Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Seinfeld Cookbook – Double Delicious

You’ve heard about the lawsuit won by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, over her first book, Deceptively Delicious?  Great publicity – now Doubly Delicious is on the New York Times bestseller list.

Neither Seinfeld nor Missy Chase Lapine (author of Sneaky Chef) probably created the idea of hiding veggies in the cake.  I once had a cookbook with zucchini cake that looked just like chocolate – fooled everyone in my family – and used up all the summer squash taking over my garden.

You can skip the introduction on shopping, stocking, and reading labels – you’ve heard it all before – as well as the tips before each section – “cut down on added salt…”

Of course, I went straight to the dessert section (supposedly Jerry’s favorites) – with Jessica’s approving – “Deprivation always leads down the wrong path…”

The idea is pureed vegetables hidden in the treat – with carrots as a definite theme – carrot puree in chocolate bread pudding, chocolate yogurt cheesecake, mixed berry cobbler, tiramisu, lemon poppy seed cake.   Brownies with spinach puree – maybe – but I stopped at chickpeas in the chocolate chip cookies.  Enough!

No need to hide.  I like my veggies up front and visible.  And my chocolate chips with nuts – no beans.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today is Longfellow’s birthday and I’ll bet you can quote at least one of his 174 poems…

  • I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I know not where
  • Ships that pass in the night and speak to each other in passing
  • Under a spreading chestnut-tree, The village smithy stands
  • Listen my children and you shall hear, Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…One if by land, and two if by sea…

He was friend to Hawthorne, Dickens, and Oscar Wilde, among others.  Ralph Waldo Emerson called Longfellow ” a sweet and beautiful soul.”  And in Drood, Dan Simmons refers to Longfellow’s work in translating Dante’s Inferno.

Charles Calhoun wrote a biography, Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life, that includes Longfellow’s “tragic romantic life–his first wife dies tragically early, after a miscarriage, and his second wife, Fannie Appleton, dies after accidentally setting herself on fire.”  And Meghan Fitzmaurice wrote a young adult summary of his life for The Library of American Thinkers series – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: American Poet, Linguist, and Educator.  The latter gives all the essential facts, with some great pictures, especially of the young beardless Longfellow.  I am more familiar, as everyone else, with his portrait as the elder with a long white beard.

A teacher, a college professor, a family man, a New Englander from Maine- but most of all, a lover of books, who learned to read at three years old.  My favorite Longfellow quote…

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,

And all the sweet serenity of books. “

Sarah’s Key

I resisted reading Sarah’s Key, thinking it would be just another war exposé, maybe another Anne Frank.  But Tatiana de Rosnay addresses a war secret glossed over, even hidden, in the history books.  When I was in Germany last year, I took a tour in Munich that walked my group around sites that were no longer there, except for the plaques.  The guide emphasized that the Germans carefully removed buildings that had been used to glorify Nazism.  Of course, the places of horrors are there – especially, the concentration camps – so that no one will ever forget.

In Sarah’s Key, evidence of the French’s complicity in the terrible July, 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv’ Paris roundup of Jews is erased, but the shame of their participation still stains their history and continues to affect surviving generations.  In an historical and personal approach to an often ignored piece of the Holocaust, de Rosnay centers her story around two characters: Sarah, a young girl taken from her home that day and forced to endure horrors, terrible pain,  loss of dignity and family; and Julia, who years later finds herself in the center of the family shame that profited and then later tried to compensate for Sarah’s loss.

De Rosnay uses the poignancy of a young girl’s experiences, and the courage of a woman who must finally assert her own voice to tell a compelling story and open eyes.

“He knew it had been a Jewish family that had been arrested during that big roundup.  But he had closed his eyes, like so many other Parisians, during that terrible year…No one wants to be reminded…nobody wants to think about that.”

De Rosnay includes descriptions of Paris then and now, and the viewpoint of an American in Paris along with typical family drama, but it is the historical facts that carry the punch.  Whether or not you know about Hitler’s terrible “Operation Spring Breeze,” de Rosnay’s history lesson is worth telling, to not forget.


To read a review of another Tatiana de Rosnay book, check out A Secret Kept

Marginalia – Does Your Librarian Know About You?

I have a bad habit of dog-earing pages in a book – pages with a line that I want to remember later.  The librarians have started to give me suspicious looks, but at least I am not writing in the margins – maybe I should.  A recent article in the New York Times – Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in Margins – discusses the added value of books read by Mark Twain, Darwin, Coleridge, even Nelson Mandela in recent times – just because they wrote their thoughts in the book they were reading – hard to do with an e-book.

Noted, I am not Mark Twain – or ever will rise to his status – but the article includes “a few greasy smears” from a girl who’s left her mark on a copy of  “The Catcher in the Rye”…

“Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”

Reading someone else’s reaction to the printed word sometimes feels like illicitly peeking into their thoughts.  But, what if those greasy words resonate and carry the meaning of the page to another level of understanding?  A mysterious conversation with the last reader of the book – one that will remain secret.

I can still see Sister Eugene Marie ready to admonish me for “destroying property” but maybe next time I’m tempted to dog-ear, I’ll just write a note (in pencil, of course).