Friday, June 25, 2010

Eating Cashews and Balancing Politics

It's been an excruciatingly boring food week. Sunday was a day of intrigue and upset affairs and I just couldn't pull things together enough to fix what was on the menu. Then my husband went off to Atlanta and there was little reason to cook anything at all.

Then one day, I don't remember when, I bought the ingredients I forgot to buy earlier and threw together:

Cashew Turkey Pasta Salad

I made half the recipe and sent some off with Natalie. I hope you ate it, Natalie, because if you didn't, I want it back. That was good stuff.

Over on the Finished Book Pile, we have Surrender Is Not an Option by John Bolton.

Bolton was a conservative ambassador to the UN. He also had a lot of jobs at the Department of State. Something about working for the government turns you into a person that writes in endless acronymns. Readers had better pay attention. If they don't, they will soon be deep into paragraphs about the EAP's position papers on the DPRK and they will have to read back a page or two to figure out that the EAP is the East Asia Pacific group and the DPRK is North Korea. And more of the same throughout the book. Bolton's world is one long game of Boggle.

The best parts of Surrender are the private asides that the government types say to each other, like "Maybe I should act more like Jesse Helms" or "This [committee] isn't worth a bucket of warm spit."

There's just an awful lot wade through, with a wide cast of characters. If Girls' State was the most meaningful experience of your young life, then you might find something interesting in here, but Surrender is nothing I'd risk an overdue fine for.

Plus, it's a little heavy for bathtub reading.

Next up, Independent People by Halldor Laxness. Once you open the pages, you will be thrust into the bleak moors of Iceland at the beginning of the twentieth century. However, things are so bleak, it seems like the middle ages. When the farmers gather, they never fail to discuss the worm problems in their sheep. The patroness of the town, who lives in a house with a tower and servants, stuffs up every public occasion with windy speeches about the nobility of rural life, though she hasn't the faintest idea how freaking hard it is. Our main character, Bjartur, reminds me of a certain crusty farmer I have known.

Back in the fifties, Laxness won either the Nobel or the Pulitzer prize for this book. His conclusion about humanity: most of them really can't afford to live. Like all good book prize winners, he was a socialist.


  1. Um-m, anything with cashews has to be good!

  2. I just read you post and found it very intersting. I love cashew in anything and I could have eaten John's had I been there.

    I love how you read a lot. John Bolton is interesting and often a guest on Fox News. I have never read anything by him, but your comment on acronyms is telling.

    Let me tell you about a book of a few years ago that was a great read. It was by Robert Bork. He named it after the Yeats poetry line: Slouching towards Bethlehem. Only Bork changed Bethlehem to Gomorrah.

    Nice to have read you post.

    Jim Clark

  3. Thanks, Jim. I'd heard of Bork's book. I need to put it on my list.