1. Not quite a year ago, I was in Philadelphia, newly aware of my gluten intolerance, and appalled at the prospect of baking with multiple types of flours. F-ck bread, I said to a friend, more than once. I don't need it, and my life is better without it.
Fast forward to now, and I have upwards of six different varieties of flour in my fridge, and I have made three batches of cookies using Shauna James Ahern and Danny Ahern's AP flour mix. I think the most amazing ones so far have been these cranberry-pistachio rounds, which are very like shortbread, and are pure heaven straight out of the oven. I don't know if they'd be equally good with plain old white flour, but you should probably try them that way, and find out.
2. This year's Doctor Who Christmas Special is the best one ever. I might even watch it for a second time, just to appreciate it. Also, if you're new to Who, for the most part, this is a good entry point. You'll miss one of the running gags, but you'll see the brilliance of Pond and Eleven, and then you can go watch Series 5, and by the end, you'll understand the previously obscure gag about the centurion costume.
3. Sadly, the adaptation of M R James' "Oh Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" is as stupid as Doctor Who is brilliant. I like non-traditional adaptations (see my rapturous endorsement of the Doctor Who Christmas Carol above) -- but this is really just "Who's Got My Hairy Toe?" with James' name and title stamped on it; and John Hurt and Gemma Jones doing a Very Special Story about dementia. It's nicely filmed, and nicely staged, by which I mean that sea foam green is a good color for connoting creepiness, and that the prop bust that features heavily in the story is genuinely creepy (did they make it, or find it, I wonder?) But James is never maudlin the way that this story is, even if I appreciated the symmetry of describing someone with dementia as "the opposite of a ghost," a physical remnant of a dead person, rather than a spiritual one.
4. This review of Bush's Decision Points in the LRB is wonderful. And also horrifying.
5. Chicago writer Cliff Doerksen has died; and in celebration of his life, I offer you his take on the American history of mince pie.
The Virtual Pub Is Open
1 day ago