Notes From a Small Island

Notes from a Small IslandNotes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I want to like Bill Bryson, he can be quite funny at times, and I really enjoyed his audio tour of the Roman Baths in Bath England, but sometimes he can be so insufferable. I find his frustrations with regular people trying to do their jobs while he willy-nilly wanders around without a plan or a schedule very irritating. You know how to avoid that sort of frustration? Have a plan and a schedule. If you’re not going to have a plan or a schedule then it’s rude to be angry at someone because their day doesn’t suit what you want. If you’re going to wander around unscheduled it seems to me you’d need to be a lot more chill than Bryson apparently is. He seems to feel that because he thinks something should be a certain way that he has the right to be angry when it isn’t. In addition to those times in the text when I just wanted to smack him, there is his unbounded love for the English language. Look I was an English major, I appreciate the language, but don’t use twenty words when two will suffice especially when it’s not funny to do so. Okay, so I wanted to like this book more than I did. I did appreciate some of the places he went and his descriptions when they weren’t ridiculous. In short, I found this book very uneven. I have a copy of The Road to Little Dribbling, but I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll read it. Perhaps next year.

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Savory Pies

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

A few years ago I went to Scotland with my friends Heather and Kristin. Heather was there to speak at a conference on the European Union. Kristin and I were just there for a good time. While we were in Edinburgh, I had a cheese and onion pie that was profoundly delicious. Sadly, I ate it late in the week, so I couldn’t insist we go back there every day for lunch. Probably this was a good thing for Heather and Kristin.

Fast forward several years. My nephew lives with us. He’s also awesome, because he sometimes makes dinner, and he also loves savory pies. I tell him about the joy of the cheese and onion pie in Edinburgh and he says he’d like to try to make it. I look online for something that sounds good and find this recipe. It doesn’t taste exactly like the pie in Scotland, but it’s really good.

The first time he made it, he didn’t make the crust, but he followed the recipe for the filling exactly and it was good.

Last night he made it again. We didn’t have a pie crust ready for the top, so he substituted puff pastry, and we didn’t have heavy cream, so he substituted sour cream. It was AMAZING! This is a perfect winter meal and goes wonderfully with a simple salad. If you have the time to make the crust, let me know how that goes, but the puff pastry top was delicious.