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Top Five
In which I steal a meme from wordweaverlynn:
Ask me for my top five of anything, and I will try to answer.

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Your top five dinners/main dishes/entrées?


1. Indian Soup. Or perhaps that should be *~=*INDIAN SOUP*=~* with hearts and sparkles and stuff, because it is clearly top of the list. From Julie Sahni's utterly delightful Classic Indian Cooking, whose only fault is that it gives all the recipes very long, uninformative names. It's officially something like "Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Peas in Tomato Sauce with Spices" but it is delicious, easy, and fast (about 45 minutes including prep time). Quite filling and satisfying as a main dish. I usually make some dal and rice to go with it.

2. Chili with cornbread. I haven't been making this often lately but as the weather cools off I expect it will start to sound like a better and better idea.

3. Chickpeas with onions and (peppers, corn, spinach, etcetera). Simple but hearty. Nice with greens (if you haven't put them right in it) and/or potatoes.

4. Black bean and sweet potato soup. I use this recipe, although I don't bother with the blending part.

5. Socca with chunky vegetable tomato sauce. (Or polenta with tomato sauce, but that's not as filling and proteinaceous.) This one has a bit of lead time, but it's very easy (I don't find the whole sieve thing necessary; possibly I have a different brand of chickpea flour), delicious, and probably healthier than pasta, which I don't make hardly at all anymore because Cathy can't eat it.

Note that we are, while neither a vegetarian nor a gluten-free household as such, generally cooking for a vegetarian and a person who cannot eat gluten or dairy, so our frequently-used dinner recipes are usually vegan and gluten-free.

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Probably! Ping me in October with good days for you, yeah?

Reasons not to use total orderings in life.

1. I'm personally quite bad at making total orderings.
2. One always forgets something one later feels excruciatingly embarrassed about having left off the list.
3. Ties are common.
4. Something very nice will be just off the bottom of any arbitrary length cutoff.
5. Alternately, something that's a big step down from the thing above it will be on the arbitrary length list.
6. In general, total orderings do not accurately reflect many useful natural groupings.

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1. Thylacine.

2. Wombat.

3. Sugar glider.

4. Bandicoot.

5. Opossum.

Top five kids' picture books (your taste, not Morgan's).

Oh gosh, that's much too large a category. These will be even more random than my usual top-five lists. Pay no attention to the numbers, they're meaningless.

1. Tea Rex, by Molly Idle. Gorgeous pictures, funny text. What I like most about it, though, is the way that it takes the tea party seriously. It would be very easy for a funny story about a dinosaur destroying a tea party to imply that tea parties are frivolous or less interesting than dinosaurs, to discount feminine interests in favor of masculine ones, and this book doesn't do that. It is for kids who like tea parties, or dinosaurs, or both, and considers both a totally valid option.

2. Builder Goose, by Boni Ashburn, illustrated by Sergio de Giorgi. Really good construction-themed parodies of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. No, really. Really, really good. Very well-done use of rhythm and sound; a joy to read aloud to feel the words rolling around in your mouth. I like these better than a lot of collections of standard Mother Goose rhymes. Also, the little anthropomorphic animal construction workers include multiple female workers who are dressed appropriately for the job site, have the same body types as the male and ambiguous characters, and do all the same work as the male and ambiguous characters. (Can you tell we read a lot of construction-themed books? Which I have opinions about?)

3. Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers, illustrations by Marla Frazee. Another one that's just fun to read out loud. Great use of rhythm and rhyme. Reasonable stab at racial and family type diversity in the illustrations, though it's the sort of diversity you'd find in a fairly well-off US suburb, not worldwide as the text indicates.

4. City Dog, Country Frog, by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon J. Muth. I would also like to whole-heartedly recommend everything else Mo Willems has written -- he is a genius with a real talent for appealing to kids and encouraging readers to EMOTE ENTHUSIASTICALLY!!!!! City Dog is a much quieter book which will make you, the grownup, cry. But it's beautiful.

5. Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Really, my primary criterion for loving a picture book is how much fun it is to read aloud, how much it plays with language and encourages volume changes and gestures and voices, and this one does a great job. (The sequels do not do nearly as much with the language, although they are sweet enough little stories.)

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