Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Garden Gnomes, Cakes and the Wandering Blog

Jon and I are tasting fondant and experimenting with gingerbread squares. No, these aren't some really strange marital aids, but more on that later. I wanted to open the blog with Craig in garden gnome form. The Archive commissioned an artist to do these funky three foot tall versions of long term employees for the garden at it's headquarters. Craig's is this Mini-Me thing wearing Peppermint Patty's shorts and sandals. The expression is the strange squint he gets with one eye bigger than the other when he's thinking something homicidal. But Craig hasn't sent me the photo. I'll get it, believe me. Meanwhile, back to the gingerbread.

Adventures in Architecture

We're opening up our local holiday baking repertoire to include gingerbread houses. Thus, Jon was using templates and a ruler and making bevel edges on the squares so that they stood interconnected without being glued. I blame the Food Network. Of course, one has to watch the holiday specials. Otherwise, I would have never seen Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa Cake. I still wish I hadn't, but I'm glad there is now evidence online. Every year there are shows with gingerbread cake competitions. These produce some amazing cakes, but we were never convinced that they tasted good. All the ingredients had to be edible, but many did not appear to be tasty. Thus, Jon got a wild hair about building a tasty gingerbread cake that would look interesting even as it is being slowly demolished by holiday revelers. We made our first batch of dough this weekend. It's makes for sturdy walls, but the taste is rather bland. We'll try a more cake-like recipe later today. The idea is that bricks could be cut and stacked from the cake. Yes, this all sounds a bit involved for a table centerpiece. I gladly concede that.

The Food Network thing has grown from catching my favorite cooks on Saturday mornings to watching the competitions like Food Network Challenge (That started because one of the ads showed a contestant whose cake literally burst into flame. We had to find out how a cake can burst into flame) and the Next Food Network Star. We get wrapped up in these competitions. Lately, I've been wrapped up with the latest winner of the Next Food Network Star. I used Melissa D'Arabian's pastry recipe in the apple pies I made in Philly. I posted photos on her Facebook page and we've been corresponding ever since. And she's not the only one I hear from frequently. Many of my favorites are very net savvy and like to interact with fans. It's been so cool to receive praise from chefs I admire. And I'm not above some cross promoting. I'm thinking of sending them the Vincent Greven Cookbook. A complimentary blurb never hurts a title.

Needless to say, holiday cooking has taken on a great deal of complexity due to my broadening culinary interests. I'm planning my Thanksgiving menu now. I'll complete my cookie list very soon. The sales on baking ingredients begin in a few weeks, and I have to know how much we'll need to fill the ever growing list. We have learned that the cookie doughs we make freeze for weeks with no difference in taste when baked. That will enable us to stretch the cookie making out over more time and not make December so pressed with getting them done and shipped. I'm toying with the idea of making the Thanksgiving dinner a fund raising event for Feeding America. That will depend upon whether we can fit a decent sized table in this tiny apartment with room to move around. I rather like the idea of having some foodies over for a salon and fundraiser. We'd still show some awful movie to talk over. Some traditions must be maintained.
All of this interaction with the TV chefs means I'll be documenting everything I'm doing this holiday season. This will include videos that I'll likely inflict er, I mean share with the blog.

Oh The Places I have Gone

In addition to actually publishing my blog here and on myspace. It has an automatic feed to my author page on amazon.com and my facebook page. I also share parts of the blog with various sites with specific interests. I put the cooking bits on Paula Deen's Get Cookin' site and I post any sci fi or horror related revies on Doorq.com. I'm usually very busy shortly after finishing the blog. What I didn't know was That it is appearing elsewhere where many eyes are seeing it. I've found two instances where my TV reviews and reports were on the news feeds to the shows I was talking about on the Internet Movie Database and the blog is listed on Blogs to Watch at Google.com. I wish I'd known. I would have plugged my books or film projects somewhere in the rant.s I shall endeavor to do that in the future. Meanwhile, I'm pleased that the people I'm yelling about may actually be reading my praise or critiques.


My writing continues at a good pace. I should finish the script I'm working on now. By next week, I hope to move onto the one that's been the focus of two years worth of research. The films and other projects have reached a juncture where I can't talk about them. Hopefully, I'll be free to do so next week.

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