Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A World of Tiny Love Notes...

... from the living to the dead

I've fallen in love with the book The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier. Less than a week ago I was taking a walk along the East River. It was exceptionally foggy that night, so I ducked into a bookstore and was drawn to this book which has a picture of a bandaged hand on its cover. It tells the story of a world where everyone's wounds (both physical and emotional) become illuminated so that others around can see, whether it's a cancerous lung, a toothache or a broken heart-- it lights up. The idea is that perhaps our pain is a beautiful rather than monstrous thing about us all. A deceptively simple concept, in my opinion, and he illustrates this concept with such magnificently spoken metaphors and imagery. I've nearly devoured it in less than a week. My absolute favorite part of the book is its epistolary aspect. One part of the story is told through a journal kept by a wife whose husband writes her one tiny love note each morning (she records each note diligently in her journal). Here is a splice of my favorite bits:

["I love those three perfect moles on your shoulder--like a line of buttons. I love the sound of your voice over the phone when you're trying to hide the fact that you're doing a crossword puzzle from me .... I love the feel of your hands on my cheeks, even when they're " 'cold as tea.' Hot tea?' 'No, iced tea.' " .... I love the last question you ask me before bedtime. .... I love the way you shake your head when you yawn. .... I love how disgusted you get by purees: "Who would do that to a poor defenseless soup?" I love waking up on a wintry morning, opening the curtains, then crawling back under the covers with you and watching the snow fall."]

God, there is no jewel or gift that could come close to a thoughtful and honest love note from a lover!

Today's Intake

Breakfast: half banana with perfectly ripe strawberries and blueberries, few spoonfuls of cereal and coconut milk
Lunch: baked pear tart with a slice of white cheddar cheese
Dinner: roast herb and lemon chicken with fingerling potatoes + english cucumber salad

Output

50 minutes walking briskly on the treadmill

While on the treadmill today I watched the majority of this documentary on my little phone's screen: Hungry For Change. You can watch it online for free through that link until March 31. It's about nutrition (or our societies lack thereof) and is very informative so far. Even though I am rather well educated on this subject, I was shocked and awakened to many atrocious things that food companies are doing in the manufacturing of our "food". I can't wait to finish it up before bedtime tonight.

In poetry news, it's nearly that time of year again, when the poets of the world stumble around happily and sleep deprived; churning out a poem every single day; fueled only by literary adrenaline and the love of words (okay and copious amounts of coffee too!). In a few days it will be National Poetry Month, 2012! I've set up a blog with a fellow poetess friend of mine and we will be posting daily there. Please feel free to request an invite if you have any interest in reading our poems (it's kept private for the sake of avoiding sticky situations with future publishing opportunities).

I heart making fruit tarts! It feels so wholesome and French, as though I were living in the countryside in Provence and watching birds tweet "oui oui!" at me as I kneaded dough. I decided to make a tart this afternoon because when I was hiding in the fruit aisle of the market (avoiding someone) an Anjou pear tumbled right off its precarious pyramid of pears and into my basket! Since it wanted to come home with me so badly, I thought I ought to make something special out of it. Here is my recipe (I know a tart sounds intimidating but its really quite easy! It would be perfect for a weekend brunch with friends, or even gobbled up with your sweetheart whilst reading the Sunday newspaper in bed, as you will be left with kissably sweet and buttery lips!!):

10 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter (cut into tiny cubes)
1 tablespoon ice water
1 ripe pear cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon of jam or preserves (I use whatever I have on hand, in this case it was lemon curd)
half a lemon

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly (use a food processor if you like, I use my hands because I like how dough feels and I hate washing the food processor). Add ice water and form dough into a ball. Let this chill in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. Then, grease a pie tin and spread dough out evenly, bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Take crust out of the oven at this point and luxuriously swab the sticky jam on top of it, then fan the pear slices atop it as artfully as you can muster. Squeeze the lemon juice on top for a bright citrus finishing touch and bake for 20 minutes more.

This makes 4 servings at 170 calories a piece. Serve with a slice of white cheddar cheese, mmm!

And in fish news, Edison got a girlfish named Marguerite. She is an exotic coppery color, has long pretty fins and is very sassy but plays hard to get at times. They ignore me now since they're in their honeymoon phase, but anyway, they are madly in love and I couldn't be happier for them.

I hope you're all enjoying the early spring blossoms and reading plenty of e. e. cummings!

Love,
Jennifer