Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I got five gallons of diesel for the tractor yesterday, so I'm of a mind to wish for snow. This winter has started off well but we need more. We haven't had a really good winter for snow for a few years. Bring it on! I have plenty of wood stored up for the stove.

Now for the subject of Christmas Eve, which Rebecca reminded me of at Sam and Deb's house yesterday before she convinced me that I have to bit the bullet and yank my jammed toe back into proper alignment. . . which I may do once I get up the nerve when Linda isn't around to hear the scream. And then again, I may not. Who declared Rebecca a toe doctor to know whether I should torture myself intensively by yanking at that thing or whether I should simply leave it alone to torture me subtly and naggingly until it gives up?

Enough with the toe. It's mildly throbbing down there; but I have more important things to concern myself with, namely a rant on the general disrespect for tradition among the younger generation.

We deep fry battered vegetables and breaded fish on Christmas Eve because in the proper scheme of things, before the beginning of the decline of Western Civilization, no meat was allowed until midnight. This tradition has, of course, been corrupted for many a year by the introduction of red tomato gravy made with meat, which some barbarians insist on putting on my Spaghetti Aglio e' Olio, thus turning it into a fusion cuisine nightmare.

This practice is by no means new. It started in the 1990's, thankfully after Pop was no longer around to see it. Mom, however, was still around, and we had many a discussion about whether it should be permitted, the uneasy compromise being that we would not make the red gravy but would turn a more or less blind eye to its introduction into the house.

This year, however, Rebecca went further. She suggested that she would bring stuffed olives and I agreed to the suggestion in a moment of weakness. Thus did meat, actual meat, impossible to deny, enter the house on Christmas Eve. I agreed, of course, because stuffed olives are perhaps the finest achievement of Italian cuisine, at least in the appetizer category.

But then, when Rebecca brought what she said were stuffed olives they turned out to be olives in the middle surrounded by little meat balls. She made some claim that her dog had eaten the olives meant for stuffing, so she had to revert to pimento stuffed olives. Then she went further and claimed that putting the meat outside of the olives was actually the original Marche' recipe. Sam's Marche' cook book quickly proved that wrong; but it wasn't necessary.

My memory may have degenerated a bit over the years; but this is something impossible to get wrong. I distinctly remember Mom and Aunt Mary discussing the people who used pitted olives and the people who put the meat on the outside of the olive as they spiral cut the olives away from their pits, a fairly delicate task.

I just finished, by the way, a porchetta sandwich on a Corropolese medium kaiser roll. And I'm fairly confident you didn't. There was quite a bit of porchetta left over on New Year's Eve from that 9 pound roast I cooked; but I somehow neglected to give any of it away to the departing guests. I have five containers of it in the freezer, plus the bowl I've been finishing sandwich by sandwich since New Year's day.

Meanwhile, a large flock of starlings is flying and walking around the lawn out there even as a fifteen or so mile an our wind is whipping the 25 degree air around. It's hard to imagine just how those birds survive in this cold. Why don't they go south? They're clearly finding stuff to eat out there on the frozen ground; but wouldn't they find tastier and warmer stuff in Georgia or South Carolina where they would have warmer feet?

Sam and I talked to Al and Jas down in Florida yesterday and they were whining about the temperatures dipping into the fifties during the day. These starlings should be down in Florida annoying them.

There are, however, some small consolations for living up here in the cold. I have the woodstove roaring away in there. Sitting by it as those damned starlings freeze there little feet off because they're too stupid to fly south is one of those consolations.

In other news: Five scientists, no doubt working very hard down in Australia, where it is summer for those of you who are geographically challenged, have figured out how bees land. I was intrigued by this paragraph:

"First the scientists built a bee landing platform that could be inclined at any angle from horizontal to inverted (like a ceiling), then they trained bees to land on it and began filming."

One has to wonder whether it really took five scientists to do that; or whether a couple of those scientists were looking for an excuse to go to Austrialia and catch some rays.

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