April has been disappointingly yucky. Rain, cold, rain, cold. Besides our fun farm day last week and a few walks to the park, we’ve been mostly stranded inside. Boo.
But I have had the chance to discover a few wonderful books, bands, and recipes that I can’t wait to share with you!
I only read one book cover-to-cover this month, but it was a superb read:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I picked this one up from the library after I saw it on one of Fiona’s book lists. It sounded like the kind of book I just had to read. And now I simply must own it!
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an absorbing memoir documenting the author’s and her family’s experimental year of eating locally — only eating what they could grow themselves, or else acquire from farmers within a few miles of their home.
Kingsolver is, I believe, primarily a novelist; and her skill with narrative comes through in this beautiful memoir. Her prose is gorgeous. But she also knows her stuff: at the same time, the book includes plenty of more journalistic passages in which she explores — quite scathingly — the dominant food systems of America, and why we so urgently need to change it if we want to keep our families fed. (I know Canada’s situation is not that different.)
I found the book enormously fascinating, informative, spunky, inspiring, and convicting. I’ll never look at a banana the same way again. I never would have imagined I would find the sex lives of turkeys so surprising (Did you know that nearly 100% of the turkeys we eat have been bred in such a way that they can no longer reproduce themselves without technical assistance?). The final chapters, which follow the author’s journey trying to get her turkeys to procreate, had me sitting up in bed way past my bedtime, reading anxiously to find out whether it had a happy ending. (Spoiler alert: It does. Oh, so happy.)
Most importantly, this book had me re-committed to eating locally and seasonally. I might still eat the occasional banana, but it will no longer be a staple in this house — nor will green salads, except when they’re unavailable locally. Lots of thoughts and ideas are brewing.
I’ve also been browsing through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which I took out of the library on a whim. It’s been fun. I particularly enjoyed the section on sauces. I never knew what a hollandaise sauce was, or how it was related to mayo (the major difference? Melted butter instead of salad oil. Mmmmm). I haven’t made it yet, though. Turns out, dozens of different sophisticated-sounding sauces can be made by just adding or substituting a few ingredients in a basic mayonnaise or cream sauce. Cool, right?
I also came across an adorable kids’ book for Lydia: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small. Lydia’s a little young to fully appreciate it, but we adults loved it! This story of a “proper young man” named Elliot who takes a penguin home from the aquarium is charming, handsomely illustrated, and has a funny surprise ending that Ben and I both found delightful.
We’re still just watching pirated episodes of Parks and Rec here and there when we have some time to relax. Light and funny entertainment, which is, most importantly, broken up into convenient 20-minute segments. We’ve all but given up on movies during this chapter of our lives (i.e. with a toddler who only goes to bed when we do.)
So I haven’t been into much music lately (mostly since we don’t have any media devices on which to listen to music. I know, right? The only piece of technology we own that can play music, aside from the CD players in our vehicles, is our desktop computer, which is in its own room off the toy room. Yeah. We’re that out of touch.)
But this month we finally bought a new album because it is the BEST THING I’VE HEARD in FOREVER: Walk off the Earth’s R.E.V.O.
Do you guys know this band? I understand that they got quite a bit of attention when this video went viral, where all five band members are playing a single guitar simultaneously. Their music videos are all crazy-unique. Apparently they’re quite popular already, and I might be the last person in the universe to have discovered them. Anyway, I am CRAZY IN LOVE. (I feel like I can’t use ENOUGH CAPS LOCK to convey my enthusiasm for this band.) This music is happy, clever, complex, and original. Love, love, love it. I tried to pick my favourite song but it’s hard because I love them all.
Also? They’re Canadian! Hooray for my fellow Canucks!
So if you’re not familiar with the band, here’s a funvideo to introduce you:
ACK! Wasn’t that so great?? I love everything about it. You should watch the “Making of” video, too! It’s so cool!!
And if you haven’t gotten enough, I also love this song and video:
Again, watch the incredible “Behind the Scenes” video to get your head blown up. Amazing!!
The only flaw that I can find with this band is that the girl is so incomprehensibly cool that every time I see/hear her do anything, I immediately begin to hate myself a little bit because I’ll never be a fraction as awesome.
I could go on, but I’ll stop there. I highly recommend Walk off the Earth.
In the Kitchen
I already bragged about this homemade cinnamon ice cream on Facebook. I made it using raw, pastured cream from my aunt; pastured eggs from my mom; and maple syrup from our own front yard. Since I was just reading Animal,Vegetable, Miracle, I felt especially pleased that I was able to enjoy this nourishing, indulgent treat without giving a single penny to a major corporation.
I’ve also been making batch after batch of these grain-free multiseed crackers. They’re much simpler than many of the other (wheat) crackers I’ve made. I make my own almond meal by grinding almonds in my Ninja food processor (it doesn’t need to be “blanched”). It only takes a minute. I also sub onion powder for the “dried minced onion.”
They’re so tasty — everyone who tries them demands the recipe. I love them with bruschetta-seasoned goat cheese.So that’s been my April. What have you been into? Linking up with HopefulLeigh.