I have spent the last 18 years collecting books for my classroom.
One person can collect a lot of books in 18 years.
Now that I’m leaving teaching, it seems insane and somewhat criminal not to make sure that most of the books wind up in the hands of students. I started this process last year, filling many boxes with books that students could take from, and then passing on the remainder to colleagues and the school down the road from our home. But I still have probably 2,000 left.
I started the divestment process in earnest today. I have already filled five boxes from the “realistic fiction” section, and still have all of the other genres to go. The kids will get first dibs on most of the titles, but I’m setting aside some literature circle books and author sets for the teacher who will take my place. (Fingers crossed that it’s a certain someone I know…) I am also keeping a fair number of them, on the off-chance that I decide to go back to the classroom. My deal with myself is that if I haven’t returned to teaching in two years, I will get rid of most of the rest of them.
Some, I will keep forever. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson; Winger, by Andrew Smith; Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz; The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak; A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly, all of John Green’s books…the list is actually pretty long. Some books are meant to be read over and over again, and I have encountered many, many of these books in the amazing world of young adult fiction. It is one of the things in my life for which I am most grateful: that I had a career that led me to such amazing places.
And now I’m getting weepy, so let’s talk curry. This one, in particular: http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/coconut-chicken-curry/
There will be no Rachael Ray bashing on this blog. Along with my family, she taught me to cook and I will be forever thankful for that. The fact that she isn’t a trained chef is what still makes her food so approachable, in my opinion. And no one who has ever eaten one of her recipes in my house has complained, so she must be doing something right.
I didn’t change too much to this recipe. I had regular coconut milk, so used it (creamy and silky and coconutty…light, schmight–use the full fat, unless you’re on a diet). I didn’t have sweet potatoes, but I did have cauliflower and regular potatoes, so I chopped those up and used them instead; I put them in when the recipe called for the sweets. I added chopped dried apricots with the vegetables. (This recipe could easily be vegetarian; use the sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and potatoes, and you’ll have a filling, spicy, fragrant meal.)
I also added shredded coconut as a garnish, along with chives and micro-greens (no basil in these parts yet). Oh…and I goofed and added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, instead of 2 tsp. But they weren’t packed, because apparently it’s still winter here (Snow! This morning! Dammit!) and my brown sugar is as hard as a rock. I had to chisel it out, which is probably why I got distracted and used too much.
The extra sugar wasn’t a bad thing, though, because I used a spicy curry powder; the two balanced each other brilliantly. The house smelled like a cozy Indian restaurant, and it was nice to have a big bowlful of warm for dinner. Since, as I mentioned, it’s still frigging winter here. Not that I mind, or anything.