March 2007 Archives

The Page 69 Test

I was recently asked to contribute my thoughts about page 69 of The End as I Know It to The Page 69 Test. This blog, a project of Campaign for the American Reader, asks authors to open their books to one particular page (69) and discuss whatever’s on that page in the context of the book, or the book in the context of whatever’s on that page, or just spend a few paragraphs demurring about how dull and unrepresentative of the book the page happens to be.

In my case, the page was, in fact, rather dull and unrepresentative of the book, but I tried to put a good face on it. Read the test results here.

Boston Radio Listeners: Interview Airing Tonight at 6

WBNW 1120 AM, a radio station in the Boston area, recently interviewed me about The End as I Know It for their Pages to People program. The show is scheduled to air tonight (Saturday, 3/24) at 6 PM EDT, with my interview as the first segment. Please tune in!

Denizens of LibraryThing and Maine, Take Note

I’ll be reading from The End as I Know It tonight (Tuesday, 3/13) at Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine, at 7 PM. My old friend Tim Spalding, founder of the wildly useful and popular LibraryThing, and his wife Lisa Carey helped us set up this event. After the reading, there will be a party at the LibraryThing offices nearby in Portland.

Please come by and meet not only me but Tim and the other folks responsible for LibraryThing, which was recently written up in the New York Times.

It’s a Miracle! There’s Enough Sodium for Eight Days!

When I saw these “Latke Crisps” on the shelf at the corner grocery, I immediately grabbed a bag. Who doesn’t love latkes?

It wasn’t until I got home that a couple of things about the crisps really sunk in. First, they’re made by a company called Thou Shall Snack—what would have been wrong with “Shalt,” really? And second, they’re baked.

The defining characteristic of latkes, both culinarily and symbolically, is that they’re fried. That’s why they’re so good. That’s why you wear machine-washable clothes and leave your coat in the car when you go to a Hanukkah party, unless you want to smell like a Hanukkah party for three weeks. And the whole point of eating food fried in oil is to recall that miraculously long-burning oil.

So I was skeptical that these crisps would taste anything like latkes. And in fact, they tasted pretty much like every other baked potato crisp on the market, but saltier. Maybe with a hint of onion (I tried the “Original Flavor”), but really, all you taste is salt. These things are egregiously, tongue-searingly salty, with 490mg of sodium per serving (compare Baked Lay’s at 170mg) and an ingredient list that includes both “sea salt” and “salt.” I got through less than half of a single-serving bag.

Ironically, none of the latkes I’ve ever had have been especially salty.

I just submitted an “Other” vote to their “Help Us Decide Our Next Flavor of Latke Crisps” poll: “Unsalted.”

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