Friday, March 16, 2012

Want a Free Book?

Here's how to get a free autographed copy of A Suitcase of Seaweed. I need a photo of almond cookies by Tuesday 3/20. It's for a blog piece that I wrote for Jama Rattigan's blog; Jama will post the piece next month but would like to get everything set in advance. The ideal photo would show a batch of cookies made according to the "Grandmother's Almond Cookies" recipe. The photo of the cookies can show them baked or ready-to-bake; on a cookie sheet, plate, piled up in a mountain, or however you want to show them. 

I found out today that I need this photo but was busy doing a lot of last-minute things before I leave for a two-day school visit near Atlanta. If I don't get any photos from you, dear readers, then I will just roll my sleeves up and make the cookies myself when I return home next week. But I am not a good baker. I have a knack for getting distracted, and have a tendency to undercook or overcook things. In "Grandmother's Almond Cookies," you're supposed to bake the cookies "until they come alive." And oddly the phone tends to ring when I'm in the middle of cooking, especially when I'm cooking something that requires attention. My cookies often come out like 4-pound preemie babies--or babies left too long in the heat!

So, please bake some cookies this weekend and send me your photo as a jpeg (300dpi). My email address is: janet AT janetwong DOT com. If you send a photo, I'll write your name on a slip of paper and pull one name at random as the winner of the book. Good luck--and happy eating!

Here's the recipe:

Grandmother’s Almond Cookies
by Janet Wong

No need cookbook, measuring cup.
Stand close. Watch me. No mess up.

One hand sugar, one hand lard
(cut in pieces when still hard),

two hands flour, more or less,
one pinch baking powder. Guess.

One hand almond, finely crushed.
Mix it with both hands. No rush.

Put two eggs. Brown in better.
Keep on mixing. Should be wetter.

Sprinkle water in it. Make
cookies round and flat. Now bake

one big sheet at three-seven-five.
When they done, they come alive.

(from A Suitcase of Seaweed, originally published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, copyright © 1996 by Janet S. Wong)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why a Blog?

Why did I create a blog, instead of just answering individual emails from readers--which I have received for the past 15 years and continue to receive?

Because a blog creates a community. It's my hope that you will read the comments and questions of the dozens of students who have posted here and will learn from each other.

My mentor Myra Cohn Livingston always urged us Master Class students (most of us were published, and several were very well-established in our fields) to seek more eagerly to learn from each other, not just from her. She wanted us to critique and praise each other's work (while she was listening, so that she could jump in with a suggestion or guide us to asking the sort of questions that she thought to be important).

So I'm hoping that you'll browse and read a whole bunch of comments and questions--and jump in with your own replies.

Finally, a request: this blog has had great support and lots of terrific comments and questions. Will you visit my other blog, The Declaration of Interdependence Blog, and join the discussion? I'd love to see you there!