Sunday, January 31, 2010

Food Writers at Washington Post!

The Washington Post is hosting a food writer's mixer and book reading on February 4th in DC with contributors from Best Food Writing 2009. See the link for more details (it's free for subscribers and Post Point members!). I'm excited to meet Tim Carman, I've always loved the Washington City Paper's restaurant reviews.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A snowy day and some forgotten artwork.

A view from my deck of how much snow has fallen since the morning.

Trees behind my house.

Detail of a lonely octopus girl that I drew last February, almost exactly 2 years ago. I drew this picture in a bar in the east side of Berlin. It was very cold and I was very lonely. Since then a lot has happened and a lot has changed, most of it good, some of it bad, a lot of it unexpected.

Friday, January 29, 2010

German Chocolate Cookies

This recipe is from the Washington Post's Holiday Cookie Guide. It has pretty much everything I love-chocolate, nuts, and coconut (it's missing lemon, but that would probably be a little weird in a recipe like this). The recipe can be found here. It's hard to bring butter to room temperature when the ambient temperature of your house is negative freezing all the time.

Cookies waiting to go into the oven. They look a little truffle-y.

Cookies waiting to be devoured.

Final verdict? Yum! The dark Dutch processed cocoa powder gives the cookies a nice, slightly bitter bite that helps cut the sweetness of the German chocolate, and they have an interesting, slightly dry texture (instead of cakey) that's reminiscent of biting into a macaroon. The recipe is very easy to make and takes only one bowl, and I didn't have to make any trips to the grocery store to get ingredients.
The next I make them, I would toast the pecans a little longer for a more pronounced nutty taste, and instead of incorporating the coconut into the batter, might try rolling the batter in coconut instead before baking.

Diary of Anne Frank Hits Banned Book List

No, really.

This article in today's Washington Post Metro section has the details. The Culpeper County public school system is banning a newer version of The Diary of Anne Frank from the classroom. Teachers will use the older version, although a copy of the new version will be stocked in school libraries. At issue are "passages [that] detail her [Frank's] emerging sexual desires; others include unflattering descriptions of her mother and other people living together," according to the article.

The odd part about this story is that the Culpeper school district didn't follow set policies for deciding a book's fate. The ban seems to be based on one complaint and Diary was banned without the benefit of a review committee's findings, as per Culpeper policy. Director of instruction James Allen seems fine with the decision and it appears that it will stand.

I've read Diary several times, but haven't seen the newer edition, which I will have to find (maybe I could borrow it from Culpeper's library?).

One of my teachers in high school (hi Ms. Zeimet! I really enjoyed your class!) gave us a banned books assignment, which was really eye opening. The list of banned books included classics like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, and even my childhood favorite, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (my copy is held together with a giant rubber band because it's been read so many times). I chose Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I had never read before. Ms. Zeimet gave us the rationale for the books' banning, and I remember waiting all through my reading of Dracula to get to the explicit parts. I never found anything I would have termed as such, which shows how standards change, or maybe that I had already become jaded by 10th grade.