January 2017: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

It got cold and even snowed a bit at the beginning of the month, but since mid-month it’s been unseasonably warm. The boots I bought for ALA Midwinter 2010 in Boston (the very first boots I ever owned, since I didn’t need any on the West coast) finally cracked to the point where I can’t wear them anymore so I had to get some new ones. Good thing, as they’ve kept my feet dry and comfortable during protests. Who knew.

Lombard Street in January
Lombard Street in January


In what will likely be my only major work trip this year, I went to Atlanta for the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Overall it was a good conference, as usual; I saw a lot of really relevant presentations, gave a lightning talk, and got to see W. Kamau Bell.

It hadn’t occurred to me when making these travel plans that I’d be away for the inauguration and subsequent women’s march. Luckily the good folks in the Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services organized a meeting point for people to attend the Atlanta’s March for Social Justice & Women. Although we got soaked in the rain, I’m glad I got to participate.

Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women
Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Atlanta was to see my friend Suzie. We went out on my last night, and I’m glad we got to see each other.

I didn’t really focus on food this trip, but made multiple visits to Alma Cocina and enjoyed Max Lager’s and Truva. On my last day I also got to go to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

On my way home, it was late and I had just missed the airport train, so I used Lyft for the first time. That got me home a lot sooner, was cheaper than a taxi, and was a relatively pleasant experience, so I’ll certainly consider using it again.

Farmers’ Markets

Here’s a picture of the farmers’ markets where everything is covered in snow:

Snowy farmers' market
Snowy farmers’ market

Dining In

We started the month by making something special for New Year’s Day: slow cooker french dip sandwiches.

slow cooker french dip
slow cooker french dip

Between now and April I’ll be recipe testing for a friend of mine who is starting a new food blog. I think it’s great the way she’s going all in and is taking the extra time and effort to work with recipe testers. Some highlights from this month included:

For Christmas, my brother got me a cookbook, The Indian Family Kitchen, so I tried to cook at least one recipe a week from the book. These all turned out great:

  • Chai smoked sea bass
  • Mixed herb salad with honey pecan dressing
  • Drunken chicken
  • Steamed scented fish
  • Vegetable biriyani
  • One pot chicken
  • Wilted mustard greens

Other cooking highlights from this month include:

Beef Daube
Beef Daube

Dining Out

We’ve been spending some more time at Friday Saturday Sunday. Since it opens at 3pm it’s perfect for a late afternoon weekend drink.

Friday Saturday Sunday
Friday Saturday Sunday

We tried out Cinder and were impressed with their beer selection as well as their ciders. The Rose Bowl was on and Penn State was playing so we had to pretend to talk about football but we winged it OK.


We finally made it back to Bing Bing Dim Sum! Everything is so good there it’s hard to try new things when we want to repeat some of the wonderful dumplings we’ve had before. But it was worth it – we tried their soup dumplings, spicy lamb dumplings, and turnip cake.

Bing Bing Dim Sum
Bing Bing Dim Sum


It’s been a busy month for making stuff from scratch!

Tom has made more progress with his bread making, including hearty bread and corn muffins.

Hearty Bread. Photo by Tom Ipri
Hearty Bread. Photo by Tom Ipri

I made a few things from Preserving Italy, a book which Tom bought me for Christmas:

  • bitter citrus marmalade, made with citrus from my dad’s Arizona backyard
  • fig walnut “salami”
  • pickled mushrooms
bitter citrus marmalade
bitter citrus marmalade

I also made some more ferments from Ferment Your Vegetables, this time concentrating on things available in winter:

  • pickled butternut squash, which was used to make delicious winter squash hummus
  • garlic honey (this won’t be ready for 4 months, but it’s fascinating to watch)
fermenting butternut squash
fermenting butternut squash
fermenting garlic honey
fermenting garlic honey

I also made some pickled mustard greens, which had been the missing ingredient from our dan dan noodles.


I finished reading the Wonder Woman graphic novel that Tom had gotten me for Christmas. It definitely made me more hyped for the movie.

For most of the month, I read Tom’s new compilation of short stories, Surviving Paradise. The stories all take place in Las Vegas and are mostly tinged with despair, with perhaps a small dash of hope. I really enjoyed it and look forward to it being more widely available.

I picked back up with reading Dreams from My Father, and I started reading Dawn and The Princess Diarist, but didn’t finish any of these yet.

Last Month’s Update


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s