2 books, 1 game, and 1 recipe
The other night my friend Tara had Col and Rose over for tacos and a movie (which for them is like being bathed in the holy water of sour cream and big screen entertainment). Rose came home with a belly ache from eating too much, but also pleased that she hadn’t missed out on over-eating. Between shared school and soccer practice and then their date at Tara’s, Dan and I hadn’t seen much of them all day and were full of questions. They filled us in on everything, chattering and interrupting, jockeying to share first and most, until Col finally said, “You know, the only thing that really matters is that we’re all here safe and sound.” (Because apparently it’s never to soon to become your own wise grandpa).
Col, the wise old grandpa feeding his little buddy Irie. (Irie’s dad, Sage, lived downstairs for many years. Which is to say, if you too once lived downstairs from us and want to bring your baby over for general uplifting and merriment, please do!)
I am a dandelion salad. There is nothing to be afraid of.
I read this gorgeous and intense book in Indonesia, and when I got to the excruciating part where a very important decision had to be made, a decision that either way was going to be devastating for at least one entire family, I recounted the story to the kids, wanting to see if they saw any other option for the characters. They were so engrossed that during the half hour it took to catch them up on the plot, a thousand little insects drowned in my curried vegetables. The story takes place post-WWII on a tiny, isolated island off mainland Australia. The main characters are resilient, independent lighthouse keepers who desperately want to be parents and receive a very complicated opportunity. The writing is gorgeous, the plot engrossing, and you will find yourself empathizing with each flawed and relatable character. This powerful quote has stayed with me: “You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.”
A Thousand Naked Strangers (by the way, do not innocently Google images for this title at the library or anywhere that isn’t safe for photos of actual naked people packed interactively in a jeep) is a fascinating account of a man’s ten years working as a paramedic in emergency medicine in Atlanta. Kevin Hazzard has seen it all and is unsentimentally honest about it. He and his partners are always waiting—nervously, excitedly—for the BIG CALL. And it comes, many times in many forms. Hazzard catches great details, like the man who, before his adult son (experiencing cardiac arrest) was rushed into the ambulance, asked Hazzard to grab the pack of smokes in his son’s pocket. This is a book full of wrenching, fast-paced, shocking, fascinating, darkly humorous stories, but never depressing or dramatically morbid. Rather, it’s an insider’s look into a very real, very important line of work.
The day after my friend Melanie brought Quiddler to our house I ordered it and we’ve been playing it daily upon Col’s request. It’s technically a spelling game, or a word-making game, but it doesn’t feel educational in that cloaked way that parents often try to sneak past kids’ radars. It’s dynamic and fast paced and you can be like Dan and come up with long, fancy words, or be like Rose and make a lot of 2- and 3-letter words for the same amount of points. (You can also be like Rose and be shocked that it’s your turn again after only seven cartwheel intermissions. You can also be like Col, whistling earsplittingly between asking, “Is quert a word? How about squert?”).
Almost every night we’ve been eating dandelion salads. This has something to do with the equation: two million free dandelions live ten steps from our kitchen + highly nutritious = dandelion salad. Spring is the perfect time to eat dandelions, they are only mildly bitter, and easily offset by adding apples, raisins, nuts, and a tasty dressing. And really, you will start to enjoy that feisty little nip over time, so much so that lettuce begins to appear suspiciously like the baby rice cereal of life: a bland way to enter the world of actual salads.
Our silly kids can’t yet be persuaded to eat dandelion salads, but their friends Seneca and Fawn, who’ve been dining with us on Mondays, love them so much that last night as I was taking these photos, Seneca, who is allergic to nuts, said nervously, “Did you remember about me and walnuts, Rachel?”
Seneca’s dandelion salad, with sunflower seeds and raisins!
My award-winning (at the esteemed dandelion cook off held by Hummingbird Herbals back in 1998) dandelion pesto recipe here.
P.S. if you ever want book recommendations, go to the Category on my right side bar called “What I’m Reading.” Like so.
What are you reading and eating?