San Francisco Book Review:
Romance and Other Stories
Engaging short stories are the better of two worlds. They are gold-foiled invitations that greet their readers and show them a fine time, then kindly show them the door where they can move on. They don’t rob so much time, allowing the reader the courtesy of making more plans, and the want of just a little more at the close. They leave you wondering about the characters, lingering on the details and wishing that you could stay overnight in a guest room and see what continues after the click of the light goes off, the last page shows up.
Samantha Prust’s collection, Romance and Other Stories, is a fine time, indeed. Her stories’ rhythms and seemingly ordinary lives of her characters are relatable and intriguing. She opens with a coming-of-age spun story titled Recipes where a budding girl is going through the inevitable changes of adolescence over the spread of a summer. She wrestles with the purchase of her new bra and the realization that just knowing what lies under the sheer of her T-shirt has changed her. And with the beauty of a short story, we see this significance in an afternoon. From Recipes to Angles, two “beautiful, but broke” waitresses wager the ho-hum life they are living by selling more than the day’s specials. There is a slight conflict between the two and a deeper, internal struggle with one that lends a multifaceted meaning to the superficial.
Each story carries its own weight, true to short story development, cuts to the chase and leaves the reader to ponder. I did want to see a further dive into struggle. External conflict is not as prevalent as internal, which, if explored deeper, could lend to a tighter tale. All in all, Prust creates prevailing, multidimensional characters that make for an afternoon of instant immersion.
Looking to rev up your meals with some spice? Look no further than Bina Mehta Spice Blends. These Indian spice blends available from BinaMehta.com will add amazing flavor to any dish. She also has some recipes you will want to add to your collection. I also recommend the chai tea spice. Nothing like a hot cup of chai!
Slice up some beets, put them in a dehydrator for 4 to 6 hours, and you’ll have healthy little chips you can pack with your lunch. It’s like medicine, really, but better tasting. I love these salty, earthy chips.
Crispy nuts are simply raw nuts that have been soaked and dried (oven or dehydrator). Soaking raw nuts helps you digest them better. And they’re delicious!
Soak any variety of raw nuts for 8 to 12 hours in a covered glass container. The ratio is one cup of filtered water per one cup of nuts, and a teaspoon of salt for each cup.
After soaking, dry the nuts in the oven at the lowest temperature or in a dehydrator for 10 to 48 hours (dry until the nuts are crisp).
Voila! Crispy nuts.
(Adapted from The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children)
This is a Dutch flat cabbage from my garden, 2015.
The first step for making sauerkraut is to chop it up.
After it’s all chopped up, add a tablespoon of salt, mix, cover lightly with a kitchen towel, and let it sit for about an hour.
Time to squeeze it, pound it, and smash it.
After a lot of squeezing, pounding, and smashing, the cabbage releases its juices.
Pack the cabbage and juice into a jar, and press the cabbage down so that the brine is covering all cabbage pieces. Cover with a lid. Check it every few days to make sure the cabbage is below the brine. In three weeks, you’ll have delicious and nutritious sauerkraut.
Mmm! Please pass the sauerkraut.
Here’s to more cabbage and Brussels sprouts in 2016!
Lunch from our garden: roasted beets and greens, squash with almond pesto, and tomato-cuke salad with raw pumpkin seeds.