Foodie post 

Just blogrolled: The Julie/Julia Project, a blog by "renegade foodie" Julie Powell, who's on a mission to cook her way through every recipe in Julia Child's classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Very funny writing, and Julie even managed to make Riz en Couronne during the blackout.

Still thinking about food, I came across these ancient Roman recipes adapted from Apicius's De Re Coquinaria. I might actually make the dates stuffed with pine nuts or the pear dish with cumin.

And here's a recipe of my own:

Post-Blackout Pasta (for one, with leftovers)

Turn on burner of newly-functional electric stove. Boil a pot of lightly salted water and cook several generous handfuls of your favorite pasta until done. Drain pasta into a colander and set aside.

Meanwhile, go through newly functional refrigerator in search of foodstuffs that haven't spoiled during the power outage. (Assume you've already pitched out the most dubious items.) Chop up the last of a container of marinated green olives (they should be well preserved, right?). Take some leftover steamed baby kale (not fermented! what luck!) and heat it thoroughly with a little broth in the pot in which you cooked the pasta. Throw in the olives and a little of their marinade, some black pepper, and a chopped-up tomato if you've got any. Add pasta and toss until everything is well mixed.

Grate some parmesan (no mold! yesss!) on top of the pasta. Serve with a nice Australian shiraz, and enjoy being able to see your food again.


Adventures without electricity 

No sooner was the mess with the Blaster worm over than the Great Blackout of 2003 hit Collegeville, which, while it's located in the Midwest, wasn't far enough west to be unaffected by the power outages. The power come back on around campus this morning, but my end of town was without electricity until just a little while ago. Right now, I've learned three important lessons from 24 hours with no power:

Important life lessons, all three. I wonder if there's anyone I can snarl at about the electric stove thing.

Major triumphs of this afternoon: located today's local newspaper, which informed me that our water is still safe to drink (whew); located only open campus-area cafe, and had the most desperately-needed iced coffee of my life; located only open campus-area grocery store, where I was able to get tomatoes, sliced chicken, and bottled Frappuccinos (ready-made caffeine source! there is a God!). But the best moment was at around 4:15, when I heard all the neighbors' air conditioners shudder back to life simultaneously.

I remember various childhood blackouts as being rather fun: the hunt for emergency candles, the running around the house with flashlights, the general air of being on a camping trip in one's own home, the neighbors emerging from their houses to compare notes. This wasn't as much fun, probably because I'm now the one who has to remove the spoiled food from the refrigerator, and I somehow missed the ice-cream giveaways that happened yesterday afternoon when various local eateries realized that they might as well empty their freezers any way they could. I also missed the one bar that stayed open and served beer in a festive blackout atmosphere. Ah well.

Via BoingBoing, I found a preliminary list of NYC and east coast blog coverage of the blackout. Check out this account of one of the subway cars where people were stranded. Crooked Timber also has blackout reflections here and here. I talked to my friend R. in New York this morning; she and her husband walked all the way from their jobs in Manhattan to their apartment in Queens. R. said that lots of their fellow pedestrians were limping as they crossed the bridge. But they're fine, apart from the blistered feet.

And now I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity to make large amounts of pasta, take a bath with (hopefully) hot water, brew a pot of mint tea, watch something mindless on TV, and get a good night's sleep with the faint reassuring glow of streetlights coming in through the windows.



My computer has been hit by the Blaster/Lovsan worm. Why is it that when you really want to copy something from the web on an uninfected campus machine and bring it home to fix your ailing home machine, you discover that a) you can't burn anything to CD-R in the computer labs and b) the floppies you have are defective? Does this worm also cause bad luck? What's next, Dutch elm disease?

So if this blog is rather quiet over the next few days, well, now you know why...


Another nifty online edition of another nifty Renaissance book 

This is just so cool: the online Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published by the MIT Press. The Hypnerotomachia (published in Venice in 1499), whose title can be translated as "Poliphilo's combat of love in a dream," is a strange Latin text: part dream-vision, part romance, part architectural treatise, profusely illustrated and quite beautiful. This online edition consists of facsimiles of every page, plus an introduction that discusses (among other things) the book's typographical innovations, its architectural detail, its metaphors of desire, and its "cinematic visual logic," complete with animated illustrations.

Fascinating. I want to work for these people.