The book self began reading a week ago is French Women Don’t Get Fat:  The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, by Mireille Guiliano.

Mireille used to be overweight (when she was 17), and her (Parisian) mother, instead of humiliating her by calling her “fat,” very discreetly arranged for Mireille to see a dietitian named Dr. M.  This kind soul was so circumspect that Mireille didn’t even know he was weaning her from food.  He started her on a daily food journal, and …

Well, the point is, Mireille says it is OK to eat as much as one wants of salmon, oysters, scallops, etc, and we would all do well to follow the French habit of shopping every day in farmers markets.

Which (here comes another digression:  It’s less than two weeks to Christmas, memories are crawling out of the woodwork like termites) puts self in mind of the time she was doing a residency in Mojacar, this tiny village in the south of Spain (which is probably no longer so tiny — which, in fact, might probably have exploded by now with Danish and English retirees), when she used to spend weekends visiting markets with Eizo Sakata.  Eizo went everywhere with a hat, and when he found a fruit that looked particularly pleasing, he’d take it back to Mojacar and use the juice on a painting.

Let’s see, what was self supposed to be writing about again?

Oh, yes, French Women Don’t Get Fat.

Self is now on p. 103.  Mireille provides a very helpful sample Spring Menu.  And here are the items she lists therein:

Breakfast:  yogurt *  cereal with strawberries *  slice of whole wheat or multigrain bread *  Coffee or tea (Why does Mireille capitalize Coffee, self wonders?  Not that she has anything against coffee.  Self in fact loooves coffee — That’s enough, self!  You dingbat, coffee is the first word of a new line!  It’s like in a poem, don’cha see?  The first word of each line, whether it’s Yogurt or Cereal or Coffee, is always capitalized.  This is known as:  the Editor’s Rule of Consistency # 3!)

Lunch:  Asparagus flan * Green Salad *  Cherry clafoutis without dough *  Noncaloric beverage

Dinner:  Pea soup *  Grilled Spring Lamb Chops * Cauliflower Gratin *  Rhubarb compost (Did self just write “compost”?  She meant compote, of course!  Pardonnez moi!) * Glass of red wine

Well, see, this menu plan doesn’t work for self.  Here’s what works exceedingly well for self:

Breakfast:  Coffee (Aged Sumatra), black

Lunch:  More Coffee (More Aged Sumatra), maybe a dollop of half’n half

Dinner:  Everything self missed out on during the day, two servings of those

In addition:  No snacking during the day, not even one cupcake.  No soft drinks, even though the husband drinks Coke so ostentatiously, even flirting with self and making goo-goo eyes while polishing off his can.  No gelato and no frozen yogurt, no matter how many times self’s errands take her to downtown Palo Alto.  No potato chips, even though self has been hitting the Walgreen’s every day in the hunt for the elusive Benadryl, and the Walgreen aisles seem to be crawling with at least 20 different kinds of potato chips and a dozen different kinds of dip.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Net Round-Up, 2nd Tuesday of December 2011

Today, self was at the Elizabeth Gamble Garden in downtown Palo Alto.  It’s been perhaps a decade since self was last here, even though the garden is only a few miles from her house.  In contrast to how things appear when self visits her home country, the Gamble Garden seems to have grown.  Like the universe, everything seems bigger and wider:  the trees, the pathways, even the house itself.

When she got home, she walked The Ancient One.  A lady stopped to pet the poor ol’ dog, who seemed hardly to notice, so intent was she on maintaining forward motion (all her bones creaking, such are the vicissitudes of great age)

Self pulled herself together today and got something going into the crockpot this morning.  So by the time she stepped back in the house, the kitchen smelled heavenly (She made chili with sausages, ham, lentils and white beans, with plenty of chopped garlic and onions.  And some cayenne pepper.  Come to think of it, it’s more potaje than chili)

Then she decided to check out a few of her favorite sites.

Kathleen’s latest post on True Love, Six Kids, and One Old House moved self to tears.  Happy, happy, happy 55th, Kathleen!  You’re as beautiful as ever and just the loveliest writer.

Used Furniture Review has “Arts and Literature From the Deep South:  Episode 1.1” with Brian Oliu,  three poems by Joshua Young:  “Spotlight Center Stage – Sunday, 8:00 a.m.”;  “Enter Stage Right – The Preacher” ; and “Enter Stage Left – The Usual Suspects,” a very amusing story called “Instructions for Disposal of Dangerous Materials” by Gerri Brightwell, and a story by Jacqueline Doyle called “You’re the One, Baby.”

Wag’s Revue still has The Music Issue (Issue 10).  Self loves, in addition to the pieces, the great cover of something that looks like Rodin’s The Thinker, only covered with green — fungus?  Moss?  Clover?

The latest in “Ask Alys” (Gardening Columnist for Britain’s The Guardian) answers the question:  “Why are my bramley apples pitted with brown spots and inedible?”  The question just before that was:  “Which cherry plum should I plant?”

Café Irreal’s Issue Forty has a very interesting story by Steve Toase:  “The first tree I saw hitchhiking I nearly didn’t stop.  Not out of prejudice, you understand, but surprise.  I pulled onto the hard shoulder and reversed.”

Eric D. Snider has reviews of “New Year’s Eve” (D- :  And to think self nearly saw this movie yesterday!), “Shame” (in which Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict.  Self would have been more interested if he had played a shoe addict.  Or something less mainstream.  Sex addicts are everywhere, you don’t even have to look like Michael Fassbender to be a sex addict.  You can be gross-looking and still like to have sex.  In fact, if you’re gross-looking, it makes it more interesting if you’re also a sex addict.), “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” (Alas, this one only merits a C+ from Mr. Snider), and “Hugo” (B+)

Fawlt Magazine has not updated in ages and ages.

Home Is Where the Boat Is has a sumptuous holiday table setting:  absolutely gorgeous:  the plates, the bright red tablecloth, the Christmas greenery, the pine cones.  And close-ups of a book called How To Find Flower Fairies.

On The Writing Disorder, Marko Fong has a wonderful short story, “The Art of Peace,” from his collection Inventing China, “which looks at various ways overseas Chinese created their own notions of Chinese identity and culture.”  Part 1 (“Salt and Porcelain”) begins:  “Thanks to my grandmother, I may be the only person who knows the real origin of General Mo’s chicken.  Even though I’m not much of a cook, I may also be the only person who knows the proper recipe for the popular dish that combines boneless balls of chicken with a hot sweet sauce.”

*          *          *          *          *

Don’t forget to buy a book from our very own Arkipelago Books in the Bayanihan Community Center on Sixth and Mission!  This bookstore is a real gem.  Marie Romero keeps it going on sheer grit.  It’s as iconic to the San Francisco Filipino community as St. Mark’s Bookshop is to the New York literary community.  Among the books you can order:  Zack Linmark’s excellent Leche, Theodore S. Gonzalves’s Images of America:  Filipinos in Hawai’i, Jessica Hagedorn’s latest, Toxicology, and Remembering Rizal, an anthology of poetry, plays, essays and artwork on the 150th anniversary of Jose Rizal’s birth, edited by Edwin Lozada.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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