Here’s a Cocktail. Let’s Have a Little Chat.

Honeysuckle RoseThe chef at the restaurant where I dally got a hold of a grip of honeysuckle… what? Honeysuckle honey? You get a drop at best per blossom so even a teaspoon represents the labor of hundreds of pulled and milked flowers.

The container before me is mostly simple sugar with maybe a tenth (if that) of honeysuckle nectar, but it’s representative of enormous effort. I’m reminded of Martin Amis in the opening of his Stalin book, Koba the Dread. It’s not a preface, as he tucks it into Part 1: The Collapse of Human Value. He calls it a preparatory, which is chillingly apt.

From Amis:

“Here is the second sentence of Robert Conquest’s The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and The Terror-Famine:

We may perhaps put this in perspective in the present case by saying that in the actions here recorded about twenty human lives were lost for, not every word, but every letter, in this book.

That sentence represents 3,040 lives. This book is 411 pages long.”

I didn’t intend to go this direction. Mine was a wish to talk about saying stupid things and why you should be able to, and throw a cocktail at you in the meantime, but I pulled this book off the shelf because I was in mind of how many can be represented by so few. I was thinking honeysuckle product to individual honeysuckle and it reminded me of the staggering Amis comparison. Continue reading

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Lentil and Chicken Soup That I No Longer Hate

Green LentilsThere was a food that you, second person reader, hated with a mad passion as a child. Your parents would throw platitudes betwixt demands that you eat whatever increasingly horrific foodstuff kept you prisoner at the dinner table.

“It’s good for you.” They would say. “Don’t you want to grow up big and tall?” And then they would make it worse by pointing out “It’s only going to taste worse as it gets cold.”

Some emerge from the parent/child “eat your dinner” stand-off victorious. My wife, a real live grown up who I definitely did not make up to seem cool and not lonely, hates broccoli every bit as much as her pre-pubescent self did. She can with the authority of adulthood tell her mother “No!” and “Shame on your matriarchal digestive tyranny.” Hers wasn’t a refusal to try something new or adolescent obstinance. “I hate and will always hate broccoli.” is as true now as at any time in her existence.   Continue reading

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Sautéed Squash What Makes Me Happy

I described this favorite to a fellow who was having lunch a few chairs down the bar from me. We had already conversed about what was on the t.v. (television) – we bonded because neither of us care one lick about golf – so I wasn’t a random crank chiming in about vegetable recipes made with what is technically fruit. I was a loose acquaintance.

IMG_20180426_190251.jpgHe asked a question that so many fellows who are having lunch a few chairs down the bar from me ask when conversation, having dispensed with how unappealing televised golf is, turn to innovative or pleasurable ways to prepare squash.

“Is it all squash, or do you mix zucchini in?”

The answer is yes and no.

Continue reading

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Blogging Malpractice, Part DLVIIMCIL

CaptureThe previous post celebrates the return of the football season and the concomitant rebirth of the RBR Tailgate series over at rollbamaroll.com. That was over a month ago.

Since then I’ve posted about chicken thighs, rilletes, rotel, stuffed pasta, and chicken taco flatbread. All on the other site and nary an informal or dialect form of not linking to these electronic pages.

I’ve once again ignored my self imposed duty and beg the indulgence of both of my readers. I promise that this insincere affirmation of the sacred bond between blogger and casual reader carries more weight that those similar but less convincing entries in the genre that came before.

I tend to be a bit more rigorous about posting when football is afoot, but with the regular season half way done, this is an unforgivable disregard for the modern art of cross promotion.

I really liked the offerings too. The rilletes, in particular are amazing, if I do write so myself. Everything else is quite good as well. And then there’s the latest entry.

I’m fairly damn furious at how poorly my home ground burgers fared, but… read it for yourself.

I’m on a mission. By the end of next month I’ll be making burgers at a twenty-eighth grade level, no finger’s crossed.

I’m so mad.

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Finally.

Dale InterviewIt’s finally gameday.

I’ve got an interview with the chef who fed the Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 2012 to 2016 up over at the rah-rah-football site along with a quick and easy ham & cheese slider recipe to enjoy as you watch the most brutal opening in the history (as far as my crack research team can tell) of the college game.

When they scheduled this game, both Alabama and Florida State were programs everyone expected to be very good, but I doubt anyone expected them to be preseason #1 and #3 respectively.

Please don’t let this come down to field goals.

Actually, I don’t think this will be a close game. Either FSU has improved their offensive line or they haven’t. If the haven’t, we will be all over their qb and our run game wears their defense down by the half and we do whatever we want on offense for the last two quarters. If they have and can give Francios time to go through his progressions they might just run away with this. Practice reports say that Diggs has improved at corner since the A-Day game, but he was playing wide receiver a year ago. Not getting picked on is expecting a lot from a freshman convert making his first start against a top five team.

Thankfully, FSU’s receiver talent dips a good bit after the top three so they shouldn’t be able to spread us out too much nor dictate matchups.

This either going to be a great or a horrible game. Finally.

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My Wife’s First Book Release

StrangeholdAfter years of helping others get their sci/fi and fantasy books out into the world as the editor at Pyr, my wife has published her own book, Strangehold (Crosshold of Worlds Book 1), an urban fantasy novella.

I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks because my wife was concerned about the mechanizations of amazon.com. Apparently one of the last things you want is to muddy your “Customers who bought this also bought” links with non or other genre selections.

She wanted her debut to be small and at best limited to dedicated Sci Fi/Fantasy readers to make her bones and get her title included amongst those chosen by the die hard. In short, she was worried that if either of my readers were to buy the book, she’d have links to books about foot fungus, lizard people in positions of power, and the collected wisdom of Mike DuBose befouling her page. So I waited.

The cat’s out of the bag now with friends and family tossing the title out to the great unwashed via Facebook and Twitter so I get to shout this from my very small mountian top of a blog and, though I’m hopelessly unreliable as a reviewer ever since it came out that the author and I have been sleeping together for almost fifteen years, the book is great. Don’t just take my conflicted word for it. Listen to these people who have never even so much as kissed her:

“Strangehold is a fabulous creation, in every sense of the word, and I cannot wait to read more! Grounded and real, yet infused with startling wonder. Highly recommended.” Julie E. Czerneda, author of A TURN OF LIGHT

“My favorite new urban fantasy in years! Sears’s writing is confident, assured, and full of magic, just like her practical and powerful spellcaster heroine. I can’t wait for the next story in the series.”Stephanie Burgis, author of MASKS AND SHADOWS and THE DRAGON WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART 

Pretty nice, eh? Goodreads has been good to her too.

The Teaser is after the break.

Continue reading

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Backyard Tuscan Dinner

Meds for Health 2As much as I love the foods of the region and write their praises, you’d think I’d be able to spell “Mediterranean” on the first go round. There are so many points of doubt in the word. Two “d”s? Is it “i” or “a” next? I know there’s one “t” but is there a second “r?”

After an attempt or two at trying to to appease spellcheck sans help I end up opening a new tab and looking it up. Everytime. It makes me feel lesser, which is no attitude to have when starting such an inherently egotistical exercise as a blogpost. You have to believe that people will actually be interested in what you have to say.

I’m hoping that the picture above is attractive enough to entice a few readers to stick around for the recipes after the jump. Eeyore. Continue reading

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An Owl Was Hiding In My Pear.

Owl in Pear

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When Waiters Attack!

“I forgot my glasses. Can you tell me what beers you guys have on draft?”

Beers on Tap Albaq

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A Little Housekeeping

Federalist AnchoviesSomeone besides the blessed rah-rah football site deigned to publish something I wrote. I’m never very comfortable trying promote my stuff, which is stupid.

I remember a really successful writer talking to a group of fairly newly published authors and a few hopefuls like myself. It was more like he was holding court. He had opinions on everything from when to break with conventions to how to choose an agent. It was remarkable how well thought out those opinions were, but he’d been in the business of writing for at least forty years at the time.

One of the things that stuck with me was his response to a question about what to do with something you’ve written but don’t believe will sell.

“Are you an editor?” He asked. Or something in that direction. This is all paraphrased from memory. Continue reading

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