July 29, 2013

Charming Little Book of Stories

Don't let the title fool you, "Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm" isn't just for holiday reading. Nor is it only for lovers of Stella Gibbons - only one of the stories actually features Starkadders of the "Cold Comfort Farm" fame.  It is a lovely little book, even it has never shot up to stardom.

Stella Gibbons Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm Modern Klatch

The book's cleverness is reason enough to pick it up...

"She felt that if she had to spend another year of interesting, congenial work during the days, and sensitive, cultured, intelligent talk in the evenings, she would go mad or die"

...and its stories are reason enough to hang on to your copy after you have finished. Though written some eight decades ago, the book does not feel like a time capsule. One protagonist struggles to balance work she loves with family happiness - sound familiar? Bohemians and sensible people are forever at odds with each other. Characters  face their choices, pressing ones and reflecting on the path they have already taken. And stories are about capacity for change, not dramatic important change, but a quiet change impacting only the intimate circle of those involved. 

This book is a rare gem. "Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm" is easy to read on a morning commute or poolside but it also has depth and subtlety. It is easy to care for its flawed characters. Without delivering dramatically happy endings most stories are satisfying in the end.   But the book also catches one by surprise as if the stories are a lens to one's own choices. 

Can you tell I enjoyed it? This one will be a tough act to follow.

July 8, 2013

Mojito Madness by the Pitcher

When you find yourself with a bowl of limes there is only one thing to be done - mojitos. Lets call margaritas plan B.

There are tons of recipes for mojitos by the glass but no definitive ratios for a pitcher. The following mixture produced formidable and refreshing results. 

2 cups of fresh lime juice (about 30 limes or so)
3 cups of simple syrup (water heated up with sugar to dissolve it, Klatch version is not too sweet but it is all the matter of taste)
4 cups of light rum, like Bacardi
Fresh mint muddled with a few spoons of sugar

Mix it, cool it, and add a splash of seltzer to top off your glass. Bonus tip: hang on to gallon glass jugs like ones that apple cider comes in, with the help of a funnel those work like a dream for mojitos storage and transport.


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