A good friend of mine said once I should put “In a relationship” as my Facebook status.  When I was surprised and asked with whom I was having this relationship, she said “your library account”.  Ha ha.  But, of course, she’s right.  I know my library card number by heart and I probably check my account three or four times a week.  To keep myself from having way too many books checked out at once, I have half of my Hold list on pause so that needs curating as well.  And it’s also fun to watch those popular books with long waitlists as they creep slowly towards being available.

In the fall of 2019, someone at a party mentioned a new cookbook written by Dan Buettner called The Blue Zones Kitchen.  I’ve read three of his other books, 2 of them about the Blue Zones (particularly happy/healthy places in the world) so I went to my library account and requested the cookbook.  There were about 580 people in line ahead of me and not a huge number of copies; I figured it would take a few months to get, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

Then pandemic descended upon us.  The first thing was that the libraries all closed down.  Then during the summer they started lending again, but you couldn’t actually go in the library.  Now you can go into the building but you can’t hang out.  You’re supposed to “grab `n go”.  Hand in hand with all these changes is that due dates for books just keep pushing back and back.  Except for downloadable audiobooks, nothing ever seems to come due anymore. 

So as the months went by, I saw The Blue Zones Kitchen languishing on my Holds list, barely moving.  In the fall of 2020, about a year after I put it on my Hold list, the library purchased a few more copies, so I was a bit more hopeful.  On this past Monday, after 18 months, I got an email that the library was holding a copy for me. 

My patience paid off – it’s actually a very nice cookbook and I think I may actually purchase a copy for myself.  In the meantime, I’m going to make this recipe:

Melia Family Minestrone

7 Tbsp. olive oil

1 yellow or white onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 medium celery stalks, chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled & diced

1 ½ c. chopped fennel bulbs, stalks & fronds

1/4 c. chopped parsley

2 Tbsp. chopped basil

½ c. dried & peeled fava beans (or 15-oz can)

½ c. dried cranberry beans (or 15-oz can)

½ c. dried chickpeas (or 15-oz can)

      (If using dried beans, soak overnight)

6-8 c. water or vegetable stock

2/3 c. Sardinian fregula, Israeli couscous or acini di pepe pasta

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

  1. Warm 3 Tbsp. olive oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook until soft.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  3. Stir in tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley and basil, drained beans and chickpeas.  Add enough water/stock so that all the veggies are covered.
  4. Bring to boil and then simmer slowly, uncovered, until beans are tender, about 1 ½ hours.  If using canned beans, simmer for only 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in pasta, salt and pepper.  Add up to 2 cups of water/stock if the soup seems too dry.  Simmer for 10 more minutes until pasta is tender.
  6. Pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil into bowl before serving.

Have you ever waited a long time for something?  Was it worth it?

30 thoughts on “Anticipation”

  1. I, too, have a relationship with my library. It took awhile, but I finally memorized my library card number (thanks to Covid and needing to place books on hold). All through this pandemic, my “on hold” list has been long. The longest I’ve had to wait for a book was for “American Dirt” – started out in the low 200s in line but they had quite a few copies so it was only about 6 months. I am thrilled to be able to go to the shelves now to get books instead of placing everything on hold.

    There are two international trips that have been significantly delayed by the pandemic. Back in the Fall of 2019 a friend and I booked a cruise to Antarctica for December of 2020. Of course that was suspended and we are re-booked for December 2021. So far it is still a go, but if suspended again, we will re-book for December 2022. We are determined to go and will wait as long as necessary. Three other friends and I were booked on a trip to UAE/Oman for April of 2020. A re-booked trip for March of this year was also suspended. We are now in the process of booking it for March of 2022. Fingers crossed!! Both trips hopefully will be well worth the wait.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I searched for a particular book for more than ten years. The Philosophers of Foufouville is a satire on utopian/associationist communities like Brook Farm in Roxbury, Mass. and the North American Phalanx in New Jersey. As a satire about nineteenth century utopian experiments, it serves as a bridge between my collection of books pertaining to utopias and my collection of nineteenth century humor.
    The book was printed in 1868 and the author is listed pseudonymously as “Radical Freelance”. There was only one edition and, as far as I can determine, only one printing. Copies of the original edition are scarce.

    Aside from the subject matter fitting into my collections and my interests, there are several things that make this particular book intriguing. For one thing, nobody knows who Radical Freelance was. It was quite common for authors in the nineteenth century to adopt pseudonyms, like “K. N. Pepper” or “Q. K. Philander Doesticks” but in every case we know those author’s real identity. Moreover, they produced multiple works using that pseudonym. Nothing else has ever been attributed to Radical Freelance.

    The utopian experiment at Brook Farm collapsed in 1847, the North American Phalanx disbanded in 1854. Between those dissolutions and the publication of this book, we had a civil war. Utopian experiments had not been topical for fifteen to twenty years. That makes for pretty stale satire. No wonder there was only one printing.

    So why would someone write a satire about something that was so long out of the public consciousness? I don’t think they did. My theory is that the manuscript for this book was written when those and other utopian ventures were topical and part of the conversation, perhaps around 1850. That’s about the time that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Blithedale Romance, another somewhat satirical novel about a utopian experiment and derived from his tenure at Brook Farm.

    For some reason, the publisher chose not to publish the book at the time it was written but later, after the war, looking for material to publish, he came upon this manuscript and decided to use it.

    Why the pseudonym? Who was hiding behind it? Since this alias was only used one time, it seems a more deliberate and pointed attempt to protect an identity. Who would have an identity to protect? In the first half of the nineteenth century, some of the pseudonymous authors were in fact professional men—doctors or lawyers who felt that their work as an author sullied their professional image—or female authors who gained more credibility if they were thought of as male. But by 1868, authorship was not considered an embarrassment.

    My speculation is that Radical Freelance was in fact an established author, one who by 1868 had some success and was associated with a particular genre. The book written in 1850 was perhaps less polished and inconsistent with the kind of writing upon which their reputation was built.

    So why print the book at all? Money, maybe. Or maybe the publisher had paid for the manuscript back in 1850 and had the right to print it.
    Why the pseudonym if the author was well known? Who knows- some sort of negotiation between author and publisher perhaps.

    In a conversation online amongst a group of Herman Melville fans a few years ago about this very book included the speculation that Radical Freelance was in fact Melville. They based much of their argument on references made and names used both in Foufouville and in Melville’s works. I’m not a Melville scholar but I know that he and Hawthorne had a close correspondence. If both he and Hawthorne had been working on similar projects about utopian communities and especially if Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance came out first, that might have been reason to shelve Foufouville. And of course by 1868 Melville was identified with an entirely different sort of subject matter.

    Anyway, after more than ten years a copy of Foufouville showed up for sale. It was more expensive than I usually am willing to pay but I bit the bullet and bought it. Ironically, another copy showed up on ebay a couple of months later and at a fraction of the price I had paid. I bought that one too.

    I made a search this morning for available copies of the book in the 1868 edition. There are none. And no, I haven’t read it yet.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Bill, you remind me of the best professors I had in grad school. Like them, you are a genuine expert in a particular area of knowledge. I respect that. All you lack is tenure and a salary. One of those professors, by the way, was Mulford Sibley, who taught (among others) a course in utopian experiments in the US. You would have enjoyed him.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I borrowed a book from church that had letters and tracts written during the Reformation by the reformers. Wow, the nasty things they wrote about one another and their Roman Catholic adversaries, and the names they called them!

          Liked by 3 people

  3. I was excited to see the fregula in the recipe. We have some, and I like to see recipes I can use it in.

    My family found my pregnancy with our daughter to be never ending because it was considered high risk and I was on bed rest at times. I was happy that the longer it went on, the less chance she would be a premie like her brother.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It took a while to get to my 21st birthday…

    I recall a couple of job hunts when the time between the interview and finding out whether I got the job seemed like a long wait. I didn’t always get the job, but could live with that – it was just the not knowing. It was worth the wait if I did get the job.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Our cat waited outside the furnace room in great anticipation of my giving her the extra pepper seedlings after I thinned and transplanted. She turned her nose up at the tomato seedlings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Baboons,

    I waited a long time today to weigh in on the Trail. Saturdays have been busy lately. I waited a long, long time for a kitchen that works. And then today the electricity blew. Now we must replace a new plug-in. This happened when I vacuumed. No more vacuuming for me! We have to have the entire switch box replaced at the beginning of May so this does not keep occurring.

    I am waiting for this lousy cold to pass on. Monday and Tuesday I was really sick and just slept a lot. Now I have a bit more energy but still feel some symptoms which I want to disappear. Every year I await my garden work and the first two weeks of May seems to creep along.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Yes I have and yes it was and my life is kind of a never ending deferred gratification motif and today I’m waiting patiently for my ducks to get into a row that I’ve been working on so hard for so long and I’m looking forward to when that happens here shortly it will be worth it one more time

    Liked by 3 people

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