Excuse me? Everyone? *Ting ting ting* I have an announcement. By the time you read this…we will be in….Whistler.
Yes. The Whistler that art in Canada. Having a white christmas in the snow.
I know, I know, I didn’t mention it before. The truth is, it just did not seem real. How could it be? And yet, it is. By the time you read this we will be travelling with Matt’s family – parents, siblings, partners, kids, the whole shooting match (approx 145 people…kidding…sort of kidding…) – for a seriously epic Christmas and New Year’s which is going to involve sleigh rides, hot apple cider and snow angels.The B’s are beside themselves to be in the snow, stay with Grandma and Papa and play all day long with their cousins. There have been tour t-shirts and hats made. Ha! The Griswalds are alive and well and about to rock that mountain town. And then, as if that weren’t enough, we head to Hawaii. Because generosity. Because love. Because truly unexpected blessings. My head is still spinning.
But, just going back to that Canada business, you know who lives in Canada, right? One immensely talented author-Mama-chef-friend-blogger, perhaps?!?
Yup, the two halves of Fork and Fiction are meeting up after several years apart. At, where else but, a food market! Both Fork and Fiction families are catching up for an afternoon at Granville Island market at the end of this very month. Mainly so that Ria and I can talk as fast as we can about…Everything. We’re already sad that it won’t be long enough and when I think about it I get teary imagining saying goodbye. Isn’t that ridiculous? Pull it together, girl. I’m just so excited we will finally get to meet each other’s littlest babies and hug and watch our husband’s do that eye-roll thing when we speed-chat and gesticulate so enthusiastically we almost take out passing strangers.
So with all this wealth of good news there must be a little payback. Ria and I promise to take photos and post about our catch up, that is a given. I’ll also try and instagram practically every mouthful I eat and post pictures of the Bs looking like marshmallows in their snow gear. But between now and then, while Ria and I take a short break, I have compiled lists of some of my favourite things over the last few months. Stuff to read, to listen to and to watch. All very handy when you need to hide out in the bathroom away from any less tolerable relatives.
Here is…..The Fork and Fiction Santa Stocking!
The Gift of Life Hacks
I don’t know about you but I’m not an overly practical person. So I love a good “life hack” – something that explains the best and easiest, fuss-free-ist way to do something. I need that kind of hand holding. And in case you do too…
How to apply bronzer (backwards “3”s! Who knew!)
A handy tip for family travelling or travelling with multiple passports
How I am currently trying to organize my life. I tried, I really did, but it turns out I’m just not an electronic diary person *shrug*
The Gift of Music
I recently went to see Elbow play live. I told someone (from Manchester no less) this recently and she replied, puzzled, “You went to see….Elmo?!?” Aw man, I must really look like a Mom. Anyway, holy pancakes, Elbow were magnificent. [Please listen to them, buy their music and see them live immediately. I was told this and now I tell you.] As we arrived at the concert the friend I went with leaned over to me and whispered “I have a secret crush on Guy Garvey.” I peered at the guy on the stage – “Oh? Yeah?” Then, after shameless wooing with perfectly poignant, heart-piercing lyrics, being lulled into a grinning stupor by drums and violins and the low, gravelly Mancunian accent I replied:
So that’s one gift for you. As for other new, great music for your ears, I have plenty of suggestions. How encouraging that the world seems to keep spitting it new, great music out, like it is some kind of joy factory. Try:
Sick of it by Will Wood – listen and try to stop that toe from tappin’.
Every Other Freckle by Alt J – because Alt J seem unable to get it wrong. Let the cover girls sing.
Son Little by River – more toe-tappin’ and hand-clappin’.
and all the choices Guy Garvey made when selecting his Desert Island Discs (especially the Joni Mitchell cover of course). Because Guy Garvey is Awesome. Oh Yeah.
The Gift of Books
Late to the party, like a dope, I have finally discovered graphic novels. Revolutionary! Is there anything more perfect than a biographical graphic novel when you are neck deep in Life (manuscript edits, most recently, in my case)? Here are some I have loved:
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – searingly honest, darkly funny account of a less-than-happy childhood
Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto – pairing love and cancer. As you do.
I also finally read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr and the incredible Friendswood by Rene Steinke, which I highly, highly recommend. If you buy any of these books for Christmas it will actually make the world a better place. Or your money back.
The Gift of Films
I have two favourites for you:
1) Whiplash is about a young man learning to play the drums. Okaaaaay, you’re thinking. The premise is as dull as the movie is thrilling.
2) Searching for Sugarman is a documentary about the search for a talented 1960’s musician who was virtually unknown in the States and yet iconic in South Africa during a time of great political change. The rumour was he had taken his life on stage – is that true? Where on earth is he? I bought a copy of the DVD and the soundtrack for my Dad, so there is a gift idea for the “Challenging Blokes To Buy For” category.
The Gift of Food
The book “How to win friends and influence people” really should just have one page with two words: Peppermint Bark. Every year I make it according to Molly Wizenberg’s post on Orangette and this year was no exception. I substitute with chopped candy canes and double or triple the quantities because it’s so addictive.
This spring I’ve been reading and cooking recipes from inspiring chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi (Plenty More, alright. Try this lovely, easy rhubarb dish) and Giorgio Locatelli and making a ton of Sicilian / Italian dishes as research. Alfie Spina, head chef at Gusto restauarant has been giving me pointers and if you haven’t eaten at Gusto yet and you live in Auckland and are able to do so then hop to it.
Finally, I’m still on a salad invention buzz. Current favourites are: kumara roasted with fresh curry leaves and olive oil and topped with pan toasted mustard seeds and a soba noodle salad with spring onions, various lightly steamed greens, rice wine vinegar, soy, sesame oil and toasted pine nuts.
We have had such an incredible, action-packed year here at Fork and Fiction. A festival of food, fiction, family and all our favourite f-words. We want to give very special thanks to our generous “How She Does It” stars and talented, lovely guest contributor Amanda Quayle of Graze The Earth for being part of the Fork and Fiction tribe. And, most importantly, a huge THANK YOU and high-five to all of you who have read, shared and commented on our posts. We love our jobs but sometimes they are lonely, so getting your feedback and knowing you are out there reading is very precious to us.
Time for holidays! For now we leave you for fun, feasting, and festivities but we will return on January 14th, 2015 to tell you all about it. Please take care over the festive season and enjoy this time with those you love best of all,