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Chapstick Cookies

Unappealing title, huh? Luckily, though chapstick is a key ingredient in this cookie recipe, no chapstick actually goes into the cookies. Butter, flour, almond, sugar, and jam make these bite-sized shortbread cookies lip smackingly good.… Read More

Weekend in Italy

Two months ago, I ended up in Italy for a conference. (You know, my glamorous librarian lifestyle.) In a misguided effort to save money, I flew a discount airline to Bergamo, rather than straight to Milan where the conference was. And you know what? That ended up being one of my best travel decisions ever.

The trip was off to an excellent start with the continuation of my favorite Madrid airport tradition. (Favorite tradition, not favorite airport. Madrid-Barajas is a soulless warehouse of an airport, with vast, fluorescent-lit hallways and overpriced amenities, cunningly designed to rob travelers of all hope and vigor.)… Read More

Morocco, Week Fourteen

Week fourteen began with Austrians and ended with Germans. I had two delightful Austrian house guests, Sabine and Hans-Peter, who kept me entertained on Monday and Tuesday. Both of them had quit their jobs, bought motorcycles, and embarked on an around-the-world journey. (They took crash courses in motorcycle repair before leaving.)

Next up: traveling down the western coast of Africa. Their trip ends, I suppose, when they get tired of traveling and move on to the next thing in their lives. We ate delectable Moroccan food, played with Loki, and had a long, fascinating conversation about the attitude toward the film The Sound of Music in Austria and why most Austrians have never seen it.… Read More

Cookies for Cogdog

This is a special post dedicated to Alyce, the mother of my good friend Alan Levine. Alyce, who passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago, would get up every Sunday morning, bake cookies, and hand them out during the week to anyone who looked like they could use cookie-inspired happiness. A couple of days later, Martha Burtis threw together Cookies for Cogdog, inviting Alan’s friends to bake cookies and share them as a tribute to Alyce.

So last Saturday I got up early and made an enormous batch of sugar cookies, coating myself, my kitchen, and far too many kitchen implements in flour.… Read More

Morocco, Week Seven

Well, the school year has officially started. As week seven opened, faculty and staff ran around the school, frantically trying to get everything ready for the students’ arrival on Wednesday. On Monday, paint was drying on the wall, I had stacks of books scattered around the room, and my desk was in limbo in the center of the library. Two carpets, four plants, four comfy chairs, and several furniture switches later, the library was finally looking great. The children’s section had a big couch and carpet, the high school reading area was comfy and inviting, and my desk was back in its corner by the door.… Read More

How to Cook a Tagine in the Woods

I suppose this post should, logically, be preceded with another titled “How to Cook a Tagine”. But you know me- I don’t do anything half-assed. I’d never cooked a tagine before, so naturally I made my first one in the woods over twigs and stones. Mustapha and I surprised his sisters by whisking them away last Sunday for a picnic in a forested glen by the ocean. After arriving, we spread out a big carpet to sit on, piled up the containers of ingredients, turned on some music, and got to work. … Read More

Morocco, Week Three

My workdays during week three were filled with reorganizing the library. Moving shelves, sorting out picture books and junior fiction, peeling tape, selecting featured books, and making to-do lists. I also spent a great deal of my week walking and cooking, though not at the same time.

I cooked two vegetable curries, pizza for six, meringues, countless fresh fruit smoothies, and tabbouleh with parsley from the Sunday market, picked fresh that morning. I scavenged some beautiful succulents from the edge of a beach and finally found a basil plant, both of which are sitting happily on my balcony. I even found time to argue about Shakespeare.… Read More

Dinosaur Cookies

Well, technically these could be antelope cookies or star cookies or platypus cookies or… well, anything. Although I challenge you to find a platypus cookie cutter. Baking sugar cookies is guaranteed to make your inner child very, very happy. So dig out your cookie cutters, rolling pin, and food coloring, because you’re in for an evening of unbridled, floury fun.… Read More