Multi-Week Roundup: November 8 – December 5

Welcome to the weekly roundup on Ink in the Archives! Every week (or so) I will share what I’ve been up to and interested in and ask you to fill me in on your week too.

Eventful Events and Happening Happenings

No idea where November went. It was a blur of cold weather and writing assignments. Luckily, I have finished the semester and have time for what really matters this month: making winter-y cocktails, reading, watching sappy movies, reading, baking delicious treats, reading, and wrapping all the presents I bought last month.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • Making pasties every week. I use the dough from my pumpkin pasty recipe (which is still delightfully crisp and flaky) and have been making pasties of all kinds including a BBQ pizza themed one with chicken, sautéed red onion, BBQ sauce, and mozzarella and a Tex-Mex version with beans, salsa, corn, and chicken. I do something new almost every week, but the pumpkin pasty version is probably still my favorite. I’ve also gotten better at rolling them out (thinner is better) and sealing them (so they actually look like a pasty).
  • Schooool stuff. Paper and projects and posts, oh my! This semester I was much less productive than usual but had more to do, which meant very long school days.
  • I have an internship for next semester at an actual archive! It’ll be mostly virtual I have a feeling, but I’m very excited about it.

Books Read

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab Easily one of my favorite books of the year. To get out of an arranged marriage, Addie sells her soul to, well not quite the devil, but not-not the devil either, in exchange for her freedom. In exchange for immortality and youth, the bargain ensures that no one remembers Addie–she can’t even say her name. The book winds through history and features a heroine determined to live and make her mark on history. The writing is just right and the story is gripping. An excellent read for the end of the year or the beginning of the next one.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ten Restaurants that Changed America by Paul Freedman Freedman has written a lot about food in America, and his writing is more than usually entertaining for this style of book. This is easily one of the most readable nonfiction books I have seen on this topic. Freedman picks 10 restaurants that have changed the way Americans eat and view food including the famous Delmonico’s, one of its first restaurants and Howard Johnsons, which ushered in franchising and national brands. Through these restaurants he tells the stories of people and places. If you’re interested in reading food history, Freedman’s books are a great place to start, since they are well researched and highly engaging.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom: Excursions into Eating, Power, and the Past by Sidney W. Mintz This short book builds off of Mintz’s important work on the history of sugar and its relation of power, but this book is more intimately tied to the United States.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

How America Eats: A Social History of U.S. Food and Culture by Jennifer Jensen Wallach Another concise look at the history of American food, but this one is a good summary of the field of food studies.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine by Andrew F. Smith I like the way this book is organized into short chapters largely focused on innovations that continue to have an impact on American food. Unlike many of the other books I read for my project, this one is more focused on technological innovations and trends rather than social ones.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The United States of Arugula by David Kamp If you’re interested in the gourmet food movement, you might be interested in this book which follows the many characters that have influenced the trend towards food to table cuisine. This book is more biographical in nature.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time by Adrian Miller Told one dish at a time, Miller traces soul food’s origins and current trajectories. This book made me very hungry.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider I really related to this graphic novel. It’s as much about writing as it is about reading, but the cartoons are really endearing. This book would make a great gift for a bibliophile, especially if they have an interest in writing!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger Sexy Scottish werewolf? Check. Fiesty, preternatural heroine? Check. A subtle Steampunk aesthetic? Check. All of this adds up to a romantic romp through a supernatural Victorian England with plenty of humor. It’s exactly the light, fun series I needed right now and was recommended to me by one of my friends in my library program.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Movies Watched

The week before we came to visit my parents, I watched a bunch of documentaries. I haven’t watched very many movies since I’ve been here.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) I am not normally a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen’s shock and awe comedy style–I think he’s funny, but it’s not my preferred comedy style. However, this film was so timely and political and had so much great satire in it. I really enjoyed watching it and even saw it twice, once with my parents and once with Paul.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Holidate (2020) I love how ridiculous Christmas movies often are, and this one is no different. It does however have the requisite amount of hopeless romance and silliness that is sure to take your mind off of the current state of reality.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Jingle Jangle (2020) The costumes, the music, and the premise of this film were really fun and actually feature a diverse cast in terms of both gender and race. This was really refreshing. It’s silly, but it has lots of imagination and style.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rebecca (2020) The book may be better, but you can’t deny that this movie hits the right tone at least. And I really liked the costumes (even if they were more modern than may be realistic). A fun romantic thriller.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Over the Moon (2020) This movie ultimately fell flat for me. I loved the protagonist’s mix of scientific and mythical interests and enjoyed her interactions with her new step brother. The film is ultimately about grief and letting go, which is an important message. However everything that happened on the moon was a little bizarre.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Links/Articles

Please know that I’m not paid for my opinions about anything. I just like to share things that strike me as interesting, useful, or engaging.

I found this Barnes & Noble diverse middle reader book list to be really helpful in choosing a book for part of my cousin’s birthday present.

Need some holiday cheer? The Bay area annual Dickens fair may be cancelled for the year, but you can still see some of their online content to add to your yuletide festivities. You can find Victorian recipes, a holiday address from the Queen, and Dickens reading A Christmas Story among many other things.

I am totally discovering how amazing metallic gelly pens are for the first time. These were really popular when I was younger, but they were too mainstream, and I never got the point. However, as an adult I can joyfully say that they make coloring a joy because you can color with them in any direction, they don’t bleed through, and they are pretty sparkly. You can find sets and individual pens from Blick.

How was your November? Have you started decking the halls yet? Read anything good lately? Let me know in the comments!

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