I’m moving house. Downsizing. Moving into a much smaller townhouse after years in a big family home.
I have the job of sorting through and packing the thousands of books I’ve somehow managed to accumulate over the years. I’m supposed to be picking those that I don’t need, don’t love, don’t want, and don’t have room for – and then – wait for it: GETTING RID OF THEM.
Some of these books have made multiple trips around the world. Some moved from England to Canada and then Canada to Australia and then back and forth twice more between Canada and Australia. These are some well-travelled books. Six trips across the mighty Pacific Ocean. Some are dog-eared and others the print is too small to read.
There’s a copy of Lark Rise to Candleford which my grandfather gave to me for my fourteenth birthday. He wrote in it and it turned out to be the last thing he ever gave me. So even though the print is so tiny it’s practically useless, how could I part with such a treasure? Some are inscribed by authors. Some are still un-read. Some belong to my daughters. Some were gifts. Some are truly rather awful. But for whatever reason, I’m having a hard time shedding any of them.
So I’ve made myself a challenge: begin immediately by sorting ten books to give away or send to the Goodwill.
I’m starting with Patrick White’s Voss. I know – sacrilege. But you have to start somewhere. I’ve never read it and I hear it is an impossible read. Anybody want a copy of Voss? It’s a classic you know. And this is vintage hard-cover. And Patrick White has the Nobel Prize in literature. Maybe I should rethink my first choice?
Do you see how hard this is. Where to start? The Bible? (Don’t worry there appear to be several.) Self-help books? Thesaurus, dictionary, Peter Dexter’s Paris Trout….
Much easier to go the kitchen and whip something up. I’m also using up pantry items. These no-bake granola bars looked dubious when I made them but it turns out they’re really, really good. They’re also gluten-free and dairy-free and quite healthy. I had one this morning for breakfast with coffee while I started reading Paris Trout. Voss is safely back on the shelf waiting for the book boxes. Let me know if you want a copy….
No-Bake Granola Bars
(Inspired by David Leibowitz – Living the Sweet Life in Paris)
1 1/2 cups oats – GF oats if you’re making these gluten-free. I used regular old Quaker oatmeal – not the instant variety
1 cup dates – I used Medjool dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
Pit the dates. Then using the pulse button – chop the dates in the food processor. This is a slightly bizarre process. They will appear to be doing nothing at all initially and before you know will just be a big globby mass of pulverized dates. Using ‘pulse’ will help you keep an eye on things. Mine was a big globby mass but it all worked out in the end. Or you can skip all this and finely, finely chop the dates.
Mix together the dates, oatmeal, and walnuts.
Gently melt the peanut butter and honey together and stir though the date oatmeal mixture.
Let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the chocolate chips (or they will melt). Mine melted. I didn’t wait.
Pack the mixture into an ungreased 8 x 8 inch glass pan and refrigerate all day before attempting to cut. Remove from fridge and cut into granola bar sized strips. Wrap individually and return to the refrigerator to store.