Tag Archives: David Lebovitz

My constant companions: books, cats, and a tummy ache

I have had another week of being a cereal-killer. This time courtesy a band of bacteria brothers who are partying their way through my digestive system. Everyone I know seems to be laid up with a tummy infection. Since I ignored mine for a couple of weeks, and compounded it with hypochondria and a low threshold of pain, I was reduced to silently mouthing my favorite childhood song

“Got a stomach ache, got a stomach ache,
Got a stomach just now,
Called the doctor, called the doctor,
Called the doctor just now,
Operation, operation,
Operation just now,
Just now an operation,
An operation just now.”

(Aside: You should pity my family. I was given to belting this out, loud and raucous, each time there was even a hint of childhood tummy ache.)

I did not have the energy to do anything but make guttural pain induced noises, while sipping on water and occasionally eating a bowl of cereal or yogurt. Tough and merciless times.

If it was music and being fit that helped me through the last week, it was books and cats to the rescue this week. I would have spent 6,392 minutes this week looking at cat pictures and videos (everything from cat shows, to small cats, large cats, confused cats, cats taking a bath, eejit cats). Once the universe cottoned on to my cat obsession, I was inundated with cat links. Friends sent me links and pictures, and Facebook’s algorithms spewed cats on my newsfeed. One of my favorites is from Brain Pickings.

Vegetarian cat regarding a plate of fried eggs
Vegetarian cat regarding a plate of fried eggs

The other savior were books. I discovered – fell in love – with two authors this week, Kate Atkinson and Maeve Binchy. Kate writes as if she swallowed a couple of limes for breakfast and then laconically abetted a few murders before lunch. Her characters, in even very minor roles, jump out of the pages and sit by your side while you read – that’s how powerful her writing is. Maeve, on the other hand, writes frothy light stuff, like a long gentle bath with scented bubbles. Her books are set in Ireland, and given my obsession with the country, they make for delightful reading. The one I read, Quentins, was about a restaurant and Dublin, and there is something delicious about relating to ‘getting a coffee by the Liffey’. So tummy ache keeping you awake till wee hours of the morning ceases to become a problem and instead becomes an opportunity for a reading marathon. I get thrilled when I experiment with reading, discover an author I like, and realize that he or she has written tons of books already. The start of a beautiful friendship, when you know that there are many long and joyous days awaiting the both of you!

Pita bread and its friends for dinner
Pita bread and its friends for dinner

There were occasional period of lucidity – remember how we had folks over for dinner last week? As a nod to my days working in the middle east, I dished up babaghanoush, hummus and tzatziki, all David Lebovitz recipes. Served with lightly toasted pita bread. There was also a creamy corn in bread muffin cups, which you don’t see here. Will put up a pic and recipe for that when I make it next. Meanwhile, let me know if you need help sourcing Tahini. The friends brought the main meal and dessert to our place. The cinnamon swirl cake was the most delicious ever, and on enquiring, they told us it was baked from a box. Determined to figure out how to make it from scratch sans a pre-mix. This sounds close.

Anyhow, I should experiment this week. SG is packing his bags for the work week, and I am looking forward to some more cereal, cats, and reading.

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Cake sprinkles and birthday mirth

I write this blog post amidst the greenery of a university campus, one which is my husband’s alma mater and where my sister works. Visiting her on a mini vacation and being overwhelmed with the desire to be a student again. There is something undoubtedly alluring about the peace induced by the leafy avenues; time somehow floats gentler, carrying with it echoes of aspirations and laughter of several generations of students. The library holds the same awe as a church or any quiet place of worship and while one can quibble that “solid and ageless” can mean “stodgy and rigid”, I prefer the former.

Now contrast this sense of quiet and venerability with where I was last Sunday – the birthday party of a six year old – several cities and a world apart. The prep was marginally more hectic than the actual party as the SIL and I put it together literally overnight. While I am famed to letting things come down to the wire, cooking a couple of dishes for ten people, baking a cake and multiple batches of cookies (the rolling and cutting out of which required a zillion trips to the fridge), finding enough tins and bowls to carry all the food to the party venue, changing my mind twice about which luggage to carry, and catching a flight straight out of the party was a bit much even for me. All’s well, though, if it ends in cake sprinkles and the sunny smiles of a six year old.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The cake was to David Lebovitz upside down cake recipe. Note to self, must try with these other fruits – think pear or peaches. Note 2 to self. Buy a large cake pan or else prepare to wash of hardened caramelized sugar from all those spring form crevices, the baking tray etc. No amount of aluminum foil keeps the sugar in.

The cookies were rather last minute and out of Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen cookbook, shall share the recipe with you next week. They were called chocolate sugar cookies if I recall correctly, am calling them chocolate heart cookies.

With chocolate heart cookies
With chocolate heart cookies

The cake was a hit as was the birthday party. Ah, that reminds me, I watched a 100 foot journey yesterday. A decent enough movie, and while it is a bit of cliché, food does create memories. We created some great memories last Sunday using cake sprinkles and Nutella. Here is wishing my niece a very happy birthday and many more visits from her fairy godmother.

My husband kept saying “scary godmother”. Well then.