The other day I was dining with a friend who happens to be British.  You'd think that means he has bad taste in food, but no, he's quite the gourmet.  As we started in on our cold green onion vichyssoise the waiter came over with the pepper grinder, asking if we wanted fresh pepper with our soup.

The thing is, he came over before we'd had the opportunity to have more than half a mouthful, if that.  And this isn't the only time that I've been accosted by the pepper man before I've had the opportunity to actually taste my food.

What is wrong with people?  

Pepper is a great spice, in moderation.  Properly used it can add a lot to a dish.  But all too often people use it without tasting and they ruin the delicate flavors the chef has created.  Why spend all the money on dining out if you're going to make the food to your home tastes?   

Just once I'd like to see a restaurant without salt and pepper on the tables, and without the roving pepper man.  And when patrons ask (or, even worse, make the that wonderful "pepper me" hand gesture) why can't they be told "We're sorry, but the chef doesn't recommend pepper with this dish."


Mid-year Reading Challenge Check-in

Way back in January I posted my 2012 Reading Resolution.  So, how am I doing?

Thus far, I've read 197  books, and of them 15  were added to Mt. Bookpile pre-January 2012:

According to the rules, I'm at Level 3.  My goal was Level 4, and with a mere six books more I can make it.  Six books in six months... can't be that difficult to accomplish, can it?

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Not quite as good as last quarter, but 97 books isn't bad. I've even revised my annual goal from 300 to 365! Reviews in the usual place.

  • Simone De Beauvoir, Deirdre Bair
  • Baby's In Black, Arne Bellstorf
  • His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg, Louise Borden
  • George Bellows, Robert Burleigh
  • Chuck Close, Chuck Close
  • Abraham Lincoln And Frederick Douglass, Russell Freedman
  • Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?, Rhoda Janzen
  • The Amazing Harry Kellar, Gail G. Jarrow
  • The President's Stuck In The Bathtub, Susan Katz
  • Cleopatra, Stacy Schiff
  • Mark Twain, Michael Shelden
  • Last Airlift, Marsha Forchuck Skrypuch
  • Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey
  • Regine's Book, Regine Stokke
  • First Girl Scout, Ginger Wadsworth
Childrens/Young Adult





  • Turn Right At Machu Picchu, Mark Adams
  • Religion For Atheists, Alain de Botton 
  • Summit Series '72, Richard Brignall
  • Words Set Me Free, Lesa Cline-Ransome 
  • Cowboys, David Harrison
  • Titanic, Deborah Hopkinson
  • George, Frank Keating 
  • Sable Island, Wendy Kitts
  • No Shelter Here, Rob Laidlaw
  • The Fairy Ring, Or, Elsie And Frances Fool The World, Mary Losure
  • The Polar Bear Scientists, Peter Lourie
  • Black Gold, Albert Marrin
  • Emily Included, Kathleen McDonnell
  • Sacred Stories, Marilyn McFarlane
  • Temple Grandin, Sy Montgomery 
  • Invincible Microbe, Jim Murphy
  • The Book of Blood, HP Newquist 
  • A Hidden Wholeness, Parker J. Palmer 
  • The Horse And The Plains Indians, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
  • City Critters, Nicholas Read
  • The Mighty Mars Rovers, Elizabeth Rusch
  • Buried Alive!, Elaine Scott
  • Soul Searching, Sarah Stillman
  • Shannen And The Dream For A School, Janet Wilson

Science Fiction/Fantasy