Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Improvised Life

A couple of paragraphs I wrote a few months ago have shown up on The Improvised Life, a blog I never fail to read. Here's the link: http://www.improvisedlife.com/2013/12/03/paint-dipped-spoons-diy-buy/. Woodworking advice on a food and decor blog? That's Sally for you.

One day a few years ago I heard a woman on the radio describe a miso glaze to use on fish before grilling or roasting it. It sounded so good that I looked up the recipe online when I got home. It looked even better when I read about it, and I've now used it dozens of times on grilled beef and salmon. I've been Sally Schneider's fan ever since, commenting occasionally when a post really speaks to me or has to do with something I actually know about. Once in a while our interests really harmonize, for instance this past spring when I wrote about mixing latex paint and waterbased acrylic, which she generously featured on The Improvised Life.

Sally is a cook,  and an author, whose excellent blog provides a steady stream of good ideas about cooking, decorating, entertaining, and the creative life. One common thread winding through much of what she writes on her blog is the idea of improvising: here's an idea, or the skeleton of a recipe, and here are several possible ways you might modify it. And the modifications are seldom simple variations. Often they're transformative, as in: here's a great, simple dessert called a "Dutch Baby." But if you scatter parmesan on the batter and change the garnish, it becomes a fantastic cheesy hors d'oeuvre.

Another golden thread woven into Sally's blog is its friendly, encouraging attitude, which is refreshingly empty of the sarcasm, hype, drama, and desperate sales pitches that are so easy to find on most blogs. 

For the past year, changes in my duties at work mean that I spend lots of time looking at,  responding to,  and curating social media and online news about science and education. One result is that in my free time, I have much less appetite for the steady stream of information available via Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere. Fewer and fewer feeds interest me. The Improvised Life holds my attention because the content Sally generates (and selects) is of high quality, and because Sally's kind, honest, curious, humane nature shines through.

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