Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Coals" In My Stocking? Rejoice!

Cano S100 photo by author
Books: Yes, I know it's traditional to list favorites or "bests" before Christmas, but everybody does that. Ever contrarian, RareBurghers lists books that were received as presents, in no particular order, except how we remembered opening them. Reason: many of you received gift certificates to indie bookshops (Arcade/Rye NY or Diane's/Greenwich perhaps) and mammoth online purveyors. Something here might suit you.

Can you "read" something into the fact that there are only two novels in this bunch? Don't think so. Fiction styles tend to mess with our own writing voice, such as it is,  more than non-fiction. So, we try to limit fiction during writing season, which is pretty much all the time. Usually we fail, but we try. Not listed, since Santa technically did not provide it,  is The Broken Shore by Peter Temple, a detective novel from Australia and extraordinarily good.

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (Thanks, RJ). Started this: almost gone.

The Sartorialist: Closer, Scott Schuman (Style? This is it!)

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume III, Manchester & Reid. Note: this is a huge doorstop of a book. The publishing industry blames their demise on the internet, Amazon, or just about anything else except the true villain, themselves. This should have come in two volumes. Period. Duh.

Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan.

Here & There, A.A. Gill (one of the best writers on travel & food)

CanonS100 photo by author
let my people go surfing, Yvon Chouinard (signed by Patagonia founder/author - thanks Sara D. & T)

One Good Deed: 365 Days To Be Just A Little Bit Better, Erin McHugh. Will try. Thanks SMac, I think.

Season Of '42, Jim Cavanaugh  (Both of these with Teddy Ballgame and Joe D' on the covers)
Summer of '49, David Halberstam

The Mini Minimilist, Simple Recipes for Satisfying Meals, Mark Bittman,  4 small volumes. Give it to every young person with a new apartment you know. Then, give it to everyone else you know. Finally, get one for yourself, or just eat at your friends' places, where you'll always be welcome.

Consider The Fork, Bee Wilson. History of our friend, the fork. Wonder if the author will do one on honey next? Good name for that. Actually, my wife the DG received these last  two, but they make a great segue into...

Food: 1) Pete Wells of the Times is just completing his first year as food critic and recently listed his Top 12 Best New Restaurants of 2012. You can see them all by using the link below, but I thought it worth noting that:

1. There is not a single notable new restaurant in midtown; in fact, there is not one north of 28th Street.
2. Four of the 12 are in Brooklyn. Repeat, Brooklyn. Such is the state of the realm.
3. Three are in Greenwich Village, two in TriBeCa, one for NoHo, one for LES (that's Lower East Side for you Boomers).

To this list we add our own Best New Find: Coals in Port Chester (link below), which serves superior thin crust pizzas, an excellent alternative burger, and a spectacular dish of Brussels Sprouts. I bet those BS's are the equal of just about anything at eateries on Wells's list, and we know why, since the chef told us the secret. Lips are sealed.

Poilane#1, Cherche-Midi, Paris
2) This is mostly a time of celebration, but the "holidays," as we have come to call them, can also cause stress and anxiety for many of us. Here is a proven temporary cure, which actually works at any time of year. Get to the nearest bakery or food shop selling fresh baguettes. My own preference is June & Ho in Rye, NY. The Kneaded Bread in aforementioned Port Chester (the Brooklyn of Westchester) will do. If you're lucky, as I was on Christmas Eve, the bin will be empty. Why is that lucky? Fresh ones are about to arrive hot from the oven!

For two bucks, more or less, you can feel that warm baguette in your hands and under your arm. Eat some right away. Ride around with that aroma in your car or truck for a while. I guarantee you will feel better, as if you'd lit a candle in St. Patrick's and had a prayer answered. Edible prayers, and answers, are the best kind.

Ed Notes:

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