- I’ve been reading J.K. Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy. Now, I had to get it. Yes, I am a (huge) Harry Potter fan. But I bought it because I just love her writing, love the way she thinks. I’m not quite as bowled over by her new novel as I was by the Harry Potter series, but everyone knows they’re not the same. Not the same animal. But I am so happy to be back in the land of Rowling narrative. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction, or at least not a lot of fiction (Diane Keaton’s memoir, Then Again; Nora Ephron’s collections; New York magazine, etc.). And while I certainly love those too, there’s just something about being enveloped in narrative, finding new characters, new styles, new worlds. Recently, I read this post that espoused this very same feeling. Leaving aside the printed word versus digital word argument (you probably never want to get me started on that), the escape one can feel in the written word is absolute. Once upon a time, I had that with the Harry Potter series. The other day, as I was reading The Casual Vacancy during my commute, I realized it too had absorbed me. Now just a few hundred pages to go…
- This morning I watched the “CBS Sunday Morning” food show. It was amazing, from segment to segment, pure culinary gold. Lee Cowan’s cover story was about the world of foodies, how everyone has become an amateur critic. The hypothesis goes that the advent of the Food Network, social media, accessible gourmet ingredients and straightforward, no-nonsense cookbooks has allowed people to feel comfortable with the unique, the exotic, the challenging. Even just learning to cook seems easier. We are more willing to try things, then run home and cook them ourselves. As Cowan spoke with LA food writer and blogger Krista Simmons, she explained our growing fascination with food as being about “an experience and a feeling, more than an actual thing itself.” This interest in the communal, creative and delicious is practically second-nature to many, which might explain how the foodie movement spread so quickly, from coast to coast, medium to medium. For some, a great meal or bottle of wine is the most palatable (pardon the pun) way to splurge. Enjoying good food with great friends—whatever the atmosphere, dive or elegant dining room—is an easy way to unwind and even learn about a new culture, dish or ingredient. I’m not quite advanced enough to consider myself a foodie with any real conviction. But I’m proud to call myself an amateur foodie. And that’s good enough for me.
- Finally, as we rapidly approach Thanksgiving, let’s take a moment for gratitude and reflection. And please continue to keep in our thoughts the communities affected by Sandy—on Staten Island and Long Island, in Queens, Brooklyn and New Jersey—as they greet the holiday in circumstances they never could have foreseen with incredible courage, dignity and strength.