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ALLITERATIVE FLASH SALE! Serendib Spring Surprise Boxes (US-only for this one, sorry!):
a) Small: a random assortment of sweets, postcards, and a handmade soap, plus an ebook of Feast (if you have one already, feel free to gift this) – $19.99 + $8 shipping and handling
b) Medium: same as small, plus bath salts, a paperback of Feast & a 4 oz. bag of curry powder – $34.99 + $15 shipping and handling
c) Large: same as medium, plus body butter, a hardcover of Feast and an 8 oz. jar of curry powder – $54.99 + $20 shipping and handling
Comment on the *main post* to order; I’ll confirm in comments and give you info on payment options. I think I can do about 15-20 boxes, based on the supplies I have on hand; it’s a little hard to estimate, since I don’t know what size boxes people will go for.
Go HERE to order:
We’re hoping to get the Shopify set up in the next few weeks, which will make it easier to ship internationally, etc. So if that’s you, hang in there — though I’ll have to do more research on what’s involved on shipping food internationally before I can offer that, so that bit might be quite a while.
Had a weird morning — I woke up at 7, per usual, went back to sleep, and didn’t wake up again ’til 11. I had tried taking a sleep aid last night, doxylamine succinate, so I’m guessing it was a combo of that + being really underslept the last few days, mostly due to free-floating stress. I feel more rested, which is good, but also a little groggy.
But I did get the Patreon subscription boxes finished and out the door, so that was good — I totally would not have been on top of it, but Stephanie has been keeping my little indie business on track. So helpful! Hopefully they’ll bring subscribers a little joy. I’m starting to think about what to put in the June subscription box — I think I shouldn’t ship chocolate that late in the year, so maybe shortbread and other cookies, plus some passionfruit caramels? My violas and pansies are blooming — I should pick and candy some of those. Hmm….
We were also shipping out 5 hardcovers of Feast from the latest GoodReads giveaway — hopefully they lead to a lot of happy cooking. If you do cook from Feast, I’d love to see photos! Tag me in, please. I think we could all use some happy cooking photos right now.
And of course, reviews are always welcome at GoodReads, Amazon, etc. I just checked and Feast currently has 12 (!) 5-star reviews. You guys. I am verklempt. Various people have asked me recently how the cookbook release is going, and honestly, I’ve barely had time to even think about it this last week — it seems like such a low priority, in the face of coronavirus. And yet — we have to eat.
I also realized this morning that I have enough sweets and soaps left that I should probably do a flash sale and get those out the door. I had made quite a few sweets for cookbook launch events this month that I’ve now cancelled. So see the next post for details on that!
Two quick but urgent cookbook notes:
1) our current GoodReads giveaway ends today! If you’re in America / Canada, you could win one of 5 hardcover copies — enter for free here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51332647-a-feast-of-serendib (please spread the word, if you’re so inclined!)
2) my publisher, Mascot Books, just sent me a note saying that Amazon is prioritizing medical and other important household needs and deprioritzing stocking / shipping everything else. Which I fully support, for the record, though it will be hard for many micro businesses; we need those essentials to move out quickly, especially for those in marginalized and underprivileged communities.
– You’re still more than welcome to buy through Amazon (which also helps keep my Amazon numbers up and therefore makes the book more visible on Amazon and more likely to be picked up by casual browsing shoppers (and of course, there’s no delay in ebooks!)
– But if you’d like it sooner (maybe because you’re stuck at home and thinking now is a good time to get more into cooking?), you can order directly from the Mascot Books site, or from my Serendib Kitchen site, and we’ll likely ship it out to you faster.
– If you order from me, you also have the option of getting it signed / personalized, and if you’re in the U.S., you can add on some hand-roasted small batch Sri Lankan curry powder.
More book details in comments!
QUARANTINE BOOK CLUB — you’re invited! Mostly food & SF/F.
a) I’ll post my schedule of books to discuss in the next month
b) I start a thread once a day on each book, so people can participate asynchronously
c) I open a Zoom chat in the evening, around 8 CST, for people who want to discuss it synchronously
Just join for the ones that interest you — I’m not expecting anyone else to read a book / day! (I have a lot of reading to catch up on, and now is a good time.)
Wednesday 3/18: BEST AMERICAN FOOD WRITING 2019, Samin Nosrat, first 5 essays. (Anderson, Arax, Aribisala, Bilger, Binelli).
“Good food writing evokes the senses,” writes Samin Nosrat, best-selling author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and star of the Netflix adaptation of the book. “It makes us consider divergent viewpoints. It makes us hungry and motivates us to go out into the world in search of new experiences. It charms and angers us, breaks our hearts, and gives us hope. And perhaps most importantly, it creates empathy within us.” Whether it’s the dizzying array of Kit Kats in Japan, a reclamation of the queer history of tapas, or a spotlight on a day in the life of a restaurant inspector, the work in The Best American Food Writing 2019 will inspire you to pick up a knife and start chopping, but also to think critically about what you’re eating and how it came to your plate, while still leaving you clamoring for seconds.
Thursday, 3/19: THRILL ME, Benjamin Percy. (Essays, so you don’t have to read the whole book to participate.)
“After writing two short-story collections and a literary novel, he delivered the werewolf thriller Red Moon and the postapocalyptic epic The Dead Lands. Now, in his first book of nonfiction, Percy challenges the notion that literary and genre fiction are somehow mutually exclusive. The title essay is an ode to the kinds of books that make many readers fall in love with fiction: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, horror, from J.R.R. Tolkien to Anne Rice, Ursula K. Le Guin to Stephen King. Percy’s own academic experience banished many of these writers in the name of what is “literary” and what is “genre.” Then he discovered Michael Chabon, Aimee Bender, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, and others who employ techniques of genre fiction while remaining literary writers. In fifteen essays on the craft of fiction, Percy looks to disparate sources such as Jaws, Blood Meridian, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to discover how contemporary writers engage issues of plot, suspense, momentum, and the speculative, as well as character, setting, and dialogue.”
Friday 3/20: FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, Nalo Hopkinson. (Short stories, so you don’t have to read the whole book to participate.)
“In this long-awaited collection, Hopkinson continues to expand the boundaries of culture and imagination. Whether she is retelling The Tempest as a new Caribbean myth, filling a shopping mall with unfulfilled ghosts, or herding chickens that occasionally breathe fire, Hopkinson continues to create bold fiction that transcends boundaries and borders.”
Sunday, 3/22: TENDER AT THE BONE, Ruth Reichl (food memoir in brief essays; content note: manic-depressive parent)
“Beginning with her mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first foie gras, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s.”
Monday, 3/23: WILL DO MAGIC FOR SMALL CHANGE, Andrea Hairston
“Cinnamon Jones dreams of stepping on stage and acting her heart out like her famous grandparents, Redwood and Wildfire. But at 5’10” and 180 pounds, shes theatrically challenged. Her family life is a tangle of mystery and deadly secrets, and nobody is telling Cinnamon the whole truth. Before her older brother died, he gave Cinnamon The Chronicles of the Great Wanderer, a tale of a Dahomean warrior woman and an alien from another dimension who perform in Paris and at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.”
(I loved the linked novel, Redwood and Wildfire, so really looking forward to this. A treat!)
Tuesday, 3/24: HOME COOKING: A WRITER IN THE KITCHEN, Laurie Colwin
Weaving together memories, recipes, and wild tales of years spent in the kitchen, Home Cooking is Laurie Colwin’s manifesto on the joys of sharing food and entertaining. From the humble hotplate of her one-room apartment to the crowded kitchens of bustling parties, Colwin regales us with tales of meals gone both magnificently well and disastrously wrong. Hilarious, personal, and full of Colwin’s hard-won expertise, Home Cooking will speak to the heart of any amateur cook, professional chef, or food lover.
Wednesday 3/25: BEST AMERICAN FOOD WRITING 2019, Samin Nosrat, second 5 essays. (Carmen, Chadburn, Dyroff, Fielding-Singh, Frazier).
Thursday 3/26: THE BLACK GOD’S DRUMS, P. Djélí Clark (a novella, so short!)
“In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air–in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.”
Friday 3/27: HOW TO COOK A WOLF, MFK Fisher
“Written to inspire courage in those daunted by wartime shortages, How to Cook a Wolf continues to rally cooks during times of plenty, reminding them that providing sustenance requires more than putting food on the table. M.F.K. Fisher knew that the last thing hungry people needed were hints on cutting back and making do. Instead, she gives her readers license to dream, to experiment, to construct adventurous and delicious meals as a bulwark against a dreary, meager present.”
Saturday 3/28: THE LESSON, Cadwell Turnbull
“An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years the people of the US Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of superadvanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last.”
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 in Science Fiction
A Library Journal Best Book of 2019 in Science Fiction & Fantasy
A Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year in Science Fiction and Fantasy (2019)
Sunday, 3/29: A COOK’S TOUR: GLOBAL ADVENTURES IN EXTREME CUISINES, Anthony Bourdain (food memoir / travelogue essays — somewhat accompanies his TV series, No Reservations).
“Searching for the “perfect meal,” Bourdain writes with humor and intelligence, describing meals of boudin noir and Vietnamese hot vin lon (“essentially a soft-boiled duck embryo”) and ‘fessing up to a few nights of over-indulgence (“I felt like I’d awakened under a collapsed building,” he writes of a night in San Sebastian hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar)…He also reminds his audience of the connections between food and land and human toil, which, in these sterilized days of pre-wrapped sausages, is all too easy to forget.”
Monday, March 30: MAGICAL WOMEN, edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan.
Indian women writing fantasy: “A weaver is initiated into the ancient art of bringing a universe into existence. Four goddesses engage in a cosmic brawl. A teenage shape-shifter learns to understand and control her unchannelled powers. A graphic designer duels with a dark secret involving a mysterious tattoo. A rebellious chudail makes a shocking announcement at a kitty party. A puppet seeking adventure discovers who she really is. A demon-hunter encounters an unlikely opponent. A young womans resolute choice leads her to haunt Death across millennia…”
Tuesday March 31: LITTLE AMERICA: INCREDIBLE TRUE STORIES OF IMMIGRANTS IN AMERICA, intro by Kumail Nanjiani. (Featuring me, among others — a set of short memoir-istic stories (easy reads!) from a host of immigrants. Eight of these stories were featured in the Apple TV+ Little America series as 30 minute episodes; more are currently scheduled for next fall. Book launches 3/17.)
***END OF THE MONTH***
Wednesday 4/1: Wednesday 4/1: BEST AMERICAN FOOD WRITING 2019, Samin Nosrat, first 5 essays. (Goldfield, Hill, Ho, Krishna, Lee).
Friday, 4/3: THE LUCKY ONE, Lori Rader-Day (murder mystery).
Tuesday, 4/7: A YEAR IN PROVENCE, Peter Mayle
Saturday 4/25: A GAME OF FOX AND SQUIRRELS, Jenn Reese (middle-grade fantasy) — launches 4/14, so pre-order now! It’ll be a quick read.
I told Kevin last night, around 12:30 a.m., when were both still scrolling through news updates in bed (yes, terrible sleep hygiene, and Anand almost missed the bus this morning as a result, we have to stop doing that) that I was going to do ALL the backlogged home projects now, and the house was going to be SO CLEAN.
He said maybe not so clean if the kids were home too and we were spending some time homeschooling. I told him that their first lessons would be in keeping a house clean…
(Now that we’re both going to be teaching remotely, we’re seriously thinking about just keeping them home, even if the schools aren’t closed. Yet. If the parents who can easily do that do it, it will help, I think.)
(I’m going to repost this periodically, I think, and update it as I think of things.)
Simple Things You Can Do in a Time of Pandemic
(a list for those feeling ineffectual, a work-in-progress)
1. WASH YOUR HANDS. Wash them frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Teach your children and other household members to do the same. Model it for others in public places, helping to make it a social norm. However this goes, that can only be helpful.
2. GO OUTSIDE. Go out into the fresh air if you can. Staying cooped up in your home can be a recipe for stress and breathing stale air doesn’t help. If you can’t go out, try opening a window or turning on a fan (which can disperse water droplets, lowering their concentration of virus). If you can go outside, and if you can garden, now is an excellent time; it’s good for your health in all sorts of ways, and your mental state too.
3. ISOLATE. Practice social distancing as possible. (I cancelled all my optional meetings, and am switching over as much as I can to Zoom.) Even if you’re not likely to get very sick, you can easily carry the disease to others.
4. RESTRUCTURE SOCIALIZING. Think about how isolation may be affecting you; if it’s making your mental state worse, consider options for socializing. Long phone calls with a friend? Asynchronous video game in between your work tasks? (I love Terraforming Mars for that.) Set up a computer screen with Zoom for you and a few friends or workmates or relatives, and just leave it running in the background as you go about the day, so you can chat on occasion as desired, ask a question, etc? Humans are pack animals, for the most part. Left alone, many of us tend to fret.
5. LAY IN REASONABLE STAPLES. If you can afford it, add a few staples to your groceries, aiming for two weeks’ worth of supplies on hand (if you have the space). Don’t hoard; others may need it far more urgently. Especially don’t hoard masks; medical personnel need them. If you’re not already doing grocery delivery, and it’s available to you, try it — one person doing food shopping for seven families and dropping groceries on porches is much less likely to spread contagion than those seven (or seventy) people going to the grocery store.
6. STAY INFORMED, BUT NOT TOO MUCH. Stay informed, but if social media is starting to stress you out, walk away. Turn off Facebook for a while, close the computer. The flood of information can be compelling, but it can also cause a lot of anxiety, and remember, as in any crisis, that a good percentage of early info will be wrong. Unless you have a responsibility to stay on the cutting edge of the info, you may be better served by waiting a day or two, letting others verify and process it, and then summarize the parts you actually need to know.
7. RECONSIDER TRAVEL. Think about whether you really need to take that upcoming trip, whether it’d be worse to be quarantined in that area, and be prepared to cancel travel at need. (For me, I have to go through a bit of a mental process of frustration, grief, and acceptance before I’m ready to do that, so might as well start early.)
8. CHECK IN. Elderly relatives, neighbors, co-workers, siblings, old friends — there are a lot of people feeling a lot of stress right now, and many may be feeling very isolated and even frightened. If you can check in with them — by phone, in person, online, whatever works — it can help. (It might help you feel better too.)
9. EAT HEALTHY. In stressful times, many of us turn to comfort food, but some of those options will just make you and your body feel worse if you do too much of it. (Did I binge salt-and-vinegar chips and ice cream last night? Yes I did.) To the extent that finances and time allow, try to eat as healthily as you can during a crisis (and feed others the same way). It may also help you feel a little more in control, since you’ll be proactively doing something to help the situation.
Crocus tommasinianus, and again with heuchera.
This photo makes me laugh. It’s like the snowdrop is the first one out, and he’s talking to the crocuses. “All right, you young whippersnappers. This is early spring, and early spring is no joke, you know? We may get some snow. We might even get another freeze. But you just gotta be tough, gotta hang in there, and we’ll get through…”