Grilled mushroom and white bean dip

Grilled mushroom and white bean dip

Grilled mushroom and white bean dip

Well my story isn’t done. It’s barely even started. Yesterday I wasted lots of time waxing eloquent about how I wanted to write a story, and it sounded like it was going to be a pretty good one, all glowy and underwatery. And I actually wrote one in my head, or part of one at least. And then I got home all eager to write it down, opened up my notebook, and…naw, that’s no good. And then I spent some time looking for another picture to write about, but I couldn’t even do that, I couldn’t pick one. And I started maybe three different stories, but didn’t like any of them, and I began to feel like Isaac, frustrated and angry, yelling at myself, “I HAVE TO WRITE A STORY! WHY WON’T YOU LET ME WRITE A STORY!” I fear my little writer’s block-clearing exercise is giving me a mean case of writer’s block. Or maybe it’s the heat, it’s probably the heat. Anyway, I thought I’d tell you instead about a storyteller that I admire very much (thanks, Saneshane!). His name is Jeffrey Lewis, and he tells stories with pictures and songs. His songs are musically simple but very sweet and compelling, and his lyrics are wonderful. He tells stories about moments of his life that might not seem all that eventful, but that become memorable and meaningful in his songs. He’s witty, pessimistic, hopeful, honest and philosophical, and all in a lovely confiding conversational style. He’s brilliant but self-deprecating, discouraged but full of life. He also writes comic books, and sometimes he tells stories with pictures and songs at the same time. In fact, he did a whole series of songs for the History Channel on subjects such as the French Revolution and the Fall of Rome.

Here are some songs I like by him.

I like them all, actually, but I’m late for work.

This recipe is super easy! It’s a great way to use up leftover grilled vegetables. You just purée them with some beans and spices, and you’re done! It’s great with crackers or chips or spread on crusty bread. Or serve it with oven-roasted fries and a salad as a meal. It would work really well with leftover grilled red peppers, too.
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Walnut crackers with smoky tomato/pesto white bean dip

White bean dip with tomato and pesto

We were away for a few days, and now we’re back. I love coming home! I’m such a homebody it’s just silly, I always have been. (It’s, like, totally cause I’m a cancer, man, so it’s in the stars.) In all honesty, I love being home. I love the idea of being a wild rambler. I love songs about rootless adventurers. I like going away, but I prefer coming back. As we get within an hour of our house, and the trees and the sky start to take on their exact perfect familiar size and spaciousness, I can feel my body relax and my spirits lift. Silly, I know, but there it is! I love my town: tiny, eccentric, imperfect, but so beautiful and full of good will. I was speaking to a friend the other day, who lives a block away, and I nearly laughed when he said he doesn’t want to leave the area. He really never even wants to leave our town. He just has no desire to venture beyond the ‘ville. Why did I nearly laugh? Because I know exactly what he means!! I love our house. It’s old, it’s falling apart, it smells like wet plaster, and that same plaster is crumbling off the walls, we have a large non-paying-tenant population of spiders (I like our spiders!). We have two little boys, so no matter how much I clean, the house is sticky and messy, and we have angry pee-spirits that live behind the toilets. But I love it all, right down to the little smudgy hand prints running along the walls at boy-height. I like walking home from my stupid job. I like having no plans, spending time with David and the boys, inventing small adventures. And, of course, I like cooking. For Robert Frost, home was the place they had to take you in. For Tom Waits, home is wherever he lays his head. For me, home is where I make meals for my family. If you can bring family and friends together around a table, and share a meal, and talk about all the things that have been racing around in your heads during the day. Well, then you’re home!

My wise friend Benjamin Franklin once said, “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” And I’d add that a house is not a home if it’s not ringing with good music, so here’s a short playlist of songs about home. Do you know of any good songs about home that I should add?

Before we left for a few days, I made a meal with tomato sauce and pesto sauce. The night before we left, I was going to make a galette with a walnut crust. At the last moment I surprised everybody (keep em guessing!) by making walnut Isaac crackers, and making a dip to go with it which involved puréeing white beans with each kind of sauce, and then swirling them together. (I still plan to make a galette with a walnut crust, so act surprised!) The dip couldn’t be any easier, and it’s a good thing to make if you’ve been baking different kinds of pizzas, and have some leftover sauce. The crackers go together in a breeze, as well.
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