If you are Facebook friends with me or on our woefully outdated Christmas email list, this may be the second or third time you’ve seen this. But if you missed it, here’s 2014 in a nutshell:
Dear friends and family,
If you are Facebook friends with me or on our woefully outdated Christmas email list, this may be the second or third time you’ve seen this. But if you missed it, here’s 2014 in a nutshell:
Dear friends and family,
After a lovely week with family in California, I’m pulling a solo couple of weeks again, while Tony and the kids spend some more laid-back grandparent time. Fortunately, it’s not summer this time around, so the lawn looks to be in a fairly dormant state (which for Florida means bright green still, but not shooting up like a jungle). So I don’t think I’ll have to mow it, which is good, because I hate mowing the lawn, it takes me forever, and I’m terrible at it. I may trim the bushes, which I actually enjoy, and which by itself goes a long way toward preventing our house from turning into The Haunted Mansion.
I haven’t been quite as successful in other areas. For example, I have been home exactly three days, and I am 0 for 3 when it comes to breakfast. The first day I made my regular breakfast (oatmeal smoothie), but left it in the blender and realized halfway to work (at which point I would have been an hour late for work if I’d turned back) that I’d forgotten it. At least I remembered my laptop, which I have forgotten before, inspiring Tony to make me this sign and tape it on the inside of our front door:
I stuck the unused breakfast in the fridge when I got home, and then enterprisingly took it to work the next day, realizing only belatedly that I should have smelled it first. When I opened it to take a swig, I was assaulted by the heady aroma of highly fermented milk. And not fermented in a trendy, health-food way either. More like a milk-left-out-on-the-counter-for-ten-hours-even-if-it’s-amond-milk-spoils kind of way. I know, I know. Cue food safety lecture.
Today I actually made it out the door with my (freshly made) breakfast smoothie. Precariously balancing my lunch bento, my green lunch smoothie (OK, I’m into smoothies), and my breakfast smoothie, I turned to responsibly lock the door, recalling that there would be nobody in the house all day. The lock is a little sticky, so turning the key requires some force. Unfortunately, the force required sent my breakfast smoothie tumbling to the ground, where the plastic blender bullet bottle shattered, spilling breakfast smoothie all over my front porch, my welcome mat, my shoes, and my feet.
As you can see, my first thought was that I should take a foot selfie so I could at least get something out of the situation by blogging about it. Since I was now balancing only my lunch smoothie and lunch bento, I was able to easily re-open the front door. I removed my shoes and cleaned off the worst of the smoothie with a rag, but eventually determined it would be best to reserve the shoes for a more thorough cleaning at my leisure. Fortunately, seven wet wipes later, I was able to salvage my tights, which was good, since I knew that all my other black tights and leggings were dirty, so changing would have required me to change my entire outfit. (Maybe it’s time to do some laundry?) I put on another pair of shoes, and headed back out the door. I really need to stop doing this, because it resulted in my third straight day eating kit-kats out of the office candy jar for breakfast. Don’t tell my kids.
With only a slight twinge of guilt, I left the puddle of slowly congealing smoothie on the porch. Nobody is likely to visit me and see it while I’m gone today anyway. By the time I pulled out of the driveway on my way to work, I was, of course, running rather late. So when I glanced behind me and saw that my garbage can (which I had forgotten to put out Monday morning) had been knocked over in the night, probably by a black bear, a gang of rabid raccoons, or a conglomeration of tortoises, armadillos, and opossums (thank you, Florida!), I just left it.
Tony, I love and appreciate you for many things, among which two of the more minor, but very present in my mind today, are that you always remember to put out the garbage, and that you spoil me by making me breakfast.
But not everything is bleak. The breakfast smoothie disaster is now completely cleaned up, and the garbage can is upright with its contents replaced, hopefully to be put out and emptied (by waste management, not the local wildlife) this coming Monday. And this is me, ringing in the new year with seared scallops in white wine sauce (with a little more white wine on the side for good measure), quinoa, green bean salad, bruschetta with Trader Joe’s artichoke tapenade, and Battlestar Galactica.
I’m actually rocking this whole living alone thing. Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!
We’re kind of foodies at our house, so Thanksgiving is generally a gala affair. (See Last Year’s Menu and the Even More Dramatic Year Before) However, I’ve noticed that since I started working full time, I have less and less of a desire to spend my entire day off cooking when it’s a holiday. Go figure. Tony has even less of a desire to cook a big Thanksgiving, possibly due to the fact that nearly all of the everyday cooking at our house currently falls to him.
So this year we’ve decided to pare down Thanksgiving a bit. No, make that a lot. In fact, I’m embarrassed to even say what we’re contemplating, nay have actually determined to do. Suffice it to say that our plans for Thanksgiving do not involve either brining the turkey, wrapping it in bacon, cooking it upside down, or even stuffing it. In fact, they don’t involve a turkey at all. Are you ready for it? We’re going to pick up a rotisserie chicken. It was Tony’s idea, since I wouldn’t have been able to bear coming up with such an travesty. However, once he brought it up and I weighed the merits of a rotisserie chicken against the hours of preparation and the reality of turkey leftovers in the freezer for the next several months, I could see he had a point.
But his next idea was the real bombshell: Stovetop stuffing. I was not amused. Stovetop stuffing is too far even for me. I think he was mainly attracted by the ease of preparation, but he claimed (out loud!) that he actually prefers it to homemade stuffing. I was offended. Was he referring to the Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing I made last year? Or the Apple, Sausage & Parsnip Stuffing the year before? Only when I promised to make a completely normal and unadventurous stuffing this year (and reminded him that I’d already consented to rotisserie chicken) did he relent and agree to the compromise.
So I am passing over recipes like Spinach, Fennel, and Sausage Stuffing with Toasted Brioche, Rustic Bread Stuffing with Red Mustard Greens, Currants, and Pine Nuts, and Masa Cornbread Stuffing with Chiles with many a sigh and backward glance. Instead, I have chosen the irreproachable “Simple is Best” Dressing, featuring those old staples of Thanksgiving and Simon & Garfunkel, parsley, sage, rosemary and time. Per the reviews on Epicurious (which one should always, always read, for entertainment value as well as culinary wisdom), I’ll double the herbs and add more broth, especially since I’ll probably sub in sourdough bread if I can get away with it under the nose of Tony, the Thanksgiving Grinch.
High on Axa’s list of important foods for Thanksgiving dinner is pumpkin pie. In fact, she’s been asking if we could have pumpkin pie this year since early October. Pumpkin pie is not my favorite thing, but since it doesn’t have a top crust, it is a candidate for my secret weapon/pie crust dodge (aka the easiest French Tart Crust recipe I have ever encountered). She’s looking forward to making it from an actual pumpkin, so there’s no cutting corners there. I am thinking of using this recipe, which includes white pepper, since I love using pepper in desserts and getting away with it. We fell in love with white pepper when we discovered it in Italy, and started putting it in everything. Everything was better with white pepper, until Tony put it in the breakfast oatmeal one morning. It took me awhile to figure out what the weird taste was, but I could barely choke down my oatmeal. We’ll have whipped cream (NOT the kind from a can) with the pie.
Pineapple bacon wraps are a Bringhurst family tradition. We used to make them for Christmas Eve, but since we’re so often out of town at Christmastime, we make them for Thanksgiving now. They are as easy as they sound–just slices (or half-slices) of bacon wrapped around chunks of pineapple. I think we sometimes might have used canned pineapple growing up, but we always get a fresh pineapple now. Tony learned how to efficiently cut up a pineapple on his mission in the Philippines. Here’s Benjamin managing to burn the pineapple bacon wraps when we invited him to Thanksgiving at BYU eight or nine years ago. No, that’s not a bad quality photo. It’s the smoke in the air.
True to form, Tony suggested that we just buy rolls this year, and get berry jam instead of making cranberry sauce. So no recipes to post for that. And our final menu item is roasted veggies, which we usually cook without a recipe, and are somewhere along these lines. And that’s it; the entire contents of our Thanksgiving spread this year.
What are you planning for Thanksgiving? Is your turkey already marinating? Will you be making homemade rolls, mashed potatoes from scratch, and fourteen kinds of pies? Or will you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did? Remember,
Axa and Raj both started Irish Dance (think Riverdance), and participated in their first Feis (Irish Dance competition), garnering medals, experience, and confidence. We made it out of Florida briefly in July for a Familia Family reunion in Angel’s Camp, California, where we participated in such exciting activities as blackberry picking, water fights with the cousins, and exploring a cave discovered by gold-diggers.
Sarah recently landed a job as Marketing Coordinator for a small company in Palm Coast, and spends most of her time these days immersed in website design, SEO, and blogging (but not on her personal blog, alas!). Yes, I know you were dying to ask: the sugar gliders do go to work with her almost every day. Tony has achieved the level of Domestic God as a stay-at-home dad with a laundry, meal, and cleaning schedule that puts his predecessor to shame. So yeah, we’ve pretty much attained the coveted status of Typical Suburban Family.
Sarah, Tony, Axa & Raj
I realized that not all of my faithful blog readers are also Facebook friends or email connections. So lest you miss the delight of receiving our family Christmas letter, here it is, reproduced in full (and for those of you who’ve already read it twice and are wondering when I’m going to stop posting it . . . um, sorry):
Dear Family, Friends, and Random People Whose Emails May Have Been Accidentally Added to our Mailing List and are Thus Subjected to the Annual Honor of a Summary of our Life,
It seems like 2012 was an unusually tranquil year. Maybe it’s because we only moved once, and it wasn’t even internationally, just cross-country. Last year at this time found us in California, temporarily staying with family after returning home from more adventures abroad. In February we moved to Deltona, Florida, which is more or less a suburb of Orlando. Hilariously enough, we were written up once again in the local newspaper, just for moving here and being odd.
A dubious honor, to be sure, but we’ll take fame where we can get it. We have not yet made our pilgrimage to Disney World (we’re going next month, courtesy of Grammy and Pampa), but we’ve spent plenty of time at the beautiful beaches nearby and hiking in the lovely and fascinating Florida scrub habitat.
We haven’t seen any alligators yet either, but we’ve encountered manatees, snakes, anole lizards, cardinals, blue jays, gopher tortoises, frogs, toads, ibises, foxes, cranes, eagles, raccoons, and various other wildlife, much of it right in our backyard.
In addition, there have been a few nastier run-ins with things like scorpions, poisonous brown widow spiders, and huge flying palmetto bugs (in case you haven’t yet had the pleasure of their acquaintance, I’d describe them as cockroaches on steroids).
Despite the bugs, the heat, and the hurricanes, at eleven months we have now lived in this house longer than we’ve ever lived anywhere during our entire nine-year marriage. Hurrah for us (or hurrah for Florida, perhaps). Tony has a glamorous job working for The Nielsen Company’s Television Ratings Project. Highlights include getting bitten by a dog in the wilds of Ocala, going on an exotic trip to New Orleans, and meeting some of the more eccentric residents of Florida, like gun-toting survivalists and Star Wars geeks who make costumes for conventions. Sarah has fulfilled a long-cherished desire by acquiring an adorable pair of sugar gliders (yes, in Florida it’s legal to own just about any exotic pet you can think of).
Christened Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, they go everywhere with her, ensconced in a discreet purse designed especially to accommodate them.
Casteluzzo Academy (aka homeschool) is flourishing, built on a foundation of the ever-overflowing book collection (we just bought another bookshelf last month) and supplemented by weekly trips to the library and the goat farm.
Axa keeps busy catching lizards, snakes, and toads and reading everything she can get her hands on about dinosaurs.
Raj envisions a future world in which robots do all our work for us, and he can usually be found toiling to make his dream a reality through the mediums of K’nex, legos, tinkertoys, cardboard, scotch tape, and miscellaneous recycled household items.
Sarah, Tony, Axa & Raj
We incorrigibly insist upon cutting down our own Christmas tree, even when we’re living in climates not necessarily conducive to lush evergreen foliage. Such as southern California or Florida. So we duly went to the Christmas tree farm and hopped on the hayride to find our perfect tree.
The pickings were a little slim. Most of the trees were either under three feet tall or over twenty, giving the farm a sort of “Ents herding guinea pigs” look. The ones of moderate size were all, shall we say, eccentric. One tree was half green, half yellow. Another had a trunk that zig-zagged like a lightning bolt. Still another looked as if someone had been taking bites out of it.
After walking through row upon row of sorry stragglers (who’s scruffy looking?), I was feeling sorely tempted to throw in the towel and just settle for one of the already cut spruces or firs evidently trucked in from some far distant northern clime.
And then we saw it: one fairly decent looking tree. Needless to say, we made quick work of the sawing, and skipped the dusty hayride back, carrying our prize to the barn to be shaken, netted, and packed into our car (yep, it fit inside through the trunk instead of on top, and now we no longer need a “fresh spruce” air freshener).
Once we got it home and into the stand, we realized that very thin branches are characteristic of the quick-growing pines of Florida. Most of the ornaments had to be hung well in on the branches of the tree, so as to avoid the branch bending and dropping them to shatter on our tile floor. Fortunately, Florida pines are also obligingly sparse, so even ornaments hung near the trunk are perfectly visible. Even better, our tree decorating ensemble includes a dozen fake poinsettias, large enough to fill in even the most egregious gaps.
So without further ado, I give you our Christmas tree!
Stay tuned tomorrow for an intimate introduction to some of my favorite Christmas ornaments.
It’s that time of year when I have an excuse to get the kitchen really messy. We have a family tradition of spending the whole of Thanksgiving Day cooking together. For normal everyday cooking I tend to make the same 20-or-so recipes over and over, although every time we move I change things up to reflect which ingredients are cheap and easy to find where we live. But for Thanksgiving, I like to try new recipes every year.
I’ve come a long way from our first Thanksgiving as a little family, in which my freshman sister Hannah arrived just in time to prevent me from sticking the turkey in the oven completely unseasoned and with the giblets still inside their plastic bag in one of the mysterious cavities.
Our most adventurous Thanksgiving was the year we had gone all-raw. It was weird how even in the unchangeable climate of San Diego I started to crave hot food. Especially the smell of food cooking. By the time Thanksgiving came around, we had compromised with ourselves and switched to being just vegetarian. We stuffed a pretty impressive pumpkin, and had some yummy mushroom gravy, but I can’t say it was the best Thanksgiving ever.
Now we’re back to being regular old omnivores, so our Thanksgiving choices are a little more extensive. For recipes, I turned, as usual, to my normal go-to source for recipes, Epicurious. Like any self-respecting foodie site (well at least any American one), they have an extensive section devoted to Thanksgiving. I had quite an enjoyable time clicking on their menus from different parts of the U.S. I’ve only lived in California, the Northwest, and now the South (although I’m told that Florida is not really The South), so it was interesting to see what is normal to eat in other places (rice stuffing anyone? oysters? what about Maple Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce?) The coolest idea I found was stuffing the Turkey with Tamales. I would totally consider it if we were living back in California and awesome tamales were easy to find.
After an afternoon of serious deliberation (and before the list is pared down by Tony and his unerring sense of the [im]practicality of cooking a dozen different dishes on one day to feed a grand total of four people), I give you our Thanksgiving menu!
Pickled Okra . Yes, this might sound like kind of a weird recipe, but it was the only one off the “Southern” menu that sounded good to me. Plus, it’s supposed to be made beforehand, so it won’t be competing for oven space on the Big Day.
Pigs in a Blanket. I found a recipe for this in the Afternoon Tea Recipe Book I’ve been drooling over lately, and told my kids about eating it when I was a kid. Back then, we used vienna sausages for the pigs, and we thought it was so cool that they came in a package of seven. They were obviously a food tailor-made for our family. I don’t know if I could eat vienna sausages now without gagging, so I think we’ll just use regular sausage.
Heirloom Squash Farrotto. This one just sounded delicious, especially with the cumin yoghurt sauce. I don’t know what my odds are of finding reasonably-priced farro anywhere around here, but there’s always pearl barley.
So, I saw this picture on Facebook a few days ago, and thought it looked pretty impressive:
I looked over a couple of recipes though, and found them unconvincing. Enter Pancetta-Sage Turkey with Pancetta-Sage Gravy. Instead of wrapping the whole thing in bacon, you make a delectable sounding pancetta butter to slather all over it.
Italian Sausage and Bread Stuffing and Apple, Sausage and Parsnip Stuffing. Actually, I’m going to combine these two recipes, since the first one sounded more flavorful, but I loved the idea of adding apples and parsnips, and I think it will go swimmingly with the pancetta-sage turkey.
Not Your Mother’s Green Beans. From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, and one of my favorite recipes ever. Just-tender green beans tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, toasted pine nuts, scallions, and herbs. I’ve made this recipe in dozens of variations: orange juice or other flavored vinegars instead of the balsamic, walnuts, pecans or almonds, garlic or thinly-sliced red onion, butter instead of the olive oil, etc. It’s easy to whip up in a few minutes, but dressy enough for company (or Thanksgiving dinner).
Roasted Winter Vegetables. This is our only real traditional recipe. We make it every year because it’s just so delicious, and it feels so much like fall.
Bubble-Top Brioches. These look yummy, and my grandma used to make rolls in triplicate like this. Actually, she also made some delicious cheesy rolls that were rolled up like little cones. I’ll have to ask my mom if she has the recipe.
Berry Streusel Pie. Tony wanted either berry or apple, and I’m not fond of apple. Also, I’m not very good at pie crusts, so it’s better to just have a single rather heavy pie crust than a double one. Plus, streusel!
Key Lime Pie. O.K. I have never even tasted key lime pie. But we are living in Florida, and I saw real key limes at the grocery store last week. So I thought it would be a terrible opportunity to waste. For those of you who are key lime pie purists, which topping is more authentic? My recipe has whipped cream, but I’ve also seen meringue (I’m assuming whipped topping is out?). Also, fifteen minutes in the oven? That’s not really long enough to cook a custard. I’m pretty sure it’s not a mistake, since I saw some recipes where the filling wasn’t cooked at all. Maybe this is just my cultural ignorance showing (and I’m no one to judge, since I can put away as much unpasteurized cookie dough as the next baker), but is this dessert actually composed of raw egg yolk mixed with lime juice? Please enlighten me.
What are you having for Thanksgiving, dear readers? Do you make the same recipes every year, or do you like to try new ones? And have you ever cooked a turkey with the plastic giblet bag intact?
The awful thing about a blogging gap is that the longer it persists, the more earth-shattering I think my next post needs to be to break the gap. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of earth-shattering stuff going on in my world lately, so the gap keeps getting longer and longer as I wait and hope that I’ll come up with something blog-worthy to write about. It’s a vicious circle. I justified my laziness about posting for awhile by telling myself it was just as well to leave up my Obamapost until nearer to the election. But the election has now come and gone, and I haven’t posted on my blog for the past month and a half. How long does it take for a blog to go dead?
The sad (or happy?) thing is that my viewing stats haven’t really changed much. I’m not sure what that means; probably that nobody actually reads this blog except people searching for information on pressing questions like the dangers of hubbly bubbly (unless you, my faithful readers, are coming back day after day in the vain hope of reading something new). There was one really weird day last week when I had a bizarrely high number of people visiting The Great Bumper Sticker Poll, but then none of them even voted. What’s up with that?
In other news, we had a bout of stomach flu last week. Axa was the only one affected, so we’re hoping it doesn’t spread. We also went to Blue Springs State Park in pursuit of manatees. We wanted to go back in April or May, but it was already too warm. The Manatees retreat from the open sea to the warmth of Blue Springs only when it gets too cold in the ocean.
It’s a really lovely spot, with a built-in boardwalk through the jungle.
It was also a perfect place for Tony to wear his new aviator shades.
The wooden boardwalk goes straight down to a metal landing over the river, and the manatees are right there! You can’t see it from the picture, but I’m looking at a manatee that is resting almost right under my feet.
I feel like I’m trying to sell a picture of the Loch Ness Monster, but here you can see some actual manatees:
OK, here’s a closeup. Does that make it more clear?
And here is a little baby manatee. He kept rolling all over the adults, and we’re pretty sure we saw him nursing. So cute!
When I was dating Tony, one of the interesting things that he told me about himself was that he had lived with his family in Indonesia as a teenager. While living there, they spent a summer visiting family in a little town in Idaho, where their exotic expatriate exploit made them instant celebrities. An article even appeared in the local newspaper about the American family who were living in Southeast Asia, and had now brought their international selves home to grace tiny Aberdeen Idaho.
It became an even better story after the same thing happened to us. In 2008, we moved our little family to Chiusa di Pesio, Italy so that we could reconnect with our Italian roots and claim our long-lost Italian citizenship. It was the first time such a thing had ever occurred in Chiusa, and our very existence there caused something of a sensation. It seemed that everyone had already told everyone else our story. Still, in due time, we were visited in our home by a local reporter, who wanted to publish an account of us in the weekly paper, just in case someone had missed it.
We were flattered, but a little embarrassed, especially after we read the article, and she gushed so liberally about us. Still, it was quite a novelty to read a story about ourselves in the newspaper in the first place. I mean, how often does it happen that you end up in the paper just for being you?
Well, not as infrequently as I thought, apparently. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a reporter from the Daytona Beach News Journal. He had stumbled upon my blog, and remarked that he thought we didn’t really fit in here in Deltona. In fact, he went on to speculate that we probably weren’t going to be around long. I guess reporters can say anything.
Mark turned out to be very nice, though, and we spent a lovely morning chatting. It’s not every day that a captive audience spends an hour and a half listening to your life story, acting really interested and even taking notes. I found I enjoyed it thoroughly. Yesterday, we bought a paper so we could clip it out for our scrap book. And since our family scrapbook only exists in the form of this blog and our family website, here it is:
If you can’t read the small print, the full article is here. Mark took some liberties with the quotes, and bit more with the facts, so if you know us well you can amuse yourself by spotting errors. But at least when he quoted my mom he got it perfect.
Last year while I was waiting for our Tunisian landlord to get air conditioning installed in our apartment, I did a couple of posts on cooking for hot weather. When we are not having hurricanes and tornados here in Florida, the weather here is also very hot. And unlike Tunisia, where the sweltering wind off the Sahara desert kept things pretty dry even by the coast, Florida is more of a tropical place. In fact, I’m convinced that if we let our lawn go for, say, six months, we’d probably end up with not a knee-high grassy field, but a full-out jungle. Seriously. You can almost see the grass growing.
It reminds me a lot of the Philippines, where it was so hot and humid (sticky is how I would describe it, really) that I would walk outside and be soaking wet in five minutes, from a combination of sweat and water from the air. While we were there, we stayed for several weeks at a little hotel in Manila. Actually, “hotel” is a little grand. It was called “Pension Natividad,” and it was more like a hostel with a few private rooms, a communal pot of something that they cooked up every night, and a little improvised basketball court where the locals and Peace Corps types would shoot hoops in the evenings.
Pension Natividad had a little refrigerator in the lobby with cold drinks in it. And one of the drinks (by far the best) was the homemade lassi yoghurt. My favorite flavor was the mango lassi, and to this day, whenever it is sticky hot outside, I am transported back in front of that refrigerator, trying to make up my mind if I need another mango lassi today. One evening a week or so ago it occurred to me that maybe I could make my own lassi. I put equal parts of milk, yoghurt, and mango pulp in the blender, along with a squirt of raw Florida wildflower honey. Heaven.
If it’s too hot to even push blender buttons, tied for best cool drink in the Philippines is coconut water fresh out of the coconut. To. Die. For. Here I am after a long, hot, marital-problem-inducing hike, enjoying one immensely. Axa, not so much.
Green coconut water has become quite the thing these days. It’s full of electrolytes, and is touted as a sort of natural form of Gatorade. You can now get it at Wal-Mart packaged a little more conveniently (i.e. bypassing the need for a machete) in a carton. I keep one in my refrigerator for when I need a healthy, natural, but certifiably mood-altering pick-me-up.
It’s also the season for six-for-a-dollar plantains (you know, those huge green bananas that you can’t eat raw). I saw them on sale at the Latino market where I shop, so I bought them and figured I’d look up how to cook them later. Fortunately, my brother Samuel went on a mission to Puerto Rico, and is a great cook. He sent me recipes for authentic Puerto Rican Mofongo and Garlic Shrimp. With his blessing, I substituted bacon for the pork rinds and chicken for the shrimp, so I can’t claim to have honestly tried the recipes as written. But they were good! My only problem was that I didn’t have the baseball-bat-sized mortar and pestle he informed me the recipe was actually talking about. I managed to mash my plantains anyway, but it was a lot of work. Still, it was worth it. Yum!
Yesterday I had a crazy craving for canned oysters. So I ate some. A lot, actually. As in, two cans full of oysters, right out of the tin with a fork. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not pregnant. But I was having my period, and the craving made a lot more sense to me when I looked at the Nutrition Facts on the side of the can and realized that it was by far the most concentrated source of iron available in my house at the time.
I try to make a point to eat lots of iron-rich foods when I’m having my period, because one time at college I went to donate blood while having my period, and they told me I was too anemic. Another time I managed to give blood, but promptly fainted in the middle of my philosophy class, disrupting a lecture on Aristotle and the golden mean. Waking up on the floor in the hallway of the Smith Family Living Center with several anxious fellow-students peering down at me has got to rank as my most embarrassing college moment ever. Or at least second most embarrassing.
What I usually do to celebrate the monthly occurrence is to make liver for dinner. I typically chicken out and buy chicken livers to make pâté. If you’ve never tried it, you should. It is superb. Just don’t be put off by the greyish color. This month, though, I decided to go for it and make liver and onions. I’ve tried this before, with less than palatable results, so I was a little choosy about a recipe. I finally settled on one that touted itself as “Absolute Best Liver and Onions.” I followed the instructions religiously, and it turned out delicious. My kids even complimented it for the entire first half of dinner, until they finally clued in to the fact that it was liver.
What do you like drinking and cooking when it’s summertime?
photo credit: mango lassi