all those lines and circles.

That miserable sadist Mara put on some 10,000 Maniacs this morning. Why, we must ask ourselves. Apparently she had their first hit lodged in her tiny fregola-sized brain and the only way she could dissolve the lodge was to befoul the apartment with the actual sounds of 10,000 Maniacs. And let me just say that, while I always found them to be stomach-churning, I'd never actually listened to the lyrics before. Mara was kind enough to sing along with the most offensive of them so that I could understand them better (using Natalie Merchant's equally offensive, completely affected accent/diction)...and I could scarcely believe it. Let's look at "Cherry Tree":

Over your shoulder, please don't mind me
if my eyes have fallen onto your magazine
for I've been watching and wondering
why your face is changing with every line you read.

All those lines and circles, to me, a mystery.
Eve pull down the apple and give taste to me.
If she would it would be wonderful, but my pride is in the way.
I cannot read to save my life, I'm so ashamed to say.

I live in silence, afraid to speak
of my life of darkness because I cannot read.

See? The singer, a 24-year-old artsy white chick, is illegitimate. She can't read!!!


Regular reader(s) may recall the series of dinners last year that became known as "Smell and Learn"s (hereafter SnL). Last night while Andy dropped in to help Mara finish yesterday's Cotes du Ventoux, he revealed that he has been hankering for another installment of SnL. This coincides fortuitously with a half-assed "we should make cassoulet" topic that has been (ha, I wanted to say has been being) bandied about by Mara, Pete and myself.

Thus, we're making cassoulet during the weekend of October 27. Regular reader(s) may also recall a "now it's time to eat healthy" edict levied by our host some weeks ago; some bet-hedger should've mentioned the inevitable (I mistyped "unenviable", also true) lapses in vigilance that would occur. This will be one of them. I'm sure that many horrifically geeky planning posts will be borne here over the next few weeks, but for now let me just plant a reference to my primary source of cassoulet schematics: the first ever eGullet Cook-Off, devoted to, yes...cassoulet.

(Note: The cassoulet SnL has been postponed, 27 October will now turn its crusty eye toward gumbo instead. Here's the eGullet Cook-Off for gumbo.)


Another Lapse in Vigilance showed up yesterday for breakfast (and more of them for dinner). It started out with its heart in the right place: the idea was to use up some spinach in an omelet. However, somewhere between the fridge and the pan the spinach was jettisoned in favor of tuna, onions, roasted red pepper and parmigiano-reggiano.

Not that this is grossly unhealthy, but it's missing the leafy green vegetable that I was hoping to sneak in.

Mara's the one behind the spatula at this juncture, and yes she does fine work: this was every bit as good as it looks...


And then, during the day I accidentally started to read an eGullet topic about the unavoidable demise of raw-milk cheeses due to food safety issues. This made me realize that I needed to show my support for these deadly bacteria-coagulated milk products immediately by running downstairs to the Avondmarkt and plunking down some almighty Euros for as much raw-milk coagulence as I could afford.

Which turned out to be 6 euros worth (I'm not made of money, you know). That's a bleu d'auvergne (mild raw cow's milk blue cheese), a brebiou (sheep's milk cheese from the Bearn region of southwest France), and a reblochon savoie (raw cow's milk cheese from the Alps). And other stuff too, while I was harming myself:

That's right, pate with Calvados and pain d'Ardenne, which I believe is a Belgian pork salami? Haven't had time to decode my non-English Google results yet.
Anyway, I started to get bummed out about the unhealthiness of our light dinner, but then I remembered: this is European food! You know, like the French! In my defense, I haven't eaten like this since the France tour in May. And I've really been doing pretty well lately from a diet perspective. Haven't I?


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