March 29, 2010

Mustard Madness

"Wrapped up like an expensive gift in her emerald batik caftan, her purple and gold sari or some wheat-colored housedress straight out of Peyton Place (for this comparison you had to pretend you didn't see the cigarette burn at the hip), on Sunday afternoons, Hannah entertained, in the old-fashioned, European sense of the word. Even now, I don't understand how she managed to prepare those extravagant dinners in her tiny mustard-yellow kitchen -- Turkish lamb chops ('with mint sauce'), Thai steak ('with ginger-infused potatoes'), beef noodle soup ('Authentic Pho Bo'), on one less successful occasion, a goose ('with cranberry rub and sage carrot fries')."
--Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl
My second go-around with this book, and its narration is just as lively and impressive as I remember. Every page is dotted and spotted (perhaps even besotted) with literary allusions, pop references, and original similes. If you were to check up every single reference, it would take you forever to finish this book. Thankfully, for those of us who haven't read every notable book ever written since the written language has been around, it's still a great read (albeit probably on a lower level). Even if you don't understand half of the references, you will no doubt find yourself captivated by Pessl's command over lay language.

Moving on to other "topics," I wonder, would cooking in a mustard yellow kitchen like Hannah's make someone crave mustard more or less? I have been in a very "mustardy" mood lately. I think it all started with a knish I had on the street; the best part of said knish was the spicy mustard. I stuck some mustard in tomorrow's breakfast-for-lunch burrito, which includes: eggs, tomatoes, turkey sausage, sauteed cabbage, white rice, onions, scallions, baby bella mushrooms...and Trader Joe's aioli garlic mustard. Yum, I hope?

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