Better late than never was my motto when it came to this week’s National Donut Day. We grabbed a few (delicious choices: glazed sour cream and apple cider donuts) on Saturday morning as we were out and about at the library and the park with Charlotte. Just in time, too, as it started to rain on the way home. The photo above is a misty view of the bridges over Charles River (viewed from the Cambridge side).
It’s been an otherwise enjoyable, relaxing and productive week. I so appreciated the extra down time on Monday with the holiday off, and we also spent a good chunk of time socializing with different groups of friends. Charlotte’s starting to do a bit better in restaurant settings (we experimented with a brunch out last Sunday). We keep bringing an iPad in her diaper bag to use in case things start to really fall apart, but so far we haven’t needed it.
Here’s what I’m eating and reading this week:
Weekly Menu Plan
(in case you need ideas and inspiration):
Sunday: Kimchi fried rice with eggs and crispy ginger
Monday: Lentil and sweet potatoes with hazelnut bowls
Tuesday: Spinach and artichoke strata (from Joy the Baker‘s new book Over Easy)
Thursday: Dinner with friends at Cook restaurant in Newton (I had the BBQ chicken flatbread)
Friday: Pizza (like we usually do on Friday nights)
Saturday: Pan-seared salmon, orzo with tomatoes & basil, arugula salad
What I’m Reading and Enjoying This Week
This article on embracing the ordinary, rather than getting hung up on extraordinary goals or beating ourselves up for imperfections.
This and this, which I read in the wake of rather serious climate news this week. To be clear, I’m not at all for labeling meat as something we can’t eat. But I believe in making informed decisions, and deciding what to cook for dinner can take into account taste, hunger, and bigger-picture goals. Also, hooray for menu planning to help reduce food waste. It’s fun to figure out what to do with the remaining ingredients (like sour cream, herbs, and others), tying meals together from one day to the next while keeping things varied and interesting.
Book Review: The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith
An interesting, entertaining, but not overly involved read (which means it translated well to the audiobook format, which I’d highly recommend).
The book covers three different time periods: we meet the two main characters through an episode in the 1950s, when Ellie (an art student) executes the excellent forgery of Marty De Groot’s (a wealthy NYC lawyer) inherited At the Edge of a Wood, the last painting of Sara de Vos. We follow these same two characters into today’s world at a reunion of sorts at an art gallery in Australia, where Ellie is in the midst of a successful career as an author and expert in female Dutch painters and Marty is aging and reflecting on his life.
Interspersed through the forgery narrative is the story of Sara de Vos, a painter in 1600s Holland (the Dutch golden age). Sara’s story is fascinating in its own way – welcome interludes between the more modern tales. She’s admitted to the Dutch painter’s guild, loses her young daughter to (presumably) a plague fever, and paints her masterpiece in the grief-colored months following the death. She and her husband go on to encounter financial difficulties (the details of which and how they relate to 1600s guild system and the tulipmania of the same time are interesting and novel rather than dull and drawn out). While we do get up-close insight into Sara’s experiences and thoughts, her story is also clouded with much of the mystery lingering around the lives of little-known painters from several hundred years ago.
The pace was leisurely, though not boring. There was enough tension to keep things lively (it focuses on the crime of a forgery after all), but the book wasn’t necessarily predictable.