This week’s favorite things:
Chipotle Bean Burritos: I went vegetarian at home this past fall (I’ll still eat meat occasionally when I go out to eat. I think this makes me “flexitarian”) and have been struggling to find easy weeknight meals that were inexpensive, used only one pot, didn’t use excessive amounts of bread, eggs or cheese, and still felt like a meal to my other non-vegetarian family members. These fit the bill. Also, I am completely addicted to this salsa.
Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life: I’m not quite sure what to make of this. There’s something sort of childish and silly about it, and also something undeniably endearing. Knowing that Rushdie wrote the book for his youngest son helps. I imagine him writing it, wanting to write a story his son would enjoy while also passing along those more difficult life lessons: The fluidity of time – while still in the present your spirit can be stuck in the past or daydreaming only of the future; the importance of finding your own way through life; that sometimes its our children who save us. Favorite line: “They turned into his closest allies and most loyal protectors, so fierce in his defense that nobody would ever have dreamed of bullying him when they were nearby, not even his appalling classmate Ratshit, whose behavior was usually out of control.”
Moth and Sparrow’s animal hats: Does the Peanut need me to make these? Technically speaking. . . no. . . But, actually . . . YES! The only remaining question: Is the Peanut more a fox, an owl, or a raccoon?
Hans Keilson’s Comedy in a Minor Key: The inside jacket cover described this as a dark comedy. I think I have a fairly dark sense of humor, but I didn’t get it here. Nevertheless, I loved this elegant little novella. The story of a Dutch couple in World War II who hide a Jewish stranger in their spare bedroom, not out of any political activism, but more out of a sense of neighborly decency. When their houseguest dies of pneumonia one year into his stay, the Dutch couple struggles with the aftermath of their decision. I think this was particularly interesting in that, unlike most of the other WWII novels I’m familiar with, Comedy focuses on the struggles of those doing the hiding, not the hidden. Favorite line: “He had defended himself against death from without, and then it had carried him off from within. It was like a comedy where you expect the hero to emerge onstage, bringing resolution, from the right. And out he comes from the left.”
ABC’s the Bachelor: Don’t hate me. I already sort of hate myself for this. I’ve only watched one other season of The Bachelor. It was during a semester of law school when I was literally in class for 12 hours straight on Mondays and would get home at 8:00, just in time to flop down on the couch and mindlessly turn on the TV. We also didn’t have cable at the time, so the most mind-numbing worthless television starting right at 8:00 was The Bachelor. It was the season with Brad, the guy who chose no one and is now back for another go at one of the most absurd dating gameshows in history. I was morbidly curious. I watched the season premiere. It was gloriously awful: the early signs of desperation, the shameless struggle to be noticed, do I even need to mention the girl who wears vampire teeth (they appear to be some sort of dental implant)? Oh God, we shall never speak of this again.