Wednesday, December 23, 2009


December dinners have included Liam's famous omelet (best with chard and aged gouda) three times during the week, every version of broccoli (or broccoli rabe) with pasta, Annie's (twice), a huge pot of whole grain chili with feta and olive oil (1/2, then frozen, then the other 1/2), a bagel, toast, Chik Patties (a box), and yes, popcorn (cheese grated on top a la francais).

Standards for dinner diminishing by the December day.

I managed salted chocolate caramels, but after advising Sara on the to-do for them, somehow ended up with a candy thermometer at 255 when the chocolate hit the caramel, pulled them off the stove, and ended up caramel frosting.

5 1/4 hours later I had spoon cookies, but rather than recommended 1/2 strawberry and 1/2 cherry preservers (we always end up with jars for 6 mos after), I used four fruits (strawberry, cherry, currant, raspberry), which gave them an aftertaste of aged raspberry.

I treated myself to Gourmet Today (with sticker for Gourmet included) and a book about Japanese cuisine and paged frantically until I found a recipe for Earl Grey truffles. Even a colleague whose tastes admittedly run from Uncrustables to Hormell pepperoni to Eggos told me they were the best chocolate she ever had (they did taste better the next day).

There has been toast for breakfast and sometimes, for dinner. There have been many bags of Cheerios (even a box from my Secret Santa). Mast Brothers continue to make a weekly appearance in my snack bag and for some reason, boxes of soy milk have seemed the right thing drink. And there was the week of Russ & Daughter's whitefish salad on rye crisps on Monday and a tin of piri piri mackerel on Wednesday, leaving our office smelling like cat food.

Today, with just a brioche bumping in my belly for hours of spa indulgence and two cups of tea, I came home to a box in the foyer fantastically festive. My name was on it in red and green.


Good ones. Really good ones.

From Cookbook Club.

I'm not ashamed to admit I cried. Tears that might be more representative of the work it takes to open a new middle school serving low-income students and preparing them for college, but they were real, and they were falling on the cookie box. Ziploc bags. Notes. Comments. Old favorites (moon cookies, cream wafers) and new (alfajores in chocolate, caramel-nutty-amazing-ness).

I brewed a cup of kukicha, ate some cookies for dinner, and finished packing the bag for Antigua.

I miss time to make South Indian feasts and rural Greek pastas for dinner. I miss leftovers that leave colleagues envious as they queue behind me at the microwave. I miss thinking about what to do with turnips all day and braising them in butter that evening. I miss the time to bake a souffle and prepare apples with caramelized maple sauce on the side.

I miss Cookbook Club. Especially in December.

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