Dan, Earl, and Gracie at the Fourth of July dinner by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.
Yesterday, I tweeted:
Happy Fourth of July! Of all the holidays, this is my favorite to cook for, am about to start making food for the BBQ this evening. ;o)
This is absolutely true but also untrue. Absolutely true because it is a joy to cook a big meal for friends and family on the Fourth of July, as there are very few expectations that folks have of the day other than having fun and watching fireworks. Untrue, in that the food that is usually prepared for the Fourth is not particularly challenging for a cook.
Yes, Thanksgiving & Christmas provide a much meatier planning, preparing and cooking challenge for a cook to not only make the meal memorable, but also tasty and a not the same old same old. I truly enjoy thinking about, planning, and executing all the permutations of taste and possibility for those two holiday meals.
But, sh*t! Christmas and Thanksgiving come with so much family expectation, someone is always stressed out and on the verge of some family drama or another. And as the cook, I try not to absorb the waves of tumult, keep my head down and on task, but the waves none the less spoil the joy to some degree.
As a child, my memories of Fourth of July were of the few times that my Mom took joy in cooking, where she got inventive because she was out of the daily routine and she had a few days to think up and execute a menu. My memories of Fourth of July food were not hamburgers, BBQ and extended family, but of fried chicken, homemade potato salad, friends, and peach ice cream made in the hand cranked, salt outer container filled ice cream maker.
Fast forward to Fourth of July 2011, the Farmer’s Market at the Long Beach Marina SE is bursting with the last of the spring fruits and the first of the summer fruits and vegetables. The seasonal possibilities are a delight. On Sunday evening, Erika, Thomas, Earl and I feasted on soft shell crab, two kinds of salad, and a first of the season peach mildly frozen homemade yogurt dessert. Yesterday for the actual Fourth, I made old fashioned potato salad, a big bowl of med-inspired rice pasta salad, and ratatouille of Farmer’s Market summer vegetables on top of fish and steak. Tonight, my Mom and I are going to experiment with making fresh fruit ice (rice milk) cream.
All made with joy, eaten with wine & laughter, and very little pathos. Thankfully.
Fourth of July, I love you.
Tues 12.21.10 – Happy Winter Solstice to those of us who live north of the Equator and Happy Summer to those who live south. May your Christmas be Merry, your Festivus festive, your Kwanzaa be creative, and your New Year full of happy.
Photo of my computer after a very long day taken with my Nokia N8.
November has been both a good month and a bit of a struggle. The struggle has been family/holiday/death related, as blogged about here, and the Good has been friend/family/art/music/mobile/travel/wedding/baby related.
The three bits about November that were really delightful are as follows:
1) The weather *finally* took a turn for the better. Better in my book is colder. I am happiest when the days are 55-65 F (10-17C) and when the nights are 35-50 F (3-13C). For a lady who loves a good bout of chilly weather, I am not sure why I live in Southern California. The weather here in SoCal will be happy for me through December and then will unfortunately warm up in January. Gah.
I am still interested in working in London if anyone has an opening.
2) Milestones: Lauren and Dave’s wedding weekend in Seattle was lovely. I am very glad to see them married. It was also delightful to see Cindy & Matt that weekend as they were fresh of the married dept themselves. And even more delightful is that Seattle’s weather was in the 40s F all weekend!
3) November has been a very creative month for me, both in terms of professional web dev/coding bits and in my creative art life of mobile photography, writing, and drawing, as well as day dreaming.
It was also inspirational, funny, and heartening to read/watch my various friends and friends of friends daily blog posts or vlog posts for NaBloPoMo or the other variations on the daily creativity theme thereof.
So all of you who participated in NaBloPoMo or NaNoWriMo or NaVloPoMo officially or unofficially, Bravo! Good job and keep up the good creative work!
1) Insane Traffic, which for SoCal is saying a lot. Crabiness. Parking lots. Crankiness.
2) While waiting in long check out lines, having one’s eyeballs assaulted by tabloids and “celebrity” rags. Really, who are these people and WHY SHOULD I CARE???? Am completely UNCONVINCED that I should care for any reason whatsoever.
3) Obviously, this week’s lesson in the tabloids & mags in the check out line is that if you want to get pregnant without modern medical wonders & petri dishes, please disregard any and all family / societal warnings and make sure that you fuck like a bunny at 16 w/o contraception. If you are dumb enough to finish high school, go to college, have a career, and actually wait to make an adult decision about a good and wise marriage then you get what you had coming to you. Really.
4) Sitting next to a cop at a party and regaling him with tales after some lovely wine. Too bad he was so white and uptight.
5) Wondering what to do with the turkey carcass when one does not like turkey soup. Or generally does not really like soup at all.
6) Thinking it would be a good thing to make gifts this year. Decide to make gifts that take at least 3 days to make, due to the need to let the glue dry between each step. But is too busy to start on the making until Xmas Eve. Oops…