SugarHouse Mama

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where the World Wide Web Led Me Today

I'm hosting our upcoming book club next week.  We are reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, and it's been a while since I read it, so I thought I'd get started on some research.  I spent an obscene amount of time on the World Wide Web, but found some fascinating things.

Here's the path my internet-based quest for information took me on today, as told in pictures - mostly.

Passover Chocolate Torte

1/2 cup pareve margarine
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup ground almonds


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan with foil. Grease foil.

2.Melt margarine and chocolate over low heat. Stir until smooth and let cool.

3.In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat whites until stiff; about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat together yolks and sugar until thick and pale; about 1 minute. Blend in chocolate mixture and stir in almonds. Fold in beaten whites, 1/3 at a time, into chocolate until no streaks of white remain. Scrape into prepared pan.

4.Place an 8 inch baking pan with 1 inch of water in it on the bottom rack of the oven (to make the torte more moist).

5.Bake torte on center rack at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until sides begin to pull away from pan and top is set in center. Cover the torte loosely with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking. Note: Don't worry if the cake cracks because the top will be on the bottom later.

6.Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then carefully remove sides of pan. Invert onto a serving plate and cool completely.

Apple-Cinnamon Farfel Kugel

1 cup hot water
1 cup matzo farfel
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large apples - peeled, cored and shredded
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2.In a large bowl, combine the water and farfel. Add the sugar, apple, and cinnamon. Fold in the egg whites. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and dust the top with more cinnamon.

3.Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 45 minutes.
Marginalia - Billy Collins

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.
Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

- Billy Collins

And by this time my real life started catching up with me and it became necessary to abandon my beloved World Wide Web for the day and take my daughter to her first soccer practice.

Book club, I'm ready.  And I will have either Passover Chocolate Torte or Apple-Cinnamon Farfel Kugel.  As long as I can scavenenge all local ingredients.

Perhaps both.  With a side of egg salad.

1 comment:


Sweet. Made me hungry. I have a book called "What We Eat...Around the World in 80 Diets"'d like it. It's at Barnes and Noble. Same people who do the Material World, Women in a Material World books.