Sunday, February 15, 2015


The word "mocktail" tends to bring about an involuntary shudder.  Hey guys, don't worry about not drinking - you can enjoy a syrupy, grenadine filled, sugary mess.  Still, TOH and I enjoy cocktail hour - we play a bit of backgammon, read, put something on the record player, and enjoy whatever we've learned to make recently.  Of late, it's been a Sazerac, a decidedly alcoholic beverage off limits for February.

My wariness was mislaid, however, when it came to the Mellow Yellow from the ever reliable Tasting Table.  Despite the unpromising name, it was tangy, refreshing, not at all sweet, and echoed the complexity one gets with a well made cocktail.  And its tastiness was worth the reward of going through ones usual cocktail rituals - our beautiful, boxy red coupe glasses chilled in the freezer, the cocktail thoroughly shaken in an art deco inspired cocktail shaker.

Of course, conversation led to which spirit would go best in the drink.  I thought a bourbon, but TOH's suggestion of mezcal seemed even better.  We'll let you know but, for now, this works beautifully.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Drybruary VI

This year sees me embark on year SIX of No Booze in February (TM).  As per usual, I am looking forward to it providing me with a chance to explore other sources of entertainment during the month.  This year I am hoping to make it to the members' preview of the Kehinde Wiley exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, Into the Woods, and my new favourite thing that I discovered last year - seeing the Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts and Documentary Shorts, which I'll be doing in a mega evening this upcoming Friday. 

Otherwise, it's a chance to catch up sleep, reading, tv, and do a lot of cooking.  Not much more exciting than that, but that's part of the point - a calm, slow month in which I hunker down and take advantage of the excuse to say no to going out, no to socialising, and yes to recovering some energy and zest for the rest of the year.  With six weddings, significant family birthdays, and other traveling obligations, it will hopefully carry me through those with a little more pep.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Tomorrow (Tuesday 27) is a snow day here in NYC - schools closed, public transport shut down tonight, and the office closed tomorrow.  I have plenty to do on my day at home.  Nonetheless, it is nice to be able to enjoy a respite, a pause, if not a complete stopping of work. 

With the pause, I can reflect on what I have planned to achieve and move toward this year.  

First, READING.  Last year I set myself the target of reading 60 books, which I achieved, but at the expense of tilting the balance of what I read far closer to the lightweight end of the range.  And while I am a big and unashamed fan of light reading (and I'm in very good company there), I was neglecting the factual and more literary end of the spectrum.  My initial goal for reading was even more books, but I realised that a better goal would be to read fewer books, but an improved balance of those books.  So my aim is 50, but alternating between a "serious" book and a more frivolous one.  I have just finished the Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary; I was inspired by this article the new translation lived up to its potential, completely and utterly - I finally understood what the fuss was about, although of course it was about a very different book, given the difference in translation.  I have subsequently moved onto a young adult fantasy fiction book, as is my wont (and, as is typical, recommended by the aforementioned Jenny Davidson's Light Reading blog).  Next up after this will be The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks, and then... something else YA/Crime/Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  Not that those cannot be literary, but they generally will not count toward the "serious" one.  That requires non-fiction or literary fiction, I'm afraid. 

Second, EATING.  I am resurrecting the old Something Green Every Day resolution.  Last year was fantastic for eating - we learned a lot of new recipes, used our slow cooker a lot, and generally ate very well, and yet I still strayed into not eating something green every day, particularly if I did not get some in at lunch, because although I do enjoy my greens, I can be super lazy about eating them for lunch, and it's often really easy to just grab some delicious arepas or Thai.  One of the best ways to ensure I get something in is to keep broccoli in the freezer at work, which means that whatever I eat - leftovers, takeout, a baked sweet potato - I can have broccoli with it.  It's a start. 

Third, MOVIES.  Looking back at those 2012 resolutions, the movie one is something I would like to try a little more successfully this year.  We have been to see Birdman, which was utterly ludicrous, but I was enchanted by it.  With February coming up - and the annual No Booze in February festivities - there should be ample opportunities to see another then.  I'm hoping for Selma, I have to say, but there are others, I'm sure, worth the trip.  I'll also be off to see the short documentaries and animations - last year the documentaries were utterly gut-wrenching, and this year it appears that they're not much more fun.  Joy!

Finally, BLOGGING.  I've let this go, but I would like to make an effort to post more often, even if just to discuss the books or movies or recipes I've embraced as a result of these resolutions.  (And I am calling them resolutions, because "goals" or something else is me trying to kid myself that I'm not making resolutions).