Sidetracked by a new recipe, a DIY and two unlikely books

It’s been hot. I’ve been bored. The blog post I’ve been planning just isn’t coming together. Like a kid getting sidetracked from a deadline on a school project, I find I’m easily distracted. And so this is what I’ve been up to.

The recipe

These are perfect conditions for me to start puttering in the kitchen. (Cooking requires you to focus on the task in front of you and take a mental break from everything else.) I had seen a recipe for Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce on Jenny Steffens Hobick’s blog, Everyday Occasions . (Her recipes are delicious and she’s generous about sharing tips for success.) I was intrigued by this recipe, because it has only four ingredients! Check it out here; I don’t want to spoil the fun.

This sauce was delicious, easy, and so fresh!! I served it with penne, some meatballs from the freezer, and beans from Steve’s garden. Next, I want to try it with homemade meatballs and polenta, a fairly hearty appetizer we sometimes share at a local restaurant. I’ve been thinking that a slightly larger serving of meatballs and a vegetable on the side could turn that appetizer into an entree.

Polishing silver

Have you ever made DIY silver polish with a quart of boiling water, a tablespoon of baking soda and a foil-lined bowl? This is a recipe I saw on the web a few years ago. I tried it out with a bunch of silver-plate flatware I had forgotten about in the basement. I dropped a few pieces at a time into the hot water bath, and the results were amazing. Although I still use the traditional paste polish when I have the time, this has been my secret go-to when I need to clean a few pieces in a hurry.

It is especially effective with this woven silver basket. (Yes, I also polished some silver.) This was a wedding gift from a special friend in my earliest basket-collecting career. It’s a challenge to clean, so briefly dipping it in this bath has been a lifesaver. My basket used to make appearances on only the most special occasions; now it hangs out on the coffee table or a side table all the time!

Connecting the dots between books

I think I already shared with you that recently one of my reading groups discussed Katherine Graham’s autobiography, Personal History. We had all loved “The Post” with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and wanted to learn more about Kay Graham. We came away impressed with what Graham accomplished, especially with regard to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. Her father owned the Washington Post and turned it over to her husband, Philip Graham. Kay took over when Phil died unexpectedly. She make it profitable for the first time, stuck to the Post’s editorial principles and drove two of the most significant stories in the 1960’s and 70’s, making it one of the most powerful and respected papers in the country.

Hold that thought.

Next we read The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s post WWI novel that captures the essence of an era and a class of people. Jay Gatsby and Tom and Daisy Buchanan were all about money — new money and old money. But they were incredibly careless people, and not just careless with things or money. They were careless with the truth and with people’s lives. Fitzgerald’s prose is magical but these are not likable characters.

Taken together these two books share so much about power and money done right and done wrong. What an interesting dilemma for the times in which we live.

It’s finally a little cooler here. I hope it is where you are, too. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time?

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4 thoughts on “Sidetracked by a new recipe, a DIY and two unlikely books

  1. Will definitely try the recipe. But I have to say that Katharine Graham’s book has been a favorite of mine for a long time – what a fabulous story of a woman transformed from a timid, shy debutante of the fifties to the powerhouse of the ‘70’s.

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    1. This was actually my second time with Personal History. I first read it years ago & loved it then too. I think her accomplishments are remarkable. She didn’t just embark on a midlife career, she saved the paper and made it one of the best in the country, and stood up to Nixon and the courts.

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  2. I like Jenny’s blog too. I was intrigued by this recipe but was wondering if it comes a little bland? I think I’d be tempted to add some oregano or thyme. Did you feel it needs them?

    I reread The Great Gatsby a few months ago. There is a reason Fitzgerald is a classic. I find myself gravitating to reading or rereading mostly classics these days as I too often have felt disappointed with recent releases, some of them highly acclaimed and recommended. It astounds me to see all the high praise. I know you enjoyed the ” A Gentleman in Moscow” and I gave it a try. I couldn’t get past a few initial chapters.

    I know exactly what you mean by being distracted from completing a blog post. I found there is usually a deeper reason for that other than lack of focus/ procrastination. All in good time, I suppose.

    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Mila — I actually planned on adding some fresh basil to the sauce just before serving, but honestly I forgot! Although it seemed fine as is, I think it’s an especially light taste for summer. It would be very easy to season as you suggest. I would agree that many books don’t necessarily live up to their hype. its often hard to distinguish between truly thoughtful reviews and good marketing. I read a lot of non-fiction, especially biography, and I think that may be why. You’re right about blogging — sometimes the topic is too weak or just hasn’t “jelled.” If I’m laboring too hard, it’s forced instead of sincere. What about you?
      Enjoy the weekend!

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