Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kid's Birthday.

Wow. She's an adorable gap-toothed seven-year-old. How cool is that?!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dinner at my house...

One of the few things that bum me out about blogging is that I "know" all these cool people but I lack
companionship in my daily life. I'd like to spend one of these frosty evenings laughing and chatting,
hot bread steaming, hot tea at the table, wine for those of us who partake and so forth. Alas.
Instead, I'm going to invite you all to "dinner" at "my house" by posting a recipe which is easy,
delicious, and infinitely adaptable (if you're vegan, use oil and if you don't drink, don't put in the wine and
the results will still be just fine).

Limburg Potato Soup (courtesy of Peter Rose)

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and washed (or not peeled, for a more rustic flavor and look)
1 med. onion
4 carrots
4 Tbsp butter or oil
1/3 cu plus 1 Tbsp flour
6 cups veggie broth
1 cu dry white wine
1/4 tsp mace
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp minced parsley (dry works too -- maybe a Tbsp of dry)
2 Tbsp minced celery leaves
Broth or milk to thin the soup

Cut up the potatoes thin, chop the onion, cut carrots into thin coins. Melt butter (or add oil) to soup kettle,
whisk in flour and brown it slightly. Gradually add broth. Whisk vigorously to make a smooth sauce.
Stir in wine (or not -- I'd put in another cu of broth for liquid volume in that case), add potatoes, carrots,
onion and mace. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 20-25 minutes. Puree in a blender (I don't have
an immersion blender, so I dump it in the Kitchenaid). Return to kettle. Season with salt, pepper, herbs
and simmer for about another 10 minutes.

Serves 4. Can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a hungry crowd of teenagers. This a traditional
Dutch dish from the southern provinces, says food author Peter Rose. I just know that the recipe
looked good, I tried it, and found it as good as it looked on the page.

I'm also serving a wonderful spinach salad, home-baked break, and pumpkin pie with a radically
revised pie crust recipe. (Those who shared my table at Thanksgiving know that my pie crust
needed work, but thank you for being good-humored about it.)

So. Break bread with me, friends, and share the hush of candlelight on a winter's evening.

Friday, December 02, 2005


No, not really. Although it feels cold enough in my house to sustain a ski slope (no insulation in this barny 1913 gem,
brrrrrr, not enough money to actually heat it this winter), I'm mainly just down under the big pile of papers and other
duties (like planning my daughter's birthday party) that are sucking all available time. I promise. The silence series will
continue with more and better reflections than this little blurt, but I'll share a quote to think about before
I go down waving for the third time:

From Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams:

"In a world of silence, all becomes sign...images of ducks above whose feathers floated to earth as a kind of hoarfrost that built up like a veining of feathers on a ship's rig."

One of the things that I find myself missing most is the space in which to contemplate the Mystery. I want to
let the signs fill me up, so that I can puzzle on them like so many treasures kept in my heart. Silence is a
pocket in a child's coat, not so much empty as filled with daily curiousities.

I hope you are having better luck than I am in getting yourself some peace.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Finding Silence

I am a rural person living in the middle of a big rude loud Northeastern city. During the clement months, I rescue myself and Kid regularly, driving out to the hinterlands for busywork trips, hikes, and tours of historical sites. Winters here preclude a lot of rambling around looking for the natural quiet I crave. It's particularly bad in December, when every store is blatting carols (fine when sung by human voices, insane when squawked by Chipmunks) and the bright displays feel like a confusing attack on my inner equilibrium.

I've decided to try to use the means at my disposal (the Internet! My brain!) to get a measure of the silence I find so vital.
It's my gift to myself.

Here's the first installment of high-quality reflections on the importance of silence, written by audio engineer and nature sound artist Gordon Hempton: