Monday, August 31, 2009


And no, I don't mean the August heat. The South chilled down today into the 70s, believe it or not. The weather seems out of kilter - we don't get cool this quickly, and often September is as warm as July. I'm sure it'll warm up again and I'll complain, but for now, Wow.

Today's topic is cooking, a chore that is not among my favorite. I've always thought a lot of work went into something that disappears down gullets, leaving nothing but dirty dishes. Don't get me wrong - I love to eat. But fixing meals ranks right there with raking leaves - a necessary evil. Tonight, however, I realized I control my destiny to some extent. I don't cater to everyone else's whims and fancies, and pretty much put on the table the flavors I like. Garlic, butter, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, onions - anything fresh and seasonal ends up in my recipes. Speaking of recipes, I love reading them - they're like mini-stories. But follow one exactly? Please. It's like plotting a book according to a set formula. What's the fun in that? Sometimes I produce a dish that makes everyone happy (and a red-letter day that is!), and all is well. Other days, it's Chinese take-out and I don't go near a stove. In a way, it's like writing. When it flows, everyone's happy because mama's happy. When it's a pain the patooty, watch out. . . .

Friday, August 14, 2009

Exceeding Limits

The dog days of summer slammed into the South with the vengeance of Sherman taking Atlanta. Phew, has it been hot. It's all I can do to get through the day without wilting like hot lettuce. Me, I love the heat. But there are limits. . . and mine have been exceeded.

So, came home from the grocery store the other day and just glanced at the paper bag. (I usually take my cloth ones, but that day I'd exceeded my cloth bag limit. So I had them pack the remainder in paper. I recycle!) On the side, printed in bold letters, the paper bag read "Less Stops, More Savings." Who was the nitwit who approved "less stops?" Apparently he or she never had Miss Moffatt for English. More and more, I see "less" used when "fewer" is the correct word. ARGHH! What are we coming to as an English speaking nation? It's become so common for people to say "where's it at?" that I don't even react anymore. In years past, I wanted to vomit with disgust. How hard is it to ask "where is it?" My tolerance for bad grammar and syntax slides downhill as I realize I can't save the language singlehandedly.

If you google the name Stephen Becker and the Virginia Quarterly Review, you can read a wonderful essay by the late writer about dealing with grammar/syntax editors from hell. He cared as much as I, and railed against the horror with more courage and finesse, to be sure. A COVENANT WITH DEATH is my favorite lawyer book of all time, and he's the author.