This is my life...a series of dreams come true on a daily basis. Join me as I run down my dream - maybe you will find your dream in the process.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Puzzle Time!

One of my fondest memories as a little girl was sitting by my Pappaw in the living room. He had this large brown recliner that had "crackly" skin. The chair, not Pappaw. Anyway, he always was working on a jigsaw puzzle. He had cut down an old piece of paneling that he used for a board, and laid it across both arms of the chair. His Pepsi cola (glass bottles only) was on the side table within easy reach.

Pappaw always had a puzzle going in the fall and winter months. Spring and summer days were spent working in the garden, yard and flower beds. Sometimes he'd be in the basement (which he had dug out by hand!) working on some sort of project. But when the darkness came early, he brought up that panel board and started working on a Big Ben puzzle.

I was taught early on the proper way to work a puzzle. First, you lay out all the pieces, making sure that they are all face up. As you lay them out, you start to separate the edge pieces from the inside pieces. If you found two pieces (or more) stuck together, you were honor-bound to detach them. Cheating was a no-no.

Once you had all the pieces laid out and separated, you could begin on the perimeter. Corners were always a good starting place. In time, you worked your way into the middle to the last piece, hopefully not having lost any pieces.

Time goes on, but a good family tradition still remains. Hubby, Miss Scarlett and I revel in searching out really fun puzzles to work each fall and winter. We bought our first puzzles of the season just the other night: One Hundred Cats and a Fish and One Hundred Chickens and a Worm. We are still on the lookout for One Hundred Dogs and a Cat.

We don't have a big piece of paneling that we set our puzzles on. We instead use a folding table in what used to be our dining room. We drag kitchen chairs in, make a batch of homemade cookies to nibble and start working our puzzle - making sure all the while that we are laying them face up and separating the edges from the inners!

If you have a favorite family pastime or tradition, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Food for Thought

So I just finished reading Julie/Julia. You know, about how Julie Powell went through Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Anyway, being the repressed foodie that I am, I admit that I was enthralled with the notion of cooking one's way through ANY type of cookbook, even if it is a French one. (Why couldn't it have been Italian?).

It got me thinking. What is it that is so intriguing, inspiring, and (dare I say) almost sensual about cooking? You use all of your senses. (I can hear you say, "Yeah, but not sound! You don't use sound for cooking! Wrong! You always listen for the popcorn to stop popping. So there!) Touch, smell, sight and taste all play into preparing food - not matter how simple or advanced the recipe.

I started dragging out a bunch of our cookbooks last night and started reading the recipes. So far, I have not felt the desire to begin cooking my way through any of them. But I am considering trying my hand at some of the more challenging dishes.

And they will probably be Italian.