Rose Meringues

The holidays arrived and I was like HEY I SHOULD MAKE FOOD PRESENTS, but of course what came to mind was something I’d never tried before. Rose-flavored meringues, you guys! Pink, and maybe in the shape of roses, delicate yet shippable, and related to Portland.

I made my first attempt over the weekend, with one of the eggs from my co-worker’s happy pampered hens. One egg makes a whole cookie sheet of meringues. But they were missing deliciousness. The rose flavoring was from food-quality distilled rose, um, stuff, but it needed another note to ground it. Vanilla? Cardamom? Lemon?

Also, I used powdered sugar, because Joy of Cooking said either powdered or granulated was okay, but I think granulated would make the taste and texture sparkle a little more.

I had a vague idea that cutting the corner off of a plastic bag and squeezing meringue out of it would magically enable me to make rose shapes, but it enabled me to make piles of pink toothpaste instead. Or pink sparkly unicorn poop.

Maybe I’ll have the perfect recipe ready for next Christmas.

My other idea was hazelnut and dried-cherry granola– Pacific Northwest ingredients, right? and not as sweet as the meringues. I found a recipe, but when it was time to go to the store I was like, wheat germ and sesame seeds and hazelnuts and oatmeal and this recipe lady likes to use a mix of quick and rolled oats? When I am going to Trader Joe’s which has perfectly delicious varieties of granola in a box anyway? It seemed kind of pointless. I think I’ll go back to specializing in three-ingredient recipes.

So there you have it, the things I won’t be sending out for the holidays and can blab about on the internet!

bad cheez trip and pondering book reviews

I had a hankering for orange cheez powder, as in Kraft mac and cheese or cheap cheese crackers, so last night I tried cheez-flavored rice cakes, and ate some store-brand cheesy crackers, and also had some tuna mac (except it turns out we didn’t have any tuna in the cupboard, so I put in frozen peas instead). Then–it was about 8:30–I decided I needed a ten-minute nap. Then–a little after 10:00–Sanguinity came home from work and found me still zonked out on the couch, so groggy I couldn’t sit up, with a killer headache.

This morning I was still not at my best. I was not doing well at getting out the door to catch a bus. I spilled cherries and blueberries all over the kitchen floor. My travel mug leaked coffee. I missed another bus.

“I need help,” I finally said to Sanguinity. “Can I ask you for a ride?”

“To where?”

“I don’t know. Anywhere. Somewhere with a bus stop that’s closer in.”

Sang said I was having a Judith Viorst morning.

This evening I was curious to know if last night’s problem was just a big blood-sugar swing or specific to cheez powder. I ate a serving of the cheezy rice cakes. (Sang tried one last night and said her immediate impulse was to spit it out. It’s an incredibly intense cheez-powder delivery platform.) The back of my head felt a little fizzy. I like the rice cakes, but the rest of them are going out to the compost.


Mr. Liu estimates that about one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are fake.

I feel validated in my habit of reading only the three-star reviews on Amazon, though I’m sure that strategy will be gamed sooner or later, if it hasn’t been already.

Is it coincidence that Amazon sent me an email today to say someone found one of my reviews helpful and would I like to review these other things in my order history? I have 289 “helpful” votes, actually, so I have to wonder: why now?

I’ve written a few dozen Amazon reviews, but tapered off when I decided I wasn’t so thrilled about providing Amazon with free content. I’m much happier doing that for Powell’s, but I can’t shake the feeling that they don’t want to hear anything but the positive. For sure some of my reviews would never be chosen for the Daily Dose.

I use LibraryThing to collect my eleven favorite books every year, and don’t want to add books I’m iffy about or didn’t finish to my shelves there. And Goodreads pissed me off by emailing my contacts without adequate warning.

So I guess this has been the long way to say I’ll just be telling you all about what I’m reading and/or throwing across the room.

Right now I’m halfway through James White’s Hospital Station, the 1962 beginning to an SF series about a hospital in space that treats lots of alien species. There are no women or females of any kind so far, nor is this remarked on. Oh, wait, there was an alien mother, but she died in the backstory. However, this meant that the first episode in the book was about the formidable challenges of taking care of an (alien) infant, and they were taken seriously.

Reading this book reminds me of the days when I picked randomish things off the shelves at the library and read them. If the author was having fun thinking up the next kind of alien we might meet, that was good enough for me. I didn’t feel like I had so much more time then, but I acted like it.

I’m also reading Junot Diaz’ story collection Drown that writeswrongs loaned me. I avoided Diaz for a couple of years because everyone was talking about him, but now I’m converted. I feel weird favoring the story that I identify with personally, but the one with the kid who always gets carsick, I love that story.


The blog posts I’ve been reading from other parts of the country talk about summer being halfway over. An ultrarunner in my hometown even says she counts July 1 as the first day of fall! Well, okay, she goes to Badwater in July and everything feels cooler when you return from Badwater, so I see what she means.

But. Here in the Pacific Northwest, summer starts right after the Fourth of July. My life has become easier since I accepted this. Portland has long, long springs. They start in February and go right through June.

Now it’s time for our couple of months of real summer. The tomatoes and peppers in the garden can get serious now. We can ditch the down comforter on the bed some nights. And sunshine is coming, maybe even in the mornings!

So today is hot dogs cooked outside, and a cooler full of soda pop, and watermelon and ice cream. I’m about to go see if there’s enough rhubarb for another cutting yet. Happy summer, everybody.


Sanguinity and I have been eating turkey, bread stuffing, and gravy for at least one meal a day, sometimes two or three, every day since Thanksgiving. We have taken to calling it Coma In a Bowl. I am not tired of it at all yet.

We got ingredients for a green salad for Thanksgiving dinner: it seemed like the grown-up thing to do since everything else but the jello and cranberries was beige. Then we all decided before dinnertime that we didn’t care about green salad, and didn’t bother assembling it. But after a couple of days eating leftovers, the green salad was awesome.

Gravy is what we keep running out of. Today Sanguinity cooked up a third batch.