Franny and Zooey is made up of a short story and a novella, both originally published in the New Yorker in the 1950’s then published together as Franny and Zooey in the 1960’s. Both are stories that do what we all love J.D. Salinger for: they celebrate young voices, dysfunctional families, domestic, middle-class American life and incredible language. They are stories for diving into, for smiling and laughing and cringing. They can be seen as completely self-indulgent or completely wonderful. I choose the latter.
There are some incredible takes on family life and domesticity in Zooey particularly. I completely loved this hilarious passage where the mother asks Zooey if he has called his sibling, whilst Zooey is attempting to hide from his family by taking an extra long bath:
‘I don’t suppose you’ve spoken to your little sister yet,’ she said, and turned to look at the shower curtain.
‘No, I have not spoken to my little sister yet. How ‘bout getting the hell out of here now?’
‘Why haven’t you?’ Mrs Glass demanded. ‘I don’t think that’s nice Zooey. I don’t think that’s nice at all. I asked you particularly to please go and see if there’s anything -‘
‘In the first place, Bessie, I just got up about an hour ago. In the second place, I talked to her for two solid hours last night, and I don’t think she frankly wants to talk to any goddamn one of us today. And in the third place, if you don’t get out of this bathroom I’m going to set fire to this ugly goddamn shower curtain. I mean it, Bessie.’
And in a later barrage between the two, as the mother asks why Zooey is still not married, he replies:
‘I like to ride in trains too much. You never get to sit next to the window any more when you’re married.’
Winter is the season that I just want to curl up with a book and eschew the rest of the world. Reading Franny and Zooey not only comforted me during this time, but also made me feel completely justified in doing so: the world is just full of idiots and phonies anyway.
If you want to dive into the book properly, you might want to read this original review of the book by John Updike in the New York Times, or you might want to skip to the 2013 version of a review which is a list in an online magazine: Five Life Lessons from J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey. But really I just want you to see from these quotes how lovely it can be, tell you to read it and hope that you’ll pick it up on a whim too. Then maybe one day when you’re home sick, or have a long bus or train ride, or you’re feeling lonely, you’ll get a chance to read this beautiful little book and it’ll bring a smile to your face.
Lately all I’ve been wanting to eat is soup. It’s the weather for bowls of warm, nourishing, homely food. I’ve moved on from the more broth-like soups I made with We The Animals (see that post here) to richer, heartier vegetable soups. But I’ve also been trying to make meals that aren’t too heavy, aren’t too carbohydrate rich, aren’t going to make me put on too much weight over winter. So I’ve been playing around with soups that are filling, but that don’t need thickening with potatoes or cream and that don’t need to be served with big chunks of bread to keep them satisfying. It’s also about necessity: being back in an office and needing lunches that can easily be transported, reheated and provide a little bit of sunshine in the middle of a grey working day.
I’ve made a lot of pumpkin soup in my lifetime, but this version from My New Roots is hands-down the best I’ve ever had. It’s also incredibly simple: just chop roughly then roast a whole butternut pumpkin, an onion and some garlic, pour into a processor with turmeric and stock. Done. The chickpea croutons were a little more involved and fiddly: it was the kind of job you don’t mind doing on a rainy Sunday afternoon with Grand Designs on in the background whilst dreaming of moving to the country (*ahem*), but that you wouldn’t want to undertake on a weeknight after work. But still, this yielded a big jar of them that I’ve still got plenty of and can perhaps stretch to a few more bowls than the soup recipe. The turmeric gives the soup a golden glow that can’t help but make you feel sunnier, no matter how bleak the skies outside may be.
I recently came across this great project - The Museum of the Mundane, or MoMu - via this interview in One Quarter Journal. Every day design objects in every day settings are given art gallery style plaques to explain their history and significance. This idea has also cropped up at home this week, with a man in Collingwood here in Melbourne turning the anti-Tony Abbott graffiti on his garage door into a work of contemporary art by creating a genius plaque for it, featured on Junkee.