Notions, the How is it October?!?! edition

When I was in Scotland a few years ago, I started to notice that “sticky toffee pudding” was on the dessert menu of every restaurant I went to, from the most basic of pubs to hipster joints elevating classic Scottish comfort foods. It began to feel like the de facto dessert of Scotland. So on our last night in the country, with reservations at the local hotel restaurant in Bowmore on the island of Islay, I promised myself an order of the ubiquitous sticky toffee pudding. Friends, they didn’t have it! And so I have remained STP-less. That is until last night, when I made Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and was delighted with the gooey, creamy results. Also, can we take a moment to respect the a woman who includes recipe notes such as these: “Unsweetened whipped cream (optional, but please don’t skip it)”? Deb Perelman, I salute you.

  • Speaking of Smitten, the staffers at Eater found themselves turning frequently to Smitten Kitchen during pandemic lockdown and shared their perennial favorites.
  • Read this lovely, short essay by John Lee Clark, “The View Where I Write.
  • I’ve read a few books recently that I loved but have not wanted to blog about here. My resistance stems from the impossibility of talking about them without spoiling them and a belief that they are best read as un-spoiled as possible. (At least on a first reading; all of them merit another round.) To be clear, I could write Very Serious Essays about all of these books, but more than anything I want to talk about them with smart people. So please read!
    • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder. Published in the 1990s but translated into English only last year, The Memory Police takes place on an island country where things frequently “disappear” and the titular Memory Police enforce their forgetting with heartless efficiency.
    • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Ya’ll know I loved Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow. Her newest sets a gothic novel in 1950s Mexico, with clever hat-tips and subversions to the genre. So fun!
    • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. The long-awaited follow-up to 2004’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Piranesi ignores its predecessor and transcends it with something entirely new. Don’t read or hear anything else about this novel. Just read it.
  • Last, give yourself the pleasure of David Whyte’s beautiful poem “Sometimes,” on audio and print at Brain Pickings.

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