The title is from an episode of the Curious George cartoon on PBS when George was particularly disgruntled by wet weather. I use it now because here in Gizzy it is good weather for ducks with rain, rain and more rain. I won’t go on and on in a sorrowful, self-pitying rant wondering if perhaps Steve and I truly are cursed with regard to weather. If you recall much of our time in the van was spent dodging the wettest summer the American West had experienced in decades, decades I tell you. So instead of crying about all that, this post is about books.
Sometime I ago my mom asked me what I was reading. I believe she was fishing around for some great New Zealand fiction that hadn’t made it to the States. I don’t read a great deal of fiction. Something about being a therapist doesn’t leave me in need of any additional drama.
So anyway I answered mom’s question, “A book about wine and oh this other book about wine (giggle) and ummm some cookbooks.”
And that really sums it up. In coming to New Zealand, I quickly realized my knowledge of wine, while great for living in Bud Light Land, was not anywhere near where I wanted it to be for living in a true Wine Country. So with that in mind I dove into the following:
Wine Class – All You Need to Know About Wine in New Zealand
The Perfect Glass of Wine: How One Man Searched the World for the Heaven in a Bottle
Thirsty Work- Love Wine Drink Better
It took sometime to discover these books as so many wine books are barely concealed “spend money here” guides to specific wine or wineries. Wine Class and Thirsty Work are straightforward, informative and fun to read. The Perfect Glass of Wine is a rambling narrative of a wine writer about how there is no perfect glass of wine. He manages to tell some good stories in route to this conclusion.
Now to the foodie side of things, I read a book about the history of New Zealand through their food habits. The title of that one escapes me now. Nothing too memorable there but it was a nice way to learn some NZ history. I’ve sought out cookbooks written by Kiwis. A couple good ones are A World in My Kitchen by Peter Gordon and Beach Bach Boat Barbecue by Penny Oliver. From traditional grilling out to a Maori Hangi where food is cooked on hot rocks in an earthen pit, if it can be done outside then it is popular in New Zealand.
I’ve also picked up quite a few British food books. I never paid much attention to Jamie Oliver back home but with the local library having all his cookbooks we’re now best buddies. My new favorite food book is How to Cook Without Recipes by Glynn Christian. Not really sure who this guy is. He’s British and grumpy. In a rather pragmatic, nagging way he affirms all I’ve ever suspected about food. Basically this is that if you know how food and flavors interact you are good to go and the whole follow a recipe culture is a load of rubbish.
Right now I’m fully absorbed in The Gastronomy of Marriage by Michelle Maisto. If it was set in the south, I would swear that is was really written by my very mindful friend Tiffany. This book is all about how there is no stress involved in eating dinner alone, but once you are living with a significant other there is pressure to always put a real meal on the table that is pleasing for both and won’t take all night to create or clean up. Amen.
Now back to my regularly scheduled program of watching it rain. When the ocean turns muddy you really know that it is only good weather for ducks.