"Cross out of thy books/ malevolent looks/Both beauty and youth's decay
And wholly consort/ with mirth and with sport-Anonymous, 18th Century, The Boo's Favorite Carol
To drive the cold winter away"
To drive the cold winter away"
(Which She has Sung Loudlye of Layte in the Kitchen, for so as to Express her Holiday Spirit, and Also to Frighten the (Real) Mouse which Lives Behind the Stove)
I am so excited. It's December!!
"Can you believe the Boo abandoned us this year to play the Knitting Factory? Let's punish her by letting her find our whole show online and then not loading properly, no matter how many times she tries to watch."
I am , I hardly need remind you, what you might call the Anti-Grinch. I am more into Xmas than any secular half-Jew has a right to be. Every year, I am as psyched as I was in the days when I steadfastly believed in Mr. Claus past all reason, and wrote the now-famous literary epic, "The Goldberg's Christmas" (without irony) for our family files. Seriously, I am useless. All I want to do is sing, buy presents, watch cartoon specials, and basically run around in Victorian getup clutching holly branches and shouting "God bless us, Every one!"
That, and, of course, eat stuff.
I feel particularly blessed right now. For one thing, I'm about to pack my bags and leave town for two months, mostly for performing-type work, which is awesome. BUT the best part is that, since I'll be gone just before and just after 12/25, it has been necessary to push some beloved traditions, well, just a bit earlier. ... thereby stretching out the holiday by a few weeks. (Yeah!!)
Take, for example, the Winter Solstice dinner I usually host for you & sundry folks at my house, round 12/21. On that date this year, I will be in Laramie, playing here & here , watching the GC in this, and lighting birthday candles in one of the tiny travel menorahs our mother bought that one time. SO what is there to do but observe it twice!
Early Fest #1: (One Week Before) Winter Solstice
Two members of our festive group were available on 12/14, and when I say festive I mean that I said "bring wine" and they EACH brought three bottles. EACH. For three of us. Which may account for the fact that I do NOT have photos to share, but I DO have a giant ceramic head filled with jellybeans (yay early gift exchange!). I also have a recipe to share that is quick and warming and may use up some Thanksgiving swag lying around. Witness: I had a can of pumpkin, some cans of chicken broth, and a butternut squash sitting forlornly in my fruit bowl. In about 20 minutes (after prep) I had Fast & Easy Winter Squash Soup.
OK yes it is from yet another Ina Garten recipe but with one key difference. You do not, do NOT need a blender, or for Lord's sake, a "food mill" (i see that in recipes all the time and just picture, like, a little edible house) to make this. Just reach in there with your wisk at the end, and mash up the incredibly tender squash until your desired consistency. I like the rough, textured result. 2 C chopped onion, a can and a half of chicken broth, can of pumpkin, 1.5 lbs butternut (peeled/chopped),1/2 C cream, salt & pepper. Saute chopped onion 10 min in a little oil & butter, add everything else except cream, cook/simmer for 20 min, covered. Uncover, remove from heat, add cream, mash with wisk. That's it. Maybe a little chopped sage on top. Make at the end of a shopping day.
Early Fest #2: Traditional Post-Xmas Bloody Mary Gift Exchange w/A-Mac, Pre-Xmas
I love this annual meal/gift exchange that you and I have with our friend A-Mac, who happens to be the mixologist responsible for the best Bloody Marys I have ever had. It usually takes place around 12th night, at her place. But this year, come that date, I'll be slapping my way through Alice Cooper's "School's Out" on a rented bass in Louisville, Kentucky. The solution? An early gift-exchange breakfast on 12/15.
We went to Alias because of its reputation for fabulous brunch and a whole menu of Bloodys that maybe would make up for the loss of the usual (as if). The "Hair of Mary", I noticed, has a double shot of vodka. Crazy! Still feeling the champagne-and-jellybean fest of the night before, I opted instead for the much more sensible option of two regular Bloody Marys.
That celery is pickled. (And you would be too.)
Bottom line, I think you agree, is that, although perfectly acceptable, the brunch is nothing to write home about. Unless, like A-Mac, you order this:
Cheese Grits & Greens. Heavenly.
Though I was glad we ordered the "KY Sausage", if only to reassure ourselves:
So I leave in two days!! I'll see you at home. Expect much bloggage from the Wild West (spoiler alert: the GC has already mentioned ELK).
I'll leave you with this piece of divine hilarity I got to experience the other night in person. The unbeatable Fiona Walsh at the Irish Arts Center, as 'The Armchair Chef''. There but for the grace of god...