Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mystery Vegetables and Rabbits in Watering Cans

Have been noodling around, perusing cookbooks. I don't know what to bring for Passover dinner, though the "some vegetables" suggestion doesn't seem, on the surface, a mysterious or challenging route. Orange and beet salad? But possibly better to avoid, what with the beet-horseradish possibility. I'll be working that day and maybe even quite close to dinner time, so something that I make the night before would do better. Hmmm. Hmmm. And then there's the "Ladies of X street" gathering on Sunday evening, since one of my friendly neighbors*  is without her husband for the weekend and is fronting the very occasional we-should-know-our-neighbors-better directive. And it's about time for this, as there's definitely fresh blood on our street. But who's behind the front door? We all huddle inside our houses, humbled by the weather, crabby from the work day (projecting). Except for neighbor's husband, who snow blows/shovels many a neglected sidewalk, and waves merrily as you drive by, saint that he is. But the point is: do I know what to bring to the Sunday potluck, either? No, I do not. While I have hundreds fewer cookbooks than Compatriot, I certainly have enough to find something suitable. Perhaps the proper recipes do not yet wish to be found. Ironically, the notion of Easter Egg hunting for the perfect recipes spring to mind.

*neighborly friends -- she was one of less than five folks I skyped with when I was in China. And we still sometimes skype, which is ridiculous, as we live across the street and a few doors down.

Overarching indecision, or nostalgic mix, hard to say. Because Easters past have been springing to mind recently, more than they usually do for me. Not being from a family of practicing faith, this did not usher in somber thoughtfulness or remembrance, rather, like so many secular peers, it meant Easter baskets and egg dyeing. I always loved the dyeing, though the blowing-the-egg-contents-through-a-needle-hole I could do without. Luckily, we normally went the hard-boiled route, so.

Special old white chipped cups were reserved for the dying; they were kept in a cupboard downstairs. They had clean, triangular lines to them (I think they were from a contemporary Japanese dinner set) and just-barely-there dye lines from years past. I loved seeing the pools, with their fizzing dye tablets, to which Mom would add vinegar.  A host of colors in each cup on the tray, so deep that it was often difficult to tell purple from blue from green. lowering the dainty wire circles into them, with the buoyant egg, so starkly white. Always the overlapping of colors, the deeper hue or --wonderful!-- luminous interplay of color  --or ugh -- overdyed muddiness, richness rendered drab. The sturdy, beautiful woven baskets had been around from before I was born -- when had they bought them? My parents were older when they started their family -- were they in their thirties when they picked them up, in anticipation of a family? I remember one, especially grand, with a rolling rattan lip, reminiscent of a cornucopia. We certainly weren't wealthy, but think of it, to have these special things, for one day a year! And to have that much space, to easily store them away, all the better to forget them until the following year.

The house being somewhat chaotic, it was well suited for hidden Easter baskets. While our mother was the paper doll drawer, and the mistress of most things art related (outside of photography, which was my Dad's domain), my father always drew the treasure map to finding the basket, by some unwritten rule. He was not above trickery, being at times an unreliable narrator, so it was often with lingering wariness that I trudged around, holding his hazy sketch aloft as I scanned the various rooms for some corresponding point or landmark.

So on that note, perhaps it's less surprising that I bought a pretty little chocolate bunny for my Mom's late birthday package. Along with a certain degree of indecisiveness, I'm also experiencing delayed awareness of birthdays** and other missed deadlines of lesser importance. Word Collector, I'm taking a page from your package book: I'm going to nestle the chocolate bunny in a pretty little watering can (birds on it, Javier, like in Portlandia!), along with a handful of See's chocolates(oh how I love See's), I think she'll be as thrilled as I was, when I opened that kettle last year! The bunny's foil wrapping is quite clever, its nose is pert and eyes freakishly large. It will certainly suit her strongly developed sweet tooth. Luckily, my mother is allergic to the Internet and so will not see this.

**Oh, my dear old friend, Queen of Mystical and Evil Embroidery, Savvy Brooklyn Denizen and menfolk wrangler, lame apologies for letting your birthday pass. Something awaits you here, though I discovered it is not in the pristine condition I once thought. More cool things need to join it. I hope the day was lovely and that Spring is also dragging (its sorry-ass heels) your way, as well.

Well, on that note, I am hopeful for Spring, and for the awakening year.

In Ann Arbor, a brand spanking new independent bookstore, Literati is going to open very soon, on some mysterious day in the near future -- if you're intrigued, find them on Facebook, because they're better at updating there. Two of my favorite Borders alumns are working there, so I'm already excited! Let us know about the opening, hmm?

And! Also very soon, Festifools! Yet another year has passed, wherein I thought to volunteer with them, but it did not come to pass -- but in any case, that's going to be a visual feast, and very soon.Looks like the like Fool Moon will be Friday April 5th. Definitely worth a visit downtown -- and seems to get bigger every year.
On that note, I'll take my leave. I have presents to wrap, plus a geese print to send to "Metchley Lane" -- and doesn't that sound like it has character to spare ?


  1. (Meant to respond to this a long time ago... like, y'know, at Easter...)

    I am absolutely unable to give up the habit of emptying out eggs and decorating them. Even though many years I forget about Easter until it's a week away, and then this happens: "Joe, let's have quiche for dinner again. You make such lovely quiche..."

    My grandmother also taught me to blow out the contents, which I always thought was disgusting. Happily I've discovered that chipping away a hole in the larger end with a stainless steel cocktail pick, then shaking out the contents, works pretty well.

  2. That makes me happy that you still do this! And yes, the blowing, was difficult...and when one thought about it, a bit gross.