Commonplace Book, 43

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:

  • Are you sick of cookies? I nearly am, except these double chocolate crinkle cookies, which I’m looking for an excuse to make again.
  • A couple days before Christmas I embarked on the horror show that is cut out cookies. Why are they just the worst? I love baking with my kids, but the whole process was painful — the rolling out, P’s inability to cut near the edge, the dough getting warm and sticky and tearing. I had such fond memories of baking cut out cookies with my mom, and when I mentioned it and how much I hated it, Mom responded vaguely, “Oh. I think we only did those once. They were so stressful!” So there you have it, folks: cut out cookies, delighting children and enraging adults since at least the 1980s. If you’re more ambitious than I am, these soft gingerbread cookies taste good, at least.
  • Nothing says Christmastime like cookies and cheese. If you’re looking to use up your spare bits of cheese, you might try this template for fromage fort. I made it for a NYE party, but I kind of want to make another batch to serve over pasta. Except I’d make it with blue stilton and then my marriage would be over.

What I’m reading:

Church bells rule the day: so much so that during the relatively freewheeling 2016-17 academic year […] he wasn’t always sure how to spend his time. “It was actually hard for me, because there wasn’t a dang bell saying, ‘You do it now, then you’re done,'” he says. “I really need more external framework.”

From Here to Timbuktu: A globe-trotting monk with the Benedictine “survival gene” seeks out treasured manuscripts. The piece is interesting, and that bit has me thinking again about how I might revise my mother’s rule of life for life with three kiddos.

  • Dorothy Day’s On Pilgrimage. She deserves her own post.
  • The Essex Serpent. I wanted to love this — readers I respect loved it — and I made it all the way through and hated it. Every character disappointed me, and I struggled to understand how I was supposed to interpret each action until the author told me. The atmosphere was pleasantly mysterious, but that’s all that it had going for it. I’m an inveterate book abandoner and I wish I’d abandoned this one.
  • Anne’s House of Dreams. Ring in the new year with a good start. And Goodreads told me it’s been five years since I read this one. It’s a strange book, certainly — why are we supposed to believe Leslie’s life is so much more tragic than Anne’s was before Green Gables? Why is Gilbert so damn boring? But there are so many good bits — Captain Jim forever.
  • The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection In Your Own Front Yard // reads like a blog or magazine article. Not a lot new there but fast and pleasant:

“Building community, investing in the lives right in front of us, requires us to take the long view. Eugene Peterson refers to this type of relationship as ‘a long obedience in the same direction.'”

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