After cooking Italian most every day for several months straight, I bought Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian for a change o' pace. It's split up into sections on legumes, vegetables, breads, dairy and soups/salads. I've dipped into every section, making sweet potatoes and stuffed tortillas and exotically spiced scrambled eggs and such, but where this book really shines is in the first section: many of the bean dishes are among the best things I've ever eaten, period. This would include the black-eyed pea dishes (the herbed black-eyed peas and the ones with corn and dill are thoroughly excellent), the de Puy lentil dish, and quite a few others, but topping the list would be the Nigerian baked bean recipe with peanut butter and curry... one bowl of this was more than worth the price of the entire book. Beans always used to give me trouble, coming out gritty and bland, but now that I have a handle on cooking times and the use of salt and herbs and so forth, they've become my co-staple food along with pasta.

That was short, so a couple other media notes. Saw most of the X-Men movie on TV yesterday; it wasn't exactly fine cinema, but it was way better than Spider-Man. Also, I saw the pilot to "Clone High," a cartoon about a high school populated by clones of such personages as Abraham Lincoln and Cleopatra. It's reasonably funny and it's hard to resist a show where the sardonic REM Girl is a cloned Joan of Arc in low-risers and combat boots. "In his quest to be the life of the party, Gandhi continuously gets himself in awkward and embarrassing situations." How true that is.

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