This week in the Casamara Club leisure diaries, Erica prepares mentally for the spookiest season, and asks what makes a great pancake.
My big plans this weekend include jumping in a lake and eating all the late-season fruit I can get my hands on. It’s still the summertime, right?
Did you happen to listen to this week’s Sporkful episode? It was a real treat — Sohla and Ham El-Waylly stopped by to chit chat with Dan Pashman before the three of them helped settle a debate between a couple grappling over the true nature of a pancake. And like previous Q&A episodes, the conversation was low-stakes quibbling — this time about pancake size — with a light sprinkling of couple’s therapy. By the end it’s not clear whether the mediation was a success, but maybe that was the point all along.
The episode also introduced me to the El-Waylly’s YouTube show for New York Times Cooking, Mystery Menu, where they make both a dinner and dessert out of a single mystery ingredient (bet you can’t watch just one!). The show isn’t reinventing the wheel — resembling a more streamlined version of Chopped — but the pair is fun to watch and after every episode I feel like I’ve learned something. So far, the hot dog episode is my favorite, where they managed to cram hot dogs into a lasagna, caramel popcorn, and an ice cream topper. And while the hot dog praline looked like an absolute nightmare, I was very entertained.
On the other end of the leisure spectrum, I finally started reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic. The novel is set in the 1950s, and is about a young socialite visiting her newlywed and unwell cousin in a dilapidated (haunted) manor in the Mexican countryside. It only took a few paragraphs to be wholly transported, as Moreno-Garcia’s writing is lush, layered, and oh so spooky. She’s just published another novel, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, that I’ve already made plans to read as soon as this one is finished.
That’s all for now. We’ll talk soon.