You guys, please buy books for Christmas. I know times are tough and the economy is horrible and soon we’re all going to be going around wearing barrels with suspenders, but that’s all the more reason to buy books, so you should buy books.
(Though, just to digress for a moment, how did wearing a BARREL come to be the classic visual shorthand for being destitute anyway? What is the origin of that exactly? Chris and I keep discussing it, and really I would’ve looked it up on the internet by now if I didn’t also suspect that the actual history of barrel-wearin’ involves some icky tar-and-featherish kind of tradition that’s just unpleasant enough to ruin the cartoon fun. Chris did submit the question to “Ask Dr. Maddow,” though, and I’m sure Rachel could relate the gruesome truth quite adorably, because that’s her job.)
(Edited to add: while I was working on this entry, I went over to read Comics Curmudgeon, and Josh is wondering the same thing! Ha.)
But anyway, about the books: buy them. You need to buy them. Even if there’s only one book on your holiday shopping list, buy it new, and even better, buy it from a brick-and-mortar bookseller that you’d miss if it weren’t around, because it’s been coming to that lately for a lot of places. Booksellers might have to wear barrels, people! You don’t want to see that, not even on Barnes & Noble, who would need a very big barrel indeed and massive suspenders to hold it up. So buy books. If you can’t think of any books to buy, I’ve got some that I contributed to recently, and for each one of those books you’ll notice there are links to a whole slew of places where you can buy them, or buy other people’s books; really, I don’t care whose books you buy as long as they’re books and as long as they’re new (as in “not used”). Maybe the book thing is on my mind more these days because my job involves books, but really, people need to buy more books, okay? Thank you.
Like everyone else, I am pretty underwhelmed at how this America’s Next Top Model cycle turned out, even though McKey seems perfectly nice and frankly more modelesque than most of the contestants on that show. The best thing about her is her boxing skills and the fact that she likes to grab people and pick them up like the Hulk, so Chris and I are very much hoping that all her My Life as A Cover Girl commercials next cycle will involve punching and feats of strength, i.e., lifting entire pallets of lip gloss product; holding up runways; etc. We’re going to need something to look forward to in Cycle 12.
In other news, it was cool to get mentioned (on page 3)Â in this Onion A/V Club article on blog books. (Buy those books, too! Well, maybe you don’t need to buy Tucker Max’s, not now at least, because if the publishing and book retail industry falls the hell apart and becomes one creepy company, you can definitely count on being able to buy a Tucker Max book with extra big Helvetica print at the Tucker & Max Bookstore in every airport terminal in America WOO HOO AWESOME and then you can prop up your copy on the edge of your barrel and read to your heart’s content. I’m just saying! Buy BOOKS.)
Finally, I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year. Does anybody have a good green bean recipe? The fried onions are standing by…
I got this one from a friend, who got it out of a healthy-type cookbook whose name I don’t recall (which I’m referring to since someone might recognize it & I don’t want anyone to point fingers at me & yell “bean thief! bean thief!”). My family hates green beans & yet they love these.
Green Beans with Lemon, Rosemary & Pistachios
1-1/2 lb slender green beans, ends trimmed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped natural pistachios (not the red-dyed ones!)
1/4 cup canned reduced-sodium chicken broth (I just use my mum’s chicken soup; you could probably also use veg stock for veggie version)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh rosemary sprigs
1 – Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 4 min. Drain very well. (Can be made 3 hrs ahead of time; let stand at room temperature)
2 – Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over med-high heat. Add garlic, lemon peel & rosemary and saute until fragrant, about 1 min.
3 – Add pistachios, broth & green beans. Toss until broth reduces & sauce clings to beans, about 3 min.
4 – Sprinkle with lemon juice. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
5 – Transfer beans to large shallow bowl. Garnish with rosemary sprigs & serve.
I found this on the interwebs, and I vouch that it is AWESOME. Whose dad was it? Not sure, but he knew what he was doing.
Dad’s Pan-Fried Green Beans
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes Ready In: 20 Minutes
Yields: 6 servings
“Once upon a time, Dad received a similar recipe with a bundle of fresh green beans. He made the recipe once and then lost the card. After many attempts to recreate that flavor, he declares that this, his own recipe, is even better!”
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1. Place the green beans in a large saucepan or pot with one inch of water. You may place them in a steamer insert if you have one. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes, they should still be firm and bright green.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar; set aside.
3. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until starting to brown. Add the green beans and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and simmer for a couple of minutes uncovered to reduce the sauce. Transfer the beans to a serving dish and pour the sauce over them.
hi wendy! i’ll be making the green bean casserole from fat free vegan:
i double the fried onions and use white wine instead of sherry. i’ve made it for three different thanksgiving meals (my own and 2 potlucks), and it’s always a huge success.
For my birthday earlier this year, I got told by a relative that she does NOT want to buy me books any more as gifts. WTF?!
Well, I love your books and I WILL be buying the one with the creepy WW recipe pictures. HOWEVER (and you can blame Amazon if you want), I am getting rid of most of my books now because the Kindle is available. I hate having things collect dust, take up space, and use trees. I love reading, though, and I do love bookstores. I will buy some special books, but in general I am downsizing my hard-copy collection.
Not only do I want more book for Christmas, I would also like somebody to pay me to read them (because I have a book problem and have more than I know what to do with). Any takers?
And not to jump on Suzanne because I’m kind of intrigued by the Kindle, but cutting down trees to make books = bad, but using electricity to recharge your electronic device = good? It’s not like coal is easier to come by. I’m not a fan of books taking up space and being dust catchers either, but man, do they make a house homey!
Oops–caught a typo. That should be “more books” in that first line. Makes me sound primitive: Me want more book! More book!!
At my urging, my family will be celebrating an ALL BOOK christmas gift exchange. In this shaky economy we don’t need a bunch of new things, but filling our heads with new ideas is never wrong. We are all looking forward to a Christmas afternoon surrounded by food, books, and reading in front of the fire. Heaven.
@Suzanne: All those books taking up space in your house are also acting as insulation. Think about how cold and drafty you’ll be, huddled up in your dust free house, just you and your Kindle.
Thanks so much for the recipes! And yes, e-books are still books so please buy them please!!!!
Little Bird says
Green bean recipe? Sure thing.
Get the skinny fresh kind.
2 lemons (you just need the zest)
sage, cut into super skinny strips
Boil the green beans just until they turn bright green and are still crunchy.
In a skillet, melt the butter, and add the lemon zest, and the sage. When the zest and sage become fragrant, add the beans and toss ’till completely coated. Cook only just until the beans are warmed through.
I know I didn’t list actual amounts. This is one of those recipes that you have to just guess. Besides, I don’t know how many you’re trying to feed. I will say that this is my all time favorite veggie recipe.
Also, I have tried to convince my friends and family that all I want, pretty much ever, is books. And more books. So I plan on getting books for all of them too.
Green beans. Buy fresh. “Haricots verts” are nicest because skinny=tender. Snap ends. Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, fresh coarse ground pepper. Throw onto a cookie sheet and into the oven, at anywhere between 350 and 400 or so, until they are done. I know that’s vague but it’s REALLY hard to mess up: if you think they’re done they probably are. And exceedingly tasty.
(This is a close cousin of the roasted potato recipe for which my husband broke up with mashed: buy fingerlings, halve, place cut-side-down onto a cookie sheet coated with olive oil, kosher salt, coarse pepper, chopped herb of your choice; into the oven at ~400 for ~30. OMGTASTY.)
((I don’t get to cook Thanksgiving this year and I miss it already; does it show?))
Books are a delicious Xmas gift. One of my greatest joys is to spend the entire day (it will be 12/27 this year) sitting in my pj’s, eating, reading, napping, reading some more. So I’m aghast at Jennifer’s comment about the relative who refused to buy books. ‘WTF’ indeed!
I also read an interview w/ an agent who said that wannabe writers need to write, submit, but also buy books. If no one’s buying = no books to be published, etc.
Wendy, I’m not a green beans person. Forgive me, I’m sharing my favorite sweet potato recipe from epicurious.com:
* 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 3/4 pound total)
* 3 tablespoons milk
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh gingerroot
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. In a small saucepan boil potatoes in salted water to cover 15 minutes, or until very tender, and drain well in a colander.
In a food processor purÃ©e hot potatoes with milk, butter, and gingerroot until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
**note: serves 2. increase as needed.
I’m buying almost all books for gifts, for a change. I always give books, and always about half of my gifts to family are books, but I rarely actually buy them since I work in publishing. Since I could get them free, but I’m buying them, you can see I am committed to the cause, too!
Also, since I work in publishing, no one ever gets me books anymore. They assume I have all I want or need, but that’s never true! So I guess I will have to ASK for books, too.
Weird that barrels were at one time easier to come by than clothes. The modern version of the barrel with suspenders? I would say garments made out of junk mail. I seriously think the homeless guy who lives outside my building gets a J. Crew catalog.
Books are necessary to have a complete holiday shopping experience. This year we’re all over the place with our book purchases – we’re not just buying from local places, we’re also buying directly from smaller publishers too.