Before I closed my eyes last night I turned on the TV. Marley and Me was on. I grabbed a box of tissues. This wasn’t my first viewing. Sure enough by the end of the movie I was blubbering like a baby. Rick came in and asked me what was wrong but I could only babble and gesture with a soggy tissue towards the screen. Realizing what I was watching he closed the door lest he get caught up in all the feminine hormones and emotions circling the room.
I am hugely susceptible to sappy stories. When I originally saw Love Story I nearly had to be sedated, forget about Terms of Endearment. Are you kidding me? Throw in some kids, a few dogs and cats, and a terminal illness and I’m there. I watched every gut wrenching tear jerking moment of Steel Magnolias over and over again and most likely will tune it in the next time I notice it on the guide while doing my ironing. What can I say? I’m a glutton for sad movies. Obviously I’m not alone. Hollywood keeps pumping them out. From the beginning they successfully hooked the female audience, and I’m sure there are men out there watching when we’re not looking. Go back to An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Carr, or Imitation of Life with Lana Turner and Sandra Dee. Sigh. Such pulling of heart strings. Such angst. Luv it.
If you think of it, it’s kind of peculiar we gravitate toward such stories. Life is often sad enough without adding a little artificial misery to the package. Perhaps it’s knowing that others are suffering as well that’s keeps us viewing. Misery does like company after all.
Was I to write a novel or screenplay it would probably include some sappiness between the pages. I suppose it would be along the lines of Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele. Not that I am for a moment suggesting I stand next to these two prolific ladies in any way, shape, or form when it comes to writing skills. Rather my writing might run along the same plot lines as theirs. Incredibly wealthy, sexy, handsome, well built male living in a small, but beautiful Wyoming, Oregon, or Colorado town, meets equally beautiful (but unaware of her incredible beauty) available woman recently moved to said town because of loss of husband, job, or virtue. Both emotionally unavailable at first glance, in the end give in to their irresistible attraction to one another and fall into a deep passionate affair. The story, peppered with a little mystery, perhaps a murder or at least a home invasion with the incredibly wealthy handsome male saving the unaware of how beautiful she is female, all ending up in a pile of commitment towards the end of the last chapter. Whew. Absolute marketing gold.
It must be amazing to look on a bookstore shelf and see a book you have written resting there. I’d consider it an accomplishment of epic proportions to complete one book and actually find a publishing house willing to publish it. To have multiple publications in print must be mind blowing. Danielle Steele, I believe, has written 92. Wow. In the middle of all this writing, writing, writing the woman has been married 5 times and raised 9 children. Are you kidding me? She should donate her blood so they can make a serum to give to the rest of us struggling to get the bed made in the morning. Who has that kind of energy? I’m what some might say a high-energy lady, but really this woman puts me to shame.
Bookstores are slowly disappearing off the radar screen. That’s sad to me. Bookstores and libraries are great places to hang out. I used to like going to Barnes & Nobles, ordering a latte, and sitting in the chairs provided to peruse a stack of books. I realize I’m directly out of the Proterozoic Age with my fascination with the pages of an actual volume, but I like a book. A solid book with pages made out of paper. Call me crazy, throw rocks if you must, but I will hold out for the pretty picture on the cover and continue to read the brief summary on the inside of the back cover, and the bio of the author. You cannot slip a bookmark in the Kindle. Well, perhaps virtually, but certainly not one with a little tassel hanging out to remind you where you left off. Sigh.
I have laid out a basic plot format for a book. Actually, I have written 6 Chapters of something that feels like a book. I find the biggest challenge is keeping it cohesive. As you may have noticed I tend to run of willy nilly in all directions at times. Certainly I am prone to run on sentences. A habit my writing teacher spilled red ink on more than a time or two. Like artists creating on canvas, each writer brings to the page different styles, nuances of their own personalities, and a unique perspective on the universal cooked up in the melting pot of their individual brains. It’s sort of a word stew, if you will. This is, after all, supposedly a cooking blog.
Next year is a new turn of the page. I believe I will put on my to-do list at the very least to create some sort of book. I learned long ago if I am to complete something I have to make the goal within the realm of probability or I’m liable to fail before I begin. So for now I will put it in my stack to think about it, and do just that.
On the lighter side Rick and I have had quite a week with Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats. She had a small tumor removed from her left ear. While under she also had her teeth cleaned. The vet suggested we brush her teeth daily. Who is he kidding? Could he tell the cat? Perhaps she could learn to do it for herself? I guarantee you she isn’t going to put up with us trying to do it. I don’t have enough skin to sacrifice to the cause. Boo is not a cat who takes kindly to being ministered to. They sent us home with what they call an Elizabethan collar. The cat sat in one spot and beat her head against the wall until we had to remove it. After calling the vet and asking what to do the receptionist explained some cats simply won’t tolerate wearing one. Sigh.
Each day we have to spray the ear twice. Once in the morning and once at night. Boo is not excited about this procedure. She watches us closely and if we even look like we’re going to approach her she runs and hides under the bed. It is terrible to admit two grown adults are being bested by an 8 pound cat. Sad really.
Anyhow, this soup is one of my very favorites. I made some olive bread croutons to go on top and a couple of grilled brie and Italian ham sandwiches on the side and it was a perfect meal.
Tomato Basil Soup with Olive Bread Croutons
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1/8 cup tomato paste
2 tsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1/8 cup dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. parsley
Heat olive oil in large skillet over med.-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 10 mins. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaf, basil, broth, water and pepper flakes to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil. Lower heat to low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 40 mins.
Add parsley. Puree with an immersion blender or a food processor. Serve with croutons.
Olive Bread Croutons
1 loaf olive bread, cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Place cubed bread in large bowl with lid. Mix together remaining ingredients. Pour over bread and toss well to coat.
Cook for 10 mins. turning once. Turn on broiler and continue cooking until brown. Cool. Store in sealed plastic bag or container.
If you’re really in the mood to cook, try this recipe for olive bread. Delish.http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/fabulous-focaccia-recipe.html#!