Aaaaand, we are snowbound again, at least so far as church is concerned. The bishop also postponed Fast Sunday. What a wise move. Who wants to starve without meetings to distract you? Who wants to be housebound with famished children and a grouchy spouse?
Then again, I can't imagine his wife being grouchy.
But me? I don't take hunger well. And as soon as I read the word "postpone" in my Facebook feed, I rushed downstairs and celebrated my reprieve with a tuna sandwich, some Doritos and a couple chocolate chip cookies.
I must still be in starvation mode, 'cause I'm dreaming of foods. What I'd like to find before me right now is some:
ITALIAN CHEESE BREAD
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon quick-rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (120° to 130°)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Beat in water and oil until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Punch dough down; place on a greased 12-in. pizza pan and pat into a 12-in. circle. Brush with salad dressing. Combine the seasonings; sprinkle over top. Sprinkle with cheeses.
Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 1 loaf (16 pieces, about 95 calories each).
This week's book, which I have not quite finished, celebrates quirks.
Are you the happy owner of a Roget's Thesaurus? (No, that is not this week's book.) Oh, good, me too!
I always imagined it had been created by an army of wordsmiths, toiling away deep in some British library.
But no, there was a real Peter Mark Roget. As chronicled in Joshua Kendall's The Man Who Made Lists, Roget lived through a rocky, unsettled childhood. Peter was a mere tot when his father died of tuberculosis. Peter's mother didn't cope well with widowhood. Or rather, she coped by moving the family two or three times a year and by hovering insufferably over the boy. Case in point: When Roget went off to medical school, Mama made him promise not to touch the sick people.
Peter coped by making lists. "As a boy, Roget was compelled to crank out his word lists. Without this outlet, he may well have lapsed into the madness that gripped numerous family members." His notebook "represented his discovery as a boy of eight what was to be his calling. He had stumbled upon an all-encompassing intellectual pursuit: classifying the world."
By adulthood, he suspected that his lists might be useful to the public, helping them communicate their ideas with more precision. By the time he finally refined his lists into a real book and offered it for sale, the world grabbed it up. Poets, novelists, scientists, letter-writers and students found, in Roget's Thesaurus, a tool that opened their minds like a flower.
I have felt that mind-opening. In the classic editions of Roget, all his synonyms fall within 1,000 categories. If you think you're trying to say something about "stealing" but "rob, purloin, pilfer and filch" don't quite nail the idea, your eye might wander over to the facing page, where it sees stealing's sister idea, "taking." You realize that--Aha!--you really meant "snatch."
Modern editions of Roget, not to mention online thesauri, rob you of this fine-tuning experience. They arrange the word concepts dictionary-style and, for all the speed which you can track down mere words, it's just not the same.
Places like the grocery store have already figured this out. Really, can you imagine wandering down an aisle stocked with paper towels, peanut butter and pepperoni? Pushing your cart one aisle over and finding the marshmallows, mangoes and magazines? Isn't there something about seeing all the Mexican food together that spurs ideas? I like the flour tortillas, but what about trying the spinach this time? I don't know about the taco sauce. Maybe some queso dip would hit the spot.
Kendall's book trudges through some dry chapters. I had almost concluded that Roget, in spite of his great gift to mankind, might not be worth more than a long newspaper article. But then this fussy, reclusive man got caught in War. And Love.
At the very least, The Man Who Made Lists may make you feel better about your own quirks.