Monday, June 27, 2016

The Magic of Baking

Food, as we all know, is magic.

Food, as anyone who reads this blog knows,  is also one of my obsessions (coincidental?  I think not.)

Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp on my birthday.  A magical moment
that otherwise has little to do with this post.
So it really shouldn't be a big shock that I read more than my share of cookbooks, books by people  in the food industry, and books about people in the food industry (if I looked hard enough, I'm sure I could find the name of the sub-genre of chick lit with caterers and bakers as heroines, for me they are just normal novels).  Yet I am sometimes surprised by how much I love books about magical food, from Garden Spells (magical food from magical plants in a magical place) to Bliss Bakery.

Saturday morning I picked up Sarah Weeks' PIE at the library and by noon I was buying groceries for a buttermilk blackberry pie with a cornmeal crust, which we ate Saturday night.  Since I made up the recipe, based on two in the YA novel, it wasn't perfect, but I think I am going to go try again.

Magic indeed.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Travel Lists 1-5

We've returned from the second of our summer trips, with lots to report.  In the unlikely event that you are into lists as much as I am, here are a few:

States (15): Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, home. (Now Dianthus wants me to list all of the states he has been to.  It's 29).  Georgia and South Carolina were new to the prairie dog (who hadn't picked up a new state since Arizona in 2013) and me (nothing new since North Carolina and Tennessee in 2008).

Not everyone is excited by state capitol buildings.
Atlanta.  I've been taking capitol dome selfies
since before I had a double chin or a digital camera.
State Capitol Buildings: 3 (all new to me) Nashville, Atlanta and Columbia (other capitols seen, if at a distance: Little Rock, Columbus, Indianapolis, Topeka).  This would be great news for my family capitol competition (I haven't picked up a new one since Annapolis in 2010), if my parents hadn't had a four capitol run (Atlanta, Richmond, Dover, and Annapolis) on their simultaneous trip.
Inside Columbia,
where actual legislating was happening

National Parks: Mammoth Cave, Cumberland Gap, Congaree, and Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. This represents no value out of our National Parks Interagency Pass, as Cumberland, Congaree and Seneca Rocks  were free and we paid for the fabulous Domes and Dripstones Guided Tour through Mammoth Cave.  We purchased the pass at Rocky Mountain last June 1, and in the thirteen months we had it, managed to hit Rocky Mountain three times, Dinosaur, Golden Spike, Glacier, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, Jewel Cave, Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Capulin Volcano, White Sands, and Saguaro, in addition to those mentioned above.

Watching Frogs, Mammoth Cave National Park
Birds of Note: Whippoorwills, brown thrashers, brown pelicans*, anhingas*, barred owls* and great blue herons.

Other Animals of Note: turtles, frogs so loud they kept us up at night, lightning bugs, sting ray, horseshoe crab, luna moth, racoon, groundhogs (at which Dianthus shouts "marmot" when he spots one), many small lizards, a skink, newts (and salamanders and crawfish for the boys) and alligators.  Doesn't everyone go to Hilton Head for the wildlife?

*Birds new to my life list, if I had one.

Boy observing lizard
Luna Moth, Cave City, Kentucky

Lizard observing boy (just before fight with other lizard)

First alligator, the small one.

Medium Alligator.   Large alligator was much larger, much
closer and LOUD.  We did not hang around a take a photo.

Skink, Congaree National Park

Why didn't I add milkweed beetles mating to the list?