Depleting the Larder

Throwing good food away goes against the grain, such a waste. How many people go without enough in their larder.  Our upcoming travel however, means leaving the RV on its own for a couple of weeks while we take the clan to Israel for a long dreamed-of family reunion.  Necessity means use it or loose it; the perishables in the rig refrigerator or fruit and veggies in the drawer.  Creative juices must be called upon to blend what is left together to avoid any waste.

I love a challenge and like most of us “cooks” never follow a recipe anyway.  Paul prepares his non-veggie part of any meal on his own. So I will deal with the rest of the menu. Our latke intake suffered this Chanukah, because I did not care to purchase anything so close to our departure. Therefore, the first night of Chanukah, I made delicious lentil/spinach veggie burgers that Paul grilled along with small peppers and onion and tomato slices.  This year, we chose to deprive ourselves of latkes or Sufganiyot (Israeli jelly donuts), but made sure the oil of the Maccabees still played a role in our celebration in preparing the burgers for sauteeing the spinach, onion and garlic. They were delicious and satisfied our needs.

So far, we have feasted upon buttercup squash filled with a kale, mushroom, bean saute and baked, omelets filled with veggies and cheese, a Tamali casserole topped with corn bread that bake gloriously together, Southern Tomato Pie, Tortilla and veggie Jambalaya soup, roasted sweet potato, onion and carrots, the lentil burgers and gorgeous salads chock full of avocado, jicama, fennel, more kale, edamame and nuts along with the usual suspects. The final contenders as we approach our departure date include onion, garlic, mushrooms, pinto beans, eggs, carrots, celery that could be paired with pasta, couscous or a lovely brown pecan rice grown and purchased in Louisiana. What fun, and nothing to throw away.

Off we go to delight in seeing our beloved Israel through our grandson’s eyes, to catch up with family and friends, to refresh our sense of history, of belonging and of returning “home” and to feast on Israeli and Mediterranean meals and the renowned milk and honey of the land of Israel. This is just a small way of getting to repeat again to all of you, wishes for a happy and special holiday season and a healthy, wish fulfilling new year.

Last year’s Latkes

Southern Tomato Pie

Fess up

In my last post, I confessed an obsession based on recording too much info in the form of electronic data bases, having succumbed to modernity and putting my collection of yellow-lined pads to rest. My book lists go back many years and wading through available book synopsis, reviews, Goodreads, word of mouth and the best-of book lists in search for the next read gets harder and harder. We live in the age of too much info at our fingertips. My fingertips are calloused for sure.

In the “old” days of wandering through the candy store-a.k.a libraries with physical shelves, I was endlessly overwhelmed at the number of tempting tomes I lugged to the check out desk to consume before the due date (online renewal being an option). It is even harder now, since my quest for each book to be a great read, a literary gem that I “can’t put down.”  Not every book fits that bill of course, it is what I anticipate and hope for with each choice.

Decision making is truly an art. What gets in my way is my confessed tendency to become too “cerebral,” defined as a tendency to intellectualize and over-analyze every step of the way instead of just zeroing in on the decisive moment. I know I am not alone. Picking a “good” read is usually not life threatening, not as essential to our careers, health, or well being as the larger decisions we have to make through out life, but, none-the-less, remains a challenge.

So, as a follow up to my last blog and my data base library and the desire for word of mouth recommendations from revered family and friends with similar obsessions, I am asking for your input. In trade for suggestions of your favorite reads, I offer the following list for your consideration to read and some images from my book projects.

A few quickly chosen favorites starting with fiction (especially expressing my tendency towards historical fiction) All the Light you Cannot see, Anthony Doerr, The Invention of Wings, Susan Monk Kidd, TransAtlantic, Colum McCann, Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, Discovery of Chocolate, James, Runcie, The Reader, Bernhard Schlink and many more.

Some non fiction favorites: 1491, New Revelations of America Before Columbus, Charles Mann.

Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi, Azar, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, Thad Carhart, Sixpence House, Paul Collins, Prague Winter, Madeline Albright–her autobiography, True North and Road from Coorain, autobiography by Conway, Jill Ker, Longitude, Dava Sobel, Evangaline, Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth.  I best stop there short of listing favorite authors, genres and themes. I look forward to your offerings, especially to download on my Kindle for our forthcoming trip to Israel with our family. There will be much more to share upon our return.
Happy holidays to all, good health, good weather and good times.

Grafiti found along the way

Book of graphics

Open book sculpture, 3 gorges project, China

Retrospectives and new web site

My web site is now updated to reflect my needs at this point in my life. I have spent the last few months going backwards to form a retrospective from my photo archives, selecting work which will become my legacy. The galleries now on the web site are only the beginning.  I plan to update and add more items, a constant work in progress.

Memoir has become a current addiction for me as well as for so many people. My memoir is visual and written, two forms that I adore. I intend to become more active in posting blogs, just because it is fun to share with all of you.  In earlier years, I never would have predicted that my stories would come from computer data bases and blogging instead of the more traditional diary entry or journaling.

In doing the research, I have re-visited some favorite themes that I have not shared before but will make the subjects of my planned blogs. This includes several data bases that I have kept both BC and AC (before and after the advent of computers) thereby pinpointing my age and my obsessive personality.  For instance, I have 5 or 6 small sized yellow pads filled (one side only) with dates and menus for all types of events since we moved into our Sandringham house in 1972 till the present. At least I admit this history keeping and it does include some good memories.
Among the earliest, is the open house we gave just prior to the renovation of the house (held the Saturday before the 1972 November election night (Tuesday). The problem is the contractor had other ideas. He was scheduled to begin late that week, but the day before the party, his truck arrived filled with dry wall and other big items. So, instead of traditional height tables for the buffet, we had a pile of dry wall about 4 feet high, and wider and longer than the average table. Everyone had to reach a bit for the food, but people were great sports and the party a grand success. I am not so sure about the election. 
My hand written data base includes a record of the many post concert receptions we held for the RPO (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra).  My parents were alive and well and dad, a long time violist with the orchestra was able to attend many of these receptions. We entertained Dennis Brain and Barry Tuckwell (french horn) and many other outstanding conductors, soloists and orchestral members. Yo Yo Ma stands out of course.  Reportedly, to this day, he is an avid cook and accompanied me in the kitchen as I prepared dinner for the musicians. The accompaniment was not on the cello or piano, but in the whisks and wooden spoons he used to stir and mix to my delight, while talking up a storm. Our sons remember many of these occasions as well. 
The events are not easily forgotten and it is all recorded in ink on the yellow pads. Every dinner party, holiday celebration, reception and committee gathering involving food to the present time are kept for my return visit to nostalgia, set in ink, perhaps with my favorite snorkel style fountain pen. In the early 80’s, I began to keep computer generated data bases on my early Macs including books I have read, movies I have seen, countries to which we have traveled, photography books in my collection, mailing lists, restaurant lists, Musical CDs and DVD’s that we own and State capitols we have visited (we are still missing a few). 
All of this and I thank you if you have read this far, serves as a background to invite you to visit my renewed web site at and to follow the link to my blogs as I post and inform readers. They are still written as messages in a minute and are meant to entertain but not overwhelm your busy lives.  Be well.
Ann Carol Goldberg
Currently camping in Grand Isle State Park, LA