What I Learned This Week: #207

Monday, August 16 – Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Week in COVID: The undercurrent of the Delta variant is starting to get me down. I am still going out, and, while I don’t wear a mask everywhere inside, I am back to carrying one with me and will put it on without a fight. I’m not purposely scaling back my social calendar, but my enthusiasm is just not there. Part of that comes from the potential of breakthrough COVID. We don’t know enough about the long term effects, much less why some people get it, and some of those people get it bad, and others don’t. I’d prefer to not get COVID until we know more. The other part of the lack of enthusiasm comes from the potential of having to deal with a person who wants to fight about masks, or politics, or anything frankly. Those folks are a real chore.

The Week in Comfort Food: My Aunt came into town this week for a not pleasant reason, and I wanted to make her some comforting food and decided on a dish her Grandmother made, a classic Jewish side dish Noodle Kugel. Noodle Kuugel, essentially a custardy casserole of noodles, can be either sweet or savory, doesn’t really have to be that custardy, and doesn’t even have to contain noodles. Therefore, it is a dish that will cause fights in Jewish families about how to make it with the correct answer always being “However Grandma Made It.”

I knew the “correct” kugel for my Aunt was the slightly sweet custard noodle kugel, like the one in Bon Appetit magazine I found from 2019. It is super easy to make featuring a dump of 1 container of sour cream and 1 container of cottage cheese. It’s the eggs that give it the custard feel. I keep mine not too sweet (you can certainly boost the sugar and cinnamon in this recipe) which, to me, makes the kugel work easier as a side dish. I’m ready to argue that may way (via my Aunt’s grandma) is best.

The Week in Book Club: My book club met this week to discuss the Pulitzer Prize non-fiction finalist Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch. We thought the book was a mess, a real slog to get through, and so full of big ideas, that nothing got explained very well. I’m always curious about these extremely well-reviewed books that are just not really all they are cracked up to be. It seems the people who are in anyway connected to the book business, from writing, to producing, to selling, are in a bubble of trying to satisfy each other. Certainly, many popular well-reviewed books are really great, but time and time again, I’ve been burnt and Yellow Bird is just another example.

The Week in Book Club – A Side Note: As I told my book club, earlier this year I read the well-reviewed and 2019 National Book Award winner, Yellow House, by Sarah Broom. While I did like Yellow House better than Yellow Bird, House was still too long and lost its way. I’m going to try to read one more book in 2021 with Yellow in the title and see if I come up with a win!

The Week in Not Crying Over Spilled, uh, Coffee: When I first moved into my apartment a few years ago, a friend offered an area rug that she had ordered in error. We both agreed it was a little bland for my style, it’s brown, but it looked just fine. Every now and then I think about replacing it, but really, it is not a pressing issue.

This week I spilled about an entire glass of iced coffee all over the brown rug. I dabbed and waited for the rug to dry and mentally prepared, finally, to get a replacement. Turns out, I got a reprieve. Due to it’s brown nature, I can’t see where the spill hit. And I bet I have that rug around for another 3 years…at least.

The Week in Playlist Trauma: I grabbed a beer at MOTR and the Spotify playlist was outstanding. It was great mix of older artists (like late 50’s and 60’s) doing songs I’m not used to hearing. The playlist was built on the 1960’s English band with the unwieldy name Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, a band Quintin Tarantino “discovered” for his 2007 film Death Proof.

The “playlist” at MOTR was actually a Spotify radio station built on the band’s song Hold Tight. When I tried to play the playlist with the intention of getting similar to songs to what I heard at MOTR, my Spotify account used Hold Tight to play me English punk bands. I like English punk bands, but it was a far cry from the mellow oldies playlist I had anticipated. #trauma

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