I'm a reader.
I'll read almost anything.
I normally have several books that I'm 'currently reading'.
I mentioned in a recent post that I probably have around 2000 works of fiction. That's because I also re-read. Books and authors become like old friends. I know them.
If I like an author I will read everything that he or she has written, normally starting at the beginning of their career.
I read fantasy, science fiction, murder mysteries, legal mysteries, historical fiction – both romance and not, as well as travel essays, cook books and what a friend calls 'faction' – accurate books written in novel form.
Which leads me to pose this question:
Why don't good writers quit writing before they quit being good writers?
If this was a problem for Shakespeare or Chaucer or Boccaccio, we apparently don't know it….
But, current or recent authors seem to have a problem maintaining their quality as their quantity increases.
I recently picked up the last novel by an author that has been writing for over 30 years, not overly prolific, maybe 15 books in that span of time, but all of them well-written… until this last.
I always finish books; it's a matter of pride. I quit after 150 pages – and I only got that far by skimming. To call it mindless crap would be gilding the lily.
When I read the most recent book by a different author, I had the feeling that he was doing a Word 'Cut and Paste' routine to get the book done on time. Some of the descriptions and passages were so familiar I'm sure they were already used in another book…. or two. And they didn't always follow the story correctly.
Apparently ending one's career on a high note is no longer a goal.
I used to eagerly await the next book by a favored author.
Now, after 8 or so good books, I start to dread them…. I know I'll have the compulsion to buy the book, but I also know that there's a big disappointment lurking in the very near future.
Do they not realize when their words turn from masterful prose to mindless drivel?
Do they not have editors who are supposed to tell them?
Or publishers who are supposed to stop them?
I actually feel as if this last book was sold under false pretenses…. I was ripped off.
Maybe I'll write an exposé…..
I'll even expose the hidden secret in these Mashed Potato Puffs.
I was thinking of a way to keep mashed potatoes hot while we had our first course – so that I had nothing to do but serve the main course.
This worked a treat!
Mashed Potato Puffs
2 medium potatoes
2 tbs butter
1 – 2 tbs milk or buttermilk
1/2 tsp paprika
4 1" (2.5cm) cubes strong, soft cheese I used Tomme
1 tsp butter
The potatoes: Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Put potatoes in medium saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Add salt and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When boiling (and pay attention or they will boil over) reduce heat and take cover partially off. Continue cooking until done, 15 – 20 minutes. They should be very done, easily coming apart when poked with a fork. When done, drain and put back on the heat 10 seconds or so to evaporate any excess moisture.
To mash: Mash potatoes with a potato masher (or fork if you don't have one) Add butter and enough of the milk to get a fluffy consistency.
To finish: Butter four circles on a baking sheet. Divide the potatoes in half. Dividing one half in 4ths, spoon a mound into the center of each buttered circle. Make an indentation in the center. Put a piece of cheese in the center, add the remaining potato, evenly divided, completely enclosing the cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, 350F (170C) for 15 minutes, until just lightly browned.
When you take the first bite….. You get a bit of lovely melted cheese. And they're piping hot after you finish your starter…