Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Several lifetimes later-let them eat cake

Befittingly, we had French guests for a stretch this month. Charming ladies from Lascours near Marseille, the mother-in-law and student of a local girl gone French on us, here to visit her homeland. We had an (in-door) BBQ with brats, burgers, wonderful potato salad with mayo & hardboiled eggs, tossed salad, and I made a cheesecake because oddly, Philadelphia cream cheese is not available in France, and the mother-in-law loves cheesecake. All good. I think I am still speaking with a slight accent.

The month came with other very difficult life transitions, and dinners, always delicious and mostly cooked by John, became somber times for reflection, at least for the parents at the table.

There was one sort of weather for the month, overcast and murky, temperature 52°F, for so long folks started to check their thermometers to see if they were broken. Henry bolted for LA for a weekend. (He did in fact get to Roscoe's for chicken and waffles. He did in fact not call Cuzzin Martha and is therefore out of the will)

In fact, I believe I will have a Rain Haiku contest: Send your haiku about the weather, and winner gets a JAHC season ticket. Here's mine:
The Weather Forecast
Scattered showers, rain,

Chance of rain 90%,

mostly cloudy, rain.

Henry and I went up to Haines to celebrate my mother's 82nd birthday. She requested a picnic, and for a brief fleeting moment we thought we'd be able to have it out on the deck, but it clouded up and began to rain about 3 in the afternoon. The advantages: The chairs are more comfortable indoors, there is a bathroom, no ants, closer to the wine frig. We had baked ham, mom's potato salad (she makes the mustardy mayo with celery and hard boiled eggs kind) a wonderful tossed salad with candied nuts, baked beans, potato chips, and for dessert, I made mom's favorite, a cream puff cake. You take pate a choux, put it in a circle, bake until all puffed, filled with whipped cream and sliced sugared strawberries, and top with ganache. It is reputed to be good for breakfast as well. Photo attached.

It's been a round of chicken dishes since then: Salad with breaded chicken and Gorgonzola, stir-fried chicken and vegetables, and last night, Marcella Hazan's pan-roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary, with rice pilaf, Napa cabbage salad, sauteed kale and swiss chard, and a fresh fruit melange.

We are fortunate people.

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