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Wednesday, 05 March 2008 00:00

Recommended diversions

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A Continual Feast

Evelyn Vitz’s cookbook offers a fine array of rituals and recipes from the Christian calendar. Greek lamb soup, baked Easter ham, and Russian Easter bread, for example, are only a few of the recipes offered for the approaching Easter season. Vitz divides her book into sections honoring the high Christian holidays — Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter — but also includes many entries on saints and their feast days, on the practice of fasting, and on simple day-to-day cooking. Though aimed primarily at a Catholic and Orthodox audience, the recipes of A Continual Feast will also pleasure Protestant palates.

Local Sports

March Madness is upon us, and soon many of us will be ensconced on sofas and easy chairs baying at our television sets like trash-talking Duke fans scenting Tar Heel blood. All well and good. But if you love sports and a good time, head out at some point this spring to a local high school for an afternoon of baseball, women’s soccer, tennis, or track-and-field. The price is right, the pace is easy, the kids are playing for love rather than money, and the crowd is usually as much fun to watch as the players. I’m no longer a baseball fan myself, but there’s a kid on the home school team here in Asheville who gets it over the plate in the low 90s. For three bucks I figure that’s a sight worth seeing.

Vicarious Gardening

The time approaches, of course, for gardeners to take up their rakes and clippers, their shovels and wheelbarrows, and roam their yards mucking in the dirt and raking up the twigs and leaves of winter. My sister and several of my friends enjoy gardening, and I enjoy hearing about gardening, so it’s a splendid match. If you too are a vicarious gardener, pour yourself a glass of wine or a dark, local beer — dark beer, somehow, tastes better in a garden, richer and thicker than the light stuff — and tramp alongside your own favorite gardener, complimenting the tulips, the forsythia, the tomato beds, and listening with unfeigned interest as your companion explains in great detail how the stone path came into being or how rabbits can be kept from lettuce beds with pie pans. Sip your beverage, kick appreciatively at the sod, bend down and run some dirt through your fingers. Make-believe gardening is, of course, not real gardening, but it still beats no gardening at all.

— By Jeff Minick

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