It's such a hot night that eveything is sticking: my forarms to the table as I type, my legs to the chair, and my brain to...I'm not sure what, but it's not an enhancer of clear thinking, for sure!
No complaints though. This house has a good cross-breeze, and anyway I like the feeling of sweating out all that's inside from time to time. It's like an ongoing sauna. The trick with the hot weather of course is the traditional wise technique of having a quick shower anytime you are feeling hot or sticky or fed-up or on edge because of the heat. Instantly you get a lovely little shiver as the wet clings to your skin when you step out of the shower. That momentary cooling from evaporation sends the heavy loggy feeling away and refreshes you. And somehow it makes everything manageable, creates an optimism, I find, so that the heat stops being oppressive and becomes just a bath of sensation to move through.
Bicycling helps too. The breeze from pedalling along is surprisingly cooling, so a bicycle rather than walking is the way to get around in the heat.
Had a question today from a friend who'd been told by a Vietnamese friend about a bitter leaf and flower that is around in the fall in Khmer parts of Vietnam, or maybe in Cambodia. I hadn't heard of it, but her question reminded me of the great spice (not herbs, not yet anyway) page by Gernot Katzer. He's exhaustive and quite meticulous. It's a great resource. Bookmark it so you can go to it any time you have a question. This link is to the SE Asia part, but you can move on from there:
I went to Shape Note singing this evening (it's once a month in Toronto). What a treat. There's a southern Ontario sing in late August not far from Waterloo in an old Mennonite meeting house, a fab stone building. Before that there's a huge sing in Maine on July 30. These calendars of events that different people keep track of are like different maps laid over the months with their own linkages and contour lines and internal necessities. My map right now involves catching a plane to Kelowna tomorrow so I can visit my aunt Wendy, who is my mother's identical twin. It's always a struggle to decide to go see her, for though my mother has been dead for over thirty years, there's stil a wrench when I see my aunt, a pang and thoughts of how things might be different. And then I am pulled into her present and can let the pangs go, mostly.
The other event, now the fifth annual, but this will be my first time, is the Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, in northern Maine. There are two days of conference, designed to help those who want to to learn new skills, and it's followed by the Bread Fair, on Saturday. Dawnthebaker and I are going to drive down, a lovely trip through the Eastern Townships, ten or eleven hours from Toronto in total, at least that's what Google Maps tells me. I would have guessed nine hours or so.
I posted a couple of notes on Facebook about managing the heat. One of them is to get up early, cook something in the early morning, then put it in the frig. That makes supper an easy pleasure, cooked veg dressed as a salad, over cold rice for example. That was supper today (I had new beets, fresh from my CSA delivery and spectacular. The other is the smoothie made of fruit and not much else. Tashi made a raspberry one, adding in some mango that was around. He added just ice and a little honey, no milk product at all. It was a beautiful red. But then I got home and found the red currants, needing to be eaten. SO I cleaned them of stems and blended them to a gorgeous thick puree. I mixed it fity-fifty with the end of Tashi's smoothie, then added some gin.
Now THERE'S a summer drink! wow. Summer pudding is slices of bread that line a bowl, which is then filled iwth raspberries and red currents, covered with bread slices and a weight pressed down on top overnight. It's fab. SO I figure my drink is Summer Pudding Gin. But surely there's a more elegant name waiting to be discovered?
Happy showering and slowing down, everyone!
AND A FOOTNOTE: ANn Bramson had some good ideas about ways to strenthen the Burma book. I have now done those edits and reshapings and I sent the anuscript off yesterday. I've altered the title a little. Now it's:
RIVERS OF FLAVOR: RECIPES AND TRAVEL STORIES FROM BURMA