Things I Loved This Week #105

Rabbit Corkscrew:

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I went through a phase where I claimed I didn’t like wine, and I’m just now coming out of it. I was spoiled by good French wine, which you can get on any corner in Paris for under five euros. It is smooth and delicious and I adore it. Back here in America, I’ve never really been enthused by what we produce. California is known for the quality of their vineyards, but I’ve yet to be impressed. Oddly enough, I recently had a bottle of cheap Australian chardonnay, and it was wonderful! I may have to stock back up. Anyway, several years ago, I was in a church charity shop, and I found the most remarkable looking corkscrew. It was called a Rabbit, and it looked awfully elegant, but after I brought it home, I never used it. I put it in my cupboard and forgot completely about it. I had only paid $3 for it, after all, which I later learned was a remarkable deal. The other afternoon, Ina Garten invited her friends over for an Italian feast and she used the same corkscrew to open the wine. I was amazed at how quick and easy it looked, so I dug mine out and opened a bottle of truly terrible red wine. It was like magic. You put the contraption on top of the cork, lower the handle, raise it up with no difficulty, and your bottle is open. I giggled with glee at the ease. It was truly remarkable. Opening a bottle of wine is not difficult, but this makes it so easy! Drink more wine, reader!

Hillary For President:

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I have been waiting patiently since I voted for President Obama to be able to vote for Hillary Clinton as the next leader of our country. Back in high school, all those many long years ago, I was an ardent Hillary supporter. One of the only, actually, so it’s really no surprise that she didn’t win. We had to do a campaign speech in government class about a candidate, and I was the only person that spoke for her. Afterwards we fielded questions from the audience, and I have never been more appalled. One girl said, “If you can’t control your husband, how are you going to control the country.” I cut her with my eyes. That is so rude. And so unnecessary. And irrelevant! Hillary Clinton would make a fantastic president. I know that she isn’t perfect, and that she has said things and voted for things that I don’t agree with, but you will never find an ideal candidate. You have to find somebody who is like you with their morals and their ideas, and I get that impression from her. I’m an adult this time around, so I think I will volunteer for her campaign. I donated to it the last time, which I’ve always been proud of. It may have only bought her a second’s worth of ad time on local television, but I still feel as if I was fighting the good fight. I never did get around to seeing her, which is ridiculous since I’m an Iowan and we have presidential candidates on every street corner, but I’m going to make sure I do this time. I have great faith in her and in her ability to win the election. I would be proud to have her represent me and my country.

Homemade Baguettes:

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This weekend, I was missing Paris with a fierceness that consumed me. I wanted nothing more than to stroll through the Marais, get some sorbet at Berthillon, and look at my favorite paintings at the Louvre. Unfortunately, that’s not easy to do from the middle of Iowa. I flipped through a coffee table book that shows every painting in the Louvre, which was nice, but the parquet floors didn’t creak underfoot. I had a few scoops of passion fruit sorbet, which was every bit as good as the kind they serve at Bertillon, but there was no cone. I had no way to emulate walking through the Marais, so I was not happy. I developed a strong craving for baguette, so I tried a new recipe that I have been looking at for a long time. It doesn’t require kneading, just a series of folds, which is quite right, and I loved the feeling of the dough.

I treat bread dough and kittens much gentler than people.

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I hated that I had to use baguette pans for them, though. One of my baking stones shattered, so I no longer have the ability to make long baguettes until I get it replaced. Even if it was far too thin for my preference, the bread was freaking delicious. It was one of the first baguettes that I’ve made that really tasted like Paris. It had a nicely complex flavor and a beautiful crunch. I think I’ll order some new stones tonight and keep working with this recipe. I was so pleased, and for a few minutes, I was in Paris again.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”:

I don’t have a lot of time to watch television these days with my schoolwork and job and trying to have a bit of a life, but I make time each day to get in an episode of Murder, She Wrote, and now an episode of this Netflix exclusive. I hadn’t planned to tune in at first, but then I discovered it was about a woman who lived in a cult and had something to do with Tina Fey, so I quickly changed my tune. I am so glad that I did! The show is a constant delight and gets funnier with each episode. The divine Jane Krakowski is one of the main characters who plays a vain parody of rich folks and her work is absolutely tremendous. I don’t think I have ever related more to a television character. In the second episode she said a quote that will stick with me for the rest of my life that beautifully elaborates a concept I have long held dear to my heart: “You know, at first, I was afraid, ‘Is he too old? Is it weird that all of his wives have been killed in boating accidents?’ But then I thought, ‘He has a floor-through apartment at 1134 Fifth Avenue. You, sir, can kill me on a boat anytime!” All I want out of life, well not all, but one thing I greatly desire is a rich person to buy me things, to treat me like a prince at a Saint Laurent boutique and to fetch me in a private jet with a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for me. Wouldn’t that be nice? I highly recommend you tune in. You can watch the entirety of the series right now. It’s fabulous.

Iowa Evening Light:

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I have said many times how bored I get of Iowa. And I do. Readers, if you don’t live here, you can’t possibly begin to imagine how tedious it can be to have the same old day again and again. It’s like that movie, Groundhog Day, which I’ve never actually watched, except that it’s real. Work, college courses, dinner, more college work, translating a bit of ancient Egyptian funerary text, and then sleep. Again and again. The weather is the only thing that changes. It’s either cold or windy. It’s hot in the summer, but other than that…sigh. And even though I get annoyed by the constancy of the place, I do have a few things that I admire tremendously. And of those things, my very favorite facet of life in Iowa is the quality of the light in the evenings during the few hours leading up to sunset. It has an almost cinematic effect the way the sun shines on everything, making the roads glisten like gold and the skies turn a periwinkle blue marbled with pink and purple. It’s just lovely and I adore talking my daily walk around this time so that I can soak up the imagery and wish that I was an Impressionistic painter, capturing what I saw in oil paints to hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Maybe someday. I have long fantasized about being a painter. That might be a hobby I pick up this summer when I have some free time.

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