When I’m not cooking, I…read

I’d like to make it a feature on this blog to write some posts about what I do when I’m not cooking, planning meals, or blogging about food.  So when you see “When I’m not cooking, I…” in the post title, you can expect a non-food post!

Except for this, because I can’t resist sharing:

I’m a total sucker for Lauren Ulm’s Vegan Yum Yum.  And, since we had some leftover black beans and sweet potatoes have been on sale, I went flipping through it the other night for a little inspiration.  The result was breakfast for dinner!  Tofu scramble (with broccoli and black beans) and Moroccan Spiced Home Fries (which I used one extra cup of potatoes in, since I was lacking celery root).  The seasonings in the scramble will need a little tweaking to suit my tastes, but overall it was a fun and yummy meal!

So what have I been doing lately besides cooking?  Reading!  After an informative read-through of Becoming Vegan, which I’ll come back to in a future post, I’ve found myself wanting to re-read a bunch of books by Diana Wynne Jones.  For those of you unfamiliar with her, she’s behind the superb Howl’s Moving Castle, the six Chronicles of Chrestomanci books, the Dalemark quartet, and countless other fantasy and sci-fi novels for readers of all ages.

I’ve been into light fantasy since I was a kid. There’s something about a well-crafted world that sucks me in, and Diana Wynne Jones manages to do that with pretty much every novel.  I admire her ability to write as though what goes on in her stories is perfectly natural, a talent that allows her to present tales that aren’t bogged down by unnecessary explanation.  If magic or dragons or parallel realities exist in a Wynne Jones novel, you’re bound to believe it without having to be told why.  She even manages to seamlessly blend fantasy, sci-fi, and mythology together in the marvelous Hexwood.

I’ve been re-reading a few of the books in the Chrestomanci series–about a nine-lived enchanter who polices the misuse of magic in the Twelve Related Worlds–and am finding myself charmed all over again.  Though the books show their age by being (refreshingly) unlike the things appearing in today’s YA fantasy market, they’re still entertaining and enjoyable.  Wynne Jones never falls into the trap of pandering to the lowest common denominator in her intended audience.  Instead, she continues to write fresh, fun stories that endure the test of time.

I know I sound like a book review by now, but I really can’t say enough good about DWJ’s work.  A friend turned me on to her in high school by nagging me to read Fire & Hemlock, and I’ve been seeking out more ever since.  So for now when I’m not cooking–and sometimes even when I am, if something needs to simmer–I’ll have my nose stuck in a Diana Wynne Jones novel!