Sunday, February 16, 2014

You Wouldn't Expect it

They say it'll be sweater weather by the end of the week.  They say these infernal snow walls built up along the street will whittle down.

It's like waking up and trying to remember a former life.  You mean we won't have to cancel every party we plan?  No more wincing against the wind as we walk into the grocery store?  No more driving slow over the ice crust that the plowers haven't bothered to scrape off the streets?  

You mean, I could even dream of taking walks again?  

Well, wouldn't that be nice.  Me and my walking shoes have seen some pretty territory out there, neighborhoods tucked back where you didn't know anything beautiful could be.   What a cute little park, and all the houses facing it just so!   Zounds! A mansion in this part of town?  Oh, my, somebody went overboard with the railroad-themed street names here.  

Until then, we tackle The Leopard, by Giuseppe de Lampedusa, which concerns a Silician prince in 1860, whose fiefdom is on the wane.  His upstart neighbor purchased some land through foreclosures, and now the neighbor is richer than the prince. 

The prince's tenants pay their rent in kind, presenting him with cheeses he doesn’t like, and slaughtered lambs whose falling entrails put him in mind of dead soldier he recently saw rotting beside the road.   

Political matters in Sicily threaten to topple his world.  And the resident priest on his estate reminds  him that he needs to come in to confession because, yes, the prince has been naughty.  He ignores his wife, the mother of his seven children, and slips into town where he knows a certain fetching peasant girl.  No cow patties.

On the page where I left off yesterday, a love triangle was just heating up. 

If you dig in to this story, expect to be confused by the legion of characters, many of whom go by at least three different names.  But sometimes these obscure books by minor authors make for an interesting little side trip, like a walk tucked back in a neighborhood where you didn’t know anything beautiful could be.  

And on that theme of interesting side trips, here’s a dish I doubt I would have thought up myself.  Quite possibly the CEO of Pillsbury wanted a boost in sales.  "Write better copy!" he told the advertisers.  "Invent more crescent roll recipes!" he told the test kitchen cooks.  

Corny Ham Bundles 

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