Friday, January 6, 2006
New Year ~ New Gear
I haven't been writing much, in general, and this pattern must end. Next week I will start mini-blogging as a warm up to my writing mornings for the pantry book. The photos are complete, the outline fixed, the research done...the bulk of the writing remains. Now that the holidays are over, health concerns in my family have been alleviated, etc. I have no more excuses not to hunker down and finish what I've started. Oh yes, and there is a foot of snow on the ground and no gardens to worry about!
Christmas came and went--it was lovely but I was quite sick with strep and thus didn't have a chance to really reflect or pause or anything that might be blog-worthy (if so I might write a few snippets in the weeks ahead). It was a quiet, peaceful and lovely occasion with immediate family and that was enough. On January 1st we threw an Open House in honor of my husband's 50th (he had turned 50 a few days earlier)--it was so much fun that we want to have an annual open house to celebrate the year ahead and see good friends (but next time I'll do most of the catering--this year it was wonderful to have someone else do it because I had been so ill the week before).
But on Epiphany, January 6, the Twelfth and last day of Christmas, my friends Edie and Rosemary and I got together, exchanged gifts, and had some of R's incredible stollen, so incredible that it would convert even the snarliest of the Stollen & Fruitcake Defamation League. It was more moist than dry and laden with the most lovely fruits soaked in rum to which she added smoodges (for lack of a better word!) of almond paste. None of that yucky candied peel! If she were to ever market this bread, I would be first in line and likely a financial backer (did you hear that Rosemary?). It was so yummy that if you added butter, even a skim of it, it would have ruined the flavors or at least blurred them beyond distinction. Rosemary is an incredible baker--and used to be a professional. She lives in a darling late-Victorian house, complete with original pantries and a vintage-style kitchen (her kitchen will be featured in an upcoming OLD-HOUSE INTERIORS article and her pantries will be in my book). And now I have visions of a program for her on FoodNetwork, filmed in her charming kitchen: "Baking with Rosemary" or something sweet. She could be the Midwest's answer (by way of New England) to Paula Deen! And that Rachel Ray needs some competition. Rosemary grew up in Michigan with a mother and grandmother who baked--pies, cakes, breads, cookies--often for the whole week in one day. She also collects old vintage cookbooks and kitchen things and loves pantries--in these regards we may very well have been twins separated at birth!
We had fun with our gifts--each appropriate in their own way and carefully chosen--and then we each wrote out our goals, dreams, hopes, aspirations for the year ahead (on lovely Florentine stationery that Rosemary had laid out for us). We read them aloud to each other and then sealed them with wax and a stamp. Rosemary carefully tucked them away in a drawer for next year when we vowed to get together again to revisit what we had written and to write again what we imagine and want for ourselves. It was a marvelous ritual and I found it somehow energizing. I might mention a few of mine as the year goes along and then again, I might not. Sharing with two good friends who I am so fortunate to know is expression enough!