Reading List

A mid-week reading list to get you to the weekend!

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‘Those mail and newspaper deliveries punctuated the day. You read the newspaper over breakfast…’ I loved the excerpts of Rebecca Solnit’s new book (wonderfully titled ‘The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness’) in this Brainpickings article so much that it is now on my wishlist. Perhaps to read at Christmas. Also, time to read the newspaper over breakfast? On an ordinary weekday? Sigh.

This is a fascinating short video on Mexican line cooks cooking at home: la comida de los cocineros. In fact, I discovered the website Feet in Two Worlds just the other day and am already fascinated by the concept.

This almost-photo essay on Palermo makes me want to pack a suitcase and head for sunnier climes. Possibly to attend a workshop like those run at Anna Tasca Lanza (this one on the Language of Food is very appealing). Or this Cook the Farm training programme that they offer. Perhaps when my ship comes in.

I *may* have shouted at the computer whilst reading this. I think it is important to ask questions about school gardening programmes, not least those questions relate to historical relationships with food growing and farming, issues of class, ethnicity, and immigration… But I also feel like the author of the article was fundamentally asking the wrong kinds of questions*, like why is achievement in maths and English the only measure of success in schools? What is testing for? What does it do? What kind of world are we creating when the only acceptable activities in school relate to achievement (and PISA scores)? What about art? Creativity? Wellbeing? Achieve, achieve, achieve seems to be the education mantra but what about all the other stuff that can be learnt but not measured in the context of school?

*Never mind her fantastic assumption at the beginning of the article that the immigrant in her story had no education [talking about the immigrant’s son]: ‘he was made a citizen of this great country. He will lead a life entirely different from yours; he will be educated’ nor this spectacular denigration of female volunteers: ‘the weird, almost erotic power she [Alice Waters] wields over a certain kind of educated, professional-class, middle-aged woman (the same kind of woman who tends to light, midway through life’s journey, on school voluntarism as a locus of her fathomless energies)’.

This is the other angle on such stories – school gardens educating the ‘whole child’. Probably also not asking the right questions but for context…

This is a fantastic piece of foodieness. I like to think it is slightly satirical, poking fun at the ridiculousness of food shopping and the quest for the best egg but I’m not so sure.

What I plan to make next week: gingerbread cake with cookie butter frosting. Um, hells yes.

These pictures of Fern Varrow, a biodynamic farm and this recipe of theirs for a squash galette – Jen and I were talking galettes just the other day. New project.

I haven’t really ever eaten or cooked with quince before, but after reading this, I want to try poaching some. (Especially if I get to eat them with clotted cream and pistachios.)