We went shopping yesterday. First up was Tony’s where we scored a lot of lovely produce for good prices (mostly) The bins outside the store held large mangoes @ 3 for $2, so I snagged six of them. It remains to be seen how they taste, but if they’re good, it’s a great deal. Glinda and our friend, Linda took advantage of the sale on limes: 15 of them for $1! I got two pounds of strawberries for $2.50 each and they were not only nice looking (read, not moldy) but smelled good as well. And that was all before we went inside.
I love Tony’s produce, the cheese and bread area, and the fact that the ethnic food market is substantial, though I still haven’t been able to find sumac there. I got my Lithuanian rye, some d’Affinois cheese, and a one pound brick of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate for $7.99. (The priciest item I bought!) Also picked up some Panang and Mussamun curry pastes, (VERY cheap!) leeks since the price has finally dropped, broccoli rabe, an enormous bunch of Swiss chard, three nectarines that actually smelled like something, a bag of avocados, and my standby fruit, bananas which I smear with almond or cashew butter for breakfast. I knew we were going to Trader Joe’s after that, so I passed on a lot of other stuff I might have bought otherwise.
TJ’s is not a place I normally buy much produce. I like some of their packaged stuff, and picked up a package of pre-cooked lentils. I got my dairy there, and some almond butter, vegetable broth because I’ve been out of it for a while now, crackers, pistachios because their price on nuts and dried fruit is hard to match, more cheese because I live on cheese, and a package of their frozen chocolate croissants. If you haven’t tried these, you really should. They’re airy and delicious, and they were our breakfast this morning along with our traditional dozen cups of coffee split between us. Yes, we ate all four of them.
The conversation this morning was books. Yeah there was some gardening talk, there always is. We scanned Seed Savers, and picked out three kinds of garlic to try next year, (German Red, Music, and Bogatyr, all for different qualities) shallots, and two tomatoes (Black Krim, and Blondkopfchen, both of which we’ve raised before and loved.) But mostly what sticks in my mind is the books. We talked about what we’d been reading, and about how we would love to read more classic Science Fiction, about our reading lists (Glinda keeps hers in a little notebook, me on Goodreads.) about things like the responsibilities of both author and reader, about how the book is not always better than the film and how each medium must be its own thing, and not slavishly imitate the source, citing the first two Harry Potter movies as egregious examples of having been entirely too true to the books, and producing rather turgid films as a result.
We talked about holding unpopular opinions about books, reading, films, and the like, and agreed that we were both way too old to care whether anyone agreed with us or not. In short, it was a great conversation, and the sort that I always imagined having when we agreed to share this house. It was good. It was food for thought while we devoured food for our souls — coffee and chocolate croissants.
Dinner was dominated by a different medium. Linda had been watching American Gods with us, but missed the last episode because she was traveling. So tonight she came over to watch it, and we had a faux risotto, the chard, which cooked down to almost nothing, and some Persian cucumbers with lime, salt, and Ancho chili powder. The faux risotto was brown rice and riced cauliflower in about equal parts, with chopped snap peas, a couple of slices of provolone, and half a small package of garlic-chive spreading cheese, some half-and-half, and a tablespoon of butter. It was darn good, and very filling. The chard was sauteed in grapeseed oil, salted, sprinkled with lemon juice, and tossed with bits of candied ginger. I think it was a worthy meal for a story about gods, especially as we had peach lambic with it.
I love American Gods. I love the book and have read it several times. I love the show at least in part because it’s true to the spirit of the book while it expands and grows the universe and its mythos. I wouldn’t say it’s better than the book but I wouldn’t say it’s not as good as it either. It is different. It is its own thing, and that makes it brilliant rather than a competent adaptation. I fully expect to enjoy the audiobook when I get around to listening.
And then we watched Grantchester and I thought about how closely the show followed the stories, at least in the first season, and how well that worked. I have no thoughts on why that is, why a more faithful adaptation works in a way a broader interpretation wouldn’t except, perhaps to suggest that it’s in the nature of some things to be plain and direct, and of other things to take flight and show off their abilities in every medium if given the chance.
Or maybe the trick really is to be true to the spirit of the story, more than the letter. If you’re both, that’s terrific.
So now I have to go feed the cats. There’s a heel of French bread and some French butter waiting for me (I have pills to take and have to eat when I do.) and maybe a nice, ripe mango. That would be a grand thing, wouldn’t it?