Monday, April 27, 2009

In the college-girl kitchen

I'm living the college-girl life this week. I'm shacked up in Emma's room, where I find a wall calendar with due dates for assignments, textbooks stacked beside her bed, and the student herself frowning over her schoolwork.

So if you get the urge to cook while visiting a college student/working girl, the food better be quick and require minimum kitchen equipment. Out of all the dinner ideas I brought to her, Emma said, "Let's definitely do this one."



YIELD: 7 doz. 2-in cookies which, if you can make them that small, will have 64 calories each. Goodness, who could possibly make them that small? We came out with 39 cookies and three (or was it four, Emma?) spoonfuls of raw dough.
If the dough seems a little sticky, throw in a couple spoonfuls of flour.

As for the Finished Book Pile, I forgot to mention Freakonomics by Steven Levitt. Finished it weeks ago. Returned it to the library rather efficiently. Forgot it while I dove into research-type reading.

Levitt, as economists go, can't keep his mind on truly boring economic stuff, but spends his days wondering about questions like Do schoolteachers cheat? and What were your parents telling the world when they gave you your name? Being an economist, he's comfortable with numbers and data, which he uses to answer these compelling little questions. Title chapters include: "Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?" and "What Makes a Perfect Parent?"

I'm currently working my way through Mark Winegardner's Crooked River Burning, a novel about . . . Cleveland. Hey, out in the Midwest, they call Cleveland "the mistake on the lake," referring to the time when it had polluted its waters so badly, they caught fire.

So what has Winegardner got to say about Cleveland?

He starts his story back in the '40s when, according to the jacket, "Cleveland was America's sixth biggest city," a decent place, a hometown to be proud of. His story, complete with star-crossed lovers, advances to 1969, by which time Cleveland had lost population and prestige. Readers like me are willing to let Winegardner tell us: what happened?

Readers like me are not, however, willing to read about Cleveland Indians' baseball games. Winegardner likes to give us blow-by-blow accounts of famous games, or infamous ones, I don't know and don't care. Easily skipped.

He's a fun writer when he's not trying to be too glib. I can see him sometimes, taking a writerly break, making a sandwich and repeating to himself some phrase he just wrote, feeling awfully proud of it, juggling the mayo and the mustard playfully as he puts them back in the fridge.

Cow patty count for this book is 2 1/2 or 3 out of 10.


  1. Hey, I did not know you stuck around after droping Abbey off. I would love to see you, schedule permitting. email me at


  2. I would love a chance to see you too. Let me know if you have any time ( or Emma has my phone #).

    Rachel and I were in Ohio visiting Martha over the weekend. Jim and Mercy were at her sacrament meeting for a baby blessing. It was fun to see Jim and meet Mercy!

  3. You make me sound so studious. Love has made you blind to the serious procrastination that led to this frowny face...or it could have been the $5 I slipped you.