Thursday, September 1, 2011

"The Best Twenty-five of twenty-five," part IV

16. The best book
No new additions were made in the last year to my list of all-time favorite books. I read some good stuff, just nothing that wowed me to an exceptional extent. Still, of all the books I read for the first time this year, I enjoyed A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway, the most. What caused it to stand out was a combination of the excellent narrative style and the insightful reflections on the process of writing and observing life in Paris in the 1920's. The fact that I was in Paris while I was reading it didn't hurt, either.
17. The best beat
If it weren't for the new song, "Maracas," by Mates of State, available to listen to on their website as a preview to their upcoming new album, I might have had to have gone with final track on Sufjan Stevens' latest LP, released in October. But now I'm giddy with anticipation of the other new tunes that Mates of State has created. Mates of State is just so good.
18. The best beet
This one:

Dad's "proud" face.
19. The best tomato
The verdict is unanimous: of the six varieties of heirloom tomatoes I grew in the garden this year, the Yellow Brandywine's seeds are the ones most worth saving. A bountiful producer, this monster of a plant outgrew its tomato cage while its neighbor plants were still reaching only about a foot high. The fruit is proportionately gargantuan, attractive in shape and color, and delicious.
20. The best baked goods
I frequently dabble, with mixed results, in creating my own recipes. This year, my greatest triumph was my recipe for strawberry-lavender muffins (muffins aux fraises et lavande), which I made several times throughout the hight of the strawberry season with consistently superb results. I am confident that these muffins will become a late-spring/early-summer staple in years to come.

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