I’ve been reading… but haven’t been motivated enough to write about it. (w)

Peter Hunt’s Illustrated Children’s Books took me ages to read, because I couldn’t stop snapping pictures of the lovely pictures. I love illustrations and children’s books! Even after outgrowing my primary school uniform, I continue to browse the children’s section in bookstores and libraries.

On a whim, I picked up Joseph’s Parisi’s 100 Essential Modern Poems. I miss Mr Whitby’s Poetry lessons so much! He was truly one of the most inspiring Literature teachers I’ve ever had. This was a good guide to various poets and their works, but a poem is so much more enjoyable when you do a proper critique.

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy Michael Perry’s Coop as much as I’d expected to. A memoir of his life in the country, it outlines “a year of poultry, pigs and parenting”… interesting, but would have been nice with a lighter touch.

As always, I make sure to pick up a few yummy books from the food shelves. This time, I read Michael Ruhlman’s The Soul of a Chef, Charles A. Baker-Clark’s Profiles from the Kitchen, and my favourite: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci.

The Soul of a Chef is Ruhlman’s second book. Divided into three parts, it first deals with the Certified Master Chef exam, “a brutal weeklong cooking marathon that measures the skill levels of professional chefs. The second and third parts of Ruhlman’s book are devoted to the careers of two different chefs, Michael Symon of Cleveland’s Lola Bistro and Thomas Keller of Napa Valley’s legendary French Laundry.” Ahh.. I would love to eat at French Laundry!

Profiles from the Kitchen profiles “15 individuals who have shaped our experiences with food and who have gone beyond popular trends to promote cooking as a craft worth learning and sustaining.” People like Paul and Julia Child, James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher , John T. Edge and Dennis Getto. Comprehensive read on their background, but it lacks the little details and anecdotes which I like. Individual memoirs will be a more satisfying read.

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti is quirky, cute and wickedly funny. I like it when people, especially authors, don’t take themselves too seriously. “One by one, Giulia Melucci found boyfriends, fed them well, and established relationships. Thus, she recapitulates the hoary truth about the path to a man’s heart lying through his stomach.” The recipes are laced with lots of humour too. Plus they are weaved in so tightly with her flawless narration (you feel like you are listening to a friend). The recipes all sound workable too.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I read her “Bucatini Amatriciana with MP3 File-Sharing Technology”. She describes how she had to cook while trying to search for an album to play for her finicky then-boyfriend.

“LimeWire wouldn’t open, having died from neglect. I put up a pot of water to boil for pasta, then began to follow the steps to resuscitate it. This took longer than I remembered it taking for Kit, and soon enough the water was boiling. Amatriciana is a simple sauce that can be made while the sauce is cooking, but it gets a heck of a lot more complicated if you try to make it while downloading mp3 file-sharing technology onto your laptop.”

Her recipe:

“Bucatini Amatriciana with MP3 File-Sharing Technology

1 iBook G4
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices pancetta
1 small onion
1 Visa card
1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
Salt
1/2 pound bucatini
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino

Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat.
Attempt to open LimeWire from the icon on your desktop. Fail.
The Scotsman in the apartment, who is useless with computers but, as we know, is capable of helping with pasta, will retreat to the bathroom for a shower.
Go to the LimeWire website and follow the steps to download the software onto iBook G4. This will take much longer than you think. Water is now boiling, and you haven’t done a thing for the sauce. Leave installation running, go to kitchen, and start sauce.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat; chop pancetta, add it to oil and let it get a little crispy. Meanwhile, chop the onion and add it to the pancetta.
Return to desk to check on installation. Discover that installation of free software is not happening; you will have to upgrade to LimeWire Pro. Retrieve Visa card and type account number in appropriate box; learn what “security code” is.

……

By now, you have forgotten the boiling pasta. Run to the kitchen to taste it; it will be overcooked. You will be ashamed for having failed at everything. Drain immediately, add to sauce. Remove from heat, sprinkle with pecorino.

Serves 2, unsatisfyingly.”

Try it? 😛

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