what i’m reading: nightwoods

yesterday i went to the bookstore to find a book. that’s the approach i have to take when going to the bookstore here, because the english section is (understandably) not so large and if i scout out a particular book, i’ll most certainly not find it (unless it’s a recent bestseller, perhaps).

it’s kind of like netflix in that sense. the swedish version of netflix has a ton of movies, but basically you cannot go to the site and say, ‘oh i want to watch you’ve got mail.‘ because they will not have ‘you’ve got mail.’ or anything else you search for. ever. i have absolutely never searched for a movie and found it on that site. better to peruse about till something strikes your fancy.

so while browsing at the bookstore, i happened upon nightwoods by charles frazier. i wrote a previous post on his novel cold mountain, which i love. love. it’s honestly one of my favorite books – up there with alice in wonderland. i think i was only vaguely aware of his novel nightwoods. or maybe not even. maybe i just know the two words seperately and then together they sound familiar to me. anyway, i read the first page (you can tell *a lot* by the first page of a book) and decided that this would be my next read.

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epigraph to the book:

you can’t even cross a river

without having to pay a toll

[archilochos]

there’s such a mood to that. despondency.

i’m going to stockholm for a visit on thursday, so i’ll probably finish it on the train ride. more to come later..!

grandma’s chocolate chip cookies

my grandmother was the queen of chocolate chip cookies. #royalty

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she had dozens of them at every get-together i can remember. and they were always perfect. perfectly browned. perfectly cakey. with the perfect balance of cookie and chocolate. and the chocolate chips were always chips. obviously, hence the name, but it was as if they were inserted into the cookie after the cooling process instead of melting into a plop of chocolate (the way mine always do).

as she got older, she couldn’t get out to shop for all of us, so at christmas she would give us each our own little bag of chocolate chip cookies she had made. sweet memories..

after she passed away, i asked if someone had her chocolate chip cookie recipe. my mom (totally nonchalant) was like, ‘no.. but it’s just the nestle tollhouse recipe.’

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what..?..!?

i was so completely shocked.. first off, i thought she made this recipe up herself. i did. i thought it was years of experimenting perfected. second, her cookies were so unusual tasting. i loved them, but there was something particularly unusual about them. they didn’t taste like standard chocolate chip cookies. plus i’ve had those nestle break-and-bake and thosearenotsotasty.

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so today, i decided to take a shot at making grandma’s cookies. or nestle’s. howeveryouprefertophrasethat.

i used their “original” recipe, so you can find it anywhere online.

granted, this isn’t exactly the recipe my grandmother used, because i know her’s contained shortening. now, shortening is obviously not healthy.. better to even say it’s unhealthy.. but that’s why it makes everything so delicious, darling.

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and as you can see… my cookies turned out flat as pancakes. greasy looky messes. with gooey chocolate oozing everywhichaway.

i don’t take full responsibility for that last failing because the chocolate chip selection at the store was just.. sad.

just goes to show you that it’s not just the recipe that matters in the end. so hats of to my grandmother.

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and happy mother’s day! to my grandmother who is no longer with us. my other grandmother. my own mother! my sister. and all the other mothers out there in the blogosphere! have a cookie and celebrate the day. just don’t have one of mine, for your own sake.

kosläpp

may is here.. release the cows..!

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kosläpp (literally ‘cow release’) is a swedish tradition of gathering at a farm to watch cows be released into the pasture, celebrating the return of ‘warm’ may weather.

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a friend and i drove out to partille, a small town outside of göteborg, to enjoy the festivities.

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i have literally never seen traffic around here. until today. where cars were backed up two kilomaters on the highway. for cows.

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as this was my first kosläpp, i had no idea what to expect. so i showed up to an empty field with hundreds of city slickers and my camera in anticipation of 70 cows bounding jubilantly into freedom.

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though sauntering would be a more appropriate description.

they are cute though. reminds me of my grandfather. he loved his cows.

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best part: free kanelbulle (swedish-style cinnamon buns) and milk! mmm love me some milk

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a fun game is to try to think of a more innocent passtime than kosläpp.

you can’t think of one, right?