I had put some oil on the stove to heat, in order to make a nice little fritatta for breakfast, and I was writing about hymns in preparation for a class I’m teaching on the subject, beginning on Wednesday. I was engrossed in my research, working up some points on African American spirituals compared with the heaven songs of the Great Depression, when I suddenly noticed that the pan had caught on fire.
I was engrossed, as I say. Still, you’d think that I would have noticed something before the flames began shooting up three feet out of the pan. If you have ever wondered whether turning off the burner and covering the pan actually works, I can now tell you confidently that it does. And I am wide awake now, too.
That wasn’t what I was planning on talking with you about today, though.
A while back I remarked scornfully that Southern Living had shown a house with its books all on the shelves with their spines toward the wall. The following month (that is, this month) they actually recommended doing this — I mean, as a decorating tip. Have the pages of the books out, they said, and have just a few spines showing here and there as a color accent.
This was too much. I emailed them and took them to task for it, saying that people who read their books wouldn’t be able to find the ones they needed, and people who didn’t read their books should give said books to someone who would. They should put bibelots on their shelves, I said.
I don’t do this sort of thing. Really I don’t. I recognize that, when people write things for publication, they will already have thought of just about any point I am likely to make and made up their own minds and they do not need me to tell them they are wrong.
I also don’t generally believe in wasting my time on pointless communication, but only convey these things to people if I have some actual goal. In this case, I do not anticipate that Southern Living will post a retraction, saying, “Merciful heavens! We hadn’t thought about how y’all wouldn’t be able to find your books! Don’t do what we said you should do. We must have been out of our minds, and we are really sorry!”
This is what’s wrong with email. If I had had to go to the trouble of actually finding an envelope and a stamp, no way would I have sent them that letter.
Anyway, they have now responded to me several times, assuring me that they have received my query and that they are forwarding it hither and yon throughout their organization, seeking the right person to deal with it, and they truly appreciate my having brought it up, and they will attend to my query as soon as possible. These are long, long computer-generated emails they are sending me.
It is possible that they are making fun of me.
#1 daughter got the job at the weight-loss clinic. #2 daughter is still waiting to hear. My car is still not working, and my husband had to work today, so I cannot do my usual round of Saturday errands until someone wakes up and drives me. This coming week I have something every night but Friday, plus of course my usual commute and a Saturday cooking show, and now all the drivers in the house have school or work all day, all with different schedules and in different areas, so I am not sure what I will be doing about that.
Perhaps there is a hymn on the subject.
3 thoughts on “Southern Living Got it Wrong”
Three foot flames would tend to wake you up, I should think.
Books as objects to decorate with have a long history, of course, but it used to be expensive leather-bound sets of the classics with the spines out to show how erudite and well-read you were. I wonder if the decorators at Southern Living are in the one quarter of American adults who didn’t read any books last year?
Let’s not ever get so engrossed again that you let a pan of oil catch fire and create flames that shoot three feet into the air. Please. Whilel you’re cooking is no time to become engrossed in something else entirely. Thank heavens that turned out as well as it did.
Maybe the problem with your car will turn out to be a simple matter, easily fixed. Hold that thought. In the meantime, all the drivers in your house can surely find some way to get you where you have to go just for a few days; you’ve been taking them where they have to go for years and years and years. Their turn now.
ryc: I peel and remove the seeds then I either shred it (for bread) or cube it (for soup). I do slice it, along with the yellow squash for skillet frying… yeah, they get soggy but I just resolve myself that it’s not “fresh” and that’s that. Fryed squash is actually really good with eggs and toast. Add some fried Blue Gill and you got you and Kentucky breakfast 😉
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