Friday, May 31, 2013

May Snapshot

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh
So, May's over, and here's what I've been up to:

On my nightstand: Birthday books! It’s All Good (Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cookbook), because I like reading cookbooks and sometimes I menu-plan before I go to sleep. The Painted Girls, Cathy Marie Buchannan’s second book, and what an amazing read! It fictionalizes Degas’ “little dancer” and the lives of the three Van Goethem sisters. Yes, I still love historical fiction. In Spanish, El maestro del Prado by Javier Sierra, a narrative and kind of insider- guide to one of my favourite museums. Two of his books, The Lady in Blue and The Secret Supper, have been translated into English.

On TV: It’s been a disturbing month for TV and me. The most fascinating disturbance was El escándalo del despilfarro alimentario  - The Scandal of Food Waste, a French documentary dubbed in Spanish (yeah, you know you live in Europe when...). Watch this if you can! More than 100,000,000 tones of food, a third of the world’s production, is thrown away even before reaching our plates. Fish is discarded at sea to avoid over-fishing penalties or because of shape or color. Fruit and veg that doesn’t look perfect is left to rot in boxes in transport storage rooms. In France, dairy and meat products are tossed from supermarkets six days before their “expiry” date. WHAAAAAT?

Equally disturbing, but on a different level, was the doc I watched about Bompas and Parr, two Londoners who make scaled models of famous buildings out of… wait for it… Jelly. Gak! It was morbidly fascinating to watch them create a miniature Madrid airport. Out of jelly. I can’t say I am a jelly fan. In fact, it rather creeps me out, but once I started watching, I couldn’t stop! St. Paul’s in neon yellow jelly? How could anyone peel their eyes away from that horror?

Disturbing TV show number three... Master Chef, en espanol. Yes, Master Chef has come to Spain, and Tall Guy and I love to hate it. The low of the month? Our favourite contestant got the boot. The high? Watching a famous chef cook shrimp in a vacuum coffee pot. Tall Guy’s favourite shout-out “YOU could make that. And better.”

What I’m listening to: Home, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Alabama, Arkansas, I do love this song waaaaaaaaaaay too much.

In my browser: This – corporate responsibility comes to Europe. At first I was unsure as this is on a Danone website, but although many of their products still come in unrecyclable containers and they sell only small, individual pots as opposed to a single larger pot of yogurt (in Spain, at least), and they sell a lot of junk food (um, hello? Just look at those little petit danone – that’s a lot of sugar and crap for such a tiny container...) they WERE the winner of first European corporate responsibility award.

The Blonde Gypsy – a travel blog by a woman doing a Masters programme in European studies, lots of fun pictures and insightful information, especially useful for checking out Eastern Europe. Annoyingly, the "like" feature for facebook pops up every two seconds, but otherwise, I like this site.

On my plate: Sweet potato fries. And cherries.

In my mug: Iced tea. The weather is warming up, finally, and homemade, REAL iced tea is where it’s at. Today it’s Earl Grey with a little lemon.

On my mind: A lot of people in Madrid are hungry. A lot a lot. So, do I really unknowingly waste at least 1% of the food I buy? How can I cut down on wastage? What are the buying habits of my local markets? What do they do with excess food?

In my agenda: A dinner with friends – what better way to end the week, and the month?

On my to-do list: Paint the bathroom ceiling. Oh, the joy. Did I say my to-do list? I meant my procrastinate-and-beg-Tall-Guy-to-do-it list.

In my heart: My grandma – it’s her birthday today! And my brother and his girlfriend – they both got jobs... in Taiwan, and they leave in just over a month! I’m so glad we’ll coincide in Canada before they leave.


  1. I too LOVE reading cookbooks - I learn so much, and find that it adds so much variety to what we eat. Keep on reading. :)

    1. It's really inspiring to read about new ingredients and also to see really well-presented dishes - some food photographers are just amazing! Lately I've been paying more attention to how I put things on the plate, instead of just what's in the recipe, and it does make a difference. Happy food-reading!

  2. What do you think of Gwyneth's cookbook? I love a good cookbook but I'm ambivalent toward her, mostly because I'm petty and wish she was bad at *something.* My current cookbook crush is Homemade With Love. That food documentary does sound disturbing but it also sounds like you're asking yourself some good questions. That's the way to do it!

    Thanks for linking up with What I'm Into!

    1. Hi Leigh! I love the cookbook - it has a good variety of vegetarian/meat recipes, wheat- and sugar- free (which we need at our house), and even a recipe for making ice cream in a blender... Yummy.

      I checked out the website for Homemade With Love, and I really like the look of all those cakes!