Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lentils and Mushrooms

Cook Puy lentils in ample water with half an onion, bay leaf and other herbs like sage and thyme. Add some salt at the end.
Stir fry a thinly sliced onion in vegetable oil. Add garlic, curry powder, shredded chilipepper, red bellpepper strips, and sliced (wild) mushrooms. Season.
When done, stir in a good dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and serve over the drained lentils.

Who said cooking for one was a hassle?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Domestic Bliss

We are a household of tea drinkers. We drink it morning, afternoon, and evening. Real, black tea made from leaves. The problem is dumping the leaves. I used to turn the pot upside down among the plants in the garden, but they were not overly happy about it. Now I strain the leaves in a sink tidy. However, they leave brown smudges on the white ceramic butler sink.
Chlorine bleach seemed an answer I was not going to accept, but no one could advise me on a gentler cleaning method. So I experimented and found the solution: soda crystals!

My mother-in-law could doubtless have given me the chemical explanation. It must be the grease that is dissolved, and the stain that has been stuck to it.

I don’t care how it works. I fill the bottom of the sink with hot water and drop some soda crystals into it. Then I start scrubbing with a scouring pad, and hey, presto! Brown spots gone! Shining white sink!

O, the bliss of cleanliness!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hot Air Balloon

Now the bubble has burst. The bankers have been selling futures to their customers. Silly, for how can the future be for sale? But we, credulous fools, bought the emperor’s clothes en masse.
We like hot air and clothes. Psychologists have discovered through tests that people are more inclined to seek contact in warm weather than when they are freezing, huddled in woollen coats. That we are friendlier to strangers when we are warming our hands around a mug of hot tea. (Why we need tests for such self-evident truths is beyond me!)
So we wanted hot air to fill our (bal)loony heads. And we wanted pretty clothes to parade through the streets. We wanted to believed in the phantoms and the illusions.
And now, finally, the little girl in the corner has cried out: “Look! The emperor has no clothes on!”
Hopefully it will lead us back to using hot air for heating our houses, and to buying no more than the clothes that keep us warm.
And to leaving the future where it belongs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Struggle of Writing

What a struggle writing is! My head may be full of words, sentences even, but nothing coherent. No story line, no plot. Not even a shimmer of one. At best a scene, an image.
Alright. It is a start. But it does not seem to be leading anywhere.
How much easier it is to run away to a phone call that has to be made; an urgent errand at the grocery store; to write a role play for a training session.
So much easier than sitting behind a keyboard, squeezing out word after word, when yet no inspiration is descending on my effort.

Come on! No dawdling! Get on with it!