January 2nd, 2009

Alexander Calder's Kitchen!

Good Morning!!

It is raining, a great treat here.   Thanks to Joan, my icon for this post is the kitchen of Alexander Calder, one of my favorite artists.

I have been reading Serve the People,  A Stir-Fried Journey through China by Jen Lin-Liu.   I recommend it because it is an important look at China and it is a fascinating journey into the world of food.

She has a chapter on MSG.  Most of us probably think we never touch it, having somehow absorbed all sorts of fearful things about this additive.  We go to Chinese restaurants that boldly proclaim "No MSG."

She writes: 
Monosodium glutamate is most commonly thought of as an additive in Chinese food, but major American food companies like Campbell and Frito-Lay add MSG to their soups and chips to give then a tastier, more robust flavor.  It is also found in its naturally occurring form in all kinds of foods, including Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and cured ham."

After reading this book, I find myself with a greater appreciation of all that surrounds me.  Life in China is rough.   Of course, it may be rougher here this year than last.  I came to my computer this morning as though it were an altar, an altar of connection.  I have access to news from around the world, can find poetry, art, and touch each of you.   Somehow reading this book, I am more aware of my world and all there is to value,  and perhaps that would be true if I had very little, but the point, I believe, is to live more whole-heartedly in the world that is ours, the world we are given to create.

MSG adds flavor to food.  May we each be aware of the additive of attention that enriches our life.


My house burned down.
I can now see better
the rising moon.  

I don't need my house to burn down to know that I can expand attention in all forms and as the rain falls in its cleansing dance, I plan to live today like a dumpling with the dough rolled and formed to the right texture and the filling enclosed with pinches just right for this second day of the New Year.  

Jenner land trust

from Writer's Almanac -

It's the birthday of the science fiction writer Isaac Avimov, born in Petrovichi, Russia (1920). His family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old, and his parents opened a candy shop in Brooklyn. He spent most of his time working in the family store, and he was fascinated by the shop's newspaper stand, which sold the latest issues of popular magazines. When his father finally relented and let him read pulp fiction, Asimov started reading science fiction obsessively.

He started writing science fiction as well. He published his first story when he was 18, and published 30 more stories in the next three years. At age 21, he wrote his most famous story after a conversation with his friend and editor John Campbell. Campbell had been reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature, which includes the passage, "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which has been shown!" Asimov went home and wrote the story "Nightfall" (1941), about a planet with six suns that has a sunset once every 2,049 years. It's been anthologized over and over, and many people still consider it the best science fiction short story ever written.

Isaac Asimov wrote more than 400 books during his life.

He said, "From my close observation of writers … they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review."