Kedi on DVD

Guest post by Laura V

Legend has it that ships sailing from far and wide, docking at Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire carried cats for mouse control and the cats disembarked and stayed there. Today, hundreds of thousands of cats wander the streets of Istanbul, Turkey (formerly Constantinople). Over thousands of years these felines have carved a permanent niche in the fabric of the city. According to the website promoting Kedi, “Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.”

After losing my initial and anxious gut reaction that all of these cats should be spayed or neutered that persisted for a good 20 minutes, I was able to relax into the film. The stories of the relationships between these cats, who have very distinct personalities, and the people who befriend them are beautiful. People named the cats, fed them, let them in their houses, and even took them to the vet, sometimes multiple times but the cats were ultimately ownerless and lived their own lives as they pleased. I was struck by the diversity and attractiveness of the kitties since it would appear that they have come from all over the world and have interbred freely.

If you’re a cat lover, you’ll love this film.

The Water Diviner

water divinerActors taking a turn behind the camera as directors or producers has become increasingly more common. Russell Crowe has joined the ranks of such actors with the 2014 film, The Water Diviner, in which he both stars and directs this Australian historical fictional war drama.

In The Water Diviner, Crowe stars as Australian farmer Joshua Connor, who lives in Australia on a working farm with his wife and their three sons. After the unexpected death of his wife, Connor heads to Turkey in 1919 after the Battle of Gallipoli in order to find his three missing and presumed dead sons in order to bring their bodies home to be buried next to their mother. Connor repeatedly finds obstacles thrown in his way that bar his ability to, at first, make it to Gallipoli and then to get the officials there to even help him find his son. Facing tension from the military and different governmental agencies while abroad, as well as discrimination in Turkey from the locals who see him as the reason why their family and friends didn’t come home from the war, Connor soon realizes that everyone and everything around him has drastically changed from the war and that he must find a way to survive.. Finding his sons becomes Connor’s driving force through life, leading him to discover things that he is not quite ready to know.

This movie is loosely based on the book The Water Diviner by Andrew Anastasios and Dr. Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios. Check out the following books to learn more about the Battle of Gallipoli.

the water diviner bookturning the tide of wargallipoliworld war 1the anzac girlseden to armageddon



Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton

Thanksgiving : How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton is a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner – preparing it, surviving it, and pulling it off in style. From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Thanksgiving poses more – and more vexing – problems for the home cook than any other holiday. In this smartly written, beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled book, Sam Sifton delivers a message of great comfort and solace: ‘There is no need for fear. You can cook a great meal on Thanksgiving. You can have a great time.’

With simple, fool-proof recipes for classic Thanksgiving staples, as well as new takes on old standbys, this book will show you that the fourth Thursday of November does not have to be a day of kitchen stress and family drama, of dry stuffing and sad, cratered pies. You can make a better turkey than anyone has ever served you in your life, and you can serve it with gravy that is not lumpy or bland but a salty balm, rich in flavor, that transforms all it touches. Here are recipes for exciting side dishes and robust pies and festive cocktails, instructions for setting the table and setting the mood, as well as cooking techniques and menu ideas that will serve you all year long, whenever you are throwing a big party.

Written for novice and experienced cooks alike, Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well is your guide to making Thanksgiving the best holiday of the year. It is not fantasy. If you prepare, it will happen. And this book will show you how. (description from publisher)

Turkey Time!

It’s Thanksgiving and it’s your turn to cook! What to do? It can be especially unnerving if this is your first time cooking for all the relatives. Relax — it’s actually easier than you think. Here are a few tips:

1) Delegate. Have each guest (or family unit) bring a dish to share. Not only do people really want to contribute, but it also makes them feel needed and appreciated. And, as you know, Thanksgiving is all about showing gratitude!

2) Plan Ahead. Set the table the day before. Designate which serving dish you’ll use for each item on the menu. Peel the potatoes, bake the pumpkin pie. Anything that you can prepare ahead of time will make your job on Thanksgiving day that much easier.

3) Laugh at Your Goofs! Keep a sense of humor — it helps you and your guests. Plus, it won’t be the first time someone left the bag of giblets inside the turkey!

4) Call a Hotline. When all else fails, here’s who to call:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 888-674-6854. Food-safety specialists will answer food preparation questions from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Butterball Turkey-Talk Line: 800-288-8372. A team of home economists will answer bird-related questions on Thanksgiving Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Crisco Pie Hotline: 877-367-7438. Get advice from pie pros from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

5) Have a glass of wine. Relax! Enjoy yourself. You may think it’s all about the food, but it’s really about the company you keep. Now, go out and have a happy Thanksgiving!