I’m so happy to be back in Madison after about a month in Toronto. I couldn’t be happier to be lying here on my own green couch, listening to the laundry in the machine, and mulling over what to cook for dinner in my own kitchen. I’ve signed up for an account with Mealboard, a website and app that allows you to load recipes, make grocery lists and plan your meals based on the contents of your pantry. It was a bit of work to set it all up – I entered most of the information onto my iPod touch during a long train ride – but I’m interested to see how it will all work. I entered several recipes from one of my favourite Christmas presents: the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook! First up on the testing roster is the recipe for Wild Rice Gratin with Kale and Gruyere, which should help me to make a small dent in the mass of frozen kale in our freezer. I’m planning on writing several posts/recipe reviews related to this cookbook: in short, I adore it.

We have a gigantic amount of canned and frozen vegetables in stock right now, as the result of my September mania for preserving the tomato in all its forms, and because of our membership in the Harmony Valley Farm CSA (community supported agriculture). Before leaving for Toronto, I went through our fridge and froze as much as I could, including about ten pounds of carrots and several pounds of parsnips and turnips. I even sliced, blanched and froze two bags of sweet potatoes, in the hopes of making my own pre-frozen sweet potato fries. I think you can just freeze sweet potatoes without blanching, but a little online research suggested that they would be a better texture if I blanched them first. I’ll report back on this experiment! I love sweet potato fries and it seemed like a shame to let the sweet potatoes go to waste.

One of the vegetables that I froze from our CSA box was this beautiful Scarlet Turnip


In addition to the pile of laundry and the storehouse of vegetables that greeted me at home, I was also confronted by a pile of overdue library books. I think I heard somewhere that librarians pay more in overdue fines than members of the general public, not less. This doesn’t surprise me in the least: not only do librarians tend to be heavy users of libraries, they also, shall we say, tend to be a little scatterbrained and distracted. Currently overdue, or very close to being due on my account are:

More Baths, Less Talking, by Nick Hornby (not actually an ode to bathing, unless you count reading in the bath – this is a book of book reviews)

The Mormon People, by Mathew Burton Bowman (a history of Mormonism, which was very detailed but very unwilling to engage with controversial topics – not surprising considering that the author is himself a Mormon and the book was written with co-operation from church authorities, but it definitely made the book less interesting)

and The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You (I won’t try and explain what this great book is about, just direct you to Pariser’s excellent Ted Talk.)


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