Cape Cod

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If you once get the sand of the Cape in your shoes, you will return.

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Celebrating Strawberries

We have been very fortunate to have a glut of strawberries. It almost never happens but it was $1 a quart if you bought the case of 6. Even though we were leaving town for a few days, I couldn’t pass this deal up. So when we returned, there were still some strawberries left in the fridge. A little past their prime but not ready for the compost.

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I’ve also had some very strong chestnut honey that was taking up precious room on the honey shelf. Yes, I have a honey shelf. Clover for teas, Acacia for buttered toast, Palmetto for biscuits, and Chestnut for cheeses. The latest batch of chestnut was collected late in the season and is mighty powerful. I find it a bit too strong straight up so I’ve been finding recipes and adapting them to include honey.

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Babbitt: Book Review

I was surprised how much I connected with Sinclair Lewis’ title character, George Babbitt. A middle-aged real estate agent in a middle-sized American city is not exactly how I identify myself. But Babbitt is overcome by a constant feeling of having missed out on something wonderful. Of there being a possibly life that is better and more free than what he has. but he doesn’t know what that would mean or how he would get there. He feels trapped.

I think that many twenty-somethings can understand that sentiment. We don’t have the stability that Babbitt has, with a house and family waiting for him at the end of the night. But we, or at least I, want more than what I have now and I don’t know how to get there.

Many emphasize the satirical aspects of Babbitt. While his actions often leads to absurd and amusing ends, he is a living, breathing person. He could be your neighbor, your parent, your friend. Confused about what is the right thing to do, what he is being told to do by society, and what he wants. In the end, Babbitt’s small rebellion is squashed by responsibilities. I’m not sure what lessons it leaves us. Perhaps the importance of at least trying to pursue our dreams while we still can. That’s what I’m choosing to take away from it.

Available from Bantam Classics, $5.95

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Rhubarb Blueberry Apple Pie

This month’s book: Babbit by Sinclair Lewis

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American. Is there anything more American than Babbit? Perhaps apple pie, which is clearly one of his favorite foods besides fried chicken. Well, I won’t try to offer up a recipe on fried chicken, but I will share my latest twist on apple pie.

Devised from an intense craving for rhubarb pie even though our rhubarb plant is having a rough start. I was able to collect a few stalks, but nowhere near enough for a pie. Then there was about a cup of frozen blueberries that needed attention. And a few sad apples. Everyone into the pie!

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Ramp Risotto and the Essence of Spring

I know that ramp season has past but I honestly thought that I had posted about this already. It was only when I investigated, trying to find the recipe I used to make a spinach version, that I found I hadn’t actually typed it up.

Apologizes. But now you will be ready for ramps next year! This was my first experience with ramps, brought to our house by a friend with a talent for foraging. Because he wanted to preserve the sites he forages from, he only brought the leaves and not the bulbs. This made finding a recipe rather difficult but I think why creation can be adapted either way.

Here’s what I know about ramps: they are a spring green which grows in the wild, they (like rhubarb) are absurdly expensive to buy in stores, and they should be wilted rather than stewed. At first a wilted ramp salad with bacon, bacon fat, and vinegar seemed in order but I was concerned the flavors would be too potent.

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Object of Beauty: Book Review

Steve Martin is known not only as a comedic actor and a fantastic banjo player, but also as an engaging author. His most recent novel, from 2010, Object of Beauty, reinforces that idea. He is able to write convincingly about the lives of 20-somethings in New York City in 1990s. The novel centers on Lacey, an up-and-coming art dealer, yet is narrated by her old friend and admirer, Daniel. Very little focus is placed on the narrator’s personal life outside of his time spent with Lacey and there are scenes in which he is not present.

Beginning in the basement of Sotheby’s, Lacey quickly moves up in the art world from private art dealers to opening her own gallery in Chelsea. Along the way, she meets rich men, poor men, and sneaky men. Nothing is as it seems. Lacey’s life, as well as the lives of those around her, are turned upside down.

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Heavenly Rosemary Focaccia

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This month’s book: Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

There are so many things that I put off doing or trying. I’m always saying I’ll get around to finishing that oil painting in the back of my closet. Or I’ll read that book I’ve checked out hundreds of times but never got through. Or I will use the pile of cookbooks I have.

I’ve got to admit, I do a lot of my recipe selections on the Internet rather than through cookbooks. First of all, most cookbooks are expensive and I have limited shelf space. Secondly, you have to go to a bunch of different ones to find a recipe that inspires you.

True, on occasion, I will find a cookbook that I want to cook my way through. But more often than not, I end up using the same 5-6 recipes and not trying the others.

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