March 23, 2009

When Adam asked my dad for my hand in marriage, my dad was in the hospital. He had just been in a very serious car accident and he was still pretty out of it. The first words out of my dad's mouth were "well, you know...she's not very domestic". We have all laughed about that many times but part of me agreed/s with my dad and part of me took his words on as a challenge (luckily Adam wasn't scared by my lack of domestic skills!) And so I often find it funny that a majority of my posts on this blog seem to be about the domestic realm of my life....cleaning, cooking, gardening,etc. Clearly I am still working on many of those domestic skills. Ten years ago when Adam proposed, I was in graduate school and I never would have imagined that I would spend so much of my brain power contemplating the best method for cleaning grout or researching fish recipes (instead of researching issues of social justice and clinical practice). But here I am.

My recent reads have been a mix of domestic and cultural explorations. A melding of my past with my present and a glimpse into my geeky need to over-analyze, form connections, and feel like I can use my brain even in the midst of domestic pursuits. Cultural anthropology+clinical social work+home ec= food books.

So here they are:

What The World Eats : I love this book. Big glossy photos of families with all of the food they consume in a week. It appeals to my voyeuristic/inner anthropologist with its nitty gritty details, images, and glimpses into the variety that is our world.Visit their website where they highlight a family from Okinawa or listen to this NPR segment.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: I know I have shared this book here before, but it was our most recent book club selection and so I quickly skimmed it again as a refresher. Food/cultural identity,Chinese immigrant experience, interesting history (the evolution of "take-out", the design of food containers, selling soy sauce, and more) all rolled into a well packaged and crispy read. I couldn't resist highlighting it again. Visit Lee's website or watch this.

Feeding a Yen: it starts with a bagel and from there Trillin takes the reader on an entertaining romp around the country in search of the best local cuisine. A quick and tasty read. And the boudin chapter is my favorite since it highlights my homeplace and also some close family friends. After reading "Feeding a Yen" I followed up with the very moving About Alice. Also highly recommended.

Slow Food: The Case for Taste: This slim book written by the Italian founder of Slow Food movement is chock full of the history and the evolution of the movement. A little dry and slow in parts, but still an interesting and worthwhile read. Good reminder to slow down, savor quality, eat/buy local, and avoid "McDonaldization". Listen to what Patrini has to say about food and underwear.

You would think that with all of these food influences I would be making some fabulous, memorable meals for my family. But sadly that's not the case. My dad was right I am just not that domestic. I can only focus my domestic energies on one thing at a time. The spring cleaning/sorting is nearly done so perhaps I will actually enter an energetic cooking phase (my domestic interests seem to cycle in phases) but maybe not...maybe I'll just keep reading.

Tara said...

Owen and I enjoyed What The World Eats last year - great book and an eye opener.

I am nearing my mid forties and still honing my "domestic skills". My next challenge will be raising chickens!

Cooking is one of my favorite domestic duties :0)

craftymama said...

i notice how you just casually mention this: "The spring cleaning/sorting is nearly done..." at the end of your post- WHOA!!! that's amazing!!! give yourself a pat on the back before you move on- xo

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thanks, Sarah! I do feel pretty happy about it. Just down to Noah's bedroom and our bathroom. Now the trick is to keep things fairly clean and pile-free. Knowing that people will be walking through the house will hopefully keep me/us motivated.

The Magic Onions said...

LOL on your dad's comment... I too would be amazed if I had seen myself now 10 years ago... but here I am too, happier than ever!

katy said...

love it when you share your book, show lists. I'm going to pass that Slow Food title on to Kristin (from Trani)

Think I saw an article about What the World Eats. SOOOOO very interesting. Might have to start an Amazon wish list just to add that.

My fav food book and the most influential I've read (so far) is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

BTW, I just got that BIRDS book by Kevin Henkes. Kinda disappointing. My kids love it, though. what do you think?

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Katy, I agree with you on the Henkes book (colorful, but a little short on content)and Kingsolver (loved it and read it again just last month....also loved Ominvore's Dilemma). Our recent favorite bird book is "Feathers for Lunch" by Lois Ehrlert (love her books). Also have you seen the documentary "Winged Migration"? I bet your girls would love it. And check out Dawn's blog where they are doing a whole lot of bird stuff right now:


Ok, I probably should have just e-mailed you instead of leaving this long comment...I got carried away.

Melissa said...

I really should get around to reading Fortune Cookie Chronicles. The other books sound wonderful, too.

To give you hope: I wasn't that great at cooking, etc. when I first got married. Somewhere along the line, though, I figured out that it's a great stress reliever for me. Unfortunately, that's not done much for my weight...

Thanks for joining in the challenge!

Lynnie said...

That's a hilarious story about announcing your intention to marry! Before I "settled down" I had never planted a seed, made bread, or marinated meat. Funny how we change over time!

Darla said...

You should give yourself more credit! It sounds as if you've made great progress.

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