses in a different light!” I beg you. don’t buy my book!

I kind of thought the tag “Ridiculous Romance” and the cheesy cover of a woman holding an apple, was a give away that this was a satire, but it seems, I’m wrong.

(If you must be disappointed, I’d like you to be disappointed for the right reasons.)

There are real centaur-themed romance novels out there, mine is just not one of them. Instead of hot horse-y love, mine has pictures like this in it:

Image

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So spoiled…

Like everyone else, I’ve been watching “Game of Thrones.”

And this last episode…

Ok, so everyone makes a big deal about spoilers, and I went and spoiled everything for myself early by reading all the Wikipedia summaries when Season One was still on.

I KNOW.

But…here’s my second shameful revelation…it’s because I couldn’t get through the book when I first tried reading it before the tv series debuted.

I KNOW. I’m disappointed in me too.

But now I’m going to at least do the spoilers the right way, and read the books, which I just started. And man…everyone was right! They’re really good!! Let me tell you everything that happens…

hahaha! Just kidding!

Incidentally, when looking for an image for this blog post, I started messing around with a standard Game Of Thrones image…and found out.

Using regular art filters create a nice, moody image. Like this…

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But using improperly themed image creating tools, creates a weird schizophrenic effect. And now I’m a teenage girl.

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FAQs about “A Well-Centaured Love”

Well, it’s been an entire month plus since “A Well-Centaured Love” was launched into the world, wobbling on its awkward legs. Now it has sales…in the double digits!*

For those of you who have bought and read the book, thank you!
(And for those of you who immediately sent me every horse pun I somehow managed to overlook…dammit! )

It is at this point, I would like to address some questions that have arisen regarding “A Well-Centaured Love”

Q&A

Q: I’m disappointed, I thought there would be a horse/woman sex scene

A: Ok, so that’s not technically a question, but yeah. I’m not an industrial designer and couldn’t figure out the logistics. Also I was too frightened to Google “horse porn”. So you’re going to have to make do with euphemisms. You do get a drawing of a horse penis though!

Q: Seriously?

A: Yeah. It’s small . Not relative to the centaur, but with respect to the overall size of the drawing. Still. Bonus horse penis!

Q: Why should I buy this? I’m not really into books.

A: Well, think of it more as a story book, with pictures. Who doesn’t like pictures?**

Q: I can’t believe you’re mocking centaur love! It’s a real, and beautiful fetish that many who love men and horses relate to. This book is really judgmental!

A: Again, not really a question. And is it really judgmental to make fun of imaginary creatures that don’t actually exist?

Q: Yes!

A: Guess I’ll have to live with that then.

*low double digits

**of equine intimate anatomy.

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More bad movies

May I present…

Hmm, does this poster look familiar to anyone? Oh yeah!

Moby Dick (1851) is a novel written by Herman Melville. For many, including the professor who taught my American literature class, it is the quintessential novel. I did not like it, but it is written in such a way that it can be used as a metaphor for almost any topic. It was the Swiss army knife of books, invaluable when writing an English paper.

With “Moby Dick”, you can tie in:

1) man vs. nature

2) brotherhood

3) the ever-popular Christ figure

4) the quixotic quest

5) racism

In fact, the only literary theme that was difficult to discuss within the context of “Moby Dick” was feminism and motherhood, as there are no females in the book. However, the sex of the white whale is never mentioned, so some adventurous readers say that the whale is female and Captain Ahab has mother issues.

English lit class. Only art class was more subjective.

This is how I picture the movie pitch went down;

WRITER WHO STUDIED MELVILLE IN COLLEGE: I would like to make an adaptation of Moby Dick!

STUDIO EXEC: Great, monster movie, it’s like “Jaws!” But how about we set it in modern day?

WWSMIC: Oookay…

STUDIO EXEC: And we make Captain Ahab a woman! How about the sidekick from “Xena: Warrior Princess”? Cult show in the 90’s!

WWSMIC: … [pauses for his soul to die]

Voila! The end product being something with which I’m sure no one involved was happy.

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Oh my god, I’m living in the FUTURE and it is AWESOME

When I was a teen, not only did I dress like a turn of the century spinster, I was also a die hard, 2 stacks of books a day, reading until 3 am bookworm.

I know! I was soooo popular! Everyone wanted to be me!*

If you love reading, you look at a stack of books the way a chocoholic looks at a box of fancy chocolates, with delirious anticipation. Consequently, when you’re dying to read something and the bookstores are closed, you might devolve from deprived chocoholic to deprived crack addict.

So when eReaders first came on the scene a few years ago, I was thrilled. This is what I’ve always wanted! I was now the chocoholic with a 24 hour candy store at my disposal, diabetes be damned!**

I was not, however, a chocoholic with unlimited funds.

Enter, Overdrive.com.

Overdrive.com allows you to check out books from your local library without having to worry about opening hours or that suspicious looking guy in the corner that you know is just using the library’s Internet to surf for porn.

Some caveats, you’ll need an actual library card. And like a real library, not all the books you want will be in stock and there’s likely a wait list for the most popular titles.

But still, this means that at midnight, you can check out a book from the library. Also, let’s face it, there’s a lot of books that you really only want to read once, or don’t want to admit you read at all, much less spend money on.

I realize for kids today, downloading a book is simply what it means to buy a book; something wholly unremarkable. The hipster kids of tomorrow will carry around worn copies of a bound books as a sign of vintage cred. And they’ll troll around antique stores, looking at stacks of ancient romance novels, fingering the musty, yellow pages, and think “Just imagine! People used to read like this!”

Which, to be honest, is still what I think when I see old romance novels now.

*this is a lie
**I’ll just drop the crack addict metaphor here…in the interests of good taste. Don’t do drugs kids!

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