Books for Cooks

Books for Cooks caught my eye because R likes to cook. But I really love the historicity of it.

An excerpt from “Medieval food:”

There are over 50 hand-written medieval cookery manuscripts still in existence today. Some are lists of recipes tucked into the back of guides to medical remedies or apothecaries’ instruction manuals. Others focus on descriptions of grand feasts. But most are devoted to recording the dishes of the medieval kitchen. …

A nobleman’s diet would have been very different from the diets of those lower down the social scale. Aristocratic estates provided the wealthy with freshly killed meat and river fish, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Cooked dishes were heavily flavoured with valuable spices such as caraway, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and pepper. Other commonly used ingredients included cane sugar, almonds, and dried fruits such as dates, figs or raisins. The wealthy treasured these goods which were imported from far away lands, and were hugely expensive. Indeed, there was an ancient department at the Royal court called the ‘spicery’, which was entirely devoted to spices. Spicy sauces were extremely popular, and entire professional careers were dedicated to saucemaking.

All fruit and vegetables were cooked – it was believed that raw fruit and vegetables caused disease…. Gardeners grew fresh herbs which were used for both medical remedies and cookery, and were therefore an essential part of the nobleman’s garden.

Found from Mirabilis.

Curse Tablets

1700 years ago, someone stole a cloak. The owner of the cloak beseeched Maglus to strike him dead. He left the curse tablet behind. Fascinating.

Can I use that in Dielli’s book? What if they commission a curse tablet for Anamarbena’s slaver?

Color Awareness

One of the things we learned at Front Sight was color awareness. It’s a color code, like the US one for threat levels.

I wrote in my notes:

In White, the lowest level of threat awareness, you aren’t aware of anything. You are living like there is no threat and never will be. And that is when you get

Most people have 2.3 to 3 seconds of unawareness. On the street all the time you have to react is 1.5 seconds. The lag time is what the bad guys are counting on.

Yellow= relaxed, aware of your environment. If you think “How can anyone live like that?” you won’t live.

Orange=hinky. Something’s wrong. You have identified a specific threat. Determine their intent. Form a plan (scream, call police). Continue to stay in condition yellow because rats travel in packs. Keep looking for the bad guys. If you make four consecutive turns and they are still behind you, they’re bad guys.

The orange here reminded me of the time some stupid guys followed my sisters and me down a road. We sped up and so did they. I made a plan, drive to the police station. But when I passed a cop, I didn’t pull over. I’d made the plan, so I kept going to the police station. By the time I realized I could have stopped where the police officer was, I was past him and it was a two lane road with the bad guys right behind us.

Now I try to make a more general plan. “Get help.” “Find a police officer.” “Get to the police station if I have to.”

C a friend of S, A’s daughter, was out driving and a guy did a U-turn across four lanes of traffic to follow her. That was defnitely hinky. So she turned left across several lanes of traffic, without warning, to get away from him. He followed her. She did several other turns, then called her parents on her cell. She drove home, into a culdesac. He followed her. Her parents were out in the yard waiting. He reversed and drove out. A’s husband said that if she had trouble again, come to his house. He’d come out into the yard with a gun and let the guy know it was dangerous to follow girls home.

It is worrisome how many people don’t have a plan for when things go wrong.

Red: a specific threat. Draw a line in the sand or set a mental trigger. If A, then B.

For example, if I pull into this gas station and the guy pulls over too, I will… What I did was get out of the car, call my family and give them the guy’s license plate number. I figured if I didn’t make it home, they could at least find the guy. I was eighteen and scared and driving in from out of town.

Black: Opponent has tripped the mental trigger. At this point you need a combat mindset.

How to develop a combat mindset:
1. Know that the world IS violent.
2. Get mad, not afraid. “How dare this dirt bag.”
Understand your opponent.
2.2% are true anti-social murderous
Your opponent will probably be a dedicated criminal.
Even in pain, keep going. Be the last one standing.
3. Training
Train the way you want to fight.
You lose 50% of your ability under stress.
Therefore it is easier to win a gun fight if you’re a good shooter.
You should include simulators, hone physical and mental training.
You want a scenario that promotes success.
4. Visualization.
See it before you do it.
Pay attention to real world examples. Think through them.
See yourself winning.

Put little stickers up to remind you to be in condition yellow.

I also wrote in my notebook something very personal.

I think I used to always be in orange. Got sick of it so I hide in books.

I did, in fact, used to be in orange all the time. I was on the ragged edge of sanity. But I pushed back too far. R says they should add another color, clear.

Clear: (he says) is what I am when I am reading. I don’t hear you when you talk. I don’t see you come into the room.

He says that’s a problem because I am out in public and I zone out. For instance, he came to pick me up at school the other night because I locked my keys out of my car. And I was reading under the lamp post. I was highlighted and no one else was.

He wasn’t too happy about that. I did tell him that I knew where all the people were, and told him so he’d believe me, but that it makes me less afraid to read. However, I know that it probably does drop my seconds of reaction, even when I know where folks are.


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.

In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed. Deliver me in Thy righteousness. … Into Thy hand I commit my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. … Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble. … Make Thy face to shine upon me. Save me for Thy mercy’s sake. … Let me not be ashamed, O Lord. Let not mine enemies triumph over me. … Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart…

Lord, I’m asking for that blessing today. Strengthen my heart, my strong right arm. Save him for the sake of your mercy. Do not let the enemies of depression and death triumph. Raise up a new song. Give him a new heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within him.

I say to the mountain get up and be moved and the mountain is moved. Move the mountain, Lord. Crumbs from the table, and I am grateful for them.

The works of Thy hands, O Lord, I do not despise.

…Hold him safe in your arms. May he live long and prosper, blessed by your mercy and your grace.

One thing

I am thankful for is R’s working, at a job he doesn’t love, so that I can stay home with our children and homeschool. He gives up a lot of things so that I can do that one thing we’ve decided is best for our family. Thank you, honey.

Soup Revision

I made Sharon’s Easy Taco Soup, but I’m not sure how much R had. I had one bowl. It was delicious but very spicy. R didn’t love it because it had beans in it. Did I leave out the beans last time? Plus, there was just too much of it.

So, what would I do to make less and make it good?

1 can chicken, large
1 can chicken broth
1 can corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
bag of Tostitos
shredded cheese

I think that’s what I would do. It leaves out a can of chicken broth, a can of beans, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. That drops the volume by 30 oz. I think it would still be good and R would eat it.

So I guess I’ll work on that for supper. See if he likes it.

List of Books 2007: The First Six Weeks

I was going to keep a list all year, but I know that won’t really work. I’ll forget or whatever. So here is what I’ve got through Feb. 15. (I forgot to write some books down and I will add those as I figure out which ones they are.)

Ordinary Heroes: A Novel by Scott Turow
Irish Magic II- story by Susan Wiggs was good, the rest not so much
The Man from Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller, very well written Western
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Visitant by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear- icky Anasazi stories of murder and incest mixed with interesting archaeology characters being developed–Don’t know if I’ll read the others.
The Price of Murder by Bruce Alexander
Jack, Knave, and Fool by Bruce Alexander
Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris, a great book, I enjoyed it.
Death of a Duchess by Elizabeth Eyre. I liked it well enough to get another of her books to read.
Shoes to Die For by Laura Levine. My short review is here.
Hasty Death by Marion Chesney- good, fun, fairly light reading
Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney
Our Lady of Pain by Marion Chesney
The Grilling Season by Diane Mott Davis- didn’t like it, too depressing

Science Fiction
Accidental Goddess by Linnae Sinclair– I very much enjoyed this one.
Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnae Sinclair. My review.
Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
Alien Taste by Wen Spencer– Fascinating. First Ukiah Oregon book. As of January 2007 there are four.

A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer– good book I enjoyed it. The boys said it sounded like a romance, but really its a milieu story.
Tinker by Wen Spencer– R recommended the book and I read it. I enjoyed it so much I had to order the sequel.
Wolf Who Rules by Wen Spencer
Divine by Choice by P.C. Cast– I didn’t love this one as much as the first, but it is good. I didn’t like it because I don’t like the fact that she has sex with someone other than her husband. It kind of ruined the true love aspect of the book.
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
To Light a Candle by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart- fun, fairly light reading
The Witching Hour by Nora Roberts
Winter Rose by Nora Roberts
A World Apart by Noral Roberts
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

The Faiths of Our Fathers by Alf J. Mapp, Jr.
Women in Anglo-Saxon England and the Impact of 1066 by Christine Fell
Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love Poetry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands


Mirabilis has a link about 7 Yorkshire men who have a rare West African genetic signature.

I think that stuff is fascinating. My middle sister when we were much younger said that she wished someone would test our genes and freak my grandmother out. My grandmother was extremely prejudiced. White was best in her opinion. And my sister was sure we had black ancestry. Her proof? Her nose. It’s always made me wonder about our genetic signature.

How long will marriage last?

There’s 156% chance my husband and I will be married on our tenth anniversary. (Btw that was 8 years ago.)

In my post a few days ago, I tried to use Political Calculations’ “marriage lasting” formula. It wouldn’t work at all. I thought it was probably because of Safari. So I decided to try it using Firefox. Presto chango it worked.

They base it on woman’s age, combined post high school education, and religiousness.

It said that my husband and I, with an 8 on religiousness, which may actually be low if you’re working off averages, have a 156% chance of being married for 10 years. That’s probably right, since we’ve been married for 18. For 18 we have a 114% chance.

It takes us 22 years to get below 100%.

It takes us 39 years to get to the supposed national statistic of less than 50%. Are that many people really getting divorced that only 50% of the marriages make it?

In my family, of the people in my generation, we have 7 marriages and 3 that have stuck. In my parents’ generation, on my mother’s side, there were 4 with 2 surviving. For my father’s side there were 6 marriages with five that lasted. In my husband’s family, his mother’s generation had six marriages with 2 surviving and his father’s had 5 marriages with 3 making it.

Wow. That’s a lot less than I thought. In ours’ and our parents’ generation there were 30 marriages with 19 making it. We’re beating the odds, but not by much.

I wouldn’t have thought that it would be that big a number…. And our families believe in the sanctity of marriage.

For 45 years R and I are at 39%. Of course, being the pope only gives you 43%. (Not that he would get married.)

I wonder if the fact that I was so old, 26, when I got married makes a difference. It seems to, since that is one of the questions they ask. But maybe that’s too old. Do they factor in 26+45=71 and lots of people are dead then? I mean it might not be divorced. It might be widowed.

40 days 20 books

It’s been forty days since the new year started and I’ve read 20 books. Okay, I’ve read 20 new books. I’ve reread a couple of books as well. But this year I’ve read 20 new books that I haven’t read before. Not including romances. I’ve read about 20 of those too.

Maybe that’s why I don’t read blogs as often. But I should be making more progress through the books. I need to. I have about 100 I want to read and the next book sale is in three months. I won’t be through by then at this rate.

Another good book

Only this one is a mystery and no main characters sleep with anyone. Shoes to Die For by Laura Levine is a mystery. It’s a kitschy LA poor writer who stumbles over dead bodies and does detective work story. It’s a bit campy and a bit funny.

There are two kinds of people in LA. Those who do lunch. And those who eat lunch. Those who do lunch talk to their agents and order things like ahi tuna and Chinese chicken salad. Those who eat lunch talk to a clown and order extra ketchup for their fries.

That’s the way it starts and it is a fun, light hearted book. The murdered person is evil, wicked, and mean, so you’re almost relieved she’s dead. And the main character, pov character, is a carb loving elastic pants wearing copy writer.

Excellent Book

Lucy Crocker 2.0 is a fun, interesting look at a 15 year marriage that has gone down the tubes. Both partners cheat on each other. One because he is bored and unhappy. The other because he did and she is stressed and unhappy.

There are some thoughtful insights into marriage and people. There are two crazy fourteen year old boys. There’s the blond tantric masseuse. The liar lumberjack, stealer of minks. It’s a good read.

Caveat: I do not think sex with anyone other than your spouse is right. I do not think that just because one partner cheated the other partner should cheat. The book is not good because the two partners’ cheated but despite that.

will your marriage last?

Political Calculations purports to offer a calculation for if your marriage will last. I couldn’t get it to work, although that may be because I put in my mother’s information and the calculator refuses to believe someone could get married at 15. But she did. And she’s been married 46 years to the same guy. My MIL got married at 16 and she’s been married to the same guy for 47 years. I got married at 26 and I’ve been married to the same guy for 18 years.

I figure we’ll see 45 as well. Assuming we both live that long.


“Sometimes I think secondhand books should be banned, because they’re the bibliophile’s equivalent of cheap crack.”

I’m a bibliophile. You can tell by the bookshelves in the house. 14, plus the two new ones I bought yesterday.

Do Thy Research had the quote up. But for some reason his blog isn’t showing up.

Flowermoonfishing for words is the quote’s original blogger.

Religion and science

“a dogmatic belief system that believes in a ordered universe that can not be, at it’s root, defined by verifiable proofs or adequately understood.”

Both of them are given that definition at File It Under in a very good presentation of science’s reliance on religion.