Monday, November 28, 2016

Freezer queen

Yesterday talking about the first Sunday of Advent, I mentioned briefly that I was in the meal train for the priests at our church.

The meal train! That is a term I just picked up today. Someone was setting up a meal train for someone on Facebook. You bring meals to that person. I signed right up, I will tell you that. Because now that I am in the, ahem, meal train for St. Anthony's, I am realizing I need more practice.

I have been learning how to freeze things with the help of this 1960s booklet I picked up at Amvets, "Facts About Food Freezing." That is it pictured below! Still it is strange how your cooking mojo can desert you.

Normally I cook pretty well -- that is, when I am under no pressure. The minute I am under pressure things change.

Remember the time I keep alluding to when I did pot roast for Leonard Pennario? It was good. But not as good as it would have been had I been making it just for myself.

Thanksgiving also does not bring out the best in me. A recipe I've done a million times will take a different direction.

And so this meal train.

Piously I froze one soup. The lid of the container, which was new may I add, somehow got loose in the freezer.

"No!" I said. "No!" But it was so. Then there was the matter of this other soup. I put in some lemon pepper and it became too lemony. This never happens to me! I was so mad I threw out the lemon pepper. I froze the soup and hoped it wasn't too bad. With Thanksgiving I was running out of time.

Later I got on Google and looked up: "Too much lemon." Someone suggested baking soda. "Not too much or it will taste soapy." I tried a little bit, a half teaspoon or so, on my remaining soup and... it worked! So there, I have learned a kitchen hack. I got the other container of soup out of the freezer and poured it out and heated it up and added baking soda and as I stirred it I thought:

What in the world???

Son of a sea cook, all these extra steps!

Bad things come in threes and the third was the chocolate chip cookies. This was a Marc Bittman recipe, the same recipe that is everywhere, but somehow I managed to goof it. Five-year-olds can make chocolate chip cookies. Mine spread too much and stuck to the pan.

Zut, zut, zut alors!

It all ended pretty well, considering.

But again, what in the world?? I cook all the time and suddenly this.

The meal train ran me over!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sweet Sunday

It is suddenly Advent! The season sneaks up on you.

And this year it was even more so with the election and everything. I was so out of it that I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to see those purple vestments this morning at church, and the Advent wreath.

And the Advent readings!

Some of the best lines in all of Scripture are read on the first Sunday of Advent.

Excita, quaesumus, Domine, potentiam tuam ... That means "Stir up thy power, O Lord." That is why this Sunday is Stir Up Sunday, the day when you are supposed to stir up your fruitcakes and puddings so they will be ready in time for Christmas.

Ad te levavi animam meam,.. "To Thee have I lifted up my soul." This is all so great.The Gospel is Jesus saying, "There will be signs in the sun and the moon, and the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea, and of the waves..." And you are standing there thinking, as every generation since then has thought: This is it. We are in this time.

At the end of Mass we got to sing "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel." The greatest hymn.

 And in the Epistle, from St. Paul: "The night is passed and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light." That is thrilling and really does make me want to be less of a schlep.

And later St. Paul includes a word that I love.

It is chambering!

As in: "Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkkenness, not in chambering and impurities..."

A great word, chambering. One that we should bring back if you ask me. And the Latin is even better.

It is cubilibus!

St. Paul said nothing specifically about overeating and so after Mass I unveiled with pride this gigantic rich coffee cake I had made. I have a picture but it will have to wait because I cannot get it out of my phone. This is one I made a few weeks ago and it was bigger than this one, just to give you an idea.

St. Paul said nothing about pride either so I am in the clear.

The morning was not perfect. For one thing it was my turn to bring food to the priests we are lucky enough to have in residence at St. Anthony's. That resulted in several "I Love Lucy" situations. And there was yet another when I spilled my coffee -- What was with me? I never spill my coffee! Well, that will have to be a separate story for another day.

For now I am off to cast off the works of darkness. And put on the armor of light.

And, oh yes, stir up those fruitcakes.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Amvets By Starlight

It is funny, the last time I wrote was about Amvets, and this weekend I was at Amvets again.

It was a lucky trip! The line was long and so I went to kill time looking through the records. And what jumped out at me but ...

Gershwin By Starlight!

That is this Leonard Pennario record I do not have. Pennario gave me these records and Gershwin By Starlight was supposedly among them, but inside was some loser's record, I can't remember who, but it was not Pennario. That was the one situation where the record inside did not match the jacket.

So I wanted this record, and I knew Pennario had liked it, but I had not gotten around to ordering one special as I have on many other occasions. Now, today, here it was!

It is extremely rare to find Pennario in a thrift shop so I was laughing later to myself about how casual I was.

"Oh, goodie, Gershwin By Starlight," I said to myself, and put it in my basket along with a Nancy Wilson album that was already there, and a Better Homes and Gardens Fix and Freeze Cookbook that I had selected because it had an AM&A's price tag..

Then I kind of did a double take.

Gershwin By Starlight!!

What a lucky day!!