Sunday, January 13, 2013

New York Review - Mud Pies and Other Recipes

I must have been living under a rock not to have know anything about the New York Review of Books children's books.  They are a literary review but publish several collections of notable but out of print or not in English books. For their Children's List they have published over sixty out of print books that that they feel deserve to be rediscovered by a modern audience. They not only bring these back into print but the editions themselves are beautiful. Really nice paper and sturdy bindings and the pictures are in beautiful colors. I've bought some reprints of wonderful old books only to find that they that look like poor photocopies.
I already told you about Wolf Story.  With some much loved gift cards to Amazon I got another title from the New York Review Children's Collection. This title is one I remember from childhood.
Mud Pies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow
Marjorie Winslow was a magazine editor and author and involved in several business ventures in her life but published this one children's book in 1961. In my research into who the author was I found her recent obituary.

I first found this book in the library when I was about 8 or 9.  Even though I was rather young I appreciated the tongue in cheek humor. The recipes for "Pie Throwing Pies" or "Fried Water" tickled my funny bone then and continue to delight. I actually followed her directions for "Back Yard Stew" and paced off an eight step square and remember trying to find as many different bits of flora as possible to put in the "stew".  Rereading this as an adult, it strikes me that it assumes children have access to the outdoors (and not just overly groomed and manicured yard) and plenty of free time. Both I think are necessary for a healthy and happy kiddlet. A dirty child is a happy child!

I've decided to review as many of the New York Times Children's List as I can this year.  This list is huge and they keep adding to it. I'm off to try to choose the next ones.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back To Normal

I'm having trouble getting back into "normal" since coming home from the epic trek that was our holidays.  These dear folks were celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  In Southern California.  They were married the day after Christmas. As many as their descendants as possible came to celebrate Dec 27.

On the way to celebrate we stopped in Utah for Christmas with these kiddlets and their parental units and some of our own BL Grown Kids.

We had the best time. Huge thanks to the  BestLovedDaughter-in-law's family for including us in their Christmas Eve Bash. Two kinds of turkey, more pies than you could shake a stick at, fried artichoke hearts and homemade root beer. So much fun when three families, united by our kids, get together from New York, Arkansas and Utah.  Then wonderful Christmas morn. It is best with kids that believe.

We took off Christmas evening to rescue the BL Baby Boy who never made it to Utah but got stranded in Vegas. Nothing like a car trip with your bachelor sons. Lots of uninterrupted time with  grown kids is the best thing ever. Doesn't happen enough now they're grown and flown. 

My sisters shouldered the party and hosting tasks in California.  Sandy found the best beach.  Aliso Creek County Beach on the south end of Laguna Beach area was perfect. Mom and Dad love the beach but need easy access. There was metered parking right next to fire rings. Bathrooms were close and no steps or stairs. Plus, it's cozy with rocks, tide pools and great sand. It was such a beautiful day. Lots of sand was consumed with hot dogs and my brother's amazing home made shortbread and gingerbread.

We broke camp mid afternoon to dash back over the hill to change into party clothes for a great dinner together. (Huge thanks to Sis Carol). Sister Sandy had a fancy cake made (did you know that your 60th Anniversary is the Diamond Anniversary?) and made festive party crackers! Some had questions for Mom and Dad or prompts for us to tell stories about them.  Sadly, no one's pictures seem to have turned out. After putting our bachelor boys on the plane for their homes we had a last get together at my Sis's the next morning before everyone started for home.

 My parents raised 7 kids and we are all over the country (San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Pullman, WA, Wisconsin, Utah, Chicago and Arkansas). 5 of the 7 were able to make the trip and a few of the grands and great grands.

Our friends had let us know that Arkansas had been hit with 8 to 12 inches of snow and ice Christmas evening and our whole neighborhood was out of power (as was most of central Arkansas). We had been following the power situation and felt no need to hurry home to freeze so we took the scenic route. We've always passed by the turn off on I-40 to go to the Grand Canyon cause we had deadlines, etc. so we decided to check that National Park off our Bucket List.

In the spirit of always passing the tourist attractions by, we stopped at the Big Texan Steak House in Amarillo, TX. We've always seen the billboards and this is the place of Food Network and Discovery Chanel fame where you can get your meal free if you eat a 72oz steak with shrimp, rolls and salad in one hour. No one was taking on the challenge while we were there but the steak was great and now we've been!

 Power was restored at our house Saturday evening (we kept calling our home number - when the answering machine picked up we knew the power was back on) and we came home Sunday afternoon.  Cleaned out fridge of spoiled food but big freezer in garage kept everything frozen just fine.  Now time to clean house from the neglect the ensued while I handled the holiday rush. Real Life, bring it on!