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COVID Comforts: Luke L. Miller



Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing what the BMC board and staff are reading, streaming, cooking and playing.


Books

The Story of the Stone (also known as Dream of the Red Chamber) by Cao Xueqin: one of the great classical novels of China, a multi-volume saga of the gradual decline of an aristocratic family, filled with many asides, poetry, romance, and fascinating depictions of life in 18th century China. The English translation available through Penguin Books is considered one of the best.


Listening

Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti: originally composed for harpsichord but available in wonderful recordings on piano as well. A wealth of endlessly alive, shimmering, beauty (he wrote more than 500!) Here's a link to a recording of a favorite one performed by pianist Martha Argerich.


Carrie Newcomer: A singer-songwriter (with some Mennonite and Goshen College connections) whose music is filled with down-to-earth spirituality and a comforting Midwestern sensibility. She has been doing live streams from home on her Facebook page.


Streaming

Pride and Prejudice (1995 mini-series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth)

Bleak House (2005 miniseries starring Anna Maxwell Martin)

Both of these series, based on the great novels by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, are available to stream on BritBox, as well as many other classic British mysteries and novel adaptations (you should be to able to sign up for a free month’s trial, either as a standalone service or through Prime.)


Recipe

Pasta e Fagioli (served at the last two BMC board meetings!)

Cover the bottom of a soup pot with extra virgin olive oil, then add 2 bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and 4 chopped/smooshed cloves of garlic. Dice and add two medium carrots, two celery sticks and one onion. Sautee until they start to soften, then add a quart of broth, 14 oz can of chopped or pureed tomatoes (a half bottle of leftover tomato sauce works fine too), and two cans of beans (or one cup of dry beans soaked overnight and rinsed.) I usually blend one half of the beans to a creamy consistency before adding to give the soup a richer texture. Let all this simmer together for about 45 minutes (or longer), then bring to a boil and cook a half pound of egg noodles directly in the soup. Serve with plenty of fresh grated parmiggiano. Can easily be made vegetarian (use vegetable broth), vegan (use regular pasta instead of egg noodle and skip the parmiggiano), or gluten-free (rice or quinoa pasta.) Or, skip the pasta entirely and serve it as a soup with hardy bread.



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