Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer Schooling

I spent my elementary school years in rural Illinois, a few minutes' bike ride to dairy farms and gravel roads.  These 1960s summers were filled with new things to learn and explore.  How to ride a bike, how to sail a boat and paddle a canoe and how to bake a chocolate cake  - starting with Black Midnight Cake from the 1958 Betty Crocker Cookbook.  (I'm still wondering why the recipe called for adding the dry ingredients alternately with the water.)

I read books and books, science fiction, short stories, novels, Russian novels, classic literature.  Courtesy of the local parks and rec department and my mother's signature on innumerable blue mimeographed permission slips, I went to Cub's games, and waited in line to to see the moon rock at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  Only to be too short to actually see it. (That experience led me to body check the guy who tried to push in front of the kids who had waited all day to see the Pope at Independence Hall.)

Summer wasn't for schooling, but regardless I learned a lot in those long, unstructured days.

What's up this summer?  Books on the current pile.

Keep the Damned Women Out (Nancy Malkiel's almost 700 page history of co-education in the Ivies)
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work (Mason Currey)
River Flow (David Whyte's poetry)
A Short History of Astronomy (from the ever-growing Oxford series)
A Sense of Direction (Gideon Lewis-Kraus, on walking the Camino and the 88 pilgrimage trail in Japan)
Bleaker House: Chasing my novel to the ends of the earth (Nell Stevens)
A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived (Adam Rutherford)
Room (Emma Donoghue - I finished this in one sitting yesterday)
The Wound of Knowledge (Rowan Williams, yes, that one)
The Gathering Edge (Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, another installment in the Liaden universe)
The Beginning of All Things (Hans Küng)
Two from the Mageworlds (James Macdonald and Debra Doyle)

Recipes to try?
These cakes!  I bought the book just to oogle them.
Colorful deviled eggs.
And a whole boatload of things I saved on the New York Times Cooking site.

Local walks.  Riding my bike.  Rome.  California to see a niece married.

It's been a long time since the 60s, but summer remains a time to explore many worlds, interior and exterior. Where are you traveling?  What are you reading?

And now I finally know why -- to reduce the formation of gluten in the cake, making for a lighter confection! Ah!

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