Monday, January 23, 2012

Eating in the Rawniverse

January always has me making plans for improving myself, making resolutions and basically planning out the year to come and what I hope to accomplish.  One of the biggest plans for this year is to get healthier than I already am and also to simplify my current lifestyle and to lose a preoccupation with food.  So with this in mind I have been trying out recipes from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Essentials.

Now I have read many books on this concept of a raw food diet, and tried a few recipes from other cookbooks, and then given up because I live in Northern British Columbia just on the other side of the Coast Mountains.  It's cold, and there is a lot of precipitation all year long which just seeps into my bones and has me shivering most of the time.  There are only a few short weeks when I do not feel cold and even then the sunny, warm days are rare.  Eating cold, raw food does not appeal to me at all, even though I know that I would thrive on it.   So I found Ani's book refreshing in her attitudes towards eating a small portion of cooked foods when living in a colder climate.  I like this kind of flexibility.   I found the  tip for leaving   my raw dishes out on the counter to get to room temperature a very useful one which has enabled me to eat a mostly raw diet this month, without getting chilled.  I think that this could work for me.  It has always bothered me during the coldest months that my consumption of raw foods dwindled to nil, and that after a while I would feel lack lustre, lethargic, and heavy.  By the time March rolls around I feel really unhealthy, with absolutely no energy to take up an exercise routine (because, inevitably the urge to exercise dwindles along with everything else but my waistline).

I tried to sample something from each chapter in the book (except the desserts),and I liked everything that I tried.  The recipes are simple, I liked the Rawnola (my combination was apricots, coconut and pecans) and the Green Smoothie.  The Tomato Chili with Taco Nut Meat was very good (and was also great made into the Taco Salad).  There are great suggestions here for experimentation.  What I think I liked the best was the ease of the recipes, and not the demand for expensive equipment with which to make the food in.  That always stopped me cold with other books.

Best of all was how I felt after eating this food.  Light, energetic and nourished.  I wasn't starving  an hour later, and I wasn't cold.   I like this book and would like to look at her other ones.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume One

 What a treasure trove of  literature, graphica and steampunk!  This seems like a match made in heaven for myself (a confessed science fiction fanatic and lover of literature from  the 18 and 1900's).  During the first read-through I enjoyed myself immensely, playing a game of I-at I had found on Wikipedia  List of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Characters I did just that and had a lot of fun doing it, as well as finding new authors and series to read.  It was exciting to just flip a page and see what character  I would read about next (and no peeking until I had finished reading that book).  I couldn't track down them all, but I did manage to read quite a few that I had been meaning to read for quite a while, among them Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Insidious Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (007's grandfather is featured in the graphic novel), H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines, Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morge and Zola's Nana.  Not all the characters were featured but just referenced through an image added like a street sign or the great picture gallery shown behind the league featured on the front cover.    My second reading was even more enjoyable once I understood more about the characters original story and could recognize the occasional reference alluding to something particular in it's pages.

A well written book can instill in you the horror of the imagination... with a graphic novel one page says it all and there is no need for your imagination to fill in the gaps.  This one is no exception.  I love it when the illustrations are well done, and with this novel I could see the 'humanity' of our characters as well as the horror of their private circumstances, the brutality of  Jeckyll's Hyde for example, or the precision and stoicism of Captain Nemo, the weaknesses and strengths of Alan Quartermain, the lack of morality and ethics in our Invisible Man,  the strength and determination of character in Mina Murray, who doesn't hesitate to do what needs to be done no matter how strange or unseemly the job may be.

I love it when such beloved characters are brought back to life and they have not been altered in any way to suit the author's story line, but seem to have had the story written around the strengths of each character's personality and circumstances.  I have seen movies do this (and sometimes alter the character so much that it is not possible to recognize the original in any way and they have had to fall back on some silly and often lame device to label the person so you know who it might be) and it has always bothered me to see a character altered in this way.  I can understand why Alan Moore did not like the movie that was inspired by his book (though I am grateful for the inspiration as I liked the movie very much regardless). 

For lovers of the steampunk genre, graphic novels, and literature from the late 1800's in general, this is a must-have for your library, and I am looking forward to the reading of Volume Two because there was a hint at the end of Volume One that had me squeeing like a teenage girl!