I wasn’t feeling the prompt for this week’s Top Ten (book merchandise — 10 different kinds of Moomin merch would be rather boring, no?) so I’m doing my favourite wordless /nearly wordless picture books.
I’ve cheated and listed eleven books, but with Sunshine and Moonlight by Jan Omerod, you really can’t have one without the other.
I know I just featured a Beatrix Potter cat a couple of Caturdays ago, but here is another one, called Simpkin.
‘Now all day long while the tailor was out at work, Simpkin kept house by himself; and he also was fond of the mice, though he gave them no satin for coats!’
‘But Simpkin hid a little parcel privately in the tea-pot, and spit and growled at the tailor; and if Simpkin had been able to talk, he would have asked: “Where is my MOUSE?”‘
‘When the tailor awoke in the morning, the first thing which he saw upon the patchwork quilt, was a skein of cherry-coloured twisted silk, and beside his bed stood the repentant Simpkin!’
‘But upon the table—oh joy! the tailor gave a shout—there, where he had left plain cuttings of silk—there lay the most beautifullest coat and embroidered satin waistcoat that ever were worn by a Mayor of Gloucester.’
He is from The Tailor of Gloucester and is the tailor’s cat, and sort of assistant. The tailor sends him out to buy food and thread, but Simpkin’s fondness for mice gets the better of him.
All ends well though, with Simpkin properly repentant.
The Tailor of Gloucester in available to read and download at Project Gutenberg.
I’ve been watching the Netflix documentary series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, based on the book of the same name and hosted by its author Samin Nosrat. It’s one of those inspiring cooking documentaries that makes you want to rush into the kitchen and start taking food seriously. Samin Nosrat is a delight — funny, warm, passionate. Her enthusiasm about food is infectious.
I am now also reading the book and here is an excerpt, about fat. I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learnt from Nosrat about the ‘four elements of good cooking’ and trying some of the recipes too.
(The book is beautifully illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton.)
Used as a main ingredient , fat will significantly affect a dish. Often, it’s
both a source both of rich flavor and of a particular desired texture. For
example, fat ground into a burger will render as it cooks, basting the meat
from within and contributing to juciness. Butter inhibits the proteins in flour
from developing, yielding tender and flaky textures in a pastry. Olive oil
contributes both a light, grassy flavor and a rich texture to pesto. The amount
of cream and egg yolks in an ice cream determine just how smooth and
decadent it’ll be (hint: the more cream and eggs, the creamier the result).
The role fat plays as a cooking medium is perhaps its most impressive and
unique. Cooking fats can be heated to extreme temperatures, allowing the
surface temperature of foods cooked in them to climb to astonishing heights
as well. In the process, these foods become golden brown and develop the
crisp crusts that so please our palates. Any fat you heat to cook food can be
described as a medium, whether it’s the peanut oil in which you fry chicken,
the butter you use to sauté spring vegetables, or the olive oil in which you
Certain fats can also be used as seasoning to adjust flavor or enrich the
texture of a dish just before serving: a few drops of toasted sesame oil will
deepen the flavors in a bowl of rice, a dollop of sour cream will offer silky
richness to a cup of soup, a little mayonnaise spread on a BLT will increase
its succulence, and a smear of cultured butter on a piece of crusty bread will
add untold richness.
This is such a great song to sing when you’re feeling melodramatic, especially the last bit (in red). The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardustand the Spiders from Mars and Station to Station were the albums that got me through ‘A’ levels revision and I remember scribbling the lyrics to various songs on the margins of my English Lit notes.
‘Oh no, LOVE, you’re NOT ALONE!’
I’ve been listening to lots of Ziggy of late. Seems to suit my mood even though I’m exhausted and feeling generally blah. Perhaps I need some of its energy.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Oh, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide
You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clock waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe, but you don’t eat when you’ve lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide
Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead, so you hurry home
Don’t let the sun blast your shadow
Don’t let the milk float ride your mind
You’re so natural, religiously unkind
Oh no, love, you’re not alone
You’re watching yourself, but you’re too unfair You got your head all tangled up, but if I could only make you care Oh no, love, you’re not alone No matter what or who you’ve been No matter when or where you’ve seen All the knives seem to lacerate your brain I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain
You’re not alone
Just turn on with me, and you’re not alone Let’s turn on and be not alone Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful Oh, gimme your hands
Dayan is a fluffy little cat with exceptionally large eyes. He lives in the countryside, in a village called Wachifield, where magical things happen.
As far as I know, there are just four Dayan books (by Akiko Ikeda) that have been translated into English: Dayan’s Birthday; Thursday Rainy Party; White Eurocka; and Chibikuro Party. Yes, he does seem to be a bit of a party animal.
Dayan’s shadow, Chip.
My favourite is Chibikuro Party, which is about a party for shadows. You can read more about Dayan and the books here.