December 2007


I went up to Santa Rosa on the 24th so Gloria and I could cook Christmas dinner for four other gregarious folks – a rather Californish group, now that I think about it: two straight women, two straight men, and two gay men…none of us in relationships at the moment.

We ranged in age from me all the way down to a 20-year-old who’d moved here from Japan to be with his father only six years earlier, just a hair too old to learn unaccented English, but he makes up for the slight accent by being totally glib and articulate. He’s already a star salesman for Verizon part time while working full time on a BA. I asked him the secret of his success, and he said he just figures out what people want and then lets them buy it from him.

Gloria and I had a fine time cooking together and hanging out, the dinner could not have been better since all the food turned out delicious, the fellowship was fabulous, and the conversation was stimulating because all the guests were interesting and of different backgrounds.

Oh, and the dinner included as appetizers: perfectly poached shrimp and crudites brought by Cynthia, Tortini Luigi and a Boccalone Sopressata brought by me.

A cold sorrel soup that I brought.

Pork tenderloins Gloria marinated overnight in a mixture of wine and my mango chutney and then briefly seared and roasted to safe but still pink doneness. Gloria and I made mashed potatoes with an obscene amount of butter, and Jae cooked a stir-fry of baby bok choi and mushrooms.

And dinner rolls that Gloria and I made, freely adapting an old recipe of hers to use the modern instant dry yeast. They were pretty good, but not as good as those of either of our mothers.

For dessert Gloria and I had made the night before a lemon tarte and The Pie.

The day after Christmas we dropped in on Sebastiano, this curandero…sort of a secular faith healer. Not sure my neck is any better, but I got this pic of a shed outside his house:

Sebastiano's shed

And finally, to close out the year, a winter window treatment:

yellow windows

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Another Snack

Some days I do well and eat reasonably, which means smaller quantities of uninteresting foods with all the good stuff metered out in niggardly portions like slices of butter so thin they’re translucent, salt apportioned by the grain, 1 damn % milk, no sugar on nothing, potatoes only on special occasions and then not enough of ’em, etc.

And then I’ll snap.

Like the other day I’m in Safeway and passing thru the strait between the chocolate puddings and the Eagle Brand, and my cart was tossed in the currents and brushed the cliffs to starboard, leaving it still aisleworthy but causing a six-serving size box of Jello Original Cook and Serve Chocolate Pudding® (not that Instant swill) to become entangled in the rigging.

And once it’s in the cart you have to take it home with you.

And of course it sat radioactively in the pantry for only one day before I cooked it, adding an ounce of grated Scharffen Berger 99% chocolate, a tablespoon of sugar, and two tablespoons of butter (to compensate for that 1% milk).

And poured the six portions into bowls, cooled them to room temperature on the dining room floor (to save energy), chilled them in the refrigerator, ate them by spaced small spoonfuls over the next six hours, and retired somewhat dyspeptic.

Well, see, our rainy season has started, so I need to store up some energy to get through it.

And I look down and notice, yes I have.

On the other hand, these stairs are looking good with the winter sun in coming in sideways:

green stairs

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