Monday, December 19, 2016

Buying a Mattress

I used to joke with Dear One that the main reason I married him was so he would be the point person if we ever purchased a car.  Pushy sales people cause smoke to come out of my ears.

But I now realize yet another reason I married him.  To be the point person to purchase a new mattress and box spring when we needed one.  And we need one.

We have this fabulous old burr walnut antique bed--complete with carved leaves and acorns covering the headboard and the footboard.  It dates from probably 1870. It certainly qualifies for a "statement" piece in the bedroom.

About 15 years ago, while Dear One was away--he entrusted me to go to a local mattress store to buy a new set.  It is an experience I never want to repeat.  Gone are the days of going to a general department store (thank you Gimbels and Dearly Departed Marshall Fields) and getting off the elevator to a sea of box springs and mattresses.  The customer would wander around, lie down on a few samples, find a salesperson and make arrangements for delivery.  Serta extra-firm?  Beauty Rest PillowTop?  I'll take that one--thank you very much.

My solo  mattress buying experience brought out the worst in me.  I entered a store and was descended upon by a salesman who could best be described as a cross between PT Barnum and Rasputin.  "Just browsing thanks," says I.  "Really--no--just looking and trying out a few sets" insisted I.  "Please, Sir, I will come find you if I have any questions."  It escalated into "Sir-GET LOST or I will go to another store to buy a mattress."  Yup.  The worst in me.

Now--15 years later--we need a new set.  Eureka.  While browsing some resort websites--I came across a site for a place we stayed over the years and loved, loved,   LOVED their beds.  AND-THEY-SELL-THEM-ON LINE.  Oh yes they do.  Four weeks order time--delivered--old set carted away.  AND NO SALESPERSON.  Happy Dance!!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The London Cookbook


This stylish new cookbook by Aleksandra Crapanzano is is a little bit travelogue, a little bit coffee table book and a great deal of edgy, modern recipes by top chefs and top restaurants in London.

This book works hard at compiling about 100 recipes that give a fresh take on some old British classics-- Welsh Rarebit, Eton Mess,  Fish and Chips and Potted Shrimp.  It works even harder on including other recipes that draw on the multicultural city that London has become--Scallops with Red Nam Yum,  Potato Chaat with Pomegranate, Mint and Rose Raita, and Cinnamon Scented Porcini Duck Ragu.

Ms. Crapanzano makes it clear that she polled her well connected chef/foodie friends to come up with the best of the best recipes-and that she tested each one several times.  The photography is stunning and the list of specialty ingredients needed to make many of the recipes is pocket book stinging.  She does include several more simple to prepare recipes--Chicken Marsala and Sea Bass with Paprika that a more novice cook could prepare.

Overall--it is a dreamy book, filled with recipes most folks will never prepare from restaurants that most will never visit.  It is a feast for your eyes--and your wishful tummy.

Blogging For Books provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's Not Only About Tiny Tim

Who knew?  Charles Dickens wrote several Christmas stories--not just The Christmas Carol.
The above is a late 19th century copy of Christmas Books--an edition of all  five of the the holiday related novellas written by Charles Dickens in the mid 1840s.
These additional stories are odd--in a sort of gothic novel kind of way.  They are filled with ghosts and atmospheric scenes and those quirky Dickens character names.  This book contains stories called The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man.




These stories are readily available in modern paperback versions.  Well worth your time on a snowy winter's night.

Sad Farewell Beautiful Lady of Paris

Adieu Belle Dame.... View from the beautiful blooming park behind the cathedral.