Monday, July 20, 2009

The disappointing sauce flavors summer reading
A scant cup of disenchantment, finely diced restlessness and a handful of issues left unresolved are ingredients in Shrimp Cocktail with a Rather Disappointing Sauce, which serves a no-longer-newlywed couple. Spiced with vintage illustrations of well-dressed ladies of the house in their daily duties, “Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife” gets different reactions from each of the sexes.
My daughter and I laughed over dishes such as Beans and Weenies of Sexual Tension. My husband, not so much. These aren’t recipes, but Nava Atlas’ common-to-all commentaries on old boyfriends, the stress of children and spousal spats. Try Mother-in-law Fruitcake, which serves “hubby and his mom, for whom no one (least of all you) will ever be good enough.” You must bake it until a knife inserted into the center pierces her pompous pride.

Food science
If you thought you never gave a fig about hermaphrodite figs, and how they help the sex lives of wasps, want to know exactly how beating an egg makes your cake better or need a recipe for tomatillo jalapeno jam, “The Science of Good Food” is your 624-page reference. I just want to keep it by the table to look up horseradish, rice, frog or whatever I’m eating for dinner. David Joachim and Andrew Schloss give incredible and fun detail that will surely come in handy as chatter at your next cocktail party.
One tidbit is that caviar was once served free in American saloons as peanuts are now… to make patrons thirsty for more beer.

Drive the bus
“The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy” should be required reading. With a theme of a beat-down guy having to catch Joy’s bus full of positive passengers, it reminds me of a children’s book. Author Jon Gordon even makes a joke about how simplistic the concept is, but I believe it works. Our hero George goes from grumpy to appreciative just by counting his blessings and listening to people in his life. People do want to be heard, and more work gets done in a place where good things are happening. Get a copy of this international bestseller and start driving your own bus.
My family is still getting on the bus. It may take practice. I’m already prepping them for “The No Complaining Rule,” Gordon’s follow-up about getting off the complain train. The theory is to channel those negative thoughts into plans that can get you back on track. I love it.

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