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But...I thought everybody liked that

Yesterday was Mikes first day back at school since before Christmas. He was eager to go. Despite being very tired at the end of a day's work he grooves on being taught things.

Yesterday also marked the first day that the whole family felt healthy, since early January. (Mike still has a broken rib healing, from when he broke it coughing, but even that is much better.)

So I had an energy burst. I got some writing done that I was pleased with, and mopped most of the apartment. I arranged for the replacement of our dishwasher, per the court order. They said 'Yes we will give you a dishwasher, but we will raise your rent next year' given that we are already paying extra rent for the pleasure of the (now broken,) dishwasher, this is not ideal. But that is six months out, who knows what the situation will be by then. I think they said it mostly to save face. I am willing to allow them their pride if they replace my dishwasher. Also the landlord's spokesmouth who came to my door is afraid of Hazel-- He is not a very nice man, so that makes it funny.

After this-- while the writing was sloshing around in my mind, I decided to make petit fours. I have wanted to try making them for a really long time, I just the love the idea that I can create tiny fiddly little cakes. And since i discovered how to make fondant I have been eager to try it on them. It is like play-doh that you can actually eat. It is just so fun to goof with.

So I did. And I can see that it is going to take practice to get them looking good.They turned out quite shaggy and rustic which is not how they are supposed to be at all. Practice will fix that. They tasted really good though. I made a coffee cream filling for them, and put the fondant over the cake and that. Met with approval from kids, and I thought they tasted fine.

Had forgotten that Mike (for some unfathomable reason,) despises fondant. Oh well. He can peel it off. Next time I will make him some without it.

I like cooking most times. If I did not, I would not do it. Kids are both willing to cook if I don't want to.

My mother was what used to be called 'a good plain cook.' She boiled the hell out of most things, especially vegetables. Meat was served grey.  It was not all bad, we had fresh milk every day from our goats, eggs from our chickens, and an endless amount of striped bass and bluefish (strangely she was good with cooking fish. That is to say, she did not overcook it, and she left it mostly alone. It needed nothing, screamingly fresh fish does not need messing with.)

I am more of an experimental cook. Some things are good enough to repeat, other things are just weird. I think somehow that there is just more of everything than there was forty years ago, more books, more food, more ideas, more stories. There is almost no effort needed to encounter something new, you can do it every day if you want. And it is almost no effort to find something out.

The world is better for it.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:13 am (UTC)
Glad the dishwasher situation is resolved.
Jan. 29th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC)
Huzzay for dishwashers. Wonderful things. In re cooking, have you looked at the recipes on the Waitrose site? Lots of exciting stuff, usually simple and usually delicious.
Jan. 30th, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
Ah now you see I have always resisted getting a dishwasher for one simple reason. Washing dishes helps me write! Doesn't matter if I'm writing work documents, fic or history, there is something about the mindless nature of dishwashing that really helps to get the words flowing!

Partner does not write and he is very keen to get a dishwasher :}
Jan. 30th, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
Akin to me letting my mind wander whilst sweeping the tennis courts in the morning. I just have to keep enough concentration going to avoid missing spots while the majority of my brain can focus on story.
Jan. 31st, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
I deleted a thing because I had it in the wrong place.

I agree that there are meditative mindless tasks. They are good times for writing thoughts to surface.

Luckily I have a lot of such tasks I could be doing. Rolling up socks, scrubbing the tub...
Jan. 31st, 2014 12:32 am (UTC)
There was always plenty of splashing to do. Our old dishwasher was so feeble that you pretty much had to wash everything before you put it in. It was more of a sterilizer, if anything.

BTW, thank you so much for the lovely book of poetry. I recieved it a few days ago, but I wanted to at least read it a little before I tried to say anything about it.

Well. I find that reading poetry is more demanding than just zooming along through prose. It needs to be quiet. And the last few says have not been. So I have only managed to really digest the very first poem.

That is the one about the boy lying and looking out over the ocean at the black shapes of islands, and watching the ferry come. And I, of course have done exactly that myself, numerous times. You can see the Elizabeth islands from the Vineyard


So that one was very moving to me.

And you have done the same thing too, I think. How wonderful.

Anyway, I am going to have a quiet time tomorrow. I am going to sit down and enjoy the book! (I liked the anchor wrapping paper too. I have saved it. It has a delightful texture, a little like flocked wallpaper.)
Feb. 1st, 2014 12:28 am (UTC)
Oh I'm so glad the book arrived! I've been trying to track down a copy for you for ages. My copy has been with me for so long that it's part of who I am.

You're right about poetry needing quiet. I can't read poetry if there is music playing or if the tv is on, it prevents the poem from falling into its own rhythm.

I had to look at the book to remind myself which is the first poem. I remember it now. I love that one. Edwin Muir is one of the heavyweights of Scottish poetry. His writing is immensely respected. When I was in school we all studied his war poem "The Horses", however "One Foot In Eden" is perhaps his most famous. I also love For Ann Scott-Moncrieff - "Now you have come of age, And are entirely Ann." So very moving.
Jan. 31st, 2014 12:37 pm (UTC)
Have you seen that excellent advert for Aldi, about the dishwasher?
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, petit fours are my favorite! And what better thing to practice making, since you get to eat the results no matter how they come out.
Jan. 31st, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
Indeed. And there is something very giggle inducing about a grown man stomping around saying "Fonant? I hate fucking fondant!" (more for me!)
Jan. 29th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
I can only take fondant in miniscule amounts. It's just WAY too 'rich', like eating straight butter with sugar added. YMMV.

My mother was the same kind of cook. Meats did okay, but veggies were limp and robbed of color and flavor from overcooking. Plus LOTS of them came from cans. I hated broccolli and peas and spinach, now I love them, because they are steamed until JUST tender, with tons of flavor still in them!! There are definitely more fruits and vegetables available now then there ever were in the 50's, growing up.

One favorite family story is my mother serving spaghetti to my then-fiance, whose mother was the daughter of Italian immigrants!! My Mom's 'sauce' was undiluted tomato soup!! And he ate it!! That's when I knew he really loved me and would be a good husband!!LOL!
Jan. 31st, 2014 12:28 am (UTC)
I agree, tastes have changed. We ask a lot more of our food now. It is supposed to be good for us, and also taste good.

And kids will eat what you give them. My girl has always loved sushi. We did not get it often, but seeing a three year old eat sushi made me very happy.

Son liked ziti at the same age. He asked for it everytime we ate out. (He had no idea that you could not get it at every restaurant. Chinese, Indian... They just thought he was funny.)
Jan. 30th, 2014 10:32 pm (UTC)
I am afraid I am a singularly unenthusiastic cook, which is a trait I inherited from my mother. To be fair, she had stomach ulcers and no sense of smell so eating was not much of a pleasure for her. I have no excuse, I'm just lazy. I'm not actually a bad cook, just not a very enthusiastic one :}
Jan. 31st, 2014 12:31 am (UTC)
Some days I dread having to cook. And I can see that it would be much less fun if my smell/taste was impaired.

My brother knew some people who had that as a family affliction. He said said they could not tell beer from seawater!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )