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Joe Bastianich Raves About Eva Longoria’s Food Knowledge

Joe Bastianich Raves About Eva Longoria’s Food Knowledge

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The restaurateur and 'MasterChef' judge praises the actress’ food smarts

Longoria knows her way around the kitchen!

Actress Eva Longoria is much more than just a pretty face. Since her stint as a guest judge on MasterChef, Joe Bastianich, fellow judge, restaurateur, winemaker, and author, has raved about how qualified and knowledgeable Longoria is in this industry.

In his blog for People Magazine, Bastianich states, "Eva is a serious restaurateur. Defying the stereotype of the absentee celebrity restaurant owner, Eva is the real deal. She knows food and the nuances that make this industry so trying."

Longoria, who owns Beso restaurant in Los Angeles, made a surprise appearance on the show, and through her Mexican-themed mystery box, she was able to showcase her culinary capabilities. "Her plate was impeccable — and honestly I didn’t think we’d see that level of cookery from her," Bastianich adds.

As for the MasterChef competition, nine home cooks remain, and the show airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays on Fox.

Top 19

Contestant Age Hometown Occupation Status Winnings
Luca Manfè 31 Astoria, New York Restaurant Manager Winner September 11 10
Natasha Crnjac 26 San Diego, California Stay-at-Home Mom Runner-Up September 11 13
Jessica "Jessie" Lysiak 27 Social Circle, Georgia Yacht Stewardess Eliminated September 4 10
Krissi Biasiello 34 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Paralegal 3
James Nelson 26 Victoria, Texas Retail Sales Eliminated August 28 5
Brianna "Bri" Kozior 22 Doylestown, Pennsylvania Theater Assistant Eliminated August 21
Returned August 7
Eliminated July 24
Jordan Roots 29 Minneapolis, Minnesota Delivery Driver Eliminated August 14 2
Eddie Jackson 32 Americus, Georgia Personal Trainer/Former Pro Football Player Eliminated July 31 7
Bethy Rossos 28 Estacada, Oregon High School P.E. Teacher Eliminated July 17 5
Savannah Sturges 27 San Diego, California Middle School Special Ed. Teacher Eliminated July 10 3
Lynn Chyi 27 San Diego, California Systems Administrator 4
Jonathan "Jonny" Blanchard 28 Marlboro, Massachusetts Carpenter Eliminated June 26 1
Elizabeth "Beth" Kirby 29 Chattanooga, Tennessee Writer, Photographer 3
Albaya "Bime" Cruz 35 Taunton, Massachusetts Boxing Coach Eliminated June 19 2
Howard Simpson 26 San Diego, California Barback 1
Kathleen "Kathy" Prieto 29 Bronx, New York Office Assistant Eliminated June 12 0
Malcolm Green 27 Cambridge, Massachusetts Unemployed Eliminated June 5 1
Adriana Guillen 26 New York, New York College Admissions Rep. 0
Sasha Foxx 42 Tuscaloosa, Alabama Singer Eliminated May 29 0

Brown 'inept' following secret donations scandal

Tony Blair's allies last night risked stoking Labour divisions by accusing Gordon Brown of mishandling his response to the secret donations scandal.

Simmering tensions between the Prime Minister and his predecessor burst to the surface following claims that Labour lawyers approved a secretive cash-raising scheme.

Mr Brown, who faces becoming only the second serving premier to be interviewed by police in a criminal inquiry, is desperately trying to pull his administration out of a nosedive.

His poll ratings are in tatters after a month of disasters culminating in the revelation that Labour broke election law by accepting more than £650,000 from property developer David Abrahams.

Mr Brown's allies claim that he had no knowledge of a scheme for using intermediaries to channel the cash to Labour that was set up in 2003 when Mr Blair was still leader.

But last night Matthew Taylor, Mr Blair's head of strategy in Downing Street, branded Mr Brown's attempts to deflect the blame as "inept".

In an inteview for the Guardian, he said: "It was not unfair but inept, inasmuch it doesn't look particularly attractive if you are going around trying to shift responsibility."

As one of the "keepers of the flame", Mr Taylor is a key member of Mr Blair's band of loyalists who have been considering their response to Mr Brown's troubles.

They are understood to be alarmed by the scale of the Prime Minister's collapse and fear he will be unable to turn things around in time to head off a defeat at the next general election.

With the mood among Labour MPs described as "fragile" by one Cabinet minister, Blairite former ministers have been warned to keep quiet or face accusations of destabilising the party.

Mr Brown is at the mercy of further revelations in the so-called donorgate scandal following claims yesterday that the payments from Mr Abrahams were arranged by two-middle ranking Labour officials with the approal of the party's lawyers.

A report in the Guardian newspaper described how an arrangement was set up in 2003 to exploit a "loophole" in election law that would allow donations from Mr Abrahams to be concealed.

It was claimed that a number of covenants were drawn up by the Newcastle solicitor John McCarthy - one of the intermediaries used to make donations - with the full knowledge of Labour officials.

Two unnamed employees of the party based in London are said to have overseen the process.

Crucially the report claims they consulted Labour lawyers and "other senior party members", apparently blowing a hole in claims that only former general secretary general Peter Watt - who resigned last week - knew about it.

Labour refused to comment on the claims. Tory sources said they were potentially "devastating" but that there was "a degree of uncertainty" about them.

Mr Brown has admitted the donations were made unlawfully, and until now there has been little doubt that legislation introduced by Labour in 2000 bans anonymous third-party donations.

The suggestion that Labour lawyers may have been involved in approving a scheme to disguise the true source of donations is particularly damaging.

2014 winners

  • Outstanding Chef: Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles, CA
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Sirio Maccioni, Le Cirque, New York, NY
  • Humanitarian of the Year: Matt Haley, Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • Outstanding Restaurant: The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA
  • America's Classics: Hansen's Sno Bliz, New Orleans, LA Sokolowski's University Inn, Cleveland, OH Nick's Italian Cafe, McMinnville, OR Olneyville New York System, Providence, RI
  • Rising Star Chef: Jimmy Banos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago, IL Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA
  • Outstanding Restaurateur: Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston, MA
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef: Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery, New York, NY
  • Outstanding Service: The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
  • Outstanding Bar Program: The Bar at the NoMad Hotel, New York, NY
  • Outstanding Wine Program: The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
  • Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional: Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
  • Best New Restaurant: Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans, LA
  • Great Lakes Chef: Dave Beran, Next, Chicago, IL
  • Mid-Atlantic Chef: Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C.
  • Midwest Chef: Justin Aprahamian, Milwaukee, WI
  • New York City Chef: April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig
  • Northeast Chef: Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa, Boston, MA
  • Northwest Chef: Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, OR
  • South Chef: Ryan Prewitt, Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans, LA Sue Zemanick, Gautreau's, New Orleans, LA
  • Southeast Chef: Ashley Christensen, Poole's Downtown Diner, Raleigh, NC
  • Southwest Chef: Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston, TX
  • West Chef: Daniel Patterson, Coi, San Francisco, CA
  • Radio Show/Audio Webcast: This American Life Host: Ben Calhoun Area: Public Radio Producer: Ben Calhoun
  • Special/Documentary: Eating Alabama Network: PBS Producers: Andrew Beck Grace and Bartley Powers
  • Television Program, In Studio or Fixed Location: Martha's Stewart's Cooking School Host: Martha Stewart Network: CBS Producers: Greta Anthony, Christina Deyo, Michael Morrison, Olivia Schneider, Martha Stewart, Calia Van Dyk, and Lisa Wagner
  • Television Program, On Location: The Mind of a Chef Host: Anthony Bourdain Network: PBS Producers: Jared Andrukanis, Anthony Bourdain, Joe Caterini, Chris Collins, Michael Steed, and Lydia Tenaglia
  • Television Segment: Friday Arts, Art of Food Network: WHYY-TV TV Producer: Monica Rogozinski
  • Video Webcast, Fixed Location and/or Instructional: Thirsty For. Producers: Jay Holzer and Eric Slatkin
  • Video Webcast, On Location: presents The Perennial Plate: Europe and South Asia Hosts and Producers: Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine
  • Outstanding Personality/Host: Ina Garten Show: Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics Network: Food Network
  • Book Awards: Cookbook of the Year: Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthal
  • Book Awards: Cookbook Hall of Fame: Diana Kennedy
  • Book Awards: American Cooking: The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes by Amy Thielen
  • Book Awards: Baking and Dessert: The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer with Martha Rose Shulman
  • Book Awards: Beverage: The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes by Tony Conigliaro
  • Book Awards: Cooking from a Professional Point of View: Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthal
  • Book Awards: Focus on Health: Gluten-Free Girl Every Day by Shauna James Ahern with Daniel Ahern
  • Book Awards: General Cooking: Smoke: New Firewood Cooking by Tim Byres
  • Book Awards: International: Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop
  • Book Awards: Photography: Historic Heston, Photographer: Romas Foord Rene Redzepi: A Work in Progress, Photographer: Ali Kurshat Altinsoy, Ditte Isager, René Redzepi, Lars Williams, and the Noma Team
  • Book Awards: Reference and Scholarship: Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time by Adrian Miller
  • Book Awards: Single Subject: Culinary Birds: The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook by John Ash with James O. Fraioli
  • Book Awards: Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian: Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
  • Book Awards: Writing and Literature: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
  • Cooking, Recipes or Instruction: Andy Ricker, Saveur, "The Star of Siam"
  • Distinguished Restaurant Review: Alan Richman, GQ, "Alan Richman Walks Into a Jewish Deli. ", “The Elm: Is Brooklyn Ready for Sophisticated Dining?”, “ZZ’s, the Most Expensive 58 Minutes in New York Dining”
  • Food and Culture: John Birdsall, Lucky Peach, "America, Your Food Is So Gay"
  • Food and Travel: Nick Paumgarten, Bon Appétit, "Lunch at 8,500 Ft."
  • Food Coverage in a General-Interest Publication: The Wall Street Journal, "Off Duty" Section, Beth Kracklauer
  • Food Politics, Policy, and the Environment: Eli Saslow, The Washington Post, "Food Stamps"
  • Food-Related Columns: Adam Sachs, Bon Appétit, The Obsessivore
  • Group Food Blog: First We Feast
  • Health and Well-Being: Rachael Moeller Gorman, EatingWell, “The Whole-Grain, Reduced-Fat, Zero-Calorie, High-Fiber, Lightly Sweetened Truth about Food Labels”
  • Humor: Lisa Hanawalt, Lucky Peach, "On the Trail with Wylie"
  • Individual Food Blog: Homesick Texan, Lisa Fain
  • Distinguished Writing: John Jeremiah Sullivan, Lucky Peach, "I Placed a Jar in Tennessee
  • Personal Essay: Fuchsia Dunlop, Lucky Peach, "Dick Soup"
  • Profile: Francis Lam, Lucky Peach, “A Day on Long Island with Alex Lee”
  • Publication of the Year: Civil Eats
  • Visual Storytelling: James Maikowski, Sara Parks, Patricia Sanchez, Stephen Scoble, and Fredrika Stjärne, Food & Wine, “Best New Chef All Stars”, “Oysters & Gumbo: A Chef’s New Orleans Party”, “Vegetables Now”
  • Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages: Besha Rodell, Punch, "40 Ounces to Freedom"

Recipe Bandido Steals Away in Las Vegas

Rodd Wilbur isn’t your ordinary chef. In fact, he’s not a chef at all. But what he “relishes” – he prefers “cloning” – the secret recipes for popular dishes made by restuarant chains like McDonald’s, Applebee’s and KFC. Then, to make some scratch, he writes books to show how you too can make the yummy stuff.

Wilbur started with the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie theft, coming up with a recipe that was a variation on the Nestlé Tollhouse classic and tasted remarkably close to Debbie Fields’ moneymaker. Then he moved on to more savory exploits. For his second recipe, he reverse-engineered the Big Mac. That special sauce? It’s basically Thousand Island dressing!

A former TV news reporter, Wilbur, a Summerlin, Nevada resident, now works full-time cloning recipes for his cookbooks, which are for sale on QVC and have been featured on Oprah and Live with Regis and Kelly. He’s really not a chef or an innovator he’s a casual-dining cloner, and success means tasting just like the real thing.

“I want it to be exact,” Wilbur says as he gets to work on recreating a batch of cous cous salad from the Houston’s chain of restaurants. “I don’t want to make it better I don’t want to make it worse. I don’t want to make it less fat. I don’t want to do anything to it except exactly duplicate it.”

So far, Wilbur has exactly duplicated enough recipes for nine cookbooks. His 10th, 17 recipes shy of completion, should be out in September. The book will be called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3. “Alternate title: The Greatest Cookbook Ever Written,” Wilbur jokes.

Since publishing his first cookbook in 1993, Wilbur has sold close to 5 million copies of his cookbooks, all of which tackle well-known recipes from fast food or casual dining chains and break them down for cooks to re-create at home.

His 1,000th recipe — the one most requested by visitors to his website — was Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup, or as Wilbur describes it, “really good shit.”

Flipping through the pages of his books is like looking at a greatest-hits menu from chain restaurants: Buffalo Wild Wings’ Caribbean jerk sauce, the Cheesecake Factory’s Bang-Bang Chicken and Shrimp, Chili’s lettuce wraps, KFC’s biscuits.

And Wilbur has all kinds of tricks for figuring out what goes into the dishes that people crave. Sometimes he asks for a seat at the bar or near the kitchen, so he can watch how desserts or dishes are assembled. Other times he claims to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, so he can find out if a dish contains chicken broth or animal fat. When Oprah Winfrey challenged him to create the Jack Daniel’s grill glaze from TGIFriday’s before appearing on her show, Wilbur faked an allergy so the restaurant would give him a list of the ingredients.

Wilbur just loves his role of playing recipe investigator, hunting for clues and then putting the recipe pieces together until he’s completed a culinary puzzle that tastes fresh off the line.

"Nice" Celebrities Who Maybe Aren't As Nice As They Seem.

The revelation that happy, dancing, Ellen Degeneres is actually a bitter, mean spirited, thunder cunt, proves that some celebrities that try and pass themselves off as kind and sweet really aren't, who are some other celebrities you think might not be as kind as they try to appear?

Before there was Ellen, there was Alan Alda. People thought he was like Hawkeye. A few stories leaked out, but he wasn't taken all the way down.

Yeah, R1, Alan Alda is a good one.

Chrissie Evert. Trust me, I oughta know.

I feel like Reba might fit this category. She always comes across as a country cunt that knows she can’t be one in public.

Kelly Ripa - I think she’s an obvious backstabbing diva and fake

In the video below he let his inner bitch come out:

Amy Klobuchar isn’t nice in public though.

Chrissy is perpetually crabby because there aren’t many places where she can take a dump without breaking the toilet.

Meghan Markle owns this thread.

Rosie O’Donnell was called “The Queen of Nice” back in the 90s when she had her own talk show. Lol

Tom Cruise and Taylor Swift

R5 I briefly met Reba once, she was very sweet and polite. Can't really see her acting like a cunt, but who knows.

Any of the holier-than-thou committed activists.

Bono, Bob Geldolf, DiCaprio, Clooney.

I'll throw in Ellen Page, because she seems dim.

Taylor Swift owns this thread

The actress who plays Rita on Corrie is apparently a real bitch.

Lidia Bastianich. Bitch kept a slave.

Tom Hanks just screams fake and phony

I think Mouseboy is phony and calculating.

Having spend (too much) time with Kevin Bacon, I can promise you that Kevin and Kyra have the same about of niceness as Ellen, but split between the two of them.

Reese Witherspoon is pure evil.

R35 and R38 feel free to elaborate.

Oprah - can be nasty to people in public at times.

R41 , Her beau Steadman was extremely Nice .

Someone posted on Reddit that the actors who played Jim and Pam on the office were never particularly friendly on set. I read another anecdote from a poster here that Amy Adams wasn't especially nice, or not as nice as people might imagine.

I heard Kevin B and Kyra S lost a lot of their money in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scandal.

What were the stories about Alan Alda?

But not sorry about Kevin and Kyra, who treat everyone whom they don't feel is above them in their power/money/fame hierarchy like crap.

Who on earth thinks Reese is nice? Doesn't everyone know that she has always been a demanding, pain in the ass, Karen type?

Ellen DeGenerate is the ONLY celebrity in Hollywood who is an evil phoney. All the rest are nice.

Glad Matt Damon was mentioned.

But I’m curious about the stories on Alan Alda.

The Klob, that shaking is barely concealed rage.

According to the people on Reddit, Taylor is one of the nicest celebs ever, but who knows?

I get the feeling that Megan Mullally is a major bitch. And I get republican vibes from her .

Perhaps Lin Manuel Miranda? also the John Krasinski/Emily Blunt husband and wife duo.

My husband was in a movie with Alan Alda and found him to be extremely pleasant-- not a hint of diva attitude. Hubby did say that Kevin Pollock (most recently on "Mrs. Maisel"), who was also in the movie, was a pompous, insufferable jerk.

People actually think Leo D seems nice? He’s only nice if you’re a gorgeous woman under 25 or a single guy that he can party with. He has no use for anyone else.

I was surprised to read on Reddit that Ringo Starr can be snippy and dismissive to fans. Doesn't fit with his "peace and love" persona.

At St. Jude Hospital, families never receive a bill.

Now leave the presents and get the hell out of my fucking office before I have you arrested!

R29 I’ve met Bob Geldof. He is really nice.

I’d assume none of them are as nice as they seem. They earn way more than they are worth, are spoilt rotten with freebies and by ass kissers, and are often almost deified by the public. Along with the insecurity of it maybe ending any time that would likely turn the nicest person into an egomaniacal wanker.

I was never a DiCaprio fan and never will be either. He’s an utter joke. His political phoniness and rodeo of barely legal girls that hook up with him for a big, fat paycheck tell you that he’s a fake.

[quote] rodeo of barely legal beards

Rachel Ray is notorious for being one of the meanest people on television. She is all smiles for the camera but she's a huge bitch behind the scenes.

Dolly Parton. Too much of the Jesus bullshit shoved down everyone's throats.

Those who are not nice are those who keep getting nominated for an Oscar but never actually win a competitive one. Exhibit A: G.

My gut instinct is that once the cameras are off, Joanna Gaines starts kicking dogs, children, husband and crew that have displeased her. She's got a hardness in her eyes that no fake motherly smile can hide.

Ditto on Reese. The oldest son Deacon has her chin unfortunately.

R29 Agreed on Bob, and he's a philandering arsehole too.

I’ve heard Sandra B is nice and pretty down to earth.

Is it possible to become a really successful celebrity while being nice?

R55, I never understood why Pollack’s terrible Christopher Walken impression is considered the gold standard.

R67 is so off base. Not in the know, are you, bud?

R55, are you married to Kevin J. O'Connor?

Back in 1981 Lansbury was on tour with George Hearn in SWEENEY TODD and I was working as a shopbottom in a department store in San Francisco. I came back to work after a day off and my co-worker told me I'd missed seeing her, as she'd been in the day before and bought a Members Only jacket (. ). I thought she was just kidding until she showed me the sales slip. Needless to say, I was disappointed that I'd missed meeting the Great Angela Lansbury.

Not five minutes after the store opened, in walks Miss Lansbury. I marched right up to her and told her how much I'd enjoyed seeing SWEENEY TODD. She never even acknowledged my comment, instead saying that her husband thought the jacket she'd bought was too big for her and could she please try on a smaller size? Fine, she was all business and I could be that way too.

As I was finding some colors for her I turned around to see one of the ladies from the cosmetics department coming towards us with a piece of paper and a pen. I tried to catch her eye to warn her off, but she of course was fixated on Miss Lansbury. Before she could even ask, Lansbury turned to her and snarled "I'm on my OWN time, and when I am on my OWN time, I do NOT like to be bothered!". In fairness, she did not raise her voice, but her tone was wilting.

I thought it best not to comment, so I focused on finding her a jacket she liked and we completed the exchange. I didn't even ask her to sign the sales slip as it wasn't required by the store's policy and I thought she might think I was doing it just to get her autograph, which would've been true. I wished her a pleasant day and off she went.

I understand that it must be tiresome to constantly be bothered for your autograph (this was before MURDER SHE WROTE so she wasn't yet a household name). but I couldn't help but think it would've taken her 2 seconds to scribble an autograph to make a fan happy, but instead she took the opportunity to be a pill about it.

Later I thought that she might've been put off because the local critic had just panned the show and they had been reduced to offering 2-for-1 tickets just to get bodies into the 2300-seat Golden Gate Theater. Maybe she just hated San Francisco at that point.

brand revolves around being nice and relatable is the opposite. Looking at you, Jen Garner.

Jon Hamm. Can be a really mean drunk. And has really bad temper. Phoney smug nice.

This one's probably only for Canadians, but a couple of friends of mine know David Suzuki, and say he is a complete jerk. Arrogant, narcissistic, condescending, rude and dismissive.

R77, I thought R3 meant St Angie as in Angelina Jolie. The idea of Angela Lansbury didn't even occur to me and it does make more sense than Jolie.

No, R76, You probably wouldn't know my husband (actually, he is now my ex). He did write a critically-acclaimed best-best selling book back in the day, however. Speaking of Canadians, R80, I met John Candy on the same set and he was incredibly nice, humble, and down-to-Earth.

Descanso Gardens Reopening, The Grove’s Drive-Thru, L.A.’s Slow Streets, and Other Stories You Missed From We Like L.A.

At the Japanese Garden at Descanso Gardens. Photo by Daniella Sulimary / We Like L.A.

This week, we covered how a pivot to produce boxes saved one California farm, how you can apply to make your street a ‘Slow Street,’ and let you know about the Grove’s new drive-thru market. We also shared news about Descanso Gardens reopening, and broke down how ‘Safer at Home’ is slowly reopening Los Angeles County, one step at a time. Catch all that and more in the week that was, according to We Like L.A.

May 15: According to L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, some individual cities have asked about reopening faster than the rest of the county. Barger has asked both Los Angeles County Counsel and the Dept. of Public Health to provide an analysis on the possibility.

May 15: On Friday The USNS Mercy left the Port of Los Angeles after the Navy ship arrived on March 27 from San Diego to provide support to our local hospitals.

May 15: Fairplex officials announced that the 2020 L.A. County Fair has been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.

May 15: You can now apply for a residential street in your neighborhood to become a “Slow Street.” Slow Streets will temporarily close to vehicle traffic, allowing pedestrians to have more space to walk, run, jog, bike, or scooter while physical distancing.

May 14: As Los Angeles County continues to reopen certain retail and recreation opportunities, you may be wondering how the Public Health Department decides whether to move forward or retreat, and how practices like physical distancing and facial coverings make a quantitative difference. We provide an overview here.

May 14: The Grove’s Main Street is usually closed to vehicle traffic, but on May 16, you’ll be able to drive on it for the first time and grab a meal to go. It’s all part of a fundraiser for the nonprofit Para Los Niños, which supports children and families with education and family services.

May 14: Americans are spending differently during the pandemic and it’s affecting consumer prices. According to a report put out this week by The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the change in the prices we pay for goods and services, all food indexes rose this April. At 2.6%, the index for “food at home” saw its largest monthly increase since February 1974.

May 13: Los Angeles County announced a new health order that pushes us deeper into Stage 2 of reopening, affecting both retail and outdoor recreation.

May 13: The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announced they are canceling the 2020 seasons at the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford as a safety measure to protect performers, audiences, and staff from the spread of COVID-19.

May 13: The Rose Bowl’s 3.1 mile opened to the public after The Pasadena City Council voted in favor of reopening on Monday.

May 13: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to exempt multi-national and publicly traded companies, as well as companies with 100 or more employees, from emergency tenant protections. They also voted in favor of Right of Recall and Worker Retention policies.

May 12: California announced reopening guidelines for dine-in restaurants. While dine-in restaurants aren’t approved to reopen statewide yet, counties may move through Stage 2 faster if they self-certify that they meet the state’s readiness criteria and are approved to do so.

May 12: The A+D Architecture and Design Museum in the Arts District recently held an open call for a virtual art exhibit, The Future of _Space. That exhibit is now online and accessible to the public.

May 12: Like many businesses in the midst of COVID-19, County Line Harvest has faced harsh economic realities over the past few months. Before the pandemic, the farm’s business was 90% dependent on distributors. But even as cancellation orders from restaurants have poured in, a pivot to produce boxes, and direct sales to consumers, have helped keep the business alive.

May 11: Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge announced they are reopening on Saturday, May 16 with some physical distancing modifications. That includes selling only timed tickets in advance, which are now available for purchase online.

May 11: After the first weekend of Stage 2 business reopening, county officials said only ‘a few businesses’ were shut down, even as 40% of surveyed businesses initially did not adhere to all compliance guidelines.

May 10: An 11-year-old from Long Beach, CA shares his thoughts on the pandemic, and how Safer at Home has changed his day-to-day life.

The Best Movies of 2019

What a year 2019 has been for movies. We came into it knowing we’d be getting new films from filmmaking heavyweights like Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Greta Gerwig (Little Women), and their efforts did not fail to live up to the hype. The year was also filled with its share of surprises from names both known and lesser-known: Sundance favorites The Farewell and Clemency Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out, the terrifying Us and superhero flicks like Endgame and Shazam!.

Now, with the year’s releases in the rear-view mirror – and a whole new year of films to anticipate – we’ve collected every Certified Fresh movie from 2019 to create your ultimate guide to The Best Movies of 2019!

In this extensive list, you’ll find recent smashes like Knives Out, Frozen II, and Ford v Ferrari, along with earlier-in-the-year Audience favorites like John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Captain Marvel. There are animated flicks from some of our finest animation houses (Toy Story 4, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Missing Link) along with a round of elevated (Midsommar) and not-so-elevated horror (Midsommar). From the arthouse and indie circuit, you’ll discover a slew of films that got people talking: Parasite, Portrait of a Lady On Fire, The Lighthouse, Jojo Rabbit, among others. And with awards season in full swing, stop by our leaderboard to see who’s racking up the most gold.

Every movie on this guide is Certified Fresh, meaning a minimum number of approved critics – 40 for limited releases, 80 for wides – saw it, reviewed it, and got it up to at least 75% on the Tomatometer. (After becoming Certified Fresh, if a movie subsequently drops below 70%, it loses the designation. Stay above and stay golden!) In addition, a concerted theatrical release is a must for qualification streaming movies that may have gone to theaters for a week but without independently verifiable screen counts or box office reports were left for our TV rankings.

Now, continue on to discover critic-approved quality films, and be reminded of the ones you want to rewatch, with our list of the very best movies of 2019. And be sure to let us know your favorite 2019 films in the comments.

Nathalie's (Deern's) Tavolata 2015 - Thread 2

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"&mdashthe last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.


Welcome to my second thread in 2015.

Instead of a set table I thought I'd give you Lori's (lkernagh) pizza in the making:

The dough doesn't exactly rise, but it gets a texture that you can draw it easily, a bit like a chewing gum without the stickyness. Here's dough in the pan with my tomato sauce (salt, pepper, origano and dried chili):

Topped with mushroomes, fresh spinach (pre-cooked and seasoned), zucchini, red bell pepper and a bit of feta cheese:

With the pizza being so thin it takes less than the 20 mins in the recipe to be finished (220°C):

This pic for whatever reason is upside down again (and it isn't in the phone's gallery). You can see how thin it is:

It was planned for two meals, but I couldn't resist and ate the whole thing over the evening, too good! But as you see, it was very thin and I don't like too many toppings.

Happy Sunday and Happy February everyone!


Memorable Reads 2014: (coming soon)

Jahrestage by Uwe Johnson - 5 stars
The Last Days of Humanity by Kark Kraus - 5 stars
The Patrick Melrose series by Edward St. Aubyn - as a series 5 stars, though the individual books received 4-4.5 stars only
Halbzeit by Martin Walser - 4.5 stars
How to be Both by Ali Smith - 4.5 stars
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt - 4.5 stars


Read in 2015 but not yet reviewed

26. The Birds and other Stories by Daphne du Maurier - Kindle - EN - 235p - 3.5 stars
27. Die Welt verändern by David Bornstein - library book - DE - 367p - 4.5 stars

16. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN - 3.5 stars
17. Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast - Kindle - EN - 224p - 4 stars
18. We Feed the World: Was uns das Essen wirklich kostet by Erwin Wagenhofer - library book - DE - 179p - 4.5 stars
19. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James - Kindle - EN - 450p - 2 stars
20.Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN - 600p - 3.5 stars
21.Food: A Love Story - audio book - EN - 3.8 stars
22.A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - audio book - EN - 3 stars
23. The Invention of Hugo Cabret - audio book - EN - 3 stars
24. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - Kindle - EN - 3.8 stars
25. Holy Cow by David Duchovny - audio book - EN - 3 stars

Books reviewed on previous threads:

01. Sula by Toni Morrison - Kindle - EN - 192p - 4 stars
02. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - Kindle - EN - 361p - 4.2 stars
03. Giuseppino by Joe Bastianich - paperback - IT - 194p - 3.5 stars
04. But I deserve this chocolate by Susan Albers - Kindle - EN - 216p - 3.5 stars
05. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers - Kindle - EN - 160p - 3.8 stars
06. The Artist of a Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - Kindle - EN - 294p - 4 stars
07. My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki - Kindle - EN - 400p - 3.5 stars
08. The Photograph by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN - 230p - 4.2 stars
09. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald - Kindle - EN - 123p - 3.8 stars
10. The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson - Kindle - EN - 231p - 3.5 stars
11. 50 Ways to soothe yourself without Food by Susan Albers - Kindle - EN - 232p - 4.3 stars
12. Italian Neighbours by Tim Parks - Kindle - EN - 355p - 3.7 stars
13. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith - paperback - DE - 206p - 3.8 stars
14. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN - 208p - 4.3 stars
15. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed - Kindle - EN - 317p - 3.8 stars


December Books 2014 planned für early 2015:
- The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda by Miguel de Cervantes - paperback - EN - 355p
- Grande Sertao by Guimaraes Rosa Joao - Paperback - IT - 455p
- Italian Neighbours by Tim Parks - Kindle - EN - 355p read
- Sula by Toni Morrison - Kindle - EN - 174p (1001 GR) read
- An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - Kindle - EN - 294p (BAC) read
- A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr - Kindle - EN - 194p
- 50 Ways to soothe yourself without Food by Susan Albers - Kindle - EN - 232p read
- But I deserve this chocolate by Susan Albers - Kindle - EN - 216p read
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - Kindle - EN - 361p (AAC) read
- The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers - Kindle - EN - 160p (AAC) read

Books purchased in 2015:

- Giuseppino by Joe Bastianich - paperback - IT - 194p read
- XXL. 50 piatti che hanno allargato la mia vita by Paolo Marchi - paperback - IT - 182p
- The Photograph by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN - 230p read
- The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson - Kindle - EN - 231p read
- The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald - Kindle - EN - 123p read
- My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki - Kindle - EN - 400p read
- Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN read
- Friendly Shakespeare by Derek Allen - paperback - IT - 196p
- Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN for the February BAC read
- Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed - Kindle - EN - 317p read
- Wonach wir wirklich hungern by Deepak Chopra - paperback - DE - 249p


- A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - audible credit - EN - 304p read
- Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast - Kindle - EN - 224p read
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN - 596p read
- Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan - audio book - EN read
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick- audio book - EN read
- The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - Kindle - EN -read
- Holy Cow by David Duchovny - audio book - EN read
- The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier . Kindle - EN - 235p read
- The City & The City by China Mieville - Kindle - EN - 388p read
- The Sportswriter by Richard Ford - Kindle - EN - 386p read


- Grande Sertao by Joao Guimaraes Rosa - paperback - IT - 500p - p 30
- XXL. 50 piatti che hanno allargato la mia vita by Paolo Marchi - paperback - IT - p27
- An Italian Education by Tim Parks - Kindle - EN - 400p - 25%
-The Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavic - Kindle - EN - ??p - 9%


Challenge Lists (again trying to get as many 1,001s into those author challenges as possible):

Group Reads in the 1,001 group:
January: Sula by Toni Morrison COMPLETED
February: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera - not participating, already read
March: Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavic

British Author Challenge 2015:
Planning to read one author per month. If there's time left, maybe also try second author.

Penelope Lively The Photograph COMPLETED, Moon Tiger COMPLETED
Kazuo Ishiguro An Artist of the Floating World COMPLETED
Sarah Waters Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet COMPLETED
Evelyn Waugh A Handful of Dust COMPLETED
Daphne du Maurier The Birds and other Stories COMPLETED
China Mieville The City & The City
Angela Carter The Passion of New Eve or Nights at the Circus or Wise Children
W.Somerset Maugham
Margaret Drabble the Radiant Way or The Red Queen
Martin Amis
Beryl Bainbridge
Anthony Burgess
Virginia Woolf Night and Day or The Years or Between the Acts
B.S Johnson
Iris Murdoch
Graham Greene
Andrea Levy Small Island
Salman Rushdie
Helen Dunmore
David Mitchell
Muriel Spark The Driver's Seat
William Boyd
Hilary Mantel
P.G Wodehouse

American Author Challenge 2015:
I might not follow this one through the year.

Carson McCullers- January: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe COMPLETED
Henry James- February: The Wings of the Dove COMPLETED
Richard Ford- March: The Sportswriter
Louise Erdrich- April: Love Medicine
Sinclair Lewis- May: Main Street or Babbitt
Wallace Stegner- June
Ursula K. Le Guin - July: The Dispossessed
Larry McMurtry- August
Flannery O' Connor- September
Ray Bradbury- October:
Barbara Kingsolver- November:The Poisonwood Bible
E.L. Doctorow- December: The Book of Daniel

Old and new Booker candidates and winners:
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - Winner 1978



I wish you a wonderful Sunday Nathalie :)

from your previous thread.

#212 the pizza looks absolutely fab and I will try the recipe as well. My pizza's rarely turn out the way I want, but you never know. Could you post your recipe after conversion, please?

#223 Enjoyed your thoughts on Moon Tiger and absolutely loved the various discussions on all the threads. I really enjoyed the book and thought it was well written. I definitely will explore some more of her books and I still have The Photograph on my TBR.

#227 A belated Happy TA to you Nathalie, I completely forgot my one last year. Nevermind, this year I won't and I will enjoy my book buying by then :)

#240 Love your descriptions of your cooking experiments. I tend to do exactly the same as you know. I have made Zuccini chocolate cake before, but not muffins.

I will cross my fingers and keep you in my thoughts for the results of your biopsy and I am sorry to hear that it was much more painful this time.
It must be so exhausting to face all this challenges in your life, but again I will keep you in my thoughts and I am sure you will be able to navigate through all of them.






Happy New Thread, Nathalie.

I hope everything turns out al right. Waiting for news on the biopsy must be hard for you.


Hello Barbara, Bianca, Amber, Darryl, Lori, Rachel, Connie!

I had a lovely winter hike yesterday with my landlady-friend Chrystle and her dog Flo. I was so tired when I returned that I just fell asleep without checking into LT anymore. Lots of work stress in the office today and no lunch break, I just got back and now my veggie chili is simmering on the stove. I'll come back to you later or tomorrow very early morning. I tend to fall asleep now by 8pm and to wake up by 4am, with an interruption around midnight when I crawl from my couch into bed. interesting new rhythm, but right now it works okay for me.




>16 Ameise1: Thank you - I did as much as the full moon let me :)

>17 lunacat: I've always been a morning person and it's okay for me doing things in the morning that others do in the evening. Right now it's a bit extreme, but I excuse it with the mountains. It gets dark earlier and quicker in the evenings and it is also darker than where I lived before, those mountains seem to throw extra shadows. On the few occasions when it snows in winter however it stays quite light with them reflecting the moonlight.

Okay, it's 5 am. I stayed in bed till 4:30, then yogaed a bit and now I am back in bed with my coffee and my old notebook for an hour of LT.

>8Thank you! It's also snowing much where my parents live. Here in the South those mountains are like a barrier against rain and snow most winters. In 5 of my now 6 winters here, it has been the season with the most constant dry and friendly weather while March/April can be all rainy and summer can bring daily storms.

>11 kidzdoc: Can't say it often enough - such a winner! I was sad when eating the last spoonfuls. I must soon make it again.

>13 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel! My weekend was lovely, just too short as they always are. I hope to be able to post pics later.

>14 connie53: Thank you! Results will take 8-10 days. The nervousness comes in waves, first it was bad 1-2 days before the b., then I was just relieved it was over, and now after 5 days I am getting jumpy again.


>12 lkernagh: and >9 drachenbraut23: It was my first try with baking zucchini into something sweet. I am not 100% convinced. I liked it much, because I like my cakes moist and not too sweet (and you really don't taste the zucchini bitterness at all), but I realized that for those not used to health food it isn't a winner recipe. Seems that my taste buds have changed already. And I am glad when I read "fat-free" or when I can pack some ingredients I like like chia seeds of oatmeal flour into a recipe and I don't mind if it looks a bit pale or doesn't rise as much as when I use normal flour. But should I ever want to offer my cakes to others I guess I must stay as close to the traditional heavier ones as possible, and be it just for the looks.

I am planning to test a brownie recipe next and then I am looking for something with carrots.
Oh, and there's an interesting recipe for a raw chocolate pudding on my favorite blog, and it doesn't use too much avocado.

My chili turned out great last night (I don't know why it's upside down because in the gallery on my phone it isn't):


>9 drachenbraut23: I didn't really convert the pizza recipe, I got quite used to working with cups, owning one measuring jug that has both cups and ml. For those spoon quantities I use my own spoons and look up only things like oz or "quarts". My pizza yeast was 7g in a pack, so I thought about a third should do which was a gestrichener TL, and I used the same amount of sugar, and also with the oil it was guesswork, but turned out well. I didn't use enough salt though, that was the only small error.

I let it wait for 10 minutes, had to add a bit more than than 1.5 cups of (normal white) flour, covered the bowl with clingfoil and a kitchen towel and let it rest in the bathroom for about 45 minutes. Then I worked it with a rolling pin and put it in my pizza pan that has holes in it. I had prepared passata di pomodoro with salt, pepper, origano and a bit of chili, spread that on the pizza and topped with zucchini, mushrooms, small tomatos and bellpepper. After a bit less than 20 minutes at 220°C (Umluft) it was done.


Have you tried using parsnip in a baking recipe? Friends of mine swear by it, as they do beetroot. Both are supposed to work very well.




>23 Carmenere: On my was home last night I was so tired and overworked and just wanted a sandwich and relax on the couch. But those beans were prepared already, so I knew I had to cook. So I pictured myself in the kitchen, listening to some music, chopping multi-colored veggies and roasting spices and it really helped.
Since I added more color to my food last year, cooking has become something to look forward to. I don't remember which LT thread it was where I learned to remove the seeds from a pomegranate without making a complete mess, but that's where it all started. Was it yours or Lucy's?

Thank you for the good wishes!!



Yes, someone put that advice on my thread. I do that now. It's very helpful.

Parsnips in baked goods. I'll have to think about that!




>25 LizzieD: It's totally simple, you just fill a large bowl with cold water, put it into the sink and do all the deseeding with your hands and the pomegranate deep in the water bowl. You just have to cut through it once, then you can happpily crack it open and with your fingers remove all the seeds. They will sink to the bottom of the bowl while the skins come to the surface and can be removed with a skimmer or your hands. The only important thing is that you really keep hands and pomegranate in the water all the time. Then pour the water plus seeds into a sieve and let the seeds rest a bit to get dryer. I always put them then into a plastic bowl with a bit of kitchen roll on top and into the fridge and they stay fresh for many days.

Wishing you a lovely day, too!

>25 LizzieD:, >26 sibylline: When I read recipes now, chefs still recommend to do the deseeding "simply with a fork". I did that once and what a mess I made.. :)
I bought a small parsnip yesterday, maybe I can manage to test a half portion of that recipe the next days.

>27 rosalita: It was really yummy and a big enough for two meals.

>28 Donna828: Hi Donna, I read it in one go, but won't get to the review before the weekened I'm afraid. But not to overstretch your patience. :)
Yes, it was incredibly honest and moving. And I am glad that my parents are quite different characters from her parents. For example they have no issues at all with doctors, on the contrary. They also aren't as dependent on each other. But they are still quite young, both 69 now, and I see/have seen with my grandmothers how quickly things can change when you approach 90.
The one thing that really worries me is that my parents haven't given up the big house years ago. I'd understand if they loved and used it. But they always complain about the work (housecleaning, repairs, gardening) and never even sit in the garden. The have 2 living rooms (one with a fire place), but watch TV in a small room in the basement where my mom does her ironing. A 4 room appt with a nice terrace would do perfectly. While the house still is tidy it is of course filled with stuff no-one needs. It's just the space that makes it doesn't look messy. And they also hide things and then tell me where they are before going on holidays and I immediately forget. Once they had hidden their bankbooks(!) behind the firewood in the garage (no dear burglars reading here, they have long removed them since). In a metal cassette the key of which was behind some painting. I remember thinking "behind the firewood where all the spiders live. ".
The book confirmed something I've made up my mind about a while ago: I don't really need all those things I have and I will keep decluttering regularly.

Money of course is another worry. Insurance pays a low basic level of caretaking, but the homes cost just as much as in the US and as a son/daughter the state will be after you to get as much money out of you as possible. When my grandma spent her last 1 1/2 years in such a home, she at least had 5 daughters with families to share the cost. Like the book's author, I am all alone. But I don't have any savings anyway, I'll end up in something state-owned when my time comes. Which isn't too bad, I saw the food and conditions in the private home where my grandma lived and it was all just horrible, like a hospital. And she also had to share a room for a long time with a woman suffering from dementia who always got lost somewhere and woke her up x times a night because she confused beds. So I don't really know where all that money went.

Hey, this is already a bit of a review, then I can keep the real one short. :)


Slept very badly last night (the full moon maybe?), so was glad I didn't actually have to get up when I woke at 3:40 and even managed to get back to sleep for another hour. I'll visit threads tonight or tomorrow morning.

Had some really lovely yoga last night despite my new back pain. Yes, I had completely forgotten that real bad stress always, always manifests in my lower back where it can sit for weeks and months. Forgotten until it started on Monday. I had that for the first time in 2009 during a really bad project and it only ended once I had quit my old job. It returned in 2012 when we had all those money worries and ended when I got my contract here. And now who knows ho long it's gonna stay with me this time around. I'll treat it with warmth, yoga and breathing.

I have work news, but I'll follow an advice I got a while ago and open a private thread/group to report on all things work-related. Just have to find out how to exactly do that.

Today we should get loads and loads of snow, but so far it's all clear. I'd love some snow this weekend, I need an excuse to stay in.

Have a lovely Thursday, everyone!! :)







Hi Nathalie - - I've just caught up on four weeks of your news and started on this thread first, so was really worried when I saw the word biopsy. I'm so glad you have some good news and wish you all the best for the surgery.

On the work front, you sound like you are handling it very calmly and thoughtfully. Big job changes can be great - I hAve done that twice with no regrets. (First from investment banking to lecturing, and now to high school teaching.) You have to be confident within yourself that it is right so I hope you do manage to get yourself a bit more thinking time. And I hope it snows for you this weekend!


>32 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara!! Hugs back to you!

>33 BekkaJo: Thank you, and you're right, that's exactly what my wonderful dottoressa said. And the primario (that's the guy who does the planning) promised it will be just a short and light anaesthesia.
And I don't know if I can do any LT during those days. Maybe I should better leave my smartphone at home. I'll take my Kindle though, it's too old and too crammed with English books to be stolen.

>34 Whisper1: Hey Linda, thank you for visiting and for the good wishes. Mine should be a quick and easy one (or so I hope, still scared) and I still don't get why I have to stay in for 1+3 days.
Thinking of you and wishing you all the best for the 12th!!

>35 LizzieD: Thank you Peggy!!
I remember my first encounter with a pomegranate: my teacher in religious ed had been in Israel and brought one back and everyone got some seeds. For me it was the best fruit I had ever tasted and I asked my mum if we couldn't buy one. At that time you got exotic fruits just in very special shops in town, usually owned by Spanish people, "beim Spanier". So finally my aunt who lived in town brought me one and there we were, sitting around that thing and having no idea how to eat it. It was called (in German) granate apple, so you should be able to eat it like an apple, but the skin didn't look like something you'd into. In the end we butchered it with a bread knife. It was a mess, and of course it hadn't been ripe and was sour and a terrible disappointment for everyone. Only decades later did I try them again.

What you did with your job changes has been such an inspiration for me. Changing course is possible.

I am not really calm, I am just less scared of the future than I used to be. I realized that much money and a certain status/ career have completely lost their importance for me and as there's no-one I need to provide for but myself, I feel less worried. There should always be something, as long as I can work and as long as it doesn't make me feel bad about myself. That person I have problems with wanted to weaken me at a time when I was already feeling weak and interestingly he achieved the opposite. And I pity him, because the way he chose to treat me tells me much about his character. (Should I ever open that private group/thread I'll be less cryptic).





>38 Carmenere: Pfffffffffffffffffffff. Yes, I'm relieved. Also quite glad tbh that my parents won't be here, they just booked a holiday for that week in Bavaria. Which is quite perfect. They are close enough to come, just in case, and I don't have to worry about them as I would if they'd be here the whole week.

>40 rosalita: Thank you Julia. I am amazed that now it all goes so quickly.

Okay, starting a "detox plan" now for real. There are only 11 days left till the 17th when they will do all the blood and heart tests. More yoga, keep doing my daily walks, keep the level of raw food but stop the sugar, doing short daily meditations and breathing exercises. More reading instead of eating bread.

I also must shop some hospital days clothes. Seriously, I have no idea what to wear there. I'd guess comfy sports clothing like sweat pants, T-shirts and sweaters? Mine are all old and a bit shabby which was unimportant for the yoga class. But now if people see me in daylight.
What else should I pack? I guess they won't give me towels so I'd have to bring them?



I'm so glad that finally this will be taken care of and you will be able to move on!

Comfy clothes sound like just the thing.


>43 sibylline: I am really lucky I got one of the best certified BC centers in Italy right there in my town.

I talked to my coffee round colleagues yesterday and they said I just need my pyjamas, but honestly I'd feel stupid in them during the day unless I have to stay in bed which would only be the case if I got a fever. So I'll go shopping for some new sports pants today and a couple of wide T-shirts or better something with a zipper (have to consider bandages and reduced flexibility when putting something on).

They joked that I should buy a nice negligé and bring some stilettos and try and "catch" one of the doctors, but then one of them remembered she knew the station's doctors (all married or female), so I'll leave those stilettos at home - or better don't need to buy them because I don't have any.
(according to Can't we talk about something more pleasant this explains why I'm single..)

They said they need me for the coffee round to be complete so of course every day around 10 they'll all be there with a cup of coffee for me. :)
I wonder what my boss would say to that. Told him I'll be away in hospital for a week and he just said "ok". So that's how things are between us. There will be fun when I'm back and we discuss that contract.

But as I said the ragazze / girls were really nice and all offered to bring me whatever I need in case I forget something. I really have almost no hospital experience. I've been there aged 3 and 7 and that's it. And my mum has been a couple of times, but many years ago. Seems hospitals even give you towels nowadays? And I checked the website - 5 menus to chose from? Now that's different from cold mashed meat with mashed potato and cabbage in 1978.


This morning I was awake at 4am and watched my two recorded Master Chef episodes of this week. I am deeply disappointed. Last week my two favorites were eliminated and this week the only remaining one who was likeable, handsome, cooked well, would have sold a mass of cook books and could easily have done an own TV show was sent home. What remains is a bunch of people who are constantly bitchy, two very weird guys (one gives himself animal characteristics and falls from roaring tiger to fearful rabbit once per episode and the other one is so nervous he's always sweating and trembling - who'd ever buy their books?) and just one pretty girl who no doubt will be out next week. If only one of them could cook well. I am waiting for a stuffed pasta challenge, imo they'd all fail miserably. This year it's all about drama. Last year's winner wasn't a favorite with the public either but he was an outstanding cook. This year I haven't seen a single recipe I'd want to replicate, and all 3 judges are mean all the time and the guest chefs they invite are even meaner. Even AUs Matt Preston was poisoned by the atmosphere and insulted some candidates.

Another trashy cooking show I am recording now to watch during weekends is Dinner Date (UK). Easy to digest fun to watch while I'm ironing or dusting the bookshelves. I also watch Face Off, but only the decisions when the masks are complete. Really impressive.

I make no progress at all with this month's AAC, The Wings of the Dove. The story just doesn't interest me and the writing is hard to follow although I usually enjoy long sentences with hundreds of commas. I'd love to read a second Waters, but try to finish the AAC and the BAC's Waugh first.

I'm also reading/skimming those library books about job search/ start-ups on the side. One of them I read end-to-end so far and will review it here, but I'm merely scanning the others. Of course that reduces my normal reading time, so February won't be my greatest reading month ever, although I might catch up a bit in the hospital.


Hi Nathalie, I'm so glad you god good news from you test, what a relief that must be! No helpful suggestions to give as far as hospital clothing I'm afraid—I'd be as helpless as you!

I got The Wings of the Dove on audio not that long ago and hope I enjoy it more than you do when I get to it. I'm currently listening to the much shorter The Europeans and not exactly thrilled by it, but it's ok. At least I'll be finished with it either today or tomorrow at latest, though I've also decided to read What Maisie Knew as well. I've also challenged myself to read several Waughs because I have so many on the tbr. I'll be revisiting Vile Bodies on audio because I enjoyed that one so much the first time, so that, I know will be a treat, and I hope I enjoy Brideshead Revisited more as it progresses because I started it last night and wasn't all that taken with the beginning, which doesn't mean much because it was obviously just an introduction and setting the elements for the real story.




>46 Smiler69:, >48 LizzieD: Good morning Ilana and Peggy
I guess as a listen TWotD will be easier to follow as long as the narrator doesn't read out each comma. I started reading it aloud yesterday and it works better that way although it also takes longer. That he dictated it explains that strange style very well, thank you for the information, Peggy.

>47 PaulCranswick: Good morning Paul and >46 Smiler69: yes, it was such a relief! And a rare result as well if I can believe my dottoressa - her first encounter in 20 years with a "radial scar" (which is no scar at all, just looks like one) on both sides.

I spent a lot of money yesterday on new sports clothes. I needed them anyway, most of the old pants had already moved from Germany to Italy with me. They sure were good quality! I bought 2 yoga pants, two hooded sweaters with zippers, 2 T-shirts, a sports bra (which they told me I'll need when I leave) and 2 types of colored socks. Together with the 2 night pyjamas and some more T-shirts I should be okay for the 4 days now.

I met my friend Susi in town and of course we spent some time together chatting and having prosecco with water* and so back home I didn't get much done. We might take a walk later today, but now I must soon get up and at least get through my ironing and dusting.

*aperitif prosecco in the local bars is usually of a low quality, so mixing it with water makes it taste better and of course you can drink more. When I have a nice prosecco at home or at a restaurant I'd never mix it.

I told you they had announced loads of snow - well, the rest of Italy got it and will have more today. But that's how it looked in Merano yesterday:

Temperatures were spring like, but that will change today. It will stay sunny here, but temperatures dropped during the night and today will be a very cold day.


I made another pizza using Lori's recipe on Friday because I had just enough normal white flour left and had only used half the little bag of yeast last time. It went just as well, this time I added more salt to the dough and changed my veggie toppings a bit. And I ate the whole thing between 6:30 when it came out of the oven and about 9. Of course I didn't sleep well, but that wasn't the recipe's fault, just my greediness. I took pictures and posted them up in the entry post because I didn't yet dare to steal any of those nice tavolata pics you can find in the internet.

I also made more smoothie, this time with spinach and I made the avocado-banana-chocolate cream I had seen on a blog. Nice, but a bit too much banana for my liking, I just don't enjoy those fruit/chocolate combinations very much. The level of seetness however is perfect. It's just unsweetened cocoa powder, avocado and banana (both not too ripe) blended together.

I didn't get around yet to the parsnip cake, maybe this afternoon.

With the remaining veggies from the pizza toppings I made a salad which I had yesterday and for today I am planning buckwheat gnocchi (bought) with a mushroom sauce.


16. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (BAC, 1001 #388 /353 )

I don't know if I ever enjoyed a Kindle sample as much as this one. The first couple of chapters were so, so great! As you know I can be very difficult with historical fiction unless I feel it is very, very well researched (like Mantel's Cromwell books and everything I read by Eco so far). Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries were an exception and I couldn't explain why. This book hit the same chord with me and I realized that both books work for me because they don't pretend to be terribly correct at all.

I was reminded of the musical "The Lion King" I saw in Hamburg in 2005. They don't try to make those actors look like real animals and instead give them those obvious costumes that add to the whole stage fascination. This book felt the same - a great story in a great Victorian setting, but it was like looking at a stage and it didn't (imo) pretend to be real for a second. I guess that's what others call "Dickensian", an expression I've seen used for this book and also Catton's, but in my own understanding I don't connect it to Dickens.

So yes, I had fun most of the time. However there are a couple of "but"s:
- the books consists of three parts and in each there's so much foreshadowing that from a certain point I was just waiting for the inevitable (and surprisingly conventional) ending to come
- the characters that are introduced as strong and seductive (Kitty and Diana) sadly don't keep that promise. I would have loved to see both storylines developped differently.
- Nancy who starts out believable in her shyness switches character a bit too often
- that last chapter went way over the top with bringing closure to all the open threads

Unlike other readers I didn't mind the setting and didn't ask myself how realistic such a quite open lesbian community might have been in London of the 1890s. The setting for me was a stage and that included also the totally unbelievable "job" Nancy has in part two and her joy and ease in doing it.

Altogether I can rate with only 3.5 because the main character was so uneven and with her the main plot, and also because once I knew into which direction each of the three parts went it took forever to get there. But it was a fun read and I'll try to get to Fingersmith later this month.


>49 Deern: It's really looking like spring. Here in Davos we have a lot of snow (linear distance not so far away from Merano) and it's still snowing. Congrats on shopping new sport clothes. Isn't it nice to get new pieces?

Wishing you a lovely Sunday.



>51 Deern: Pleased to see you enjoyed that one, Nathalie. Her The Night Watch seems to be going down like a lead balloon elsewhere.


The four stars are mainly for the book's honesty, and honesty was exactly what I had expected reading Donna's review. I understand that the book can catch a reader on the wrong foot if they expect humor, love or mourning. The cover and the first one or two illustrated scenes in the Kindle test chapter for example might give a completely wrong idea. This is NOT AT ALL a funny ot a heartwarming book. There's the odd scene which might make you smile when you recognize yourself and/or a parent in it, but altogether this is the authors account on her parents' last years, her own struggles with her feelings and all the issues that came up and often overwhelmed her.

Chaz' parents are somewhat special, extremely co-dependently forming a solid and impenetrable unit of two against the rest of the world, her mother being the aggressive leader of that unit with her weak husband following. The (only) daughter Roz is out of that unit and always has been. So when her parents' health situation gets worse and she is finally forced to take action, she is full of anxietes, and rightly so. She meets much resistance and denial, and the years that follow the initial steps must have been extremely demanding, financially, emotionally and also physically. In my opinion it was a courageous step to publish a book that basically says "my parents died very slowly over the course of several years and I wish for myself it wouldn't have taken them that long". But if a relationship has been that difficult from the beginning and all that remains in the end is duty because it is simply too late to make up for the things you missed out on. what else should you feel? She loved her parents and would have wished them an easy peaceful death, but the course it took it was more than anything a burden for her.

The book also has some photos Chaz took in her parents' appartment after they had moved out. It's a nightmare of a messy household, and more than ever I am determined to declutter on a regular basis now.

I am also glad my parents are different. In their own way they are difficult as well, but old age and death are themes we talk about openly and they have quite well provided for their future. And none of them distrusts doctors/ medicine. I still wish they'd leave the house as long as they are still fit enough and move to a smaller place with a better infrastructure. But it's their decision of course and in their generation people don't leave the house they have built.





>58 Deern: - I double checked and it looks like it is a TV miniseries, not a movie. I tend to mix those up a fair bit as we don't watch TV. We watch DVDs and everything seems to get released as DVD's these days. -)


Decluttering. Yes! I am trying to do that now. A charitable group carted off 8 boxes of books and six big bags of clothing and bedding late last month, which was a start. Still a LOT more to do.

I thought of you when friends of mine posted pics of a dinner they went to in Toronto at an 18th century house/museum. It was hosted by a chef who specializes in recreating recipes from that era, and all the participants helped to prepare the meal on an open hearth -- pink-coloured fritters (ingredients include beets, eggs and brandy) on the grill, fish in parchment, lamb pie in pot with coals on top and below, a roast beef hanging on a hook, and whole chicken in the reflecting oven. They then ate by candlelight on the tables in the museum's dining room, off china and glassware from the era. Amazing! And it made me think how much sheer WORK food preparation was in those days, and how running a household was a full time job -- survival. Now, we eat as fuel to keep us going and doing whatever else it is that we do to earn money to buy our food. a completely different relationship with food preparation!

I'm glad that the tests showed that this is benign and your hospital stay will be short. Comfy clothes and a Kindle sound like just the ticket.

PS If you're looking for your missing snow, it's over here.


Finally, finally at half point of The Wings of the Dove, after two weeks. The story develops into the direction I feared early it would and it will probably end as sadly and drearily as those Whartons and James(es?) almost all do. But Wharton usually takes me on an intense emotional ride and I get all excited about the writing. Looking through my James history there was a good but long and very slow one (Portrait of a Lady), one that didn't hurt (Turn of the Screw) and one I disliked and completely forgot I ever read until this Weekend when I saw a review (Daisy Miller). Following the writing in TWotD is really hard for me and I consider reading the remaining 1001 listed James books in translation. And maybe never to read What Maisie Knew where I had to take a first break of annoyance on page 3 I believe and never picked it up again. My issue with TWotD is really mainly the writing, because as predictable as the plot might be, I am very interested in understanding the motives of Kate, Milly and M. Densher. Please don't tell me, but I hope that Milly will turn out to be "evil" and calculating and a great actress. That would be so much more fun than if she just recovered and thus Densher would have to stay with her . It's especially those inner musing that are hard to follow and it's easy to see that James must have done much analyzing while dictating. I just wish he would later have edited his texts once more.

>59 lkernagh: Okay - then I won't start looking for it actively, it's quite unlikely I'd find it here.

>60 Chatterbox: That's great they come to your place and carry the unneeded things off. I am still looking for someone who'd be interested in old kitchen things. Maybe the Caritas for those refugee homes.
That dinner sounds fascinating. Okay, I'd no longer go for the meat and fish, but those fritters sound great and I'm sure they also served some nice old-fashioned bread.
You're right - and thinking how much knowledge they assembled over the years. My grandma had learned cooking and baking on a wood burning stove which must have been quite complicated. Then she switched to gas (her favorite) and I still remember when she got her first electric stove and absolutely couldn't handle it at first.

My missing snow is everywhere but here, even at the Adriatic coast. Basically it's okay not to have any, better none than too much.



You ended up appreciating Can't We Talk a lot more than I did, and you wrote a great review about it, and I can certainly appreciate Chast's honesty, but at the same time I just found it mostly an unpleasant read. Maybe having a Jewish parent and having had a Jewish grandmother reminded me too much of a certain mentality. I don't know, but I felt mostly the heaviness of it all, and also because neither of my parents has a cent put aside, one of my big worries that I'm always sweeping under the rug is what will happen if and when they become incapable of caring for themselves, miles away and with me not having savings either. Too heavy for me to deal with by far.

As for Henry James, I really loved Portrait of a Lady and based on that book and the fact he was friends with Edith Wharton whose writings I adore, I was prepared to love everything else he'd written, but I found The Europeans was a drag, and that was a short one. Now I'm dreading What Maisie Knew because so many (including you) hated it, but I'm determined to tackle it all the same this month. But then there's always the Merchant Ivory movies to fall back on.


Ha! I read about 100 pages today (okay, more or less skimmed them) and now this story is finally speeding up. I am however very glad I don't know the plot yet (didn't see the movie either), because otherwise it would still be too slow. Anyway, that chapter where aunt Maude and Susie are talking without saying anything gave me an idea that it's heading in a good direction and it was by far the most fun and also easiest to understand chapter yet. I looked out for a German translation, but gave up on that idea after reading a couple of sentences which had obviously been translated 1:1, so I understood just as little as in English.

>62 BekkaJo: Tend to believe you. Now more than some hours ago.


I should call my thread no longer "tavolata", but "Nathalie throws things together without half-respecting the recipe and hopes for the best" or shorter "Chaos Kitchen".

There's a mix of cauliflower, carrots, lentils and curry simmering in a pot on the stove which I thought might work together. Yesterday I had seitan, mushrooms and mango on toast. Surprisingly elegant, I should have added some white wine maybe, and a bit of coriander.

And fresh from the oven comes something which had been planned as Jenny's parsnip cake recipe in >21 lunacat:.

When I had grated the parsnip I remembered I had no eggs and no apple juice and I had used up all the normal flour. So I put in soy yogurt instead of the egg (recommended by several vegan cookbooks), unsweetened soy milk instead of the apple juice and whole wheat flour. Of course not self-raising, we don't have that here. I just threw in some more baking powder. The parsnip was so small I could only make 1/4 portion, and then the dough tasted so good that I ate 2 spoonfuls, so what remained was even a smaller quantity of dough in a too large tin.

Of course I also messed with the sugars. The parsnip added much sweetness and I used the raisins as in the recipe, but left out all the brown sugar. Instead I put in 2 teaspoons of real vanilla sugar, and omitting the apple juice must also made it less sweet. I could have used a spoonful of apple vinegar however, it would have worked beautifully with the parsnip and cinnamon. Next time.

It's done and looks nice. Not as brown as on the recipe website because I left out the cane sugar. It's moist with an interesting almost sandy texture. Sweet enough for me, but more like a brioche, not like a cake. So I'd recommend to either go with the sugar or the apple juice. Both (+raisins + parsnip) might be too much.

To sum it up: parsnip in cake is great!! Thanks Jenny for recommendation and link!


>63 Smiler69: Hi Ilana! I had expected it to affect me more and then it didn't just because my parents are so different from hers. Her parents reminded me more of my Eastern European grandparents, my parents are a different generation already who didn't experience the war. But still I could relate to most of her feelings - as an only daughter this will be an issue for me one day and if I don't find a nice Italian husband soon, I fear it might force me to return home and it scares me. For me it was a relief that others feel this "burden" as a burden as well. Because normally you believe you have to do all those things happily and lovingly because it's your parents who brought you up and every negative thought would be seen as selfishness.

Yes, it was an unpleasant book. Absolutely unpleasant. And you come to expect something different from the comic style and the friendly colors and the first chapters. But as a narration I wouldn't have been able to handle it, so she must have done something right by putting it in a comic book/ illustrated novel form, at least for me.

I can't say I hated WMK because I just read three pages. But I felt convinced I would hate it then and since then I am hoping that the book's time will come. Instead my aversion against the poor book has ever been growing. Good luck with it! :)



Oh what fun to read your review of the cooking show! I enjoyed it so much, I can't tell you.

Another thoughtful review of the Roz Chast book too. It gets us all thinking, that is for sure. I'm glad your parents are sensible about many things. I woudn't worry about the house as long as they love it there and can keep up with it. I do think people are, ultimately, happier in their own homes and unless it is dangerously ramshackle, super-bad neighborhood, or there are financial or serious health reasons people might as well stay put. There is a percentage of people who are so place-attached it is almost harmful to move them. Others are perfectly happy to move and want the social life.


>67 avatiakh: Hi Kerry! In my experience cakes survive all kinds of recipe alterations, I have no idea where that myth comes from that in pastry you have to follow a recipe 1:1. Sometimes my cakes look not as pretty as in the pictures, but they have always been very much edible. I am mainly working with US and UK recipes now and at first when I didn't know how much a cup was I always used a coffee cup for measuring (far too small I now know). Still, all cakes tasted good.

Btw. the parsnip cake was even better the next day and by far sweet enough. I'll soon make it again and then a full portion.

>68 sibylline: Thank you Lucy! And apologies for my stupid question on your thread. Can I please hide behind the excuse that I come from a continent where most countries can easily be crossed north-south or east-west in a day or less? Vermont - Florida in the car, what was I thinking??

Germans generally don't like to move (Italians even less, see those Tim Parks books.. ). And "building" the own home in Germany has always been/ still is such an accomplishment and like a status symbol. If it weren't for these two things, my parents wouldn't be attached to the house or the village they live in. They have been talking of moving to town for at least 25 years and I fear that they have now missed the point where it's still possible without problems. And the way prices went they couldn't even just switch places anymore, they might have to take a fresh mortgage. Their own house, despite all repairs (bathrooms, heating, roof), is now too old to sell well and the village has become too remote, without a single grocery shop or doctor left.


Less than 100 pages to go now with Wings of the Dove, I hope to finish it today during my lunch break. It actually has the potential to become my favorite James in my heart, though certainly not in my rating. It’s a great work of suspense and the length could work in its favor if I were able to understand enough. It annoys me that I don’t and that I even wouldn’t if it were in German. I clearly can’t read him and I feel excluded and a bit angry. 

I started Fingersmith yesterday simply to treat my eyes and brain with some easier English. No hopes of finishing it in February. It has 600 pages and I fear it will have even more lengths than Tipping the Velvet. This one does feel “Dickensian”, especially that evening scene when Gentleman makes his appearance. Not sure if I like that, so far the style in TtV seems fresher and more original to me. Anyway, the setting is done and I guess I am in for a very long, very complicated and adventurous love story between our heroine Sue and I guess her future employer, Miss Lilly.

If I don’t get to my Waugh audio (A Handful of Dust) this weekend, I’ll take it to the hospital with me and maybe I should get another audiobook, because they usually make me fall asleep quickly.


I was shocked to see that this book is almost 10 years old and therefore the status it describes must since even have worsened.

Another book about the food industry, but this time the focus not being on the animal welfare, our health or the effect of CO2 and methane on the environment. Those arguments are mentioned of course, but they’re not in the center. In the center are people suffering from hunger to the point of starvation because of the globalization of the food industry. And because the movie to the book was a European one and because so much has already been written about the big US companies, Wagenhofer writes about the European initiators wherever possible. Okay, when it’s about genetically modified crops he didn’t have many alternatives.

This book doesn’t say “stop eating meat” or “buy organic/local only” or “be a better person”. But it shows that our choices have consequences and may in fact cost a lot despite the low (state subsidized) shelf prices, and that’s just our daily food and water, not clothing, trainers, or smartphones for which miners die.

Rating: 4.5 stars for this shock therapy.
Since reading it I returned to organic although it (here) often tastes not as good and fresh as conventional (in Germany it was just the other way around and I almost exclusively ate organic fruit and veg). I must try and find a middle way between organic and local.


19. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James (AAC 2015, 1001 #389 /354 )

I got through all the (depending on edition) 400-600 pages for that? For not knowing how the story ends because they don't open and read those letters ??
You know me – I liked or even loved most of the classics I read and reviewed here. And I’m not among those people who say that Austen’s or Proust’s long sentences are difficult to get through. Read a Goethe, preferably "Wilhelm Meister", and then see if you have something to complain… :) This one however?? But I already wrote enough about my problems with this book's language.

But throughout the second part, which is two thirds of the work, I was prepared for some great finale, some surprise twist that would make all the long-windedness, all the not even once speaking out, all the tiptoeing around delicate themes rewarding. The last of the 10 books almost killed my brain. At first James remembers that unlucky father of chapter one who after all is the reason why Kate can’t marry unwealthy Morten Densher. But of course he doesn’t turn up and has nothing to say and of course we don’t learn what has been the dreadful und unmentionable thing he did that made him impossible for everyone. And then there is an endless non-discussion between Kate and Densher whether to open and read a certain letter which they then let burn unopened. Why. . And then another letter arrives and again they discuss whether the seal should have been broken or not and if so by whom and if now the letter should be read or not. And then the book ends. Yes, I understand the meaning of the last exchange. But really, that was it? How much more could it have been. And what a pale character Milly becomes on retrospect. I know you can interprete her in a different way if you really want, but really, there isn't any hint of that and for me she has lost all her earlier appeal.
I had to read the wikipedia wrap-up to be sure I hadn’t missed anything of importance. No I didn’t. And that really has been it. Suspense that falls completely flat feels like betrayal.

Big Spoiler:
I was so convinced that there'd be a certain turn of events that I didn't believe Milly was dead until the solicitors' letter from NY arrives on the last pages. Why couldn't she have turned out as bad and manipulating as I'd hoped she would? So she left him that money because she was as good as everyone believed her to be?

I am disappointed. I’ll read more James, because there’s more on the 1,001 list. I know he wrote more accessible works and I hope the next one will be for me again. But this one was a letdown in a month with so far just average reads.

Rating: 2 stars - and I normally don't do that to classics :((



What refreshing review of WoD! Loved it! There is a movie, you know, I think Densher might be Jeremy Irons? You might find it interesting now you've read the book.

Total forgiveness about Vermont to Florida. I wish I could drive so I could bring Miss Po!


#72 There's just so many on the 1,001! WAHHHH!


>73 lkernagh: Glad I could be of service :)

>74 sibylline: Thank you! I read about the movie with Helena Bonham Carter, but the roles of Milly and Densher were played by actors whose names I hadn't heard of yet. I had Jeremy Irons before my inner eye though while reading. One element I liked was that we really get to follow Densher's thoughts and emotions (as long as we can follow the writing of course), especially when he suspects being played by everyone.

>75 BekkaJo: Yes. :( There are less in my edition, I believe The Golden Bowl has been removed any maybe another one? But I'll try to read those free classics, the contemporaries and modern classics cost so much. I just got a feeling that I am through all the fun ones already.

Finally got started on A Handful of Dust this morning and read another couple of pages of Fingersmith. I prefer TtV's happy oyster kitchen family setting so far to the dark bad London streets, but that mansion might become more interesting. Sue's voice so far sounds exactly like Nancy's, I hope she will show a more steady character.

Not too happy with my Feb books so far, so I am watching more TV:

Master Chef Italy:
With no likeable and marketable candidates left, they had to eliminate two I wasn't rooting for anyway last night, so I can't say I'm sad. Only that among the 5 remaining ones there's now only one left who'd look good on a book cover. I know they always like to develop that underdog story how initially weaker candidates are "growing" during the show and beat all the early favorites, but they cooked badly in the beginning and I just can't believe they have so improved suddenly. And then, I mean this is made in a studio, not in the wild - wouldn't it be possible to make those people look a bit nicer and maybe ask them to smile openly from time to time instead of looking annoyed? I understand that by editing alone you can make a nice person seem b****y and horrible. But why bad-edit all of them if you want to make money with them after the show?

This week is also "Sanremo" - the Italian festival for music since errr.. 65 years now? It's the first time I'm following it thanks to my Sky box that also registers RAI Shows. It goes from Tuesday to Saturday in the 2nd week of Feb every year and each show is over 4 hours long. They have many candidates who have to sing several times (in Italian of course) and in the end there's a winner. There's really bad comedy, ballet, and most importantly there are International Guest Stars!! They had Charlize Theron on Wednesday and Conchita Wurst and last night they had Spandau Ballet. An eclectic mix. :)
As I said it's the first time I'm really following it and I wanted to because in Italy it's such a BIG Thing! For three days now it has dominated our coffee break talk and I'm so proud I can finally have my share in it. Sanremo is part of my 2015 integration program!


>72 Deern: I have to agree Nathalie, I am also find him pretty heavy going.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the festival. xx




>77 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul. Just watched the finale and my favorite made it to #3 and won the critics' prize. Very satisfying result!

>79 Ameise1: Yes, I'm working tomorrow but might leave erlier and skip the lunch break for that. Thank you so much!


Had a great Valentine's Day yesterday. Went to the hairdresser and brought them some fresh crostoli, that's a fried crunchy pastry, traditionally eaten on carnival. The owner's husband Valentino is always there on Saturdays and yesterday clearly was his name day (which for many Italians is more important than the birthday), so I thought I'd bring something. We all shared the crostoli, they got some coffee from the bar downstairs and even their labrador Cindy got her crostoli share. So that was a good start to the day and I left with a great hairdo. :)

Then I went into town and of course to the bookshop where I bought another two recipe books. Both vegan, both by Italians, one focussing on naturally sweetened cakes, the other one with modern cross-over food. For once I should be able to find all those ingredients.

Then back in the streets there was some rumor and a group of women in red T-shirts and with cows bells walked along the main road. I talked to one of them and she explained that it was International Day against violence against women and they were going to do a dance in the piazza. So I went and watched and then asked them to sign me up for next year. They gave me a brochure, and maybe this could be a way for me to start some voluntary work, we'll see. It's not a group that meets regularly, they consist of people working for the Caritas, some others for the Women Museum, but maybe they'll have something to do for me.

Next thing I went to the veggie restaurant to have a "pink lunch" - they have beetroot gnocchi with artichokes on the menu. When I arrived, my friend Susie called and I invited her over, so we had lunch together and drank some pink prosecco with our pink food and from there went to a bar* to have coffee and another prosecco.

*Bars in Italy are usually open from 7am until 9pm or later. You go there for breakfast of coffee and brioche, for aperitivo and a sandwich, for countless more coffees during the day, for a post-work beer or glass of wine or the pre-dinner aperitivo. You go alone or with friends/ colleagues, you can sit or stand at the bar. So should you be shocked with my frequent bar visits - it's quite a different concept from everywhere else and it's completely harmless.

So back home I started doing all the washing and cleaning, fell asleep watching Sanremo, woke up at 5am and watched the recordings. Quite set now for next week, the little suitcase is quite packed, I just need to decide which audio books I want to download.

I'll probably have no Wifi, so can't use the ipod. The phone will work, but I can't type well on it, so will read threads, but not post much. I'll give you an update in any case - and if not you'll know that the phone doesn't work or was stolen.




>82 alcottacre:, >83 connie53: Thank you Stasia and Connie! I should post again tomorrow, but you never know with the internet connection here. Still hoping for hospital wifi - otherwise it should be a week of much reading/ listening. :)

Edit: if possible I'll give an update on the work situation tonight before going into my "off-week". But now it has stopped raining and I need some air, so I'm off for a walk while the notebook recharges the akku.







Hi Nathalie! Glad to see you had such a wonderful Valentine's day. It's good to make the best of a day like you did. :)


Good morning everyone. Couldn't post anything last night because a nasty headache had developped over the day. It's still there unfortunately. I am not allowed to take any headache pills a week before the surgery, so I'm trying to fight it with coffee which sometimes helps. Asked the farmacist yesterday and it seems all those prescription-free pain meds contain something blood-thinning and therefore are forbidden.

Slept badly and had a small bout of self-pity last night. I wondered why in RL almost no-one can simply say "good luck" like you people here. I know it's a mini-mini-mini-thing but still it scares me a bit (the whole hospital thing scare me plus the being alone), and remarks like "I have a colleague whose kid has been in hospital now for 10 days, so others are far worse off" as a friend's response to my yesterday's "I'm scared a bit now" don't help and instead make me feel guilty for existing.
Of course others have it worse, and I am very much aware of it and grateful for being in such a good position. And still I have a right to feel a bit lost now and then? The job think is looming directly behind the hospital stay and I guess that makes it worse.

But on the other hand I am sure I will be well cared for. I mean - it's 2 mini cuts and a stay from Tuesday to Saturday (Friday night maybe when I'm lucky). Now compare that to Linda/Whisper who had such a complex surgery, had her neck broken and they wanted to send her home despite all the pain 3 days later.

>85 Ameise1: Hi Barbara! I admit those everyday stories are a bit like an anchor on the one hand and on the other hand also an exercise in writing discipline. And they help me getting my thoughts in order. Glad you like them, but you're all of course free to skip what bores or annoys you.

>86 avatiakh: Hi Kerry, thank you. Yes, the books are interesting. Normally Italian veggie books just veganize traditional dishes using loads of soy products, but those two go into the cross-over modern cuisine snack direction I like most. Multi-colored healthy fun food, I'll cook my way through them.

>87 Carmenere: Thank you Lynda! My mum never let me cook, so at first (at university when I had my first appt) I followed all recipes 1:1. Thanks to the early Jamie Oliver shows and my first English cookbook with strange measures and ingredients I lost my shyness and started adding/ substituting and it usually worked.

>90 The_Hibernator: Thank you Rachel! I admit I was a bit proud of myself for my VD handling :)

Off to work now, hope to be back tonight.




Slept badly and had a small bout of self-pity last night. I wondered why in RL almost no-one can simply say "good luck" like you people here. I know it's a mini-mini-mini-thing but still it scares me a bit (the whole hospital thing scare me plus the being alone), and remarks like "I have a colleague whose kid has been in hospital now for 10 days, so others are far worse off" as a friend's response to my yesterday's "I'm scared a bit now" don't help and instead make me feel guilty for existing.

Off course the hospital thing is scary! You have every right to feel that way. And doing it alone is not helpful at all! Just remember: We are there to support you and cheer you on!


>92 PaulCranswick: Sorry - I didn't want to sound whiny. I think at least half of it - if not more - is caused by the job anxiety. To be honest, it was quite easy to say "I'll look about that after the hospital". Now time's almost up and I can't hide anymore from it. Feeling like a coward.. *sigh*

(I also know that people want to be encouraging when they say those things, but for a generally guilt-ridden person like me their effect is the opposite)

The thing is - I thought so much about my "talents" (if there are any), my values and my capabilities in those past weeks and I wrote down so much, even made a little powerpoint presentation.. :) (I like to visualize things) The result is that so far, professionally, I've been miles off "myself". There have always been elements in my previous jobs (great team/ consideration of sustainibility/ product quality) that allowed me to do that work for a while, but my real dispositions and values lie elsewhere. My therapist said last week that we have quite a clear picture and that all that's required now is a connecting factor. I hope that inspiration will come soon, and maybe I'll find it right there in the hospital.

In any case it looks like I will have to take a real change of course. and that scares me so much! I should add that such changes were never well accepted in my family, on the contrary. I can't expect any support for a while from that side should I seriously change direction. So in those past weeks I've been trying to increase my RL non-family support network and to intensify contacts I already had. I see progress and I know now I have at least 2 or maybe 3 better friends here I can rely on.

What an interesting year 2015 might become! :)


>93 BekkaJo: Thank you Bekka - and have a good trip and as good as possible a time with the in-laws!

>94 connie53: Thank you so much, Connie! Hey, at least I might finally get over my early-childhood-1970s-hospital-trauma. Guess they won't scream at me when I'm feeling bad anymore and not threaten me with having to stay in eternally if I don't obey, and they'll let the visitors in this time. :)

This guilt feeling is a bit like a relapse into old times and I apologize for it. For so many years I actually felt guilty for not being the perfect daughter my parents deserved - despite the fact that it would have been impossible anyway to unite their contradicting wishes in one healthy person. A bit like a child that feels guilty for her mother's death in childbed, I felt guilty for my mother's thrombosis that almost killed her. She couldn't work in her old job anymore and she couldn't have any more babies. So I was the best they could get but never felt good enough and thanks to me they had no chance to try again to have a better child. Of course they never said that and probably never thought it. I often imagined that "better child" whose place I felt I had stolen and dreaded each "look at all the other kids. ". In therapy it took me a full year to accept I wasn't stealing someone else's place as well - and now that remark just hit home again, like I'm stealing doctors and nurses much more needed elsewhere. SORRY AGAIN!!



>97 connie53: Thank you so, so much! My head knows that of course and fortunately now most often my heart/guts/subconscience/whatever knows it as well. It became better the day when I accepted my right to have therapy. Yay, progress! :)

It's just on weak days like yesterday's rainy and lonely Sunday that sometimes the old thoughts see a chance to sneak back in. This morning I was able to tell them "hey, you're still not welcome and unhelpful and you're not true anyway, so go away" and it worked. And the sun is shining again outside as well. :)



Yep, what Connie said, Natalie, all of it. (Well spoken, Connie!)

We're here for you and thinking of you, Natalie!



I can say I certainly understand carrying around loads of guilt, justified or very much otherwise. I can also say that I am very glad to have the chance to get to know the you that you are now here on LT. Your courage in facing up to life clear-eyed and head-on is a real inspiration to a scaredy-cat like me!

I will be thinking lots of good thoughts for you as you go to hospital, as are we all.


>99 connie53: If the forecast is right, it will! At least in the literal sense. I hope they'll let me into the garden.

>101 lunacat: Yes, it works surprisingly well. It also helps to tell that message something like "I used to listen to you and now see where it got me, you aren't a friend!"
And I hope so, too. Thank you!

>102 rosalita: Thank you for the good thoughts!!

Well, there's a long way to go before I'd call myself clear-eyed and head-on, but the bundle of anxieties I was 3 years ago didn't post about these things then, so I guess I seemed much saner during my worst times. 2.5 years of therapy, a good dose of Louise L. Hay brainwash and an ex BF to whom I must be grateful forever for always throwing me back on my own feet when I was in danger of leaning on him too much. It's a bit embarrassing to have all that growing-up pain at the age of 44, but that's just how it is.


Oh dear, what difficult thoughts to have. I worry as a parent of one child about achieving a balance between expectations and being . . . just too much for one child to handle. I was one of probably too many, which has other problems. in fact there is no perfect number,I expect.

I will be thinking of you this week. I hope it al goes reasonably well and that the hospital is not too uncomfortable a place to be for so many days.


>104 sibylline: Both my parents come from big families, so I guess it was difficult for them having to concentrate all the "we want to do better for our own children" on just one (over-sensitive) child.

Thank you for thinking of me! I was told the hospital is as close to a hotel as it can get. Wonder what the food will be like. :)

Well, I'm set with some short and should-be-fun audio books, a new jigsaw puzzle app and of course my Kindle. I'll try to post something from my phone, but if that should be blocked I'll post from here on Saturday.

I thank you all so much for your good wishes and all the positive energy and support and wish you a great week!




Ok, phone works but typing on it is quite the challenge. I'm through admission, had lunch at 11 and now am free to do what I want within the areal. I had to be here early because most departm are closed in the afternoon for the carneval. so now it's extremely quiet. I have a nice 2 bed room facing south andon my floor there's a big roof garden. I already took a walk in the park as well. They explained the procedure and while it's standard it sounds scary and I really hope they'll let me out on Saturday. Not 100% sure because in my case it's both sides. :(
Nurses are nice as is my room mate.
Lunch was potato soup, mash and carrots (didn't eat the burger) and cooked pears.
I took some pics of park and terrace, but can't post them here. They are in my gallery right after the profile pic.

It's full spring weather and this season's first bee landed on my kindle to read some Fingersmith obviously. I took a picture.

Hope to be able to update soon.



Hi Nathalie, the park looks very nice to have a walk post-op. And the bee is cute (as far as bee's can be cute). The third picture of the park is upside down, but that doesn't matter. I just looked at it with my head upside down too.




I hope you have a good night, Nathalie! And the pain is manageable. Thinking of you!



Sounds so much nicer than anything in the US, I'll tell you that!

Lots of cheerful thoughts to you.


Sounds like a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day.

>105 Deern: - a new jigsaw puzzle app

I love jigsaw puzzle apps! I find jigsaw puzzles to be surprisingly relaxing and invogorating at the same time.

Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts and feelings your way, Nathalie!


hi all, just a quick update: surgery went well, but i couldn't read or type all day thanks to that wonderful post-op nausea. must have listened through my waugh audio 3x without getting the plot. i could breakfast today and the pain is under control, but now they speak of sunday!! i wish i could beam linda here. service is impeccable and nurses are so nice.

continuing with fingersmith today and wish i could type better.. it was so good up to 50% and now it's all the same voice and i'm skipping paragraphs.



>117 Deern: Woohoo, Nathalie, I'm so glad that everything went well and that everybody is caring so much. You're right, Linda should be here for her recovery.

Take it easy, sleep a lot and listen to your audios. Hugs xx




Knock, knock. Hi Nathalie, Here you go, I brought you these
I've been away from LT for a few days but I wanted to take a second see how things were going.
From what I see,it looks as if you are being treated well.
So now, just have someone fluff your pillow, relax and recuperate and read your books.
Hope you'll be home soon!!



I hope you are al right, Nathalie. Did you have a good night? Has the nausea disappear? Are you in much pain?


hi all, thank you for leaving all those good wishes and even flowers!! :))

posting is a bit difficult today because i got a new room mate who's an emergency case. she is suffering a lot and has that big family, so i am staying outside the room as much as i can not to disturb.. sitting in warm clothes in the waiting room with my kindle and audio books. actually i wish they'd send me home now, but i have to stay till sunday, mainly for "political reasons" which i'll explain when i am back with my notebook.

nausea is gone and they give me more food than i can eat. my parents were here yesterday for 2 hrs, they are holidaying in bavaria so it wasn't so far.

pain is under control. got 3 scars they promise will quite disapear. final results monday in a week.

again thank you so much for being here. i'll respond individually on sunday and monday. have a lovely weekend all of you.

edit: that poor woman in my room speaks only arab and can't communicate with any of the nurses. i hope someone of her fsmily will be here for the night. she must be scared and confused.

2 of my colleagues came to see me. lovely surprise! :)
my ex room mate came up from her new room (they moved her to a different ward) to my floor to have dinner with me in the waiting room, so it was a really nice evening.







Good to hear everything is going fine, Nath! so nice of your former roommate to come and have dinner with you!

Looking forward to read your story once you are home!




Yay, I'm home and settled on my couch now. Quite tired and feeling a bit dizzy because I overdid with the packing, carrying all my bags, unpacking and doing the first part of the washing. So now it's tea, TV (MasterChef Italy recordings of course) and LT, finally with a normal screen and keboard.

I managed to follow most threads on my far-too-small-for-my-eyes smartphone, but the posting was really difficult - all those endless typos! So today and during the next days I'll try to visit you all and at least leave a wave if I can't find anything intelligent to say.

My Iraqui room mate was released yesterday after having received another two bags of blood. No idea what was the emergency, but she must have lost loads of blood because she got some bags already all through Friday afternoon after her surgery. In the end at least I could help her out a bit with her hair, the dressing and undressing, getting her towels from the nurses, even ice cubes (which had to be searched for - the sucking on ice cubes is something I only know from hospital scenes on US TV shows). She was on a visit with her son who lives in Merano, but he had to work (he told me he just opened a bar), so was hardly there. She even let me take a picture with her mobile of her in the hospital bed which she then seemed to send to all the friends and relatives in Iraq with whom she spoke on the phone for hours.

Nevertheless I was really grateful to have the room for myself for the last night and to get some sleep. Still sleep-deprived though because my room was next to the nurses office, coffee kitchen and the room with all the cleaning materials so there was some noise at all times. For 5 nights now I was constantly listening to audio books which always got me back to sleep. I'll comment on those later today.

Missing my 11:00 am lunch today though.. and who'll get me my 5:00 pm dinner? :)


So glad you are home and feeling fine, Nathalie! Just take it easy and don't overdue the laundry thing.



Well, the "political reasons" for being kept in hospital longer than necessary. I thought it was quite interesting. The Merano hospital excels (if you can call it so) in some areas, among them the maternity ward and the gynaecological ward. The breast center is certified according to the relatively high German standards, so they really take extra extra care to get good results.
Now with the weekends it is as follows if rumours are right, and in Merano rumours most often are, it's too small for secrets:

1. As in all wards, there's less staff during the weekends. So if the beds are occupied with patients who've already been there for a couple of days it simply means less work and plannable work. If beds are empty, they are likely to be filled with cases from ambulance (non gyn). So all the nurses and ward doctors are very much interested in keeping the people there until Sunday. This was okay for me in my situation of course. On the other hand I thought if I were an emergency and had to wait now in some corridor because no station could take me I'd be quite annoyed.

2. All Italian hospitals now have to save costs. Service and care were fantastic and far above anything I've seen in Germany when visiting friends and relatives in non-private hospitals, although some measures have already been applied in the last 2 years. Now this very hospital has to "save" 150 beds and the region is constantly arguing on that with Rome. By keeping beds occupied longer and as a result having less post-surgery health issues they want to prove that their way pays out on the long run.

I must say if they had released me on Friday afternoon, it would have been okay, because I don't have any pressing household duties and would have slept better in my own bed. Saturday morning would have been perfect, those last 24 hrs consisted of sitting around and killing time. When you then see Linda's case you can only wonder how philosophies differ from country to country. I should add that my 5.5 days with all the great care and service and full-board etc. were of course part of the normal state health insurance. And I should also add that the situation in many places in Italy is much worse than in Merano. As an autonomous region they try to be different and better in everything by adhering to German/Austrian standards where possible. They even attract patients from other parts of Italy.


Glad you're home and feeling better, Nathalie. Don't overdo it. I've found audiobooks a real help during my convalescence and I still listen during the night when I'm wakeful and inclined to worry. My favourites have been Georgette Heyer and the St Mary's Chronicles.

>137 Deern: just seen this. My surgery was a day case only and although I was pleased to be at home rather than in hospital I was a bit anxious and unsure about my wound etc and as I was back at the hospital as an emergency three days later (again not to stay) it would have been better for me, and perhaps for the hospital, if I'd been an inpatient for a few days.



>135 connie53: Thank you Connie! I'm not allowed to iron - isn't that great? :)
Also thinking pizza service for tonight. never use it normally, but I today I have an excuse I guess.

>136 lunacat: Hi and thank you Jenny. No more overdoing planned for today unless here on LT :)

>138 CDVicarage: Thank you Kerry, also for the audio recommendations! :)
Yes, it sounds like being an inpatient would have been the better solution for you. Here they gave me also a leaflet with information of how to treat the wounds, what not to do for the next 2 weeks, etc.

I thought until my surgery day "why can't they simply do that in day hospital", but as it was a full anaesthesia with the less nice side-effects I'd say 2 nights and release on Friday morning after the ward round would have been okay. They could also have easily sent me home again on Tuesday afternoon pre-op after the tests ans consultations and I guess that's done in most hospitals.

My first roomie also arrived on Tuesday, had surgery on Wednesday directly after me, so we were always on the same level, and I guess then the "staying in for recovery" really works best. We also both didn't have/want many visitors. When you're feeling quite well already and could be home and then they give you a roomie who needs constant care also during the night, it becomes counter-productive.



>109 lunacat:, >120 lunacat:, >129 lunacat: Thank you for your posts Jenny! Spring weather has taken a break for 2 days, yesterday there was even some snow, but it should be better again from tomorrow on.

>110 connie53:, >113 connie53:, >118 connie53:, >124 connie53:, >131 connie53: Thank you Connie for all the posts and the cute bear with the flowers!
When I take pics with my smartphone, they are always normal in the gallery of the phone, but when I load them here, about half of them are upside down. Normally they should be upside down already on the original device, then you can correct them there. All my roof terrace pics went wrong, so I just posted the one. At least the reading bee was okay.

My roomie #1, Karin, was really extremely nice and we had a good time together. They moved her to the maternity ward of all places when her bed was needed on Friday. She can't have own kids as an ex cancer patient, so she wasn't happy with the situation and was glad when the nurses agreed to let her have dinner in the gyn ward with me.


>111 scaifea: Thank you Amber. Yes, I was so scared of the hospital with all those bad 70s memories, and I guess I couldn't have been in a better place.

>112 Ameise1:, >119 Ameise1:, >132 Ameise1: Thank you for your posts Barbara! :)
Looks like we shared the nice weather for most of the week.

>114 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul, all the crossing worked well as you see. :)

>115 sibylline: Also so much nicer than anything I saw in Germany. Thank you for the cheerful thoughts, they arrived and helped! :)

>116 lkernagh:, >126 lkernagh: Thank you for sending positive thoughts my way!
I worked my way through the free puzzles already, though not yet through all levels (some of them are too dark and the light wasn't that good). It was a great app to play with while listening to an audio book.

>121 Smiler69: Thank you Ilana!
The nausea surprised me because everyone had told me I wouldn't have any and would be able to eat already in the afternoon. Directly post-op I actually wanted to eat, I felt sick only 2 hours later.
But it might have been a reaction to the antibiotics as well (those always tend to make me sick) or maybe it was just all too much with the 2 local anaesthesies I had already received early in the morning when they prepared me for the surgery. My roomie btw. had exactly the same treatment, just one local anaesthesia less and the same reaction.

Anyway - I felt much better the next day and from then on they did their best to overfeed me.

>122 Carmenere: Thank you for visiting and leaving those lovely spring flowers, Lynda!

>123 LizzieD:, >127 LizzieD: Thank you for your posts, Pegga!
Haha - no more James for now, I promise! I looked at my downloaded The Ambassadors once or twice, but in the end downloaded a new one when I had finished Fingersmith. :)
I could of course have stayed in my room, but there was all that big Iraqui family, all looking worried, the baby being fed and having his nappies changed, the woman being in pain. so I thought we'd all be much more relaxed if I stayed out as long as possible.

>130 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl and thank you. The roomie situation was resolved much sooner than expected. After a night and all those blood bags she seemed fit again and wanted to leave.

>133 BekkaJo: I thought of you and the MIL situation, Bekka. Glad you're back home and with internet. Will visit your thread later.


Glad your home and safe (and ironing free!).

#142 Sorry they did that to your first roomie - sometimes bureaucracy loses sight of the real people and how much things will hurt them.


>144 BekkaJo: Yes, it was quite unfortunate. Especially when at 3:30am a mother-to-be was admitted to her room who brought hubbie and 3 little kids. But of course these two departments are related, having the same heads and doctors - and at least they tried to give her a single room.

My February reading has been disappointingly mediocre. In one case I partly blame my mushy post-op brain and will re-read at some point (Waugh), but most books simply didn't resonate with me. Some short reviews to follow soon.


20. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (1,001 #390/355, BAC 2015 February read) - CONTAINS SPOILERS!

When I compare this book to Tipping the Velvet, I find the storyline better worked out, but - I almost don't dare mentioning it, looking at the ongoing discussion on the BAC thread - thought the romance was unnecessary and I wa glad it didn't take more room. And yes, it would have been as well if it hadn't been a lesbian love story. I have a good reason for that: thanks to the plot, the two characters felt like sisters in the end, almost like twins, so it had something incestuous for me. It didn't help that about 60% in Maud started to sound just like Sue (so that despite changing viewpoints it was like reading a single character who btw. sounded just like Nancy in TtV). Nancy's romance partners in TtV were always contrasting characters, so there was convincing chemistry. Here however?

But to the points I enjoyed: it took much longer before the story became lengthy and I started skipping. The twist at the end of book 1 wasn't completely surprising and I had hoped for it. The second twist with the role of Mrs Forgot-her-name-of-course however was a surprise. and then so little came out of it. And despite the book's length of 600 pages, the ending seemed rushed.

Still it was one of the more entertaining and enjoyable reads this month and I feel drawn towards Affinity as well.


I found this one browsing audible on Monday night for some easy-to-listen audio books. I was never interested in Gaffigan's Dad Is Fat, but this one appealed to me and it really became my audio favorite in hospital. Of course it's extremely easy to follow with its short chapters, but it also has a good length (6.5 hrs) and brought me through the first post-op night without too much rewinding.
And it made me laugh several times although of course as a humorless vegetarian I reacted negatively to the remarks on veggie food or organic - but that was just because those jokes were a bit lame and old. I mean: organic is ugly food just at the double price? Never heard that one before. I had hoped for more and better. Maybe I found the other stuff so funny because he describes so much food I've never seen in my life, so I couldn't know the jokes yet (actually one US reviewer said he'd heard it all before in his office's coffee kitchen).

Gaffigan subdivides the US into 4 or 5 (my memory. ) food regions - the shellfish in the north-east, the comfort food in the south, north-west coffee and I forgot the rest. Somewhere there was BBQ. He also goes through ethnic cuisine, tells anecdotes from family life now and then, gives his opinion on all the fast-food chains. He admits to being an over-eater and occasional binge drinker with a weakness for junk/fast foods. He gave me a craving for a slice of a Chicago deep-pan pizza. Not so much for bacon chocolate sweets. But if I still ate meat he could tempt me to some fried chicken and waffles or biscuit and gravy.


Glad you are home and recovering so well, Nathalie. Interesting comparison of Fingersmith and TtV. I read the former first, and the latter much later, so i didn't notice but now that you mention it .

To me the interesting thing about the lesbian love stories in her work is that she treats them as normal everyday love stories . As she should. But I think in her early books this was a far more novel and daring approach than it is today.


22. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (1,001 #391/355, BAC 2015 February read)

I listened to this one during my first night in hospital and tried again directly post-op, then gave up for two days but even later simply, I am sorry, didn't enjoy it at all. Of course countless rewinding didn't help, but of all the Waughs I've read I liked this one the least.

Brideshead Revisited had always been my favorite, but now in retrospect I can only explain it with exceptional writing. The story takes some strange turns, seems autobiographical in parts and in others not and for me had an unconvincing ending. I enjoyed the quite different early works, but of those none left a lasting impression. After Paul's review and Ilana's remarks I had been looking forward to this one and then I simply didn't get it. I read some reviews and then understood the background better and also that strange Amazonas story which had been an independent short short story he just worked into the novel. I see now where he wanted to go with the high society and betrayal/ divorce/tradition part, but still I didn't like the turn things took and quite hated having to listen to all that.

I found the narrator's voice at times really annoying, especially when he was reading err.. John Andrew's the name, right. and so I wasn't too saddened with later events.
But Beaver? And Brenda? How impossible is she?
And Dickens in the jungle? If I hadn't read the reviews I'd think I just imagined that last part of the story.

The book gets the "didn't get it must reread" rating of 3 stars like The Third Policeman for now.



Hooray for being back at home, Nathalie! You've more than earned a peaceful recuperation period.

Interesting comments about the politics involved in your hospitalization. I could never get away with keeping a patient in the hospital for the convenience of weekend staff or to make us look busier than we really are. (And appearing to stay busy or filling beds is the least of our problems, especially at this time of the year!) In order for the hospital to get paid by the insurance company I have to justify why that child needs to stay, (e.g., IV fluids, IV antibiotics, need for supplemental oxygen), which is usually easy to do, but sometimes a parent won't feel comfortable bringing a child home, so I'll occasionally have to think about what criteria I can use to ensure that the family isn't hit with an excessive hospital bill after discharge.


>142 Deern: Maybe my posting was a bit too much -)) but I wanted you to feel supported.

And I think what they did to Kim was not very nice. They did not think about that too much!


>152 connie53: It was so lovely receiving all these posts, they really cheered me up!! Thank you again! :)

They said they did it only in emergencies because for the surgery gyn patients as well as for mothers-to-be it usually isn't great to share a room. Happiness and lots of visitors on the one side and often cancer scares and the need for quietness on the other side. They tried to give her a single room, but unfortunately for her they had to admit someone during the night.

>151 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl and thank you! Well, of course that isn't the official wording. And I guess (but not sure) they wouldn't give patients with infections emergency beds on a post-surgery ward with cancer patients. Maybe the odd broken leg or something similar.
While health insurance to a point is guaranteed for everyone, the employees and employers pay quite a bit into it each month, so hospital cost coverage isn't such an issue here or in Germany. In most parts of Italy however there aren't enough beds and you have to wait forever for planned surgery. Merano still has quite a comfortable situation compared to many other places.




>154 Ameise1: Hi Barbara! I spent much time on the couch watching all the recorded episodes of Master Chef IT and Dinner Date UK. Then of course I got hungry and ordered a veggie pizza and went to bed early. So nice to be in my own (bigger) bed again! :)

>155 The_Hibernator: Hi and thank you Rachel! Yes, service and caring were really great and very nice nurses, too. I was just glad I had the room for myself during the last night.

This morning I brought my medical report to the office and then went grocery shopping and filled my fridge with fresh food and veggies. I can stay at home for another three days. Normally I wouldn't have taken them, but now I thought that the more work queues up during my absence, the better. I'm not pain free, and honestly - looking at the result today in a mirror for the first time without the big band-aids quite depressed me. Not so much the scars, but there's a visible hole and change of form on one side and I guess symmetrie is lost forever. Hadn't quite expected that given the mini size of the thingies, but on the left side the situation was a bit unclear with 3 different bits close together so it looks like they took out more than originally announced. It'll still look good in a bikini but no sauna in the near future. . :(
Final results will be in next Monday.

And I need those days to think about my job situation a bit more. Wanted to do that last week, but my brain wasn't able to produce anything but confusion.

Being sick means I have to be at home between 10 and 12 am and again between 5 and 7 pm in case a health inspector calls. I'm glad someone told me that, I don't think that rule exists in Germany. But this must be the first time ever in my professional life I'm staying at home on official sick leave. Normally I am that person who takes a day of holiday when having a fever or the odd stomach bug and otherwise going to work if any possible.

I've been looking in vain for training courses in any of the social areas here in Merano. They do exist, but are currently not on offer. I'll ask my therapist on Thursday if she has more addresses for me or any idea how to take those first steps towards a new profession at my advanced age. Going to collect all my ideas and possible initiatives/projects/addresses during those next three days to get a clearer picture.

I have no further reading plans for February except for a closer look at those library job books which I won't review here. I might however get one of those nice jigsaw puzzles I saw on Connie's thread. I found that the brain often comes up with good ideas while I am working on such things when novels are too distracting.



>157 lunacat: I know I am very lucky that I got through life so far quite scar-free. I was surprised that it affected me so much this morning because of course it could be so much worse.

Yes I'm so grateful I was informed about the possible inspection. In Germany, as far as I remember, you're free to move unless you're on sick leave with some infection and have to stay in bed. Those 2x2 hrs are also valid during the weekend.

Just returned from a trip to 3 toy shops, in the last one when I had already given up I found not one but 3 of those jigsaw puzzles I saw on Connie's thread and when I couldn't decide which one I liked best I bought all 3. Yes, I know. Could have bought one and returned for the other ones later. But if someone else had bought them in the meantime? Now I hope I'll find the patience to finish at least one.. :)




>160 BekkaJo: I think everyone is naturally wonky to a certain extent. They say one larger than the other is the fact for nearly all women, so I'm sure no one would think anything of it.

I know my right breast is bigger than my left, and it's enough of a difference to see when I'm naked and feel quite easily, but certainly not noticeable in a bra or under clothes.

Sadly, so many of our body issues are just in our heads. If only we didn't distort ourselves when we look in the mirror.


Glad you are home and all went well - I'm sorry I didn't visit you last week, but it I was out of town and you know how that can be.

I was going to see - the universal translator programs on the 'net are getting better and better. I just read an article about a woman from an African country who spoke no English, going into labor in some situation where there were only English speaking folks and someone whipped out their smartphone and used the translator and bingo! communication! Star Trek rules!

Very interesting about the politics at the hospital.

Handful is a rather bleak Waugh. I'm always blown away by his prose so hardly can judge content.


>162 sibylline: I even looked for online dictionaries German-Arab, but of course they all return the words in Arab writing. Then I added "with pronounciation" but then I thought how often the German-English returns a list of words of which just one's fitting the situation and how strange it would be if I let play a list of Arab words, waiting for her reaction. Didn't think of a real translator program though.

Maybe I should reread the Waugh in paper/e-format. I found the narrator's voice quite irritiating and generally great writing often escapes me when I listen to ABs.

>160 BekkaJo:, >161 lunacat: Thank you for the encouragement! Maybe it plays a role that I just became friendly with my body quite recently after years. Trying to be friendly and welcoming now as well to the new forms which after all are a sign of health. :)

>159 Ameise1: I didn't LT yesterday because I did the first one. Whew. I had expected it to be easier. :)




>164 Ameise1: I will take it all smoothly, no worries.
Although I know how much work will be queuing for me on my return to the office tomorrow.

Re. taking it smoothly: my March reads are worrying me a bit.
Planning to read The Birds and other Stories by Daphne du Marier which shouldn't be too long. For the 1,001 GR there will be the certainly not easy Dictionary of the Khazars.
For the AAC I have no idea yet which Richard Ford book to chose, he is a new to me author. And then there's China Mieville. *sigh*
So many people here are loving his books but I'm absolutely not in the mood for a new series/ trilogy where each book has 600 pages. Thinking about tackling Un Lun Dun. That's a stand-alone, isn't it?
Right now the only one I am looking forward is the du Maurier, but so far this year's challenges have brought me some pleasant surprises, so I'll keep participating.


>165 Carmenere: I waited too long between writing and posting, my mum was calling.
Yes, my parents were there as announced, but the two colleagues were a nice surprise. :)

I'll be back in the office tomorrow, but it should be fairly easy getting through those two days until the weekend. At least that's what I hope. When I brought in my sick leave certificate I looked at my in-basket and it was already overflowing with documents. And then there will be all the statitiscs requests by e-mail. I'm determined to take it slow tomorrow.


#166 I highly recommend The City and the City - it's a standalone (as far as I am aware) and it's brilliant. Sort of noir crime meets sci-fi meets weirdness. Loved it!

Un Lun Dun is good too - IMO, though I know several people who haven't loved it. It's YA so it's a very different sort of read.

Those are the only two of his I've read - though I'm excited about tackling Perdido Street Station - though it is a chunkster :/



>168 BekkaJo: Thank you - test chapter is already on my Kindle, although PSS tempts me - I don't think I saw one bad review in the threads here.

>169 LizzieD: Back in the office and it seems every single project/ task is stuck in a dead end. No positive progress anywhere, nothing works the way it might, not a single thing.
Not happy today, but maybe that's also because I slept so badly last night. Reading "The Birds from Daphne du Maurier's The Birds and other Stories between 1 and 2 am clearly wasn't such a great idea.

Seeing my therapist today after a 2 week interruption and really hope for some advice from her, or at least redirection of my thoughts.

Some readers said that Some Hope was less good style-wise, but I was glad to get a break from the extreme misery after the 2nd one (and on restrospect before #4). And PM, as you said on your thread, makes up for much else.


That's not very helpful is it, not also providing a 'sound' only version of Arabic!

I concur about starting with The City and the City - I LOVED it.

And I can't help being a bit bossy about Richard Ford too. He's written several (four now) about a man named Frank Bascombe that I think constitute a masterpiece equivalent (maybe surpassing, in emotional depth) Updike's achievement with the Rabbit books. I read them out of order, actually taking on The Lay of the Land first, who knows why, and I still think that might be the best of them. I am HOARDING the fourth one, so I can't comment on it. However, when I went back and read the other two, The Sportswriter and Independence Day I loved them too. Frank is a generation younger than Updike's protag. and MILLION times more sensitive, along with being . . . a person who can make the wrong choice for all the right (not always) reasons . . . The main thing is that Frank is a decent guy and I cared about him in a way I never cared for one second about Rabbit and his self-absorption and obsessions even though I read 'em because Updike writes so well.

If you want to ease in - Rock Springs is a remarkable book of short stories, not easy ones to read though.


>171 sibylline: Thank you for the info on the Bascombe books! I read somewhere "like Updike's Rabbit" and felt very weary at once, that typical Rabbit feeling like my shoes were filled with lead.
I started reading The Sportswriter, or I should say the sample, and while it is flowing smoothly so far it seems to be a terrifyingly long book. The font is small and those usual 6% the Kindle sample consists of just don't want to end.

I won't go for the short stories, I usually find those difficult to read and often also to process, and the du Maurier short stories will be enough for me. "The Birds" were enough for me tbh and scared me more than the Hitchcock movie ever did.

Okay, I'll read sample of both The City and the City and Perdido Street Station. I tend to TCatC simply because it's a stand-alone.




The only resemblance to Rabbit is that Frank is 'your regular American guy' struggling along trying to get some meaning out of life while behaving decently towards his family etc. --except, of course, that he isn't really, 'a regular guy' since he is an individual. We don't think of ourselves in these generic terms. Rabbit was repulsive to me, really. Not to go to far into it, Updike the real person was a couple of years older than my own Dad and they attended the same college, both the type that were considered uber-super-brilliant. Being of the same generation they had many similar problems, among them drinking a lot, womanizing, carelessly having a lot of children then neglecting them (while pretending to be benign paternal figures-- which they were anything but!) and being totally self-absorbed - as if that was their birthright (which they were brought up to think it was, actually.).

Frank is truly a thoughtful, observant, humorous and empathic person - - more and more so as he grows up and grows older. He is probably at his worst in The Sportswriter. You can't enlarge the nasty print.



>176 sibylline: Having grown up in a split-up country where talk about a possible re-unification was not forbidden but would get you categorized as dreamer or commie-friend, I can't help feeling a bit at home in the fascinating setting. And I wonder if I ever read a science sci-fi. Would Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep fall into that category or is it also dystopic?

>175 sibylline: And thank you so much for clarifying the Rabbit-Frank non-similarities. I feel so much better now about Frank. I don't know if Rabbit is like Updike, but he doesn't remind me of anyone I know. If he were an active womanizer he might at least be easier to read. His passivity enrages me. he lets himself being seduced by the next best woman, is fine with his wife's cheating as long as it doesn't bring further trouble, lets whoever wants move into his house and use drugs there without considering the kid, drinks and smokes what's offered him..

Usually the fonts on my old Kindle all have the same size, just in some rare cases it's smaller and that usually means I can't trust the page numbers and the book is longer than expected.
Yes, I can enlargee it of course, but then I always have to change it when I switch books. Or I'd get used to the larger font in the other books and my eyes become lazy.


#177 I'm halfway through Rabbit is rich (just trying to finish of the set) and he is as infuriating as ever. I agree - it's the passivity. Gah! Reading it in small sections.

I was planning on reading Ford's Independence Day - now it looks like I should read The Sportswriter first.


Glad to see you are3 home and taking things easy, Nathalie!

>166 Deern: - Un Lun Dun is a stand alone novel and a rahter quick reading YA novel. Mieville doesn't seem to like being confined to a genre/ story structure so any book you read will only give you a glimpse into his writings. I enjoyed Un Lun Dun but expect the target audience to be teenagers/YA.

I plan on reading The City & The City for the March BAC. Perdido Street Station remains my favorite Mieville read to date, although I can recommend his short story collection, Looking for Jake, a short story collection that is, IMO, the perfect vehicle to dip into Mieville's works.


>178 BekkaJo: Reading Rabbit I feel like I'm ageing page by page. Which I am of course, but other books don't make me feel it.

>179 lkernagh: Hi Lori and Happy Sunday.
The City & The City so far reads really well. I avoided it for 1.5 now because otherwise I sure would have finished it off yesterday, it's quite the page-turner.

Rushing through my du Maurier now that March has started. Want it finished and soon. It's not bad, on the contrary, but once again it shows me short stories are not for me - unless they're classical murder mystery, Stephen Kingish horror or by Stefan Zweig. "The Birds" almost classifies as horror and I enjoyed it a lot. But all the other ones are of that creepy make-you-feel-uncomfortable type where I feel I need a long rest after each one instead of directly diving into the next one.

Strange weather here. It has been chilly and stormy all week with snow coming down to the next village above Merano. Yesterday I went grocery shopping around 9:30 am and because for once the sun was out I didn't wear a cap. It's 3 minutes to the shops and I was frozen through. So I delayed my planned walk into the early afternoon and when I went out in down jacket, with cap and scarf it had really heated up. There were even people without jacket in T-shirts and every second one was holding an ice cream cone. Today it's misty and looks cold again. No wonder everyone is catching colds now, you have no chance to be dressed right.

Not yet sure what to do with the day. Either going to the Bolzano shopping center to look for one of those cheap small non-fancy notebooks. Or if the weather improves walking into town again maybe to have lunch there. Must cook my carrot soup today and prepare salad and fruits for the next two days. Did no real cooking last week because I had such a craving for fresh things, so it was all smoothies, salads and fruit salad with yogurt. And some cake of course, but not much. The sugar-free hospital diet has thankfully readjusted my taste buds to a lower level for sweetness.

The hospital food has been quite good - coffee with milk, bread roll with honey and a yogurt for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner always 3 "courses" - soup or pasta or risotto, then "protein" (cheese for vegetarians) with up to 3 side dishes - always a salad and often two fresh vegetable dishes or one and potato mash - and either a fresh or steamed fruit for dessert. Of course always only lightly salted and quite fat-free except for the cheeses. No catering as everywhere in Germany, they have their own kitchen. My favorite foods were the gnocchi alla romana (made of semolina, in a tomato sauce), the veggie pizza and the rice pudding (which came as a "primo", i.e. starter, not as a dessert).


Nathalie, I am so glad for you that your surgery is a thing of the past. It is interesting reading about your longish hospital stay because here in the U.S. the hospitals tend to rush people out before they are ready. Also, as far as I know, we don't have health inspectors checking up on stay-at-home sick people. Thank you for your in-depth reports. I'm glad you had a first roommate that you could relate to and some other visitors who made the time pass fairly quickly. But home is best, right?

Oh, and thank you for your comments on the Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant graphic memoir. It seems like we had similar thoughts about it. Definitely not a book of humor. I was thinking of skipping a book by China Mieville this month. Good to know that you are enjoying The City & the City. If I have time, I'll take a look at it. So far I've been a completist in both Paul's and Mark's challenges.



It is implied that 'the city' is somewhere in Eastern Europe, in fact . . .

I've always thought of Rabbit as Updike's alter ego, a person he might have been if he hadn't been quite as smart or ambitious or competitive academically (as opposed to having been a basketball star locally) than he was. As if Rabbit was someone existing deep inside him, someone he even feared he was, in actuality. That's just my interpretation though, have no idea what validity it has.

I thought you were home! Tomorrow?



>181 Donna828: Hi Donna, thanks for visiting. Yes, home is best - no arguing about that! Okay, holidays are nice as well. :)
I thought about skipping Mieville too, but yes - it's that completist thing. That's why I took the ANZAC challenge and the Bingo off my challenge list again, too much self-made pressure.

>182 lunacat: Thanks for the recommendation. Maybe when I'm done with my other reads, and then I'll check if my library has it in translation. Those Mievilles aren't cheap for Kindle.

>183 sibylline: Aaahh, so Rabbit is Updike's weaker self. That's an interesting idea and a thought I can follow quite well. I should write a book about even more passive and undecided Nathalie and add sequels every 10 years!

Err. I am home. I guess I used some wrong form of past tense somewhere. Today (Monday) I'll get the final results and then can hopefully tackle the next step in my 2015 life challenges. :)

>184 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel! I went to the shopping center and realized I had forgotten about the Italian keyboards. I am typing on German ones at work and on my old notebook at home and on my smartphone (QWERTZUIOPÜ is our first row) and the Italians use a QWERTYU type similar to US/UK. So I'll have to order one from Germany or buy it on my next visit. They're cheaper there anyway.

I decided against the soup and instead just separately steamed all the veggies I had at home (carrots, fennel, broccoli), boiled a big pot of rice and prepared various toppings for it. Cut fruit for the next 2 days (pineapple, orange) and prepared salad and a jug of smoothie. So now I just have to toss together what I feel like eating.

Back from the shopping mall I had a great lunch with my friend Susi, and we sat in the restaurant chatting until 4:30pm when we realized we were the last guests. We ordered dessert and they gave us pre-dessert (chocolate mousse) and post-dessert (chocolate truffels) as well, so I was quite over-sugared when I came home which explains the fruit and veggie frenzy that followed.


I should have reviewed those together with the other three a week ago. Almost all names are gone.

Looking at the reviews I was surprised that it’s such a favorite, but I guess I just chose the wrong format. I didn’t see the movie, and the paper copy at least would have given me the illustrations everyone raves about. Instead I got a mediocre audio performance with useless sound effects. How does it help the story if you hear the same train station background noise or sound of steps again and again? I got it, Hugo lives in a station, and the old man can’t stand the sound of steps. The narrator tries to use different voices, but always falls back to his normal tone after a couple of words, so in a dialogue I had to really concentrate to get an idea of who was speaking now.

With the book being reduced to plot and nothing else, I thought it wasn’t a very fascinating story. It had its moments, but then the author kept using unnecessary elements that I as an adult reader found just annoying, for example the endless bantering between Hugo and the girl, the constant running away instead of talking, etc. Hugo, as far as I got it, had quite a normal life until recently. So there should have been enough basis for normal social behavior, but he reacts like a kid that has lived in hiding all his life and never learned to trust others. Then the language also has those elements that felt like taken from a phrase box – “their eyes locked” is something I’ve read quite often in fan fiction during my post-Harry-Potter mourning phase, and that’s just the one example that stayed with me over 2 weeks. I was waiting for some blushing and lip biting, but thankfully that didn’t come.

I rate with 3 stars because I believe I would have liked the real book better. Should I see it in my library I'll give it another chance.


24. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (1,001 #392/355 )

I liked this book very much while I was reading it, and then it stayed with me not longer than a day. It just fell off, and that’s why I decided to wait a bit longer with the review to see if it would come back, but it didn't. On the day I read it I would have rated it with 4.2, now on retrospect it gets just 3.8 stars. It reminded me very much of Everything is Illuminated, only the artistic play with fonts was missing. When I read the reviews after finishing it I smiled when I saw that Krauss is married to JSF. Is that really true?

I must say it took me a while to connect all the threads which is what makes such books so compelling – you get those 2, 3, 4 different voices and wonder how they will connect and if you’ll find it out before the author in the end explains it. That part was well done imo. But the book that’s in the center, the “History of Love”, didn’t work for me. If you write a creative novel about a creative novel, then those excerpts of the book you present must stand out from the rest. Here the frame and the book within were too similar and the “History of Love” couldn’t shine as it should have.
I should add: beautiful language!


25. Holy Cow by David Duchovny

Davis Duchovny’s real voice sounds like I always thought it would and fits his character in the X-Files very well. As a narrator for children’s books however? For me he sounded a bit too cynical for that.

I selected this book from the comedy corner at audible and the plot sounded like fun for vegetarians: the cow Elsie finds out where her mum and all the other cows go one day. She decides to escape to India where cows are sacred. She’s soon joined by a pig that wants to be Jewish and to emigrate to Israel (where pigs are “feared”) and a turkey that wants to go to Turkey because it believes to be safe in a country that’s named after his race. So after some planning the three set out to their big adventure and thanks to a booking mistake end up in all 3 places together.

Strangely enough I didn’t mind at all that the turkey owns and uses a smartphone to book the flights or that the pig gets circumcised in the Jewish quarter of the next town as preparation for Israel or that the cow is able to use the loo in the plane. Or that they start a new peace process in the Middle East just because Jews and Muslims unite in their dislike of pork meat or that they go on a mushroom drug trip in India.

I did mind however that the cow that just grew out of calf age, is milked daily without having given birth yet. She’s just starting getting interested in the bulls, but is milked daily? Wow, holy cow indeed! If you want to turn kids into vegetarians, please at least stay with the facts in that part of the story. Leaving out the milking wouldn’t have changed the story at all. He could have written “the mother cows are milked” without changing anything else in the story. But!
Then kids of course would ask “if we can’t have milk without the calves, then what happens to the male ones” and parents would have to answer that of course those are killed for their meat sooner or later and then the kid might stay off the milk as well and Elsie’s unsubtle advertisements for the dairy industry (“cow’s milk is by far the best” or “since when can you milk an almond or a soy bean?”) would have been useless. I saw a clear intention there and that went against me. *

While this is advertised as children’s book, it should only be given or read to vegetarian children of vegetarian parents. Otherwise the screaming and arguing over the next meal is inevitable. Then there are so many adult jokes in there that I guess Duchovny was aiming more at grown ups than at the kids as readers. But then again for adults who are not in hospital with a muddy brain the story is way too silly. So the result is a strange mix with a too-obvious – yes I am saying it – dairy agenda.

Something about dairy that might be unpleasant to read, so I put it into spoiler tags.

*it is a fact that many people don’t know that
1. a cow needs to calve to produce milk like all mammals
2. she needs to calve again and again and again to keep producing milk, so most of the time we drink milk of pregnant cows or of cows that had their last calf taken away far too early.

I didn’t even know that last thing until recently, and I had it confirmed here in the dairy. Okay, I thought they’d have to calve more than once, maybe every 3 years or so, but that the constant milking would keep them producing for a long while, like training. Doesn’t. The quantity goes way down, so they are impregnated too often and are under constant stress. The ones here at least have mountain pastures (because their job is also to attract tourists, so they also keep the cute calves far longer), but elsewhere?
I still eat milk products, but almost exclusively "ours" and far less than before.


Checking in here late, Nathalie, but I am very happy to hear that your surgery went well! I hope you are completely healed ASAP.

>188 Deern: I never do dairy as I am a vegan, but I did not know about #2 of your spoiler either.


I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick last year and there are pages and pages of just illustration so I would say that you have probably missed the whole point of the book by listening to the audio. I don't understand why they make audio versions of such books, it's the equivalent of an audio of a graphic novel. I hope you get to see the real thing one day.

I also saw some similarities with Everything is illuminated (by the way they are now separated!), but really loved this book. I liked Foer's book but it was a harder read, love love the movie.



>189 alcottacre: Hi Stasia and thank you! :)
Wow, I didn't know you were vegan. Do you also avoid leather, wool, etc and is your family vegan as well?
I grew up in a small village and still didn't know about #2. But when I first heard about it last year I asked my dad (who's been in the dairy business for over 40 years) and he confirmed it. Of course it hasn't always been so extreme. Now that the milk quotas in the EU have been abolished, I fear that the situation will even get worse.

>190 avatiakh: Thanks for the information Kerry. I'll definitely look for it in my library, I imagine it makes all the difference. The text doesn't even describe the automaton well.
Still haven't seen the movie of Everything is Illuminated although I own it (incredible. isn't it? But the book hit me quite hard despite ist Beauty so I am scared of the movie).

>191 scaifea: Hi Amber! They probably thought that the repeated sounds of steps and trains would make up for it.

Got my result - it's all good! I am so relieved!! :))
The last band-aids are off, I can iron again and I'm happy about it!


With all the others - Hugo Cabret is nothing without the illustrations. How very very odd to make an audio version, frankly.




Huzzah from me too! Glad everything came back clear.

though seriously, ironing? Nope. Read The City & the City instead :)




Hi Lucy, Jenny, Laura, Bekka, Julia, Peggy and thank you for being happy with me!! :)
That I'm allowed to iron doesn't mean I'll do it now at once. didn't wear many clothes that need ironing lately, my comfy hospital and couch things are just folded and put in the wardrobe. And thanks to my high sugar intake in the last weeks, most other clothes nicely stretch out when I'm wearing them. :)

Working on changing that - yesterday had green smoothie, rice with beetroot and apple and rice with broccoli and fennel. No cake or chocolate cravings, yay! And back to yoga class tomorrow.

Still didn't finish any books this month - and that with only 5% of my du Maurier left. This year everyone has been reading so much in the first two months that I feel quite behind with my 25 books. I fear I won't even get to 10 in March.


26. The Birds and other Stories by Daphne du Maurier (BAC 2015)
This was quite a mixed bag. Some stories were great, some disappointing. I have a general problem with short stories that don’t fall into the easy Stephen Kingish horror genre or the light mystery one (Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes). They are simply too intense for me, I can take that in novel form, but not in those small concentrated doses, especially when I’m set to read the whole book for a challenge like in this case. An exception to the rule is Stefan Zweig whose short stories or novellas I prefer over his novels and where the atmosphere adds something unreal and dreamlike that makes me feel the intensity and draws me in without repelling me. And Kafka’s of course.

This book contains 6 stories in my edition and starts out with the strongest one, “The Birds” , which is the basis of the famous Hitchcock movie. You know the plot: for no explainable reason all kinds of birds assemble wherever humans live (not just on the small island where the story is set). And without any warning they start attacking people. I found it even more creepy and scary and claustrophobic than the movie and I didn’t mind the missing romance at all.

“Monte Verità” had something juvenile for me and I stayed completely distanced from the quite long and mysterious plot about a hidden cult of women in the Alps that calls beautiful young girls behind its monastery walls never to be seen again.

“The Apple Tree” creeped me out in typical short story manner until its predictable ending. Had it ended differently it would be a favorite next to “The Birds”. A good ewww in any case!

“The Little Photographer” was predictable as well and creepy on a different level. It wasn't bad but I hated reading it and wouldn’t read it again unless someone payed me for it. A bad ewww here.

“Kiss Me Again, Stranger” again took a direction I know from Stephen King short stories. Mysterious, chilling, with a different ending than I had expected although there were hints (you can think either supernatural or practical while reading the story, and I just decided for the wrong path).

The last one, “The Old Man” , is very short, taking up only 5% of the book’s length and the whole mystery is explained in the last paragraph which lets the whole story implode. I guess it was du Maurier’s take on humor?


27. Die Welt Verändern by David Bornstein

The original title of this book is How To Change The World – Social Entrepreneurs And The Power Of New Ideas. It took me 6 weeks to get through its 380 pages although the stories told in the book are fascinating and incredibly inspiring and encouraging. The problem is the writing. I don’t know about the English original, but I guess this is one of the cases where translation had to be done quickly, couldn’t cost much and then the publishers wondered why the book didn’t sell well. It sounds like a bad 1:1 translation of English into German and while my brain has no issues processing English texts, it gets stuck when the German sounds wrong. Often it is simply the order – if you have a relative clause, the German often sounds much better if you reverse the order of the elements. Reading this was like stumbling along a road with very uneven cobblestones and that annoyed me because the content was so good.

Basically the book tells several stories of people who succeeded in getting things changed for the better and on big scale, having started with very small initiatives. For example by getting electricity into remote villages in Brazil so the inhabitants have a chance to make a living there instead of moving into the favelas of the next big city by implementing a cost-free help line for street kids in India by encouraging governments to vaccinate 80% of their young population against various diseases by helping US kids with a non-academic social background to apply successfully for college by providing post-hospital care for children of poor families in Brazil by offering disabled young people homes and jobs in post-communism Hungary. In between the stories there are short insertions dealing with the question what makes a person turn into a social entrepreneur – background, characteristics, triggers.

The initiatives are a selection of those supported by the so far unknown to me society Ashoka, founded by the US American Bill Drayton. They get financial and practical help over a certain period and their leaders become “fellows” of Ashoka. Ashoka’s objective is to identify potential social entrepreneurs in all parts of the world and helping them to make their ideas work on a big scale. They also try to identify “patterns” and to spread those to awaken the “hidden SE in people who might not be aware of their potential” and to build pools for constructive international co-operation.
A very rewarding book and I wish it were less difficult to read.


Hi Nath! So good to hear the result are good! You must be very happy! And I'm too for you!

I have been meaning to ask you something: Do you know the meaning of the word Deern in Dutch?


>199 Deern: I am having a slow reading year for me as well, Nathalie — I've only read 20 books so far. It's a little worrisome but I've decided to just let it go. The positive thing is that most of the books I've read have been above average.

>200 Deern: That's the du Maurier I am planning to read this month, so I'm really pleased to see your high marks!


>202 connie53: Hi Connie and thank you! Deern in north german dialect (plattdütsch) means girl, but it's not really limited to a certain age. So I thought something similar in Dutch? Checked 2 online dictionaries now that only know deel. Not a good sign, it must mean something unmentionable :(
I always thought I'd move to the north sea coast one day, so the name has something nostalgic. It's been many years now since my last holiday there..

>203 rosalita: Not long ago 25 or 20 books in 2 months would have been fantastic, but this year I got the impression everyone else is reading so fast and I am way behind. maybe the extra strong winter that keeps people inside?

I hope you enjoy the short stories! :)


Belatedly, belatedly. Am so glad all went well and you are home again and recuperating well. As far as talking about anxieties and fears, please do so!! A friend of mine was just released after two weeks in hospital for tests. His cardiac care team raised the prospect of a heart transplant, and he shut them down. He blew up at me -- I mean really hit the roof -- when I tried to ask for details, and tried to empathize. I understand his fear, but it's very, very hard to be supportive when you can't communicate honestly with someone about what is that they are experiencing.

I certainly am reading a lot more this winter because I'm turning into a hermit. I even think that my muscles are atrophying a bit because I am getting out less! Walking has become physically difficult, because people are doing such a bad job of keeping their sidewalks clear, and since I sprained my hip in early December, I have problems walking on uneven (ice, snow covered) surfaces. No fun.

Waugh: I enjoy him unevenly. Just finished Helena, which I really liked. Re Richard Ford, I had a ho-hum reaction to both Canada and Independence Day, and struggle to get past the fact that he fired a bullet into a copy of a book written by a critical reviewer, and sent it to her. But that's just me!

Isn't it amazing how a narrator can make or break an audiobook??


>205 Chatterbox: Hi Suzanne - and thank you so much! I remember how long it took me to admit to myself that I was scared of the possibility of being ill. The surgery was one thing, but the possible negative result and the pressure to manage perfectly in any case was different. I wasn't aggressive, but I kept that happy "everything is fine and if not I'll manage greatly" face and as soon as the door closed behind me I stuffed myself with bread and cookies because despite all walks and breathing exercises and hot baths that was the only way to keep the anxiety down.

I checked some old threads this morning and getting to 25 within February is my second best result so far. So at least I'm not reading any slower, the others are just reading faster this year.

Of course it's essential that sidewalks should be as snow/ice free as possible. Where I come from we never had much snow but in recent years it has increased a lot and my parents and all their neighbors aren't getting any younger. So the few times I've been there when it was snowing I realized how hard it can become. If at least there was some service available (and if offered by neighborhood kids) that older people or those who are working all day could pay.. Last time I remember one family was on holiday, another neighbor was ill and my dad and I shovelled snow on three sidewalks again and again and again.. And if I hadn't been there and he had been at work, no-one would have done it.

Oh - did he (RF) really do that?? I just started liking his writing. :(

It's difficult for me to judge audio books. The narrator has such a big part in it and then in books without much dialogue and with long descriptive parts, often with beautiful language I tend to lose attention. That might be a (foreign) language issue. I got that Thomas Hardy book read by Alan Rickman a while ago (the title has just left my memory). Of course Rickman's voice is wonderful, but I absolutely can't follow the plot. Maybe another day.



>192 Deern: I am the only vegan in the family (although I am working on Beth.) I typically do not use any animal products at all. There are just too many alternative solutions these days to have the need to do so.

Glad to hear that you are recovered from the surgery!


Nathalie, I wish you a lovely weekend.


Good to see that your procedure appears to have been successful.

Wishing you a lovely weekend on a smooth road to recovery. xx





>208 alcottacre: Sadly not yet too many nice alternative solutions here, though it's getting better. Merano got both a small vegan shop with a very limited selection of products and a restaurant last year. And once a year there's a yoga festival and many restaurant then offer vegan food - usually tofu steak with 2 vegs, because that's what we eat. :)

>209 Ameise1: Those flowers are incredibly lovely - thank you so much, Barbara! A very happy week for you!

>210 PaulCranswick: Thank you and lovely week for you, Paul!

>211 LizzieD: If my March continues this way, I'll be at 28. :/

>213 The_Hibernator: Thank you Rachel - until I read your post the title hadn't come back to me. I really believe the anaesthesia killed some of my Memory.

I’m sorry I have been off LT for 4 or 5 days and I can’t say yet when I’ll catch up on threads again, they seem to move faster this month. My brain feels tired because I am again substituting for the receptionist/secretary who’s on holiday for 2 weeks. Together with the other tasks I took over from colleagues, this work keeps me so busy that I fall out of the office door after 11hrs just ready to drop on the couch, quite unable to process any challenging English novel reading or thread posting anymore.

Then I had a strange confused weekend that culminated in watching all 5 episodes of “Twilight” on Sky (where they have been running non-stop for 2 days on a special channel). I never read any of the books and watched only some minutes of what I now realized was “New Moon” on TV before. I fast forwarded all the action scenes and most of the "but we have to keep Bella safe" arguments, but still it was many, many hours of questionable material.

The thing is that I’m feeling quite overwhelmed with my situation now. There are just too many possibilities in theory while at the same time, let’s face it, I’m 44. So my brain ran into a kind of tilt over the weekend when I tried to figure out if I should I quit my job at once and move away or try to find a new footing here in Merano. When I arrived at the usual point where I feel like the most useless life form on Earth, I tried to numb my mind by watching those movies (yes, that quite verified the theory of uselessness) and they didn’t help at all because in that graduation speech they talk about how “now” (i.e. post-grad aged 18) was the time for trying out new things and making mistakes, and I thought “hey, great – here I am, 44 years old, and in my mind in the same place as those teenagers, while my body is steering towards retirement age.”

So this morning after quite a sleepless night (and yes, reruns of Twilight and New Moon in the background) I thought it’s time to get started. Unless something super interesting comes my way and requires a relocation I should try to find my way right here where I am.

I've lately been working on a powerpoint (seriously) for a project in my head I call “NOI!” (we/us). It’s not a realistic project, it’s more a collection of my values, the beliefs I have and/or want to integrate into my lifestyle, things I see around me that could be improved, prioritizing them and taking a closer look at those where I might have a realistic chance to do something. Yes, typically ex project manager – doing the gap analysis wherever I am… 

So today I went through that ppt and did two more things: I finally arranged an appointment with Caritas for next Monday to apply for volunteer work. I want to explain my situation and I trust they will put me into a project that fits someone without experience. It's certainly not in their interest to scare me off within 5 minutes.

And I asked my landlady if I could join her meditation group that meets every Tuesday night. Not planning to become a Buddhist, but there are some really inspiring people there who try to move things. The most extreme case being an Italian doctor whose daughter was killed aged 17 and who found a new sense in life by supporting a community in a remote Indian village where he travels every year with medical equipment and schooling materials. So far I have always been scared I’d get indoctrinated with too much Buddhist theory when I’m not looking for a new religion, but was assured that the meditation is done during the first part of the meetings and the “free thinkers” can leave when the teachings start. I don't know yet if I'll be able to get along with all those people, some are very spiritual, but I can at least try.

Of course that isn’t much yet, but it’s first steps and they might open new doors.


#214 Sometimes the brain just needs to watch mush/be mushed.

Sounds like you are being brave and taking all the right steps. It's one thing most of us know, that we need to take steps. I do think you are brave because you are trying to take them. I realised recently that I was completely sabotaging myself in one particular area of my life and I thought how brave you were about facing up to things. Can't say I can do it yet, but I guess realisation is a step forward, right?

Fingers always crossed for you my dear.


Agree about the need for time out from any serious thinking. The unconscious chews on those important things whether your surface mind is paying attention or not anyway, so you might as well let it work free of interference!

Back to add that a very well-regarded book here in the US about finding the right job for you is called What Color is Your Parachute?. Have you used that? There is an extensive review first thing here on LT under the version of the title that has around 2,700ish people who list it. (There seem to be several versions of the same book listed with tiny differences).



Thank you for your comments! Still no real LTing, worked extra long yesterday and tonight is my yoga class. I hope to be back next weekend. At least I finished my third book for this month, The Sportswriter, which worked quite well as a mirror in some parts although I felt let down by the ending.

>215 BekkaJo: Thanks for the understanding! :)
I really don't get it why I am so often my main obstacle. the moment I sit down and consider what could happen in the worst case I don't even find an answer, at least none that would be worse than the actual situation. I am trying to switch my focus from "I have to change things and I mustmustmust(. ) succeed" to "I am happy to be in a situation where I can try new things without much of a risk".

>216 sibylline: Thank you, sample is on my Kindle already!
Yes, that's what I thought - if the surface is distracted with something undemanding, the unconscious might work on in the background, unnoticed by the fear manager, and come up with a good solution.

>217 LizzieD: Of course I can't know yet where this is getting me. But when I look at the "safe" and easy/comfy options (like accepting the lower salary to keep the job and adapting my lifestyle to it), I feel completely unhappy. The mind just throws in a dose of fear that doesn't have a realistic basis. I have to convince it that by clinging to "safety" I just can't win.
Err thank you but I wouldn't post a pic right now. :)) As usual when I'm stuck in my life and need to take a decision (as happens every couple of years), my body slows down as well and collects additional weight although I successfully cut the sugar after hospital. Not really worried because I know it will drop as quickly as it is now assembling once I get things moving again, but definitely not happy with my looks.

Something completely different: my parents called me twice in the office yesterday while they were decluttering the attic (the roof has to be renewed). The attic is filled with all my old things they kept "for the grandchildren" that never came. So they called me to get my okay to throw away loads of things. The first call was like "Do you want us to keep that doll in the pram that wears your old romper/the red-haired one?/the one that cries and pees?". what did they think - I'd say yes and put them on my Merano couch? (not to mention that they are too rotten to be donated to a hospital). But it brought back some memories. :))
Sadly they didn't mention my cuddly toys. they must all have been eaten by moths decades ago. When they called again they had found my lullaby musical box and it still worked - I was in tears! We talked again late in the evening and they told me they had set aside all the Enid Blytons. Feel like rereading all those Dolly books, that should easily get me to 75!




>219 Carmenere: Hi Lynda, thanks for visiting and sending hugs - hugging you happily back! :)

>220 LizzieD: Hi Peggy! Feeling much better and more rested finally and I finished two books, yay!


This was a quiet and mostly surprisingly enjoyable book, although at the end I wasn’t really sure what I had been reading or what the conclusion should be. It has sequels, so I guess I should just see it as a snap-shot in the life of a divorced man in his late thirties, set in the 1980s(?), and I’ll get more and later snap-shots in the following books.

The book had its intense moments when I felt the protagonist had strong narcissistic tendencies (as so many characters in modern novels have) and was on the edge of real depression. I was reminded of Ripley in The Talented Mr Ripley who got into his roleplay with complete ease and suddenly started feeling insecure and just wanted to escape (for example the lunch with the Greenleaves early in the book compared to Franks lunch with Vicky’s family here). But then when it came to the main (unsurprising) crisis in that Easter weekend from hell that had started so promising and peaceful, his reaction was surprisingly flat and detached where I had expected an outbreak of some kind and it all petered out to a lukewarm ending that didn’t really fit.

It was interesting for me to see that Frank clearly wasn’t perceived by others the way he described himself in all those strange situations and that as a result they reacted to him totally differently from his expectations. That gap wasn’t visible in the beginning but grew continuously and Frank lost the readers like he lost the connection to the people around him – I thought that was done very well by the author.


It might be surprising that it took me so long to get through this book after I’d declared it a page-turner weeks ago and had feared I’d finish it before March. Well – those page-turners are attention-seekers, and they can only do their magic if you’re able to give them the time they need. So if you’re on a busy schedule, you might be able to squeeze in 2 pages of a slow book like the Ford here and there without losing the connection to the story, but 2 pages of a Mieville just won’t do. So I finally made it through a nice big chunk of it last weekend at the hairdresser’s and later during my restaurant lunch, and I read the rest on Sunday night.

I enjoyed this book very much and am sure it wasn’t my last Mieville. I really liked the idea of the two cities axisting next to each other and the cross-hatched streets and buildings, and the first two parts set in Beszel and Ul Quoma were just great, the ending of part II was perfect. And then I thought the Breach part could only get better, but it didn’t. That’s where the story got confusing and somewhat tattered – too many interests involved, the revelation was a sad one and the culprit was the one I had suspected early on. The coda then made perfect sense again.


I had to stay off LT (and novels) for another couple of days to give my mind the space and time it needed to relax a bit and to concentrate on the future in a positive way.

Last week, as I said earlier, was just really exhausting, and I was too tired to sleep enough during the weekend, I still felt like a zombie. So I took Monday afternoon off (I had that meeting with the Caritas at 3pm anyway) and when I returned home around 05:30 pm, I sat on the couch and fell asleep instantly. Woke up shortly after midnight, changed into bed and slept till the alarm went off at 6am on Tuesday morning. 12 solid hours of sleep, almost embarrassing!

The ideas in my head are still quite confusing, but the core becomes clearer. I also have plans for the next days and hope to be able to meet some new and interesting people. Networking seems to be everything in this place… Tomorrow I’ll go to an English guided tour with wine tasting in one of the numerous castles with my friend Karin from Zuerich. Then if possible I’ll go to the library where they are doing an evening of poetry by Italian female writers combined with classical tango music. On Friday I’ll go to a special meditation event followed by a vegetarian dinner at some place near Bolzano, together with my landlady Chrystle and Floh the dog.

My meeting with the Caritas re. volunteer work was okay. I had hoped for a bit more real advice, but we agreed that I should try to get something in an old people’s home quite close to my house if possible or (my preferred option) something at the asylum-seekers’ home. Main problem in both cases is that I work full-time, and it seems to be difficult to do regular volunteering in the weekends, because I’d always need a supervisor. The Caritas woman however invited me to a regular cooking event she organizes once a month for women “from everywhere”, locals and foreigners, and I can also participate in the organization of a cross-culture event in May with music and a big international buffet. That sounds quite fun and goes so well with that ¼-formed idea I have in my head.

The 50 Best Things to Eat in NYC Before You Die

Of course, New York City is known for the flamboyant Times Square, unforgettable skyline and a massive array of shops, museums, and more.

But what I care about even more is the food – and trust me it’s all to die for. Since there are so many options, you’ve got to prioritize, so make sure you try these 50 most quintessential NYC eats ASAP.

1. Porterhouse from Peter Luger Steakhouse

Peter Luger has got this down pat. Not a fan of porterhouse? Find the beef for you.

2. The Classic from Di Fara Pizza

Classic taken up a notch. A brilliant mix of tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, sausage, peppers and onions, topped with drizzled olive oil and basil leaves. Wonder just how much NY loves pizza? Watch this video.

3. Pork Bun from Momofuku Noodle Bar

Momofuku Noodle Bar’s absolute specialty – cooked deliciously for the past 10 years. Finish your meal up with a classic Momofuku dessert, made in your very own microwave of course.

4. Chicken Over Rice from The Halal Guys

Who wouldn’t want cheap street food that’ll be bound to give you a foodgasm? A brilliant NYC delicacy. Hear more about Halal Guys and their road to success here.

5. The Classic from Russ and Daughters

Because who doesn’t like a good bagel with lox? The beautiful set up makes the meal even heartier. Make your own breakfast sliders when you’re missing this bagel.

6. Cronut ® from Dominique Ansel Bakery

Voted as one of the 󈬉 best inventions” of 2013, this pastry is fried, sugared, filled and glazed. Brilliant, right? Good luck trying to make your own.

7. Mexican-Style Corn from Cafe Habana

Cafe Habana knows how to step up corn’s game. They slather grilled corn in a creamy concoction and sprinkle it with cayenne pepper, roll it in cojita cheese and drizzle with lime juice to complete the masterpiece. We know your corn won’t be as delish, but here are some easy ways to try to perfect your corn on the cob.

8. Recession Special from Gray’s Papaya

$6. 2 hotdogs. 1 drink. Now that’s a deal if I’ve ever seen one. Up your hot dog game by making it into a pizza.

9. Soft Pretzel from any Hot Dog Cart

You wouldn’t be truly experiencing New York if you didn’t buy a pretzel from a hot dog cart on the side of basically any street. Have some fun with your pretzels, too.

10. Black and White cookie from Glaser’s Bake Shop

Eating a black and white cookie is iconic and necessary. You wouldn’t truly be experiencing NYC without it.

11. Cheesecake from Junior’s

With options from red velvet to pineapple, Junior’s cheesecake is a NYC must. Try one-upping Junior’s (and failing) with this strawberry glazed cheesecake.

12. Bistro Burger from Corner Bistro

Crispy bacon, warm, melted cheddar cheese on a medium rare burger. What more could anyone want? If you’re a vegetarian, try making this black bean burger.

13. Bagel from any of these Bagel Shops

Of course a bagel is an essential at any location, but New York knows best. We’ve got the scoop on New York’s bagel secret. Get it here.

14. Spicy Ramen at Totto Ramen

Ramen perfection for under $15 dollars? Sounds good to me. Get the ramen hacks you need here.

15. Chocolate Babka from Breads Bakery

Rated “Best of NY chocolate babka” by New York Magazine, this NYC delicacy is a must-eat. Eat it alongside your coffee, for dessert, or even for lunch. If you want more chocolate babka in your life, try making this French toast.

16. Shack Burger from Shake Shack

Since Shake Shack was created in our very own NYC, it’d be wrong not to say their classic burger isn’t a necessity on your NYC food bucket list.

17. Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie from Levain Bakery

It’s not a trend if you’re not in on it. Don’t worry, some fellow Spoonies taste-tested Levain’s cookies and we all agree that the chocolate chip walnut is hands down #1.

18. Waffle from Wafels and Dinges

Pimp your waffle up any way you like at Wafels and Dinges. This is a guaranteed foodstagram. For all you waffle lovers, here’s proof that waffles aren’t just for breakfast. You’re welcome.

19. Grilled Cheese Dumplings from Beauty & Essex

A truly sensual experience. Cheesy, bacon-y, tomato soup paradise all in one beautiful bite. After devouring these savory dumplings, make some sweet ones.

20. The Ramen Burger from Smorgasburg

If you haven’t been to Smorgasburg, all I can say is GO. Foodie paradise. The long line for the Ramen burger is well worth it and all of your Instagram followers will be drooling with jealousy. Here are some tips so that your Smorgasburg adventures are successful as can be.

21. The Salty Pimp from Big Gay Ice Cream

Just as pimpy as it sounds. Brace yourselves for the dulce de leche surprise underneath that crispy chocolate layer.

22. Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3

Nothing more New York than this. Chocolate lovers unite.

23. Cereal Milk from Momofuku Milk Bar

Get the sprinkles for a guaranteed 100+ likes. Make sure you eat until you get to the bottom because there’s a cereal surprise.

24. Pastrami Sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen

Pastrami and New York go together like Tom and Jerry. The line might be intimidating, but you haven’t lived before you’ve eaten this legendary sandwich.

25. Milk and Cookie Shots from Dominique Ansel Bakery

Who needs vodka when we’ve got milk and cookies? Dominique Ansel gets us foodies. And afterward, try making your own.

26. Pierogi from Veselka

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Veselka has got some kind of mouthwatering pierogi to satisfy your cravings. Get your dumpling knowledge on here – a pierogi and a jiaozi are very different, so don’t screw it up.

27. French Toast Bagels with Cake Batter Cream Cheese from Tompkin’s Square Bagels

As sweet as it sounds. Prepare yourself for a sugar high. You can make your own Insta-worthy bagels too – here’s how.

28. Donuts from Doughnut Plant

There can never be too many donuts. Try at least one of every kind. Although they won’t compare, try making your own homemade donuts.

29. Hot Chocolate from City Bakery

Tastes as beautiful, rich and chocolatey as it looks. Make sure you get your hot chocolate fix with these hearty recipes.

30. Fried Chicken from Amy Ruth’s

Fried chicken should be an essential food group in each and every one of our lives. You’ll devour this in seconds. If you needed further proof that fried chicken is the best chicken, just look at these dank pics.

31. Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery

Giving us the best cupcakes since 1996, Magnolia’s cupcakes are the perfect balance of sweet, beautiful, and delicious. On another note, if you need an opinion on Magnolia’s new chocolate banana pudding, we’ve got you.

32. Manhattan Clam Chowder from Randazzo’s Clam Bar

How classic is it of New York to create our own version of something delicious? Pretty classic. But our version of clam chowder is even better than everyone else’s.

#SpoonTip: If you don’t understand the difference between the different types of shellfish, check this out. We’ve got you.

33. Knish from Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery

A knish is a foodie’s best friend. What could be better than a crispy layer surrounding a mushy, delicious filling inside?

34. Eggs Benedict from the Waldorf Astoria

A classic brunch at a classic location and a guaranteed feeling that you’re basically Blair Waldorf. Not in NYC? Make your own.

35. Pancakes from Clinton Street Baking Co.

The line often stretches out the door, but who cares? The wait is always worth the pancakes. Prepare for light, fluffy pancake deliciousness. For some stuck-at-college inspiration, check out these pancake variations.

36. Matzoh Ball Soup at 2nd Ave Deli

Whether it’s summer or winter, day or night, matzoh ball soup is always the perfect cure. 2nd Ave Deli’s soup is sure to satisfy and cure any hangover, heartbreak, or exhaustion. Matzoh isn’t only good for soup, so get creative.

37. Artichoke Pizza at Artichoke Basille’s

Drunchies or not, this pizza trumps basically all others. Here’s a gluten free alternative.

38. Bacon ‘Mac Fries at Sticky’s Finger Joint

The only thing better than French fries are bacon, cheddar loaded French fries. Thank goodness we understand the importance of overdoing everything. Drooling? Check out these crazy French fry creations.

39. Mac & Cheese Burger at The Ainsworth

Truly as drool-worthy as it looks and likely the most brilliant invention in all of humankind. Cook up these mac n’ cheese dishes to get your carb fix and you won’t be disappointed.

40. Nuggets at The Nugget Spot

10 nuggets for $10. Whether you’re into cheese or Sriracha, you’ll get your nugget fix (and don’t worry, they’ve got gluten-free and vegan options, too). Or, make ‘yo own pretzel-crusted honey mustard chicken nugs.

41. Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich at M’o Il Gelato

Your foodstagram followers won’t know what hit them when they see this on their feed. Who knew brioche was the secret to the ultimate ice cream sandwich?

42. Mac and Cheese Spring Rolls at Cafeteria

Because what’s better than mac and cheese taken to the next level? If you’re in town for a while, try these, too.

43. Crispy Rice Sushi at Momoya

Because would you really be a foodie if you didn’t keep up with all of the latest food trends? If you thought sushi was good, you’ll love this. Try making your own with this kicka$ recipe.

44. Mac ‘n Cheese at The Smith

If the picture doesn’t do it for you, your first bite of The Smith’s mac and cheese will leave you forever indebted to this beautiful creation. Check out our very own rave reviews of The Smith.

45. Soup Dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai

Dumplings…and soup…together? Talk about brilliant. If you like these, try out these necessary soup dumpling eateries in NYC, too.

46. Taco Salad at By CHLOE

Vegan never looked so good. After eating this, you’ll probably want to start eating vegan all the time. Learn more about veganism here.

47. Fried Chicken and Waffles at Sweet Chick

Sweet Chick’s southern flair in the heart of New York City makes a clear statement with its delicious menu. Chicken and waffles is a to-die-for pair, but Sweet Chick’s version is the absolute best. Can’t get enough of the pair? Make it into a cookie.

48. Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at Sarabeth’s

As light and fluffy as they sound. Sarabeth’s truly knows how to do brunch right. If you’re a betchy bruncher, check out these top bruncheries around New York.

49. Hibiscus Donut at Dough

Dough knows how to make a delicious twist on something that’s already pretty freakin’ delicious. This donut is a must-try for all donut lovers and food lovers. Check out these crazy donuts, too.

50. Sante Fe Steak Quesadilla at Benny’s Burritos

If you like Mexican food, you’ll love this. Make sure to order the Loony Clooney (it’s a light up tower of margaritas made with George Clooney’s tequila. Need I say more?).

Watch the video: MasterChef Judge Joe Bastianich Cooks With Heart At New Chicago Walgreens Flagship Store (January 2023).