Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cooking with Willa and Reading with DH




My new cookbook from The Cather Foundation is a delight to read. Sections are recipes from Willa Cather’s fiction, recipes from places she had been, and recipes from her friends and family plus a section of recipes from the Foundation board. I loved revisiting Cather’s books with snippets of her stories. I think some rereading of Cather is due in the future.

When I saw the Spinach Enchiladas recipe in the section from Taos (where Cather wrote Death Comes from the Archbishop), DH said just forget it. He hates spinach and most green stuff. I will admit this dish doesn’t look so pretty, but it has a great taste. It is unique in that the spinach and green chilies are blended together to make a sauce to cover the Monterrey Jack cheese filled tortillas. DH really liked them because he could not taste the spinach. At first he was leery of the green, but then declared this dish a success before asking what was the green stuff anyway!


The weather here is like a ping pong ball, bouncing all over. Last week we were in middle of tornadic turmoil. By Saturday we had a lovely day with sun, and we had lunch on the deck with afternoon reading afterwards. Easter Sunday was rain, darkness, and chills. Today I got up and it was 70 so I took tea and books out to deck early. It was a first early morning for my ritual. The skies were the color of stone-washed denim and light clouds were bustling across the rather dark skies. I figured more rain coming so I read while I could. Then the sun came out about noon so DH and I read while we could. Tomorrow we are back to tornadic skies with rain and hail on the way tonight too. Ah geez….Mother Nature rules!

I had finished Frozen in Time yesterday and handed it over to DH then. This is nonfiction about downed flyers in Greenland during WWII. As more and more men went out to save the flyers on the ice cap, more accidents happened and more men were lost. I found the idea of a glacier and ice crevasses scary; it was not a relaxing book to read. However, it was interesting despite all the freezing cold, ice, agony, death and survival for some.


I started yesterday and finished today a book titled Song of Dewey Beard: Last Survivor of the Little Big Horn. At first I had to wonder how much new could be said about Custer’s demise, but the more I read about Dewey, the more I was into the story. He survived Custer’s Last Stand and went on to face much other anguish in what are gently called the Indian Wars. Dewey was also at Wound Knee and here was an even more vivid portrayal of this massacre. Dewey watched his father, mother, brothers, sister, wife and eventually new born baby son die on that field as they all were stood under a white flag of surrender.

I have been on the Pine Ridge reservation and been in a cemetery near Wounded Knee. The poverty is staggering. The cemetery moved me as it was so dry and poor and gravelly and weather-beaten. I remember seeing a child’s gravestone with a teddy bear hanging off the stone and thought how sorrowful it was. Then I noted the child had died in 1910 or so. Definitely, someone was keeping this ancestor’s name on their lips.

Phillip Burnham wrote realistically of the massacre at Wounded Knee….and from the Indians’ side of the story. When I stood at Sand Creek last summer I thought I had seen the worst, but I believe the Wound Knee story tops it. Just as many of us read Nazi stories to keep the horrors alive so we don’t repeat them…we should read the stories of the Native Americans too for the same reason. 

What is your favorite Willa Cather book?

6 comments:

Patricia A. Laster said...

I have several Willa Cather books--to read when there are no taxes due, not speeches to be written, no novels to be revised, no rehearsals to attend. Good "reviews" of your reading. Don't cotton to reading them, nor preparing the "green stuff" recipe. But I DO cotton to reading your blogs. xoxo

Elephant's Child said...

Love your reviews. Both tempt me. And yes, we do need to read and to remember. Or risk making similar mistakes.
Spinach is poison in my partner's book. Absolute poison. And he is suspicious so I doubt I could tempt/trick him.

Rebecca said...

I'm so embarrassed that I can't come up with Willa Cather titles (I haven't read her much but I know I've read SOMEthing....

I like your description of weather - like ping pong balls! 'Tis similar here. Definitely wet this week!

Not sure I have the fortitude to read of Wounded Knee. I shutter & cry every time I hear/rad the story of the Trail of Tears...

Delores said...

Smart move disguising the 'green stuff'.

Lynn said...

I'm definitely going to put Song of Dewey Beard on my list to read. Thanks for sharing all the info about that and other books. So much to read and so little time....

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

You've got me adding to my reading list, Claudia. :) These sound like keepers. Thanks.