What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

Recently Viewed

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 30 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Reading Under the Covers, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 368
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
Commentary on writing, publishing & a bunch of other stuff
Statistics for Reading Under the Covers

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 0
1. What to Do on a Rainy July 4th: Watch a Hummingbird!

This female ruby-throated hummingbird has been perched on the feeder outside my window for some two hours. Unlike larger birds, such as finches, she doesn't care how close I get to the window in my bright red shirt, and is unfazed when I move the camera. Every few minutes she takes a drink or two from the feeder. I even saw her tongue!

0 Comments on What to Do on a Rainy July 4th: Watch a Hummingbird! as of 7/4/2014 4:27:00 PM
Add a Comment
2. What NOT to do at a Book Festival or Writers Conference

The spring book festival season is underway. As a public service, here is a list of bad behavior I've observed and/or had to contend with.

Panel Moderator: 

  1. Wait to contact panelists till two days before the event—or not at all. 
  2. Be unfamiliar with panelists’ work: Not read author’s book (at least the first few chapters and website); not know who the literary agent represents; not know titles the editor has worked on. 
  3. Have no agenda for the panel, or a vague one, e.g., “I will read brief introductions, and each of you should speak for 12-15 minutes. Then we will take a few questions.” 
  4. Let panelists talk for so long that there’s no time for audience Q&A. (This happened with the panel in #3.) 
  5. Talk a lot about yourself or read from your own book. Your job is to help the panelists shine. If they look brilliant, so will you. 

  1. Cancel at the last minute because you just realized that the finances won’t work for you. Or cancel due to “family reasons”—but keep the plane ticket the organizers paid for. 
  2. Author: Leave book at home, or not have a reading figured out—and practiced!—beforehand. Agent/editor: Leave business cards at home. 
  3. Read for 15 minutes when you’re asked to read for five. 
  4. Monopolize the conversation and/or interrupt other panelists. 
  5. Belittle the moderator (“If you’d read my book…"), other panelists (“I can’t believe you’d say such a stupid thing!”) or audience members (“If you’d been listening, you wouldn’t need to ask that question.”) 
  1. Leave your cellphone ringer on. 
  2. Give copies of your manuscript or self-published book to panelists. 
  3. Pitch your book during Q&A session. 
  4. Ask self-serving questions instead of general ones. (“Why didn’t you answer the query I sent you six months ago?” vs. “What should a writer do if an agent hasn’t responded to their query after six months?”) 
  5. Engage a panelist in lengthy conversation afterwards, when there’s a line of people waiting behind you. 
  I'll be at VaBook Festival next week. Now go forth and be good!

0 Comments on What NOT to do at a Book Festival or Writers Conference as of 3/13/2014 10:07:00 AM
Add a Comment
3. Who's the Goat?

After more than a year of silence, I thought my father's 106th birthday would be a good day to start posting to this blog again. Especially since I acquired this photo yesterday. 

One would think that the headline for the caption that ran with the above photo would be something like "Oh, You Kids!" But one would be very wrong. Here's what's on the other side, date stamped Aug 6 1940:
LIONEL STANDER divorced Mrs. Lucy Stander in 1936. He charged she was hostile and belligerent and would call  him names in the presence of their friends. She also told him, according to his complaint, that she was tired of him and regarded her marriage as a handicap. The Standers  had been married eight years.
(Copyright 1939, Register and Tribune Syndicate Photoservice)
Why would such a story run four years after the divorce and some two years after my father had married again? Dad was still appearing on radio but his movie career had plummeted since 1938, when Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn called him a "Red sonofabitch" and said that any studio that renewed his contract should be fined $100,000. Consequently Dad was in just two pictures in 1940, down from eight in 1936. What an odd coincidence that just eight days after the above photo was stamped, "secret" testimony about him was leaked to the press in Los Angeles.

"HOLLYWOOD STARS ACCUSED AS REDS BEFORE GRAND JURY," trumpeted the New York Times on August 15. "The testimony identified the following as Communist members, sympathizers or contributors: Lionel Stander, actor; Jean Muir, actress... The witness who gave the Hollywood names was John R. Leech, alleged former 'chief functionary' for the Communist party in Los Angeles... Mr. Stander, himself, in recent appearances before the grand jury denied he ever knew Mr. Leech or was a member of the party."

0 Comments on Who's the Goat? as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
4. Quote of the Day

More like Quote of the Year, since I haven't posted since January. (Curse you, Facebook & Twitter!)

"Men don't seem to notice unless there's a breast hanging out! But the fact that they look at our faces is rather nice."

Revealed: Women Are the Secret Oglers

1 Comments on Quote of the Day, last added: 12/5/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
5. Before "Downton Abbey"...There was SNOBS

Photo of Julian Fellowes © Giles Keyte

I still remember the day in late 2004 that an unexpected package arrived from St. Martin's Press. Inside was an advanced reading copy of SNOBS, the debut novel of Julian Fellowes. Stephen Fry's blurb on the back cover got me hooked: "A delicious thoroughbred delight, a guilty treat that is awake to every maddeningly and appallingly attractive nuance of English social life."

I gobbled up the book, then snagged a phone interview with Mr. Fellowes courtesy of my new best friends at St. Martin's. The piece ran in Bookreporter.com in Feb. 2005. It seems to have been pulled, but my interview with Mr. Fellowes about his second novel, PAST IMPERFECT, is still there. Fans of Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess in "Downton" will enjoy Lady Uckfield in SNOBS (soon to be rereleased with a new cover, per today's NYT.

At the tender age of 55 [in 2005], Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes has just had his first novel, SNOBS, published in the United States. Born in Egypt, where his father was in the Foreign Office, Fellowes grew up in England and attended Cambridge. After going to drama school, he was a “jobbing actor for ages” and appeared in more than 40 movies and TV shows. Fed up with going to auditions, Fellowes turned to writing and worked for a while for BBC TV, where he adapted LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY and THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER for the small screen. Subsequently he wrote a screenplay for Anthony Trollope’s THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS, which caught the eye of producer Bob Balaban, who was looking for a British society insider to write a screenplay for a murder mystery. “And so ‘Gosford Park’ was born, and so was the rest of my life,” Fellowes explains.

In addition to "Gosford Park,” Fellowes wrote the screenplay for “Vanity Fair” and the book for the new London musical "Mary Poppins." He also wrote and directed "Separate Lives," a film starring Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson and Rupert Everett, which opens in the U.K. in March. He describes it as “a little art house British movie about middle-class people being unhappily married, and so will doubtless be steamrollered in the Big, Bad World but I love it and I loved making it so I have no sad tales to tell.” Never one to sit idle, Fellowes is currently writing a family movie for Columbia pictures; SNOBS is in the works as a three-part series for British TV. He and his wife Emma Kitchener, a descendant of Lord Kitchener and a

0 Comments on Before "Downton Abbey"...There was SNOBS as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. Yahrzeit - Ahead & Behind theTimes

My father died 17 years ago today. November 30 is also Mark Twain's birthday. I imagine Dad would have liked to be linked to Twain, however tenuously. Funny... I just now remembered that I read THE INNOCENTS ABROAD the one time I visited Dad at his home in L.A.

In his early years in Hollywood, Dad lent his voice to various progressive causes, which got him branded as "a Red sonofabitch" (allegedly by Columbia Pictures honcho Harry Cohn), then tailed for decades by the FBI. The sign proclaiming "SCHOLARSHIPS NOT BATTLESHIPS" in this photo from 1937 (below) would have been perfect for an anti-Vietnam War demonstration--or an Occupy rally now. Alas, Dad and the other peaceniks were proved wrong four years later, when battleships became vastly more necessary.

Westwood, Calif.--More than 1000 students of the University of California at Los Angeles walked off the campus in a peace strike as part of a nation-wide demonstration called by the United Student Peace Committee. --PHOTO SHOWS-- Lionel Stander, cinema actor, as he addressed the crowd of strikers, while standing on a truck parked near the campus. 4-22-37

1 Comments on Yahrzeit - Ahead & Behind theTimes, last added: 12/1/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
7. Another Piece of History

My latest acquisition (above) is an AP Wirephoto of my father from 1953. Caption:

NEW YORK, May 6--Rep. Harold Velde, left, (R-Ill. chairman of the House Unamerican Activities Committee, points a warning finger at witness Lionel Stander, seated at right, during the actor's testimony here today. Stander refused to tell the committee at an open hearing whether he had ever been a Communist. He said he was not now a Communist, but refused to say whether he was a party member between 1935 and 1948. Rep. Morgan M. Moulder (D-Mo9.) sits beside Velde.

0 Comments on Another Piece of History as of 9/6/2011 5:37:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. Reading Assignment for Obama & Congress: LITTLE DORRIT

To the legislators of 2011 and most especially the candidates of 2012, I offer this excerpt from Charles Dickens's LITTLE DORRIT:

Containing the whole Science of Government

Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.

Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be--what it was.

It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn't been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn't been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done. It is true that the debates of both Houses of Parliament the whole session through, uniformly tended to the protracted deliberation, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech at the opening of such session virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have a considerable stroke of work to do, and you will please to retire to your respective chambers, and discuss, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech, at the close of such session, virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have through several laborious months been considering with great loyalty and patriotism, How not to do it, and you have found out; and with the blessing of Providence upon the harvest (natural, not political), I now dismiss you. All this is true, but the Circumlocution Office went beyond it.

0 Comments on Reading Assignment for Obama & Congress: LITTLE DORRIT as of 8/18/2011 5:03:00 PM
Add a Comment
9. Back to Mr. Dickens

I kept thinking how much the US Congress dickering over the debt ceiling is just like Dickens's Circumlocution Office, with all the talk of why "it can't be done." So I put aside Susan Isaacs's LILY WHITE, which was boring me, in favor of LITTLE DORRIT, which isn't.

The cinematic opening, which I looked for in vain when I watched the BBC series, fits right in with the breathless weather we're having:

Thirty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun, one day. A blazing sun upon a fierce August day was no greater rarity in southern France then, than at any other time, before or since. Everything in Marseilles, and about Marseilles, had stared at the fervid sky, and been stared at in return, until a staring habit had become universal there. Strangers were stared out of countenance by staring white houses, staring white walls, staring white streets, staring tracts of arid road, staring hills from which verdure was burnt away. The only things to be seen not fixedly staring and glaring were the vines drooping under their load of grapes. These did occasionally wink a little, as the hot air barely moved their faint leaves.

There was no wind to make a ripple on the foul water within the harbour, or on the beautiful sea without. The line of demarcation between the two colours, black and blue, showed the point which the pure sea would not pass; but it lay as quiet as the abominable pool, with which it never mixed. Boats without awnings were too hot to touch; ships blistered at their moorings; the stones of the quays had not cooled, night or day, for months.
This may be the last time I read my Penguin paperback edition, which I bought in 1984, as the pages keep fluttering out of the cracked binding. It's odd to have a book that I remember buying new to be looking--and especially smelling--so old.

0 Comments on Back to Mr. Dickens as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
10. Strange & Beautiful: Kevin Wilson & THE FAMILY FANG

The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson’s debut novel from Ecco Press, opens with:

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief. "You make a mess and then you walk away from it," their daughter, Annie, told them.
And what a mess Caleb and Camille Fang have made of Annie and her younger brother Buster! Labeled “Child A” and “Child B,” from infancy they were pressed into service—not always willingly, or even wittingly—as key players in their parents’ notorious performance art pieces.

Having attended art school and hung around the Manhattan art/music scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I came of age with people like Caleb and Camille Fang. I was curious how Kevin Wilson managed to capture them and their milieu with such piercing, tragicomic accuracy....
More at Wild River Review

0 Comments on Strange & Beautiful: Kevin Wilson & THE FAMILY FANG as of 8/5/2011 9:20:00 AM
Add a Comment
11. Quote for the Day...and all time

"No corrupt mind ever understands words healthily."
--THE DECAMERON (c1350), Giovanni Boccaccio

1 Comments on Quote for the Day...and all time, last added: 5/5/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. A New May Day

The view from my back fence this morning.

At a Denver riding club on May 1, 2006, Gomez the Thoroughbred threw me into a steel-pipe fence. My first-ever helicopter ride brought me to Swedish Hospital, where I spent a week in the multi-trauma unit. My body and psyche were as shattered as my glasses (see May 1, 2009, post with pic here).

Five years later, I'm finally healed. I think. I hope.

There's a difference between "healed" and "all better." After 3 surgeries on my right arm, I still have to carefully position it when I lie in bed. Three fingers on my dominant right hand remain partly to mostly numb. My right upper lip is numb; so is my right upper eyelid and my right forehead from just above the inner brow to the hairline. That eyebrow also is higher than the left, and doesn't go down when I frown. After rhinoplasty and 3 root canals, my nose and front teeth still hurt.

But the progress outweighs the remaining pain. For the first time in 5 years, the other day I was able to clasp my hands behind my back--and even raise them several inches. Last month my dentist applied a resin veneer to cover the gray on my dead right front tooth. So now I don't have to remind myself to keep my lips closed when I smile.

Even better, I no longer panic when I hear sirens or helicopters, or the news on radio/TV, or squealing tires on ads, or a football scrimmage (I still can't watch, but I never liked football anyway). Nor do I burst into tears when I see photographs of carnage or destruction in the newspaper, though I still have to cover some of them.

My short-term memory has returned. I couldn't remember a string of digits long enough to write down a phone number. I had to listen to a voice mail 3 or 4 times--first for the area code, then the exchange, then the next 2 digits, then the last 2. People thought I was kidding when I pleaded brain damage. I wasn't; 3 years after my accident a CT-scan finding was "traumatic brain injury."

"Time is a great healer," goes the old saying. True, but I wouldn't have gotten this far without the help of my gifted therapist in Denver, Mel Grusing, who practices Somatic Experiencing.

A new therapist just provided the last piece in my healing process. His name is Superstar, and he's a shaggy, battered little rescue horse at Blue Ribbon Farm in Tivoli, NY. After Gomez nearly killed me, I swore I'd never get on another Thoroughbred again. (Funny how my new digs back onto a racing horse farm, pictured at top.) But Superstar, who's the proverbial bombproof horse, made me eat my words. I've ridden him twice and can't wait to get back in the saddle.

Tally ho!

6 Comments on A New May Day, last added: 5/27/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
13. Guffaw of the Day OR Hypocritic Oaf

I laughed out loud when I saw this AP headline:

LOVE the lede:
Newt Gingrich says his passion for his country contributed to his marital infidelity.
Yes, and my passion for dessert contributed to my thighs...

What follows is a motherlode of self-serving hypocrisy. Consider this gem:
The twice-divorced former U.S. House speaker has admitted he had an affair with Callista, a former congressional aide, while married to his second wife. It happened at the same time he was attacking President Bill Clinton for his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Takeaway (via Jon Stewart): There are 3 women who'd have sex with Newt Gingrich!

The piece ends with this emetic tidbit:
He also said former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, a Democrat who has backed many Republicans in recent years, will serve as a co-chairman of his national campaign effort.

0 Comments on Guffaw of the Day OR Hypocritic Oaf as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
14. In Cairo with Caravaggio

Above, a group of young men in Tahrir Square, by Moises Saman for The New York Times.

Below, "The Taking of Christ" (c. 1602) by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, at the National Gallery of Ireland.

0 Comments on In Cairo with Caravaggio as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
15. The Ultimate Writing Prompt

My driveway was plowed early yesterday--apparently after the newspaper was delivered, as I spotted its bright blue plastic wrapper peeking out of a snow bank this morning. I read the "Weekend Arts" section over lunch and hit gold in an article about the Winter Antiques Show, A Smorgasbord of Fine Art, the Strange and the Old:

At Allan Katz, there is a sculpture of two voluptuous nude women, one fondling the other’s breast, smoothly carved from a solid block of mahogany. This comical, curiously erotic fusion of autodidactic craft and neo-Classical style is believed to have been created by an unknown artisan about 1920 for a Buffalo sex cult.
1920. Buffalo. SEX CULT.

Think of the possibilities: Farce, murder mystery, morality tale, amorality tale...against a backdrop of snow and Niagara Falls.

The mind reels.

0 Comments on The Ultimate Writing Prompt as of 1/22/2011 12:22:00 PM
Add a Comment
16. Snowy Fun in the Back 40

A snowstorm is Nature's way of saying "Stay home!" And I'd gladly hibernate inside, only I have this 64-pound bundle of joy that needs off-leash romps several times a day. So I put on the puffy jacket, pulled up the tall boots and ventured out.

Abby went over to the car, as usual, and was incredulous when I started walking up the street. After a bit of convincing--she didn't understand about the driveway not being plowed--she came bounding through the snow. We trespassed in our neighbors' backyards (nobody else was outside; go figure) then ended up in our own, where I took these pictures.

0 Comments on Snowy Fun in the Back 40 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. Happy Birthday, Dad!

My father would have been 103 years old today (the simplest date of all: 1/11/11). My latest acquisition of Lionel Stander memorabilia is a publicity still from The Big Show-Off, released in January 1945. I haven't seen it, but per the synopsis it's a typical Republic Pictures "B" picture. Its one claim to fame is that it stars Dale Evans just before she hitched up with Roy Rogers.

I visited my mom and stepfather in Maine two weeks ago. While I was doing my morning stretches, I suddenly noticed a book, which I'm sure had been on the same shelf for 20 years: BUILDING A CHARACTER. "Huh," I thought. "This might be useful in writing fiction." (I've been working on The Great American Potboiler, in fits and starts, for several years.)

I pulled the book down, and saw that the author was Constantin Stanislavski, inventor of "The Method" espoused by Jacob & Stella Adler, and countless other of Dad's actor friends.

I opened the book and was surprised to find that it was from the New York Public Library's Bloomingdale Branch, on West 100th St. Even more surprising, my father's temporary library card was in the pocket, with our old West End Avenue address and phone number--proof that he had indeed moved back in with Mom and me. The book was borrowed Dec 16, 1961, and due on Jan 26, 1962. The overdue fine is 5¢ "per calendar day." That's almost $900 by now, so this is a very valuable book.

I felt a mental connection with Dad when I started reading BUILDING A CHARACTER: this was a book that he went out of his way to read. The Dewey card is stuck between the first two pages of Chapter Four: "Making the Body Expressive." Did Dad get bored and stop there? That chapter is a bit of a slog. But he was such a voracious reader--usually a book per day--and Stanislavski's work so important that I'd like to think he read all the way through.

As luck would have it, today I found a bit on YouTube from "The Danny Kaye Radio Show," in which Kaye hilariously explains the Stanislavski Method to my father, who was a regular on the show. What I miss most about Dad is his voice, which is like no other. (I've never heard a credible imitation. When I was little my mother took me to the doctor because my voice was hoarse. Turned out I was trying to speak like Daddy.) So it's wonderful to be able to hear him long after his death--and long before my birth. He gets a few lines to set up the bit, then it's all Danny Kaye. Listen:

1 Comments on Happy Birthday, Dad!, last added: 1/11/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
18. Abby v Snow Monster

Someone built a snow(wo?)man at Burger Hill, Rhinebeck, our default dogwalking venue. Abby wasn't having any part of it. After much barking--plus a treat placed at its base--she cautiously approached before going up the hill with me.

She barked at it again on the way down. One can't be too careful...

0 Comments on Abby v Snow Monster as of 1/4/2011 2:19:00 PM
Add a Comment
19. Canine Couch Battles, Round 2

Abby 2 days ago after a good night's sleep (note pillow on floor), with her ball & Boy Wonder's gently chewed shoes.

In my July 24 update on Mother's Little Odalisque, I said I'd put heavier furniture on the couch (see above) to keep Abby off. That worked like a charm. Now my Clever Girl is pulling the throw pillows, which I stack on a chair at night, onto the floor to cushion her weary head. One of my next purchases will be a cushy dog bed, which she'd damn well better sleep on.

Caught in the act 10 minutes ago.

0 Comments on Canine Couch Battles, Round 2 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. EEK! Publicity Horrors

Halloween's coming, which means it's time once again for Publicity Horror Stories. Send yours in today! Anonymity strictly guaranteed.

For starters, here's a creepy tale from a book review editor at a regional publication:

I occasionally get these nasty emails from self-published authors or authors whose books don't fit with what we cover. Here's one I got last week, from some sort of Ph.D. guy:

"Well, the books are in. Are you interested or not? I believe I have had enough of a career to merit a response."

It's always men who send these kinds of angry emails. When I was on maternity leave for 6 weeks with my last baby, some other guy was emailing me repeatedly, getting angry that I wasn't answering. Finally when I got back to work I told him that I'd been on maternity leave, he was like, "Oh, sorry. So will you review my book?"

1 Comments on EEK! Publicity Horrors, last added: 10/28/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
21. Going to the Dogs Birthday Party

Seated: Brady, Abby, Bumble (our canine host) and Poppy. Standing: Michelle, Marty (holding Clarissa), Polly and Gracious Hostess Colleen (look out, Martha Stewart!).

Abby is the only dog I've had whose real birthday I've known: Nov 7, the day before mine. I told that to my wonderful new friend Colleen, who decided to throw Abby a birthday party. (We met while walking dogs; go figure.) So at 8:00 a.m. today, 5 women and 5 canines met at her Gracious Home (a fabu 1770s farmhouse with 1820s addition) for a wet but lovely walk.

Colleen doesn't do anything by half-measures: afterward there were wheat- and corn-free cookies from Pause Dog Boutique for the canines; coffee, homemade muffins and birthday cake for the humans. Plus a specially decorated cake for Abby to take home, which I'll give her Sunday when I'm hosting a birthday party at my own (much newer, smaller) Gracious Home.

Above: Brady, Bumble and Abby sniff at the goodies offered by Colleen. I'm the astonished one at left; Marty is holding Clarissa.

Below: I give Clarissa a treat while Bumble, Brady and Abby look on. (They'd just had one but of course wanted more.)

1 Comments on Going to the Dogs Birthday Party, last added: 11/7/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
22. Best-Ever Thanksgiving Recipes

My friend Martha asked me to send her my "traditional" recipes for Thanksgiving. In the spirit of giving, I thought I'd share them with you all.

Garlicky Cranberry Chutney
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's East/West Menus for Family & Friends (Harper & Row, 1987)

1-inch fresh ginger, peeled
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 TBS brown sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can cranberry sauce with berries or 1 qt homemade sauce (or however much you get from a bag of fresh cranberries)
approx 1/2 tsp salt
a few grinds of ground black pepper

Cut ginger into paper-thin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers. Combine with garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot. Simmer on medium heat about 15 minutes or until there are about 4 TBS liquid left.

Add cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then serve. It will keep for several days--if you don't finish it ALL after the first taste!

Bella’s Garden Rice Stuffing
Cook 2 cups Arborio rice in 4 cups water.

Mix with:
1 lg onion, chopped
approx 1 cup toasted pecans, broken in pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 med. carrot, chopped
1 tsp allspice
at least 1 TBS dried oregano
5 large sage leaves, chopped fine
10 lemon balm leaves, chopped fine
leaves from approx 6 sprigs of thyme, chopped fine
40 grinds black pepper
1 tsp salt

When cool enough to handle, stuff in bird. Put remainder in ovenproof casserole and bake in oven 1 hour at 325° (along with turkey, if your oven's big enough)

Turkey with Roasted Garlic Butter
(Washington Post, 1997)

2 whole bulbs garlic
2 TBS olive oil
8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
Uncooked turkey at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic bulbs to expose each clove. Drizzle with oil and loosely wrap the bulbs, cut ends up, in aluminum foil. Bake until soft to the touch, 45-60 mins. Let cool until easy to handle.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins. Discard skins. Mix the garlic pulp with butter and salt. Reserve 2 TBS of the mixture. Rub the rest of it under the turkey skin (loosen with your fingers on the back and legs).

Preheat oven to 325 °. Put turkey on rack in roasting pan. After stuffing it, rub the remaining 2 TBS of butter all over the skin.

Roast for about 45 mins, till golden brown. Tent with foil and continue roasting. After 2 more hours, baste with pan juices every 15 mins till bird is done (approx 3-1/2 hrs for 12-14 lb bird). Use juices to make the best gravy EVER.

0 Comments on Best-Ever Thanksgiving Recipes as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Yahrzeit #16

Lionel Stander (1908-1994) in 1936.
Photo for Columbia Pictures by Irving L. Schaffert.

My father died 16 years ago today. Unaware of the date, yesterday I rearranged the Dad Wall in my dining area. More than two years after acquiring the above photo (part of a large lot) I read the caption on the back:
Eager to preserve his new furniture as long as possible, eccentric Lionel Stander, most popular of Hollywood comedians, selects this strange pose for purpose of relaxation and reading. Whether the book's more interesting read sidewise is a question only Stander can answer. His latest Columbia picture is "Cinderella Man," directed by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur. Lionel recently moved into a renovated farmhouse in the center of Hollywood, modernized for him by R. M. Schindler.
"Cinderella Man," retitled "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," was named Best Picture of 1936 by the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review. Capra won his second Oscar for directing and Cooper was nominated as Best Actor. My eldest half-sister was 3; my mother was 2.

The man who "modernized" Dad's house was noted architect Rudolph Michael Schindler, an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra. According to this list, in 1935 Schindler remodeled a house for "L. Stander, 2006 La Brea Terrace, Hollywood" and "Apartments for L. Stander, Los Angeles." Wish I knew the story behind those apartments. The house takes a good satellite picture:
OMG, the house recently sold for $3.75M! Here's the realtor's listing:
4 Bedrooms | 4.0 Bathrooms | 3,753 Sq. Ft. | 23,070 Sq. FT. Lot
Rarely are homes available in this private neighborhood. On over half an acre of private gardens is this fine home. Large LR w/ fplc, formal DR, kitchen with best appliances, play room, FR, library w/ fplc. Master with balcony, fplc, sitting area, bath with spa tub. Pecan floors throughout. Pool, outside fireplace, guest house with LR, kitchen, 1BD and 1BA and 2 separate garages for 4 cars. RECENTLY LISTED FOR $5,500,000, CURRENT PRICE MAKES THIS PROPERTY AN OUTSTANDING VALUE IN TODAYS MARKET.
Looks like an old farmhouse all right, but the windows were changed:
1 Comments on Yahrzeit #16, last added: 11/30/2010
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. The Real Twitter Feed

The view from my kitchen window a few minutes ago. Alas, the food fights stop (finches are very scrappy) as soon as I get near the window with my camera.

Tufted titmouse (my favorite bird name!)

Nuthatch--which prefers seeds to nuts.

House finch (fluttering) & goldfinch.


Goldfinches sharing nicely with titmouse--because they can't see each it.

Goldfinches--the tough guys until the house finches show up.

Add a Comment
25. Patrick Dennis Forever!

Holiday thoughts from razor-witted Patrick Dennis (aka Edward Everett Tanner III), who deserves to be remembered as the author of books beyond AUNTIE MAME.

AROUND THE WORLD WITH AUNTIE MAME (1958) begins with this:

Christmas is nearly here and I look forward to it more and more with loathing. All the shops that didn't have their holiday decorations up by Michaelmas made up for it with sheer ostentation by Halloween. Canned carols bleat from every corner. The clerks at Saks are surlier, the ones at Lord & Taylor lordlier, the ones at Bergdorf's bitchier than at any other season.
From THE JOYOUS SEASON* (1964), narrated by a 10-year-old boy:
Daddy always said that Christmas is a joyous season when suicides and hold-ups and shoplifting and like that reach a new high and that the best place to spend the whole thing is a Moslem country.
*Confession: I've put down THE FINKLER QUESTION twice to reread Patrick Dennis. Interpret as you wish.

0 Comments on Patrick Dennis Forever! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts