Monday, July 31, 2017

Berry Good Fortune.

Dear Ovened,

If you are lucky, and it isn't too hot this week, and you have blackberries, an oven, and this recipe, you have everything you need.  Well, except for a million bucks and a fly automobile, but really, you'd soon tire of the car anyway- as I used to say to someone I knew who wanted a steam engine- "Are you kidding?  Leaking oil all over the carpet and steaming up the windows!?  I forbid it:  No steam engines in the house, young man!"  That slick automobile would sit where the coffee table is and you wouldn't even be able to put your feet up on it for fear of scratching the paint.


This simple and delicious recipe for blackberry turnovers comes from Ruth Reichl via Sunset magazine.  If you don't know Ruth Reichl, find her books, read her, and love her like a trusted friend.  She is a wonderful and disarming person to have in your kitchen.  Her recipes for fried chicken and apple dumplings are in heavy rotation at the Dodo - which is really saying something, because we don't often make the same thing twice here, mostly because there are so very many recipes to try in this huge old world!

Blackberry Turnovers

For the crust:
Put 2 cups of flour, 8 ounces of diced cold cream cheese, 3/4 cup of diced cold butter and 1 teaspoon of salt (leave the salt out if your butter is salted!) into a food processor and pulse it until you can press the little clumps together.  Divide it into two disks and chill it for an hour or more.

For the filling:
Toss about 2 cups of blackberries with 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, and a smidge of salt.

Roll out the dough fairly thin- maybe 1/8 of an inch or less.  Cut out circles or squares of 5 inches across and load the pastry with whatever it can fold over, maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling.  Crimp the pastry closed with a fork, and prick it on top to vent it.  Then brush a bit of milk or cream over it and sprinkle on more sugar.  Bake them at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until they are good and browned.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

And then there were two.

Dearest Girls, Women, Ladies, Mothers and Sisters,

Hallelujah!  Now there are two of us who are publically on record as disappointed in the new Wonder Woman!  I feel much better knowing that I am not alone, but I still feel a little sad that I am supposed to like her, and that I wanted to like her.  I also feel sad that it is so clear what is expected of me, and that I am going to have to decline, once again, to give it over.  It just isn't good enough; you will find me at home, watching Xena reruns and listening to Laurie Anderson and wishing that things were different.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Dear End of July,

A bit of writing for you, today, if you feel like reading.  See, it's not just the topics, it's not just the facts, it's the telling and sharing of the space.  It's the hearing of it.  An artist once talked to me about 'permission.'  I didn't really have a clue what she meant by it then, but I kept it, I kept it as a question.  What could it mean?  Why would I need permission?  I didn't think I did need it.  Some days you don't. 

For the other days, you want an essay like this one from Dave Hickey.  He'll give you permission and plenty of it, and even a little salute as you go in through the out door.

 Press here to link to the Paris Review.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blue You Know What.

Dear Suede Shoes,

A song for you, for today.  It's from a little project I am working on: a set of blue songs.  This one won't fit for one reason or another, but you should have it anyway; it's a real treat.

Friday, July 21, 2017

It's a real plum.


Dear M,

It's a real plum to get such plums!  See meaning no. 6 here.  This Early Moonbeam Watermelon and these blackberries are pretty plum too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Elegy for Today.

Dear Dears,

I want you to know Einaudi, because I am very fond of him, and you will love him too.  It's important, too, because his is one of the voices of our mourning.  If you have been knocking around these pages you will be familiar with the Dodo's twin obsessions with Our Robot Overlords and What Are We to Do With Our Sadness About The World. 

I am still working on what can be done with our sadness, but something like this seems to address the issue.  As for the Robot Overlords, well, you know what you can do with them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Super(?)market.

Dear Shoppers,

I can't abide the supermarket anymore-  especially alone.  It fills me with self-loathing to walk the long, towering aisles.  I try to keep my equilibrium:  I walk fast, consult my list often, and try to feel 'purposeful.'  Alternatively, I experiment with a casual attitude- picking up things and 'hmming' over the label before setting it back on the shelf.  I pretend it is fun to choose from all these wonders, to browse slowly the packages and cans;  I adopt a devil-may-care personality:  maybe I won't even buy this flour, these raspberries; who knows?  I can take it or leave it- these products, these objects don't define me.

Alas, I cannot hold this presentment together for the length of time it takes to get through the check out.  I despise the supermarket because of what being a middle-aged woman in it represents:  You are the provider, you are the nurturer, you are the cook, the cleaning lady, the laundress, the pot-scrubber, the char woman.  Even if you don't do these tasks in your home, when you are at the supermarket, you are one or all of these persons. 

These tasks and roles are not disgusting to me in and of themselves; it has more to do with what you are not while in the supermarket:  You are not a fashion model, a pop star, an executive, a mistress, a spy, a drunk, a superhero, or a photojournalist; neither are you rich, busy, well-dressed, or desired elsewhere for your skills.

I dislike them mamming me all over the place, and I hate the little squints in the deli department with their low level, jejeune flirting, and the feigned cheeriness of the produce people.  As further insult, they kick you out the door with "did you find what you were looking for?"  I should say not!  But, what kind of fool would I be for seeking in the supermarket?  I wouldn't even look here if I wasn't out of food, and yes, you seem to still have hundreds and hundreds of pounds, packages, and pallet-loads of the stuff, so yeah, I 'found' what I was looking for.

And what can be found in the supermarket:?  Beat down people, mostly women, with extra large cases of cheap beer, soda pop, frozen pizza, laundry suds, boxed what's-its, enough sport drink to fill a swimming pool, awful magazines, and bushels of chewing gum-  chewing gum!  Who needs that?  Who wants it?  The supermarket is such a testimony to our excess that I flee it with my head down in shame.  It's hideous; like a carnival fun house in a horror movie.

A very few times, I have found things in the supermarket: cod in a wooden box, pretzel rolls, and a half-off bottle of French champagne once, when the supermarket was going out of business.  If you should happen to see me there, pretend you don't notice me, officiously reading my list, swaggering my cart, reading the names of cat food flavors, and humming this song.


The recording above particularly suits this dissolute diatribe, but the song is so wonderful that you might want to hear it again, with a little less atmosphere.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How's your plumbago?

Photograph courtesy of Kim Snyder.

Dear Dodoistes,

Have you seen one of these lately?  In your drawer or pencil cup?  In your glove box, or under the sofa cushions?  I set one on a curb at the beach for you, and a bench at the train station.  I hope you saw it and picked it up; it's yours.

If you'd like to sharpen up your knowledge of the history of the pencil, you might try this page, or this page.

If you haven't any time to unpack the history of the pencil, then keep on writing and drawing, and don't dilly dally here!  Until next time....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The black freighter.

Dear Readers,

Oh, I know, I have been thinking only of myself, and now I have gone and burned your toast!  It's not that I've forgotten you, it's just that I have been scrubbing all these floors, and stacking all these books, and running over questions in my mind.  But, I know what we need; it came to me in a flash as I stepped through a door this afternoon: