Hello, my adorable paczkis and persimmons! (And if you don’t know what a paczki, prounounced “poonch-key” is, wait til Easter in Michigan, though I personally don’t understand them AT ALL.) This LCF Update 1-8-18 is the first of the year, and the first in a few weeks. If you’re reading this, you survived 2017, and that is truly celebratory.

Yesterday, I whipped up a recipe called The Best Dairy- & Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese, and I can’t find it on the Clean Eating site, so you may have to skedaddle to your nearest magazine purveyor to pick it up. We found it thoroughly tasty. (If you do follow the link above, you will find a veritable trove of very good recipes.) I don’t avoid dairy or gluten religiously, but I figure it can’t hurt to take a break. My primary alteration was to replace half the pasta in the recipe with roasted cauliflower. The sauce needs roasted garlic and squash anyway, so I just added the cauliflower to the sheet.

vegan, gluten-free mac and cheese is part of the LCF update 1-8-18

It’s not my recipe, so I won’t give it away, but it did feature coconut milk (the fatty kind from the can, not the sort of worthless stuff from the box), the pureed squash and garlic, and soaked cashews. Fortunately, we have a Vitamix now; we finally bit the bullet after using a friend’s. I’ve tried to make cashew substitute cream sauces before and they made me sad, and were also sort of grainy messes. This sauce was pleasant and smooth. Here are the veggies and reduced amount of gluten-free pasta before adding the sauce.

Veggies and pasta for vegan mac & cheese, featured in the LCF Update 1-8-18

Served with some coleslaw on the side, we had a dinner we were very happy with.

vegan, gluten-free mac & cheese in the LCF update 1-8-18 I’m on a curry kick at the moment; given the extreme cold we’ve been facing here in Michigan, it’s thoroughly hitting the spot. So you can watch for that in the next few days. Meanwhile, here are the non-cooking choices of the week.

LCF Update 1-8-18: Reading

Just finished Waking Lions, by the Israeli novelist and psychologist Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. The latter half of that job description shows in the character development. The book focuses primarily on three people: a neurosurgeon, Eitan, who runs over an Eritrean immigrant while tooling around in his SUV, then drives away; his wife, Liat, the cop who ends up investigating the hit and run; and Sirkit, the husband of the man Eitan kills, who witnesses the accident and then devises a highly unusual blackmail scheme.

Here’s a fascinating interview with the writer. (And while you’re at it, throw the Guardian a little love if you’re able and inclined. This very excellent publication has become my source of choice, and I’m seeing stories there that simply don’t get covered in the US newspapers.) AGG’s points about how those in places of privilege simply fail to see those decidedly unprivileged are sharp and apply everywhere. As I write, I see that the US is now showing the door to 200K Salvadoreans. Like the Eritreans in Waking Lions, they are being sent into hell. We’re a nation of immigrants, a nation that forgets easily how many of our ancestors were fleeing very bad conditions. Waking Lions serves as a grim if beautifully -written reminder of the desperation that precedes flight, and that so many of us so simply refuse to see.

LCF Update 1-8-18: Watching

It’s always a joy to watch Saoirse Ronan act, and casting her as Lady Bird is one of the smartest moves Greta Gerwig could have made. I can’t rhapsodize about the movie the way everyone else has; where others are going nuts over its simplicity, I find it a little safe. But it’s light years better than Juno, and Gerwig has written some altogether beautiful scenes, including one in which an older nun—not, in probably the movie’s boldest move, a caricature, but a really lovely character—asks Lady Bird if love and paying attention are not the same things. I did miss the brio and love affair with movies evident in Noah Baumbach’s films, particularly the Modern Love sequence in Frances Ha, which Baumbach basically copied almost frame for frame from the extraordinary Leos Carrax movie Mauvais Sang. But I catch myself. Gerwig is herself, and here I am saying, oh, she should do it this way. Lady Bird’s a case where, even though I didn’t love it, I won’t miss the next thing Gerwig writers and directs. May she continue to bloom.