Atlas of Improbable Places: A Journey to the World’s Most Unusual Corners hides interesting gems of information behind a unprepossessing cover and layout. I was somewhat disappointed that the photos were in black and white, but as I explored the book I realised that this just adds to the general sense of abandonment and improbability.
Each place is devoted a couple of pages and includes a map and photos. I was fascinated by Slab City located in California. It is described as “the last free place in America” and occupies 640 acres of concrete and debris-littered land. People live rent free in makeshift homes that over the years have attracted the dispossessed, the lost, plus plenty of libertarians and eccentrics. After the 2008 financial crash some people ended up there out of total necessity as their homes were foreclosed.
Another Californian oddity is Colma, with a small population of only 1,400, the dead on the other hand – close to 2 million – occupy seventeen cemeteries. Gives a whole new meaning to the “dead centre of town”.
An abandoned tourist resort in Cyprus also piqued my interest. Once a mecca for the wealthy and famous, it was abandoned after Turkish troops occupied the part of the island where it was located, and tourists and residents alike fled. For forty years Turkish soldiers were the only ones to benefit from the resorts high-end hotels but it has now been left to Mother Nature. It remains out-of-bounds but word has it that the ghost resort is still full of once fashionable cars and, more excitingly, 1970s clothes!
Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free With the Magic of Bean Water
Really … have you ever heard of anything more unappetising!? Apparently the name comes from a combination of the Latin root words for water and bean. Aquafaba mimics the properties of eggs and can even be whipped up into a tasty pavlova, although I have my doubts.
There is a good news story around it however, with the online vegan community getting right behind the idea. A host of people are trying out recipes and ideas to get the ideal Aquafaba experience, and this is replicated in this book. Certainly the pictures look quite appetising and range from the savoury to sweet, including a rather lovely looking lemon meringue pie.
Someone else give it a go and let me know the verdict!