Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Awesome Food Award

Alright, so Heidi tagged me for the Awesome Food Award back in October, and I am just now getting around to completing it.  Thank you, Heidi!  I meant to get it done sooner, but time moves so fast nowadays...and I have to admit I've never been one to "keep up with the times. "  (Get it?  "Keep up with the times"?  Okay, I admit, that was a horrible pun.  Just forget it.)  I hope you won't all be bored by another tag post--I feel like half my posts are tags--but I really couldn't pass this one up, so I guess you'll just have to grin and bear it!  :)

Shall we begin?

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, as well as link back to their blog. 
2. Answer the 10 questions provided.
3. Come up with 10 more questions that relate to food.
4. Nominate at least 5 people.
5. Let those people know they've been nominated.

Heidi's Questions (And my answers.  Obviously.)

1. Your thoughts on cheese?  Well, seeing that about half the meals my family makes contain cheese, I'd have to say it is a very essential bit of food, indeed.  I like it.

2. Favorite pizza?  Pepperoni.  Definitely.  It's the best.  (And for the sake of certain of my siblings--who's names I will not mention--I'd like to take the opportunity to  say once again that pepperoni really is the favorite.  It doesn't matter that the cheese pizza disappeared faster the other night.  That doesn't prove a thing.  Pepperoni has won many times in the past, and that's an undeniable fact.  So there.)

3. Have you always had a “traditional” dinner (i.e. turkey and all the fixings) on Thanksgiving?  We haven't always, but for the past ten to twelve years we have.  And a veritable feast is, too.  With homemade rolls, turkey, stuffing, peas, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, jello, pumpkin pie--and even sometimes apple pie and shoo-fly pie.  (Because in trying to please everyone, things can get a little bit excessive.  Ha!)

4. Favorite Thanksgiving dish to prepare?  Hmmm...I don't know.  I feel like I tend to skip that part of the day.  Usually my mom and my sisters do most of the preparation.  It's not because I'm unwilling to help, but with so many people there isn't always enough work to go around to everyone.  And it is possible to have too many cooks in the kitchen at one time. 

5. Your favorite breakfast?  Leftover pie, cake, donuts, sticky buns, or anything delectable like that.  (Yes, I have eaten cake for breakfast before.  It said I could eat it.)

6. Favorite kind of bread (i.e. whole wheat, French, sourdough, cinnamon-raisin, etc.)  I think some of the best bread I've ever had was freshly baked white bread which we ate at a friend's house once.  It was delicious.  So warm and soft and...did I mention delicious?  Have you ever heard the saying, "The whiter the bread the sooner you're dead"?  I have.  It's made very little impression on me.

7. Favorite vegetable?  Vegetable?  Get out!  Who eats vegetables?  Just kidding.  I do like vegetables.  One must eat them in a proper sized portion, of course...which is always a small portion...but, still, I admit they can be very good.  Carrots are probably my favorite.  They're absolutely the best when eaten straight out of the garden, but I also like them cooked...provided they have a little brown sugar added to them, (because I do so enjoy adding those healthy little elements).

8. Do you like sweet or sour?  Sweet.  (Surprise!  You had no idea I had a sweet tooth, did you?)
Yes, I admit, my photo editing techniques are horrendous.  But it's the best I could do.  Care for a jittery pretzel?

9. Most unusual/unexpected ethnic dish you've ever had?  Well, I don't know.  I don't usually try things unless I know what to expect.  But there was this one time when I went to a Chinese restaurant and I had this chocolate cake--okay, so that's not very ethnic, but it was at the Chinese restaurant so it has to count!  Anyway.  (A-hem.)  I had this chocolate cake and it turned out to be coffee flavored!  Yick!  It was terribly unexpected, and I did not like it at all, so I gave the rest of it to my oldest brother straightaway.  Incidentally, he doesn't like coffee either, but he was still under the impression that the cake was ordinary chocolate, so he took it right gladly.  "Forgive me a cruel chuckle."  (Yes, I know, it was very naughty of me.  But I had a lot of fun doing it.)

10. Hamburgers or hotdogs?  Hotdogs.  Because, as no doubt you've gathered from reading this post, I have a tendency towards being a bit of a health nut.  And hotdogs are SO healthy!   (NOT!)

Speaking of nuts, I'm beginning to feel an awful lot like one at the present moment.  I don't know what it is, but I find myself in a strangely goofy mood, and so I think I'd better make my exit real quick, before I totally lose it and allow the well-kept secret of my insanity to become a well-known fact. 
Also, lest you think from reading this ridiculous account of my eating habits that I'm nothing but a lazy person who sits around all day eating sugary desserts, well... about we change the subject?  I can't talk about food anymore, it's making me incredibly hungry! 

Have a cookie?

Moving on...

I nominate:

Rosie McCann

...and anyone else who'd like to answer the questions.  :)

My Questions:

1. Which do you prefer, salad or bread?
2. As a child, were you a picky eater or did you like to try new things?
3. What was one meal you abhorred as a kid?
4. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
5. Are you the sort of person who always has your meals planned out, or do you tend to toss things together at the last minute?  (Or if you don't have your own home yet, how do you imagine you would be?)
6. What is one of the worst (or most hilarious) food-making blunders you've ever made?
7.  Would you rather have steak or ice cream (or both together, like Pollyanna)?
8. What is your favorite kind of cake?
9. Do you eat combinations of food that other people think strange? (For example: my little brother once dipped his cookie in ketchup.  Yeah, that was a bit over the top...yours definitely doesn't have to be that crazy.  ;))
10. What is your favorite meal of the day?

Have fun!  And Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Real-Life Moments in Fiction

Every now and then, while reading a work of fiction, I'll come across a part which stands out to me particularly as being very true to life.   Either I've felt exactly as the author is describing a certain character to be feeling; or the words spoken by one of the characters is just what I would expect a real person to say in such a situation; or I've seen a friend, a family member--or myself--behave just as the character I'm reading about is behaving.  Whatever it is, there's something that resonates with me and I find myself musing over the fact that this author "really understands people." 

So, today I thought I'd share with you a few of the snippets which have stuck out to me in this way.   Most likely they won't strike you the same as they did me (for after all, everybody's different...and you have the disadvantage just now of jumping into the story mid-way, instead of reading it from the beginning), but I really like these parts and would like to share them with someone.  So, that's what I'm going to do.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson  (Chapter XXIV)

And yes Alan had behaved like a child and (what is worse) a treacherous child.  Wheedling my money from me while I lay half-conscious, was scarce better than theft; and yet here he was trudging by my side, without a penny to his name, and by what I could see, quite blithe to sponge upon the money he had driven me to beg.  True, I was ready to share it with him; but it made me rage to see him count upon my readiness.
     These were the two things uppermost in my mind; and I could open my mouth upon neither without black ungenerosity.  So I did the next worst, and said nothing, nor so much as looked once at my companion, save with the tail of my eye.

..."Ye had better let me take your pack," said he, for perhaps the ninth time since we had parted from the scout beside Loch Rannoch.
     "I do very well, I thank you," said I, as cold as ice.
     Alan flushed darkly.  "I'll not offer it again," he said.  "I'm not a patient man, David."
     "I never said you were," said I, which was exactly the rude, silly speech of a boy of ten.

"The rude silly speech of a boy of ten."  Isn't that so true?  We can be such unreasonable creatures when we're upset.  For me, personally, this is a very accurate description of how I often feel (and behave) when a friend or family member does something to offend me.  I give the offending party the silent treatment, and insist on being huffy and unhappy until I'm satisfied that they're sufficiently disgusted with themselves.  And of course, the whole time I'm quite certain that they're acting very childish...while all the while I'm acting more so. 

Jo's Boys by Lousia May Alcott

Emil cheered up at once, and sitting with his arm about his "dear lass," in true sailor fashion told the happy ending of the tale.
     "Such a jolly old time as we had at Hamburg.  Uncle Hermann couldn't do enough for the captain, and while mamma took care of him, Mary looked after me.  I had to go into dock for repairs; fire hurt my eyes, and watching for a sail and want of sleep made 'em as hazy as a London fog.  She was pilot and brought me in all right, you see, only I couldn't part company, so she came aboard as first mate, and I'm bound for glory now."
     "Hush! that's silly, dear," whispered Mary, trying in her turn to stop him, with English shyness about tender topics.

That last line of Mary's.  I don't know why, but to me it's such an adorable little line, and I can totally see a young wife saying that to her husband.  Sometimes it's the smallest things--just a few simple words, put together correctly--that paint the largest pictures in one's mind. 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

     'If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy,' cried a young Lucas who came with his sisters, 'I should not care how proud I was.  I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine every day.'
     'Then you would drink a great deal more than you ought,' said Mrs. Bennet; 'and if I were to see you at it I should take away your bottle directly.'
     The boy protested that she should not; she continued to declare that she would, and the argument ended only with the visit.

This part has always struck me as singularly interesting...not because of it's significance to the story, but because of it's being so ridiculously normal.  I mean, isn't it crazy how often we engage in silly arguments over what we would and wouldn't do in a certain situation--when all the time the chances of us ever being in such a situation are pretty much nil?  It's hilarious, really.  (And exactly the sort of conversation one would expect from Mrs. Bennet.  Heehee.)

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

[For context: While attending school, David was elected by his fellow classmates to regale them with stories every night before going to sleep.]

Poor Traddles--I never think of that boy but with a strange disposition to laugh, and with tears in my eyes--was a sort of chorus, in general, and affected to be convulsed with mirth at the comic parts, and to be overcome with fear when there was any passage of an alarming character in the narrative.  This rather put me out, very often.  It was a great jest of his, I recollect, to pretend that he couldn't keep his teeth from chattering, whenever mention was made of an Alquazil in connection with the adventures of Gil Blas; and I remember that when Gil Blas met the captain of the robbers in Madrid, this unlucky joker counterfeited such an ague of terror, that he was overheard by Mr. Creakle, who was prowling about the passage, and handsomely flogged for disorderly conduct in the bedroom.

Okay.  I love this description of Traddles.  It's perfect.  Pretending to be "convulsed with mirth" and "overcome with fear."  Haha!  That is just how fun-loving, goofy little boys act!  I can totally see it.  And that's what's so cool about this paragraph.  It doesn't really forward the plot of the story, but it truly adds to the realism of it.  Reading this, and combining it in my mind with my own personal knowledge of children (and I'm not excluding myself here, either, because I was  a pretty goofy kid when I was little.  Just ask my mom), I'm left with an extraordinarily vivid picture of childhood.  It's amazing.

So tell me what you think. 
Do these passages strike you as being particularly true to life?
Do small, insignificant parts like these ever stick out to you when you're reading?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jane Austen Tag

Alright, I've decided to get in on the fun and whip off these answers right quick.  (If that is possible, which it probably isn't.  It's 10:43 p.m.  Let's see how long this takes me.  One, two, three.  GO!)

Naomi is hosting a Jane Austen week over at her blog and has come up with a whole list of questions for all of us to answer.  Go ahead and check out her blog.  There's a  lot of Jane Austen related fun going on over there.
Now then.  To get back to the questions...

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a Jane Austen fan do you consider yourself?

Probably an 8-9 or something.  I'm not a "blast it from the roof-tops" fan, but I do love her books, as well as all the movies which I feel measure up to them.  (You can ask me which movies those are, if you want to...)

2. If "they" would make a new Jane Austen Movie, and you would be able to be cast in it, which Jane Austen character would you most like to play?

Ah!  Now that's a fun question.  I think I would enjoy (and feel right at home) playing Eleanor Tilney.  I have a brother who slightly reminds me of Henry Tilney, so the brother/sister sparring would come quite naturally.  Also.  Mary Musgrove (from Persuasion) would probably be a very enjoyable character to portray.  I don't know, I just feel like I could pull off the whiny, "poor me" character very well.  After all, I've had a lot of practical experience in that area.  (Just kidding.  I am not that bad.)  But she would be very fun to play, I'm sure.

3. Is there any felicity in the world superior to a walk?

How about a nap?  They're awfully nice.  :) 

4. Who's your favourite Jane Austen 'villain'? (As in 'villain' meaning 'the bad guy.')

Hmm...Willoughby perhaps?  There are times when one catches a glimmer of hope for his improvement, and I always feel sorry for him when he comes and apologizes to Elinor.  (In the book that is.  They skip that part in the '95 movie.  And the only feeling I ever remember having toward Willoughby in the 2008 version was a feeling of the utmost abhorrence.  He's a creep.  And I'll waste not my pity on him.)

5. What/Who introduced you to Jane Austen?

My parents.  I grew up watching Pride and Prejudice '95, so I really can't remember a time when I was not acquainted with her.

6. Did you love/enjoy Jane Austen immediately, or has there been a time when you hated (um, prejudged) it?

I've always liked Jane Austen.  Is that any wonder?  With my first taste of her work being the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, could there have been any other reaction?

7. Who, in your opinion, is the funniest Jane Austen character?

That's not fair!  I mean it!  That is NOT a fair question! How in the world am I supposed to decide between so many characters?  Alright, alright.  I'll do it. 
Mr.BennetHenryTilneyJohnKnightlyMr.PalmerMaryMusgroveMr.KnightlyEmmaMr.EltonMrs.Elton.  And that's all I have to say on the subject!

8. Do you quote Jane Austen randomly in public?

Probably.  If I'm in the company of my siblings, and a proper opportunity presents itself, I don't know why I wouldn't. 

9. Are children allowed to eat cake on weddings?

Well, if they're not I was a bad child all my growing up years.  (Sorry, Mr. Woodhouse.)

10. What is your reaction when you hear that an acquaintance (e.g. A lady at Church) of yours loves Jane Austen?

Hmm...I guess I get excited.  It's always fun to find someone who likes what you like.  And then, of course, if I'm feeling talkative (or if politeness simply requires it) I'll start asking them questions about which books/movies they like best.  Those are usually fun conversations.

11. Who writes better letters, Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth? (If you forgot what the letters were, shame on you, instead tell me if you prefer Strawberries to Chocolate or not.)

I don't know.  They're so vastly different.  Let's go with a tie.  (Yes, that was a cop-out.)

12. Which Jane Austen heroine do you relate the least to?

I don't know.  Marianne.  She walks too much.  (Okay, so that was another cop-out.  But look, it's getting very late here.  You can't expect my brain to be working at this time of night.  Poor little brain.)

13. What's your favourite Jane Austen house (from one of the movies)?

Longbourn.  It's the most familiar, being the one I've visited the most.  Thinking about it now gives me a wonderful nostalgic feeling.

14. What's your favourite Jane Austen dress (from one of the movies)?
I really like this dress of Jane's from Emma 2009.  White dresses with dainty blue trimming always give me a thrill (or at least this one does...not sure if I've seen any others).

The back of the dress is lovely.  And also, look at the sleeves.  Aren't they cool?

15. Can you turn off lit candles with your fingers?
I have not tried this yet, but I believe I could...that is, if I had some water to wet my fingers.  I wouldn't try it otherwise, you know, because that would be silly, and even Mr. Darcy wouldn't do that.
Thank you for the tag, Naomi!   
And thank you all for reading my answers!  I'm afraid I got a little silly on some of them, but let's just blame it on the lateness of the hour and call it a night, shall we?  (By the way, you may congratulate me.  It is now 12:07!  I completed this post at the tremendous speed of one hour and 24 minutes!  ...27, rather.  It just took me three minutes to write that last sentence.)