Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Question of the Month: the Undiscovered Treasures Edition

Our Question of the Month for November: 

We all have undiscovered treasures - vacation destination, author, recipe, etc  - that we love and wish were known to the rest of the world. Here's your chance! Give a shout-out to one of your undiscovered treasures and let everyone share in the awesomeness!
(Apologies for the odd spacing. I can't convince Blogger to play nicely with me this month.)

Vicki Essex: There are so many things I love sharing with others...favorite books, food, musicians... But I think one of the best things I enjoy sharing are life hacks. That is, simple ways to improve an everyday activity. All my favorites are here. You can also go to lifehack.org for some more general advice about how to get through life.

My life hack suggestion? Cut orange slices by starting on the equator, not through the poles. That way, you don't get a line of pith on the top edge. (Not sure why so many people cut it the other way...)
Geri Krotow: Does it count that I love the Goo Goo Dolls? They are from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. I've only seen them once in concert--in 2010 I flew home from Moscow, Russia to see them perform in Darien Lake, New York. I had tickets in the pit, and took my daughter with me. My dream would be to meet the band and give them each a signed copy of one of my books. Their music is thoughtful and relevant, in my estimation. When I listen to them I feel 19 again (okay, well, almost).

Jennifer Lohmann: Since I am busy editing my June, 2014 release (Weekends in Carolina) set on an organic vegetable farm, I have vegetables on my mind. I also like to cook, which means I generally think about food a lot. So, my undiscovered treasures are two ugly vegetables that Americans don't eat as much we should (given how delicious they are) and are perfect for winter eating. If you're not an American reader, you may be more familiar with these foods.
First, the humble rutabaga (also known as the swede). This root vegetable is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It's easy to peel and you should buy some just to add to your next dish of mashed potatoes. They can be boiled along with your potatoes--just cut them a little smaller because they take longer to cook--and you will be amazed at the sudden golden sweetness your potatoes now have.

Second, the kohlrabi. Also related to the cabbage, lurking under the thick skin of the kohlrabi is a crisp, white vegetable that is delicious cooked or raw. I like to slice mine into thin matchsticks and toss with a sesame dressing dressing as part of Chinese meal (see Every Grain of Rice by Fucshia Dunlop for the recipe).

I hope I've inspired you to give these veggies a try. What under-appreciated fruits and vegetables do you use in your kitchen (and how do you suggest preparing them)? 

Kris Fletcher: About a dozen or so years ago, my sons came home from camp singing some very offbeat, quirky songs about cows and men watching television and Celine Dion. "They're by the Arrogant Worms!" my boys said. I listened. I learned the lyrics. And my slightly warped heart fell fast. 
The Worms are my guilty pleasure, my go-to music when I need a laugh. Friends will tell you I can come up with a Worm song for almost any occasion. (I'm not sure if they mean that in a good way or not ...). 
Many of their songs are high in Canadian content - great for me, not so good with sharing with an international audience such as the Super readers. But I'm thinking The Coffee Song will have a rather wide appeal. 

Laura Drake:  You know when you read a book that just makes your heart sing? Through talent and some kind of magic, the book crawls inside your heart? Wow, I love when that happens - though, as an author, it makes me want to put a sign on my back, "Hack."

I picked up Coyote Dream, by Jessica Davis Stein. This book has stayed with me - my favorite kind - the perfect blend between women's fiction and romance. The author gives us wonderful characterization of two disparate cultures (NY Jewess and Navajo) and ethnicities in a believable, wonderful way. Her descriptions of the desert make you feel the breath of hot wind in your face. The character's journey, both inner and outer, are long, arduous, and believable.

Honestly, I can't recommend this book enough. I was heartbroken to realize this is her only novel. UGH!

Mary Sullivan: I discovered the musical group First Aid Kit last year through my daughter. I've been a HUGE Emmylou Harris fan for years and they sing a song they wrote about Emmylou that's fabulous. My daughter gave me a heads-up about the song and I fell in love with everything else they do. We saw them in concert at a small music hall in Toronto and they were amazing in person. They rocked with a drummer, but also sang folkier songs a cappella and their voices carried to the back of the hall beautifully. The crowd (everyone from eight-year-olds to eighty-year-olds, from the most conservative types to young guys covered in tattoos) were blown away by their talent.

They are a pair of sweet, authentic young Swedish sisters, hippy throwbacks who remind me of my youth :-)

Here's a cover they did live in a tribute to Paul Simon.

Readers, did any of these suggestions pique your interest? Do you want to give a shout-out to an undiscovered treasure? Tell us in the comments!


Mary Preston said...

I'm knitting up a storm right now. I have discovered bamboo yarn. It is incredibly soft & beautiful. Such a treasure.

kris said...

Ooh, Mary, bamboo yarn? That sounds so amazing (she said while standing on the bamboo FLOOR in her office).

linda s said...

Love the arrogant worms. My children also highly treasure Dr. Demento, a radio DJ known for unusual recordings and comedy.

A fav to order in is Wor Wonton Soup from our fav Chinese take out. It is always different each time we order it. Wor, I'm told, means everything. So no matter what meat and veggies they add, it's always the right recipe.

kris said...

Linda, I am going to have to remember that soup next time we get Chinese food!

We have some Dr. Demento around here, I believe. Dead Puppies, and all that jazz :-)

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