A stomach virus has recently galloped through our home and turned three of the four of us into groveling, dead-eyed zombies. It always attacks at night, and picks off the calves first. You are sleeping sweetly and hear a plaintive: "Mom, my tummy feels weird."
Soon, you will be doing lots of laundry.
When I was a child, minutes after my sister or I announced a stomachache, our mother, who otherwise forbade all soda, was in the Datsun heading to the supermarket to buy a six-pack of Coke. Never Pepsi. It had to be Coke, and you had to drink it in tiny, tiny sips from a glass filled with ice. Where did her devotion to this dubious remedy come from? Was there once a Coke-for-the-puking marketing campaign? If so, what an idiotic idea. If so, it worked!
Because I am now raising children who believe that this sugary, caffeinated soft drink is a holy elixir. I know that the secret Coca-Cola formula does not include antiviral properties, and I know that if you drink it too early in the stomach flu experience it will cause more harm than good. It cures nothing. But when I have turned the corner and am huddled, groggy and parched, in a stuffy room, the fizz of Coke being poured over ice is the sound of grace. I associate it with my mother taking care of me, but now I'm getting wiggy and sentimental so I will stop.
I bought Gourmet Today as my next book, even though I need another $40 all-purpose cookbook like I need stomach flu. But Isabel and I spent some time at Borders poring over this enormous tome and decided, on the basis of timeliness, a copious dessert section and the goat cheese and arugula ravioli, that it was an excellent choice.
I liked brilliant Amy Bloom's eulogy for Gourmet: "There's no need to defend Gourmet against charges of elitism; Gourmet was certainly an elitist magazine, if by that we mean not any old mundane and familiar crap would do."
Michael Connelly's new novel is full of mundane and familiar crap; he's usually better than this. My review is here.