Commonplace Book, 34 (Week 24)

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

What I’m fixing:

  • So, I’ve been on a quest to feed us more healthy fish this pregnancy, and every few years I get the wild hair to try canned salmon, nutritious and inexpensive. (The last madness was salmon mac and cheese that had a horrifying number of bones. Do not recommend.) This recipe finally made me and J believers, though: Salmon patties with creamy garlic sauce. Also: I bought bone-free salmon this time, because I’m a fraidy cat American.
  • 30 Minute Chocolate Cake for Two: Maybe I’m just running out of tummy capacity 24 weeks into this pregnancy, but this fed four easily. The key here, mentioned only in the comments, is to use 4-inch diameter mugs or ramekins. (My first layer was tin can-shaped as a result of not following these directions, but the other two layers, made in small Pyrex, were lovely.) It was just enough to split with a third trimester friend, her husband and J.
  • I don’t think we’ve ever talked about lenticchie con ditalini, which sounds fancy but most emphatically is not. Years ago, I started with this recipe as a base, and bastardized it shamelessly, so that I generally sub chives for scallions, tomato paste for fresh tomatoes, and bacon for prosciutto. And J likes it better with shredded cheddar than mascarpone, which I adore but don’t usually have kicking around the house. But the original is great, too!

What I’m reading:

  • Middlemarch, forever — I think I have 27 hours left on the audiobook. Still good, though, at least.
  • I didn’t love Children of God as much as The Sparrow — it felt like it got a little theologically shaky and equivocal toward the end — but I still loved it a lot.

“‘God made the world and He saw that it was good,’ Sofia’s father had always told her when complained of some injustice during her brief childhood. ‘Not fair. Not happy. Not perfect, Sofia. Good.'”


“‘A God with quirky, unfathomable rules, a God who gets fed up with us and pissed off! But quick to forgive, Sofia, and generous,’ D.W. said, his voice softening, eyes full of light, ‘always, always in love with humanity. Always there, waiting for us — generation after generation — to return His passion. Ah, Sofia, darlin’! On my best days, I believe in Him with all my heart.'”


“Maybe when you’re frightened, you can hear God better because you’re listening harder.”

Reading instead of cleaning our clearly filthy sunroom



2 thoughts on “Commonplace Book, 34 (Week 24)

  1. I remember being shocked to realize salmon actually had bones when my French host parents served served us some tricksy pasta. Also, need to try that lentil recipe. After growing up only knowing lentils as being the bland substance of brown soups, I’m always looking for new ways to eat and love them.


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