Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Adventure: Pickle

Before I get into all things pickle, the marvelous Jolie (of the Western Washington SCBWI) has finally started blogging (after much yapping and wheedling from the rest of us). Yay, Jolie! Today she has just posted a cute coffee-themed interview with moi. It is HERE. (Thanks Jolie!)
Okay, now: pickles!

My friend Chary (pronounced Carrie) and I made pickles last night! It was fun and easy -- but we won't know if they're any good for a few weeks. I'm not really kitchen-girl, but Chary does fancy-shmancy stuff all the time. She makes her own ketchup and mustard, for example, and all kinds of other stuff. Her pantry is a wonderful place of spices and seeds bought in bulk, and if you ever need a vanilla bean on short notice, or some rare salt mined in the kingdom of Faerie, or perhaps some pink food coloring, she's the go-to girl (okay, maybe not faerie salt, but she's got some weird salts). Here are our soon-to-be-pickles in the jar, along with garlic, dill, black pepper, red pepper, bay leaf, and grape leaves.
We sort of followed my grandmother's recipe, but my grandmother wrote it down very vaguely, for people who, you know, know how to make pickles. So we had to improvise a little.

(That reminds me of the mom in Better Off Dead. Remember her? "You like raisins.")

See that bottle in the picture? That's homemade limoncello. We had tiny thimble glasses of it, and it was yummy. Always reminds me of the Amalfi coast! My parents decided they want to make homemade limoncello this year for the holidays. I've thought about doing that in the past, but like I said, I'm not really kitchen-girl.

Despite not being kitchen-girl (and that doesn't mean I don't like to cook, I just am nothing out of the ordinary, and half the time don't think about meals enough in advance to do anything fancy) -- on Sunday I wanted to get a healthy start to the week, so I made a big pot of vegetable soup, and I chopped a boatload of veggies and put them in a tupperware for salads throughout the week -- now all we have to do is stick some lettuce in a bowl and top with this assortment of: celery, jicama, fennel, radish, carrot, tri-color peppers. Then there are sprouts, chickpeas, and corn in the fridge, and sliced turkey or whatever: instant giant lunch salad. Voila.

I've been being awfully lazy with my goals lately. There's this period after accomplishing a big goal (like writing Silksinger) where I naturally fall into a sort of "whew, that's finally done, I never have to work again" routine for a few days or weeks. But this goes much deeper than that -- during the trying months of Silksingering, I didn't go to the gym; during the difficult stuff I went through in the spring, I finished gaining back the weight that I had gleefully lost several years ago. Anyway, it was high time to get strict with myself. A long time ago, in the early days of my blog I went through a similar post-book laziness -- I wrote about it HERE, and I see it is what motivated Sunday Scribblings! (Well, Meg had her own motivation, but that is when we connected and said, "Let's do this.") And the Lips Touch stories, of course, all originated from the early days of Sunday Scribblings! So, you see, good can come of laziness -- or rather, good can come of the gathering oneself back together and getting back on track. There is solid comfort in making a plan; satisfaction in sticking to it, and joy in meeting short-term and then long-term goals.

So, here's to: (1) health, (2) getting a good start on the new book, and (3) being more on-the-ball with creative marketing this year, rather than hiding and watching through my fingers as my new books come out (which is kind of what I did with Blackbringer.)

Oh, and here is an eensy little portion of Chary's hat collection:

(Don't forget to welcome Jolie!!)


Elise Murphy said...

I just made pickles, too! The refrigerator dills are spectacular (if I do say so myself) and I am also waiting on the sweet dills (but they look pretty!).

I always find cooking, canning, growing, jarring, etc. the best way to take a break from my writing. It is so much better than sitting down with a bag of chips and a giant, frozen. chocolately something.

Good for you for getting your health in order and working on a new book. I'm still looking for that ideal combination (as I tend toward stasis, and excuses . . . )

Anonymous said...

Fried pickles!

As a northerner, that never sounded too appetizing -- until I found myself in Gus's Fried Chicken in Memphis being served fried pickles with a cold Miller High Life. That's when I became a believer.

Try this recipe and see if you agree:


(Note: it probably helps to consume these while sitting in a little hole in the wall overlooking the Mississippi, but I'm bettin' they'll still taste good!)

Jon, write4kids.com

Stephanie Perkins said...

TWO. DOLLARS. (I love Better Off Dead!)

Your pickles look beautiful! YAY for healthy food and fresh starts. I have *complete* confidence in you.

(And your Lips Touch preview was DELICIOUS. More more more!!)

S R Wood said...

Classic. "Franche toast. Franche dressing." Etc.

My wife loves the smell of pickles but not the taste, and I have not yet found a way to ask in public if she would, um, care for, no, a whiff of, want to smell ... uh oh, no, would she enjoy the aroma, no wait...

Ten thousand cheers for health, writing, and creative marketing! I'm constantly surprised by how hard it is to just get-stuff-done. Inertia, I guess.

p.s. my day job is in (shudder) corporate marketing; there are lots of creative options -- drop me a line if you want to talk ideas.

Gretchen Alice said...

Merci buckets for the BOD reference!
Nice work on the pickles, as well.

Alexandra Saperstein said...

What about the cat that got stuck in the pickle jar which you refused to re- open? Chary said that you said, "Well, thats the cat's problem, not mine." I'm very disappointed in you...by the way, you are an awesome cook Picklerella, what are you talking about??? Remember those fried gizzards you made last week? those were unbelievable!

Heather said...

Can we please motivate each other on the weight loss thing? I'm so bad. I want to lose weight and just can't get around to it. I'll encourage you if you encourage me, heh heh!

Anonymous said...

GASP! I love pickles! ^_^ Cruncy and juicy--but don't believe the Valosic pickle brand. They're liars.
If you're looking to loose weight, I read in one magazine that noshing on ice cubes daily allows you to burn an extra 117--or therebouts--calories each day because you body expands energy to melt the frozen water. Plus, the liquid keeps hunger pangs at bay.Mariah Carey claims to have lost 30 pounds in two months by eating ice(no additional diet of excersize), but I don't trust celebrities. I put it to the test for a bit and shed 3 pounds in one week.
So, I'm curious, what's next for you as far as books go? Planning on begining Rathersting?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you did artwork for children's magazines. Your cover was awesome! Have you done work for any other magazines?

Every time I see one of my poems illustrated in a magazine, I am amazed. Great artists make poems and stories so much more fun.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Myrna! Yes, I did 9 or 10 illustrations for Ladybug, Spider, and Cricket, over the course of 2 or 3 years -- they were so great to work for, super organized, and I always got to illustrate something really fun. Man, I haven't painted in ages now. Wonder if I remember how! Yeah, it is fun getting those copies in the mail!