Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We've crossed that huge marker, the summer solstice, so now the long days start getting shorter. I'm not ready for this! Meantime all is green and growing, from the wall of ivy out back to the clematis, now starting into rich purple bloom (a hardy jackmanii that rewards each year; I keep saying I'll plant a white one, or another more exotic, to keep this one company, and have not yet managed to).

Last weekend I travelled to New York City with friends for a weekend of no work, just play. We saw a couple of shows, something I've never done there. That part of town, Times Square/Broadway, is another world, with all of us out-of-towners and also the bridge and tunnel people, all lining up outside theaters, mostly patiently. On Friday night we were at a musical, the revival of the 1934 Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes". I hadn't really been looking forward to it, for musicals aren't my favorite thing. And how wrong i was in my dim expectations. It was wonderful, brilliant words and sharp acting and staging, a real show. The next night we saw an entirely different kind of performance, "The Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo". It was at the very cosy and old-style charming Richard Rogers Theater. I still haven't read reviews, but i'm told that some love it and some hate it. I thought the acting and the conception and staging were all terrific, until the last fifteen minutes or so, when instead of quiet thoughtfulness we got bombast from the tiger (played by Robin Williams, who otherwise did NOT overact or upstage the others). The cast was so strong, a great lesson in ensemble acting. I feel lucky to have seen it.

Apart from the shows, we also spent time walking along the newly extended High Line, so well done in design and execution. And I got back to see the McQueen exhibit at the Met, and had another visit with the Stella paint stick on linen black and white "drawings", so intense in their huge spaces and their interaction.

Coming back to the day-to-day here took some adjustment. I'm now well launched into my history section for the back of the Burma book. It's a kind of integrated bibliography and history, and so far so good. And with help from a friend I am getting to the retesting of some recipes that need another tweak, or another check and fine-tuning. This evening we're doing two with pork belly, which in Asia is generally called, in whatever language "three-layer pork", a more attractive name than pork belly, I always think. The other test is a vegetable curry alternate. The original is made with pumpkin, but I also want to check out using sweet potato instead, for it's often more available in North America than pumpkin. The pumpkin version is delish. In ten minutes I'll taste the sweet potato curry and see how it does (there's tamarind in there as a balance to the sweetness of the vegetable).

I hope you're able to be out in the long evenings these days, enjoying the lingering brightness in the sky, and dreaming of the possible and the impossible.... that's my ambition these days.

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