Thoughts on Literature, Food, Faith and the Subversive Power of Living Small

Click here for information about Charlotte's novel, Place Last Seen

Current Reading

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Fools Crow by James Welch
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt

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Body and Soul
Rittenhouse Review
Making Light
The Julie/Julia Project
Struggle in a Bungalow Kitchen
Real Live Preacher
Blog of a Bookslut
Moby Lives


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Christmas was perfect -- I got almost no stuff. My brother bought me an adult ed class with a Master Gardener from MSU and a cookbook (well, a gift certificate for The Pleasures of Slow Food by Corby Kummer which is out of stock at the moment). Mom sent socks and PJs. And we all avoided the pile of interesting stuff that no one really needed anyhow. Not that I'm against presents ... I love presents. I just hate the forced nature of Christmas presents ... my perfect Christmas involves a bunch of people sitting around a long table having just eaten a lovely meal, wearing the silly paper hats from the Christmas crackers, playing with the walnuts and chocolates and oranges down the centerpiece, and just sitting back and talking to one another.

I didn't cook this year, since my friends were all out of town, so I'm considering a Twelfth Night party ... I feel the need to cook a goose, which I haven't done in a couple of years. Jeffery Steingarten has a recipe that looks interesting. My other cooking adventure this holiday has been making sourdough bread with a starter I ordered from Sourdoughs International. I ordered the San Francisco Sourdough, and spent much of Christmas activating the starter. My only quibble thus far with the directions that came with the starter is that if I had followed the directions exactly, I'd probably have six or eight quart jars of sourdough starter instead of the mere four that are lurking in my fridge. The first batch of bread is in the oven right now. The sourdough pancakes we had for breakfast were great though ... tangy and chewy and felt like real food.

posted by Charlotte at 12/26/2002 11:19:00 AM


So, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to live more locally, how to resist the siren call of consumerism, how to build a sustainable life. I bought a house this year, and moved to Montana. It was important to me when I was looking for a place that I didn't buy a "ranchette", that I didn't contribute to the development creeping across the open spaces of the West. So I found a 100 year old house in a funky town, a house with an old established vegetable plot in back. Planning the garden has me thinking about eating seasonally, about seeing how self-sufficient I can be, about how I can avoid buying food at the cost of fossil fuels. We're a long way from everywhere here, and although I got spoiled living in the Bay Area, with its abundant local produce, I want to take the lessons of California cuisine -- eat local, eat fresh, eat in season, and see what I can do with that up here in the frozen north. Because Montana is still largely an agricultural economy, as well as a remarkably beautiful place with viable wild animal populations, the choices about what and how we eat are a little closer to the surface than they are in more urban centers.
I'm a novelist (there's a link to my website in the pane on the right), working on my second novel -- the autobiographical book I'd hoped not to write, so along with musings about food, and gardening, and the environment, you'll also find the occasional report on what I'm reading or attempt to define the aesthetic issues that I'm wrestling with as I work through this new project.
Please feel free to email me, I haven't figured out how to put up a comments link yet, but then again, this blog is all of two days old ...

posted by Charlotte at 12/23/2002 06:15:00 PM


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