Yet again the Senate is under a cloud. It is not enough for these fat-cat appointees to sit and collect their cheques ($ 135,200.00 in salary) and perks. Nigel Wright the PM's Chief of Staff wrote a personal cheque for $ 90,000.00 to cover Senator Mike Duffy's living expenses. Expenses that under the Senate rules were improper. Unbelievable, that the cronies who are appointed by the PM to their trough-like positions in the Senate use their position for even more perks. What does this kind of misuse of power and privilege say about the PM, his party and those he appointed to the Senate.
After finishing Michael Pollan's Cooked I began Chad Robertson's Tartine (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2010). Robertson was mentioned in Pollan's section on air/bread as a bread maker who took his baking seriously. It is a beautifully crafted book that is filled with the story of how Robertson became a baker and his search for the perfect loaf. Bread that causes line-ups for his product at his bakery in Berkeley, California. The book has inspired me to try my hand at baking my own bread with a wild yeast starter. Over the years I have tried making my own bread, both by hand and in bread machines, but I have never tried to make my own starter and after reading both Pollan and Robertson's books I want to try.
Continuing in the food vein is Laura Shapiro's Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America (New York: Viking, 2004). Shapiro looks at cooking, kitchens and housewives in the 1950s and the battle by big food to try to get housewives to buy their products. In one chapter she studies how big food tried to figure out why cooks would not buy their frozen products discovering that how women interpreted those who used such products. It is a light and fun study of post-war cooking as it changed that focuses on some of the women and products and contests used to fuel this change.
After a couple of weeks of really nice, summer-like weather Mother Nature decided to remind us, who is in control with a cold snap. This meant cloching all the tender plants and hoping for the best with the rest.
Yesterday a cool front arrived on the back of a bank of rain. After Mr.T and I made our way to Kensington we found out that our favourite nut guys, Casa Acoreana had a reprieve from the loss of their business. The guy who is currently running the place, one of the brothers had his bid accepted so it means they will continue to be there, at least for the next few years. Yeah! Over the past couple of weeks I have been scouting out other possible dry good stores and none had their selection or ease of access, save for the Bulk Barn on Carlton at Yonge. This is one of those suburban stores that carries a selection of dry goods, and lots of candies that does have a really good selection of everything we use, but that still feels like a corporate entity. After shopping we decided to head over to Dufferin Mall to look at some sandals we spotted the last time we were there at a place called SoftMocs. The sandals were a great price, half that of Clark's or Rockport's, but sadly they didn't have my size. I have discovered that either my feet have shrunk or the sandals I bought last year have relaxed to the point that they don't really fit properly anymore and thought it would be nice to get a new pair. Although I didn't get a pair, Mr.T did. We walked back along Bloor Street for a chance to soak up some much needed vitamin D. We were hoping to see Mr.D and Mr.Z for dinner, but they were finishing work on their bathroom. We walked over to Rashnaa and found the place in the throws of a mini-dinner rush. As always the food and service was wonderful. It is such a fabulous place and were delighted to learn next year will be their 25th year in business. How many restaurants can boast that? I have been going as long as I can remember, after being introduced to the place many moons ago by Mr.P after he returned from his sojourn in Sri Lanka and have been a convert to Sri Lankan food ever since. Leaving the restaurant we spotted a really nice plant store on the southwest corner of Parliament and Wellesley. Mr.T spotted a ficus and we found some lovely jade plants for the mud room, that we hope will not interest Moishe as possible food sources. Every other plant we have brought into the house he proceeds to try to eat. I am hoping the succulent leaves of the jade plant and the height of the ficus will discourage him. We need the plants for some volume and greenery in the mud room replacing the palms which never did well. The people running the store were pleasant and helpful even agreeing to deliver the plants for us, making it an easy transaction.
On our way home Mr.T and I stopped in at a bar called Church on Church to check out the launch of a new exhibition of the work of Gengorah Tagame and Maurice Vellekoop. Both artists were on hand along with the book designer Chip Kidd for a short panel talk that was directed by Tagame's translator. The bar is a long narrow dark place that stretches back from Church street. Tables were set up in the front selling the artist's wares while a bar ran along one wall. The artworks were displayed along the opposite wall but there were too many people to actually see anything. The artists panel was at the back of the darkened room sitting on a small stage/podium. Mr.T and I stayed for the short talk and then caught the TTC home, wanting to escape all the strange energy of amateur night.
Last Saturday when I came home early from a party I sat down to an episode of Ask This Old House. The show is great because they are always addressing older homes and everything that makes them special. This particular episode featured an apartment/granny flat over top of a garage that needed a heating solution for the space. It was a small space only 700 square feet and while reviewing the options for heating the HVAC guy suggested a heat pump. The idea had me captivated and confused as I had never heard of a heat pump before. Smaller than a conventional furnace, the heat pump not only creates heat for a space but also can cool the space like an A/C unit. It also has the added bonus of not needing endless wall and ceiling space for duct work. Sadly, when we replaced our furnace and A/C after we moved in we never informed that a heat pump was an option. Not only is it a smaller and less intrusive unit inside it also almost disappears outside.