I ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lynefor Kindle last year, and hadn’t had a chance to read it. When I learned that Ms. Lyne was going got be signing her book at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (she currently lives in NYC) a couple weeks ago, I decided to break the virtual spine and start reading. I couldn’t put it down. Sidney, the main character, has such an honest and strong voice. Her view of the world, as described by Jennifer Lyne, comes to life, in detail, drawing in even the most non-horsey of people into the world of a young woman struggling with class issues, personal tragedy and how to escape from her hometown by doing what she loves, riding.
While I didn’t grow up riding horses every day, after reading this book, I felt as though I had. Ms. Lyne’s attention to detail was a master class in equitation riding, the show world and how much effort it takes to succeed for someone who doesn’t have a fortune. Sidney won my heart; I instantly fell in love with her. As a mother, I wanted to take care of her, and couldn’t wait to read what she would do next. I felt as if I were there with Sidney and her uncle at the (spoiler alert) Maclay finals in NYC; found myself trying to calm my own nerves on her behalf.
Sidney’s perspective about her rural Virginia life, and her extreme brevity is compelling, and I will be sure to have both my children read Catch Rider when they are old enough. Kids don’t need to be in the horse world to learn from Ms. Lyne’s themes. Doing what you love, hard work and holding your head up high no matter what your background, are lessons we all need to learn.
I’m an American mutt: on my mother’s side, I’m Italian, and on my father’s side I’m Danish. Years ago, Sundays with Grandma and Grandpa would begin with about 3 hours of Lutheran church (I was jealous of my Catholic friends who got to go home after a 1/2 hour mass). Upon our return, we would all assist in assembling an immense table-full of the week’s leftovers, all rearranged and presented to perfection on thin-sliced heavy pumpernickel bread. In Denmark, this is known as Smørrebrød, meaning “buttered bread”. The bread is traditionally smeared with super thick delicious butter (think Lurpak) before toppings are added (the butter keeps the bread from getting soggy), and eaten with a knife and fork.
These little open-faced sandwiches can get very fancy. Indeed, there are restaurants all over Copenhagen (and a couple here in NYC – my next trip will be to Aamans Copenhagen in Tribeca) that specialize in these tasty morsels. In my family, we concentrated on every bite having a perfect blend of bread, dressing and topping. We didn’t worry too much about garnishing, as we were too busy stuffing our mouths. The adults (in my family, age 16) chased the food down with a Tuborg beer (no all but impossible to find) and a shot of Aquavit: Scandinavia’s potent “water of life” made with caraway.
As a fun idea, you should try throwing a Danish Smorrebrod party. Slice and lay out thin slices of heavy pumpernickel, wheat and baguette bread. Place assorted toppings on small plates or on one large platter in the middle of the table, and let your guests make their own sandwiches. Have plenty of Carlsberg and Aquavit on hand to wash down the morsels.
Check out DanishSandwich.com it’s a wealth of information and tons of traditional recipes for sandwiches, homemade pickled herring, cucumber salad and other must-haves. They are one of my favorite blogs.
MOMMY NOTE: If you have young children, the smoked herring may be too much to ask their little taste buds to gobble – stick with the roast beef and pork options!