Thursday, November 17, 2011

good breakfast, good book

Most of the leaves have rattled down off the trees and it's getting pitch dark by five thirty.  It's almost time for pumpkin pies and snow and Christmas trees and parties where the fireplace is lit up and there's a great big pile of coats on the spare bed.  It's time to welcome winter and all the quiet and cold that comes with it, including rubbing globs of cream on chapped hands, getting used to going on walks when you can't hear very well because a hat or hood is rubbing your ears with the rhythm of your steps.  And in winter, warm food and good books become more important than ever.

Oatmeal is a common warm breakfast.  But I don't really like oatmeal very much.  Actually it's one of my least favorite foods.  I like thick slices of toast with butter melted into them in the mornings.  But since I have been lazy and haven't made bread, last week I put together pretty much the sum of all that was in my cupboard:  oatmeal (that I only had for the purpose of putting in bread dough), cinnamon, a granny smith apple, and maple syrup.  And I really liked it and have eaten it several times since.  Just boil the oatmeal on the stove top with a dash of sea salt (sorry, I don't measure or use timers... the oatmeal of course expands when it cooks and it looks mushy when it's done).  While the oatmeal is boiling, chop up any apple you like into little cubes and drop the cubes into a big bowl (that you would like to eat out of).  When the oatmeal is done, dump it over the apples, then sprinkle it with four or five big pinches of cinnamon, stir it with a spoon and then pour real maple syrup over it.  It is a good winter breakfast or afternoon snack and it sits just right in your belly.

And about the book... I have been reading Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay.  I found it by pure luck last time I was at the library.  It is not a very professional or intelligent practice, but I enjoy walking up and down the aisles of the library almost like a water witch, following my impulse.  I pull books off the shelves and open them to random pages and read passages.  If it feels right, I check it out and give it a whirl.  So I found Russian Winter like that, and it is the most beautiful novel I have read in a long time... it is not tedious or pretentious, nor is it formulaic or simple.  It is real and rich and of genuine, old-fashioned literary quality.  The characters are outstanding and the atmosphere and setting feel breathtakingly real.  If you are looking for a book to help ease you into a winter state of mind, and to make you feel completely content with a blanket and a cup of hot tea and nowhere to go, check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment