Posts tagged ‘anecdotes’

May 7, 2011

May Day

I’ve been a-wandering all the night
And the best part of the day
Now I’m returning home again
I bring you a branch of May

A branch of May, my love, I say
Here at your door I stand
It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out
By the work of the Lord’s own hand

My song is done and I must be gone
No longer can I stay,
God bless you all, both great and small,
And bring you a joyful May.

As a child, May Day involved dancing around a May Pole with ribbons, tying May-Day-Wish ribbons to trees, and eating donuts hung on trees (we were told that the fairies had left them for us).  In college May Day also involved mimosas, strawberries and cream (a treat we’ll have to leave until strawberries come in), and taking down the patriarchy (on a holiday which  includes ritual dancing around a large phallic object, it’s important to reverse things a bit).

This year May Day went something like this:

At 8pm we loaded up the car with bundles of sticks, newspaper, and a picnic basket full of food and drove out to the local state park where they proceeded to build a significant, if exceedingly safe, fire on which to make celebratory doughboys.

The ingredients are simple (if not actually seasonal, um, at all) and delicious:

1 pack of crescent rolls

1 jar of raspberry jam

1 pot of melted butter

1 bowl of cinnamon and sugar

Wrap the strips of dough around dowels and cook them over the fire until they look relatively cooked.  It is, of course, best to avoid setting either the dowel or the roll on fire, which can be tricky. When it seems puffy and cooked, carefully pull the doughboy off the dowel and dip in in the butter, sugar, and jam.  Eat, repeat, and be merry.

Lessons from the front:

1. Don’t knock the entire pot of butter onto the grass.

2. Do make sure to have sheets, clothing and extra sweaters available for after you rashly go skinny dipping in the very cold lake.  A fire is warm, but so it being dry.  It also helps to shout “hey hey, ho ho, the patriarchy has got to go” to psych yourself into jumping to said cold water.

3. Don’t let your survival candle lantern blow out, it makes dressing more difficult.

All in all, an excellent May Day.  Complete with yummy sweets, singing, naked swimming (almost as good a May Pole dancing), and fire.  What more could we ask for a pagan beginning of spring celebration?

Advertisements
May 7, 2011

In which English Cream Tea is sought and eventually found

Imagine it like this: you are in the country known more or less for bringing tea to the western world; and you are a serious tea lover who depends on it every morning at eight and again around four pm.  And imagine that you are craving this traditional English specialty: cream tea.

Imagine cream tea like this: a nice hot pot of tea, several warm scones, strawberry jam, butter, and Cornish clotted cream.  If you’ve never heard of clotted cream, or if this combination sounds disgusting, don’t be afraid.  It is actually completely delicious and will more or less make your day.  It may sound odd, since the cream isn’t, as a rule, in the tea, but then, “tea” can be a wildly varying term in Britain, encompassing everything from your cup of it in the morning to a full evening meal.

So, there we were in London, trying to find ourselves some cream tea.  In London, everything is expensive and the costs of cream tea ranged from £12-20 each.  So we abandoned that one and enjoyed a scone-free London, Cambridge, and Sheffield.

But finally, enter The Peak District!  After several hours of hiking through the truly beautiful Wye Dale, an old friend and I came upon the lovely little Assiford Tea Room in Ashford-on-the-Water.  Finally, cream tea!

That’s right: warm scone, delicious strawberry jam, and clotted cream.

Tags: ,
February 2, 2011

Garlic and Parsley Soup, French Bread, and Upstate New York Wisdom

Here in the hinterlands, we got another good foot of snow last night, and it’s begun blowing and flurrying again tonight. We’re cozying up and dosing ourselves with a heady combination of hot toddies, garlic and parsley soup with noodles, and a particularly inspired homemade crusty French bread. Followed by a rousing game of scrabble and some cheerful bluegrass—and okay, for one of our roommates (hint: the one who lives in the actual closet) “bluegrass music” also means some freakin’ Dixie Chicks. If this sounds like a recipe for perfect bliss, friend, it is. We’ve been inspired by the towering success of the bread to begin a weekly series of blog posts, each attempting a different bread from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Below you’ll find the recipe for the spicy, light soup, and some helpful hot toddy hints. Take one into the hot shower with you (it is not weird quoth the closet-dweller) after the cold, snowy walk to the liquor store and you’ll feel you’ve died and gone to heaven.

And now, for an anecdote as the cherry on this Wednesday sundae: We are three fairly liberal gals living in a very conservative enclave. Today this was all turned on its head with a choice comment made by our salt of the earth neighbor, a dispenser of advice on dog-walking, sprained-ankle-healing, snow-shoveling, and truck-moving who is naturally named Bob. One of our gang happened to be tramping into town past Bob’s house, where he was indeed heartily shoveling snow, with a troupe of snow-day-addled and rosy-cheeked children. Bob took one look at our harried compatriot wrangling a small herd of children through the snowdrifts and cheerfully exclaimed, “You need me to give ya the number for Planned Parenthood?” And thus, an ever-so-slightly scandalous joke about birth control made our night. We’ll take what we can get!

Hot Toddy
The classic recipe is a tipple of whiskey (Irish, American (i.e. bourbon) or Scottish (i.e. scotch) a slice of lemon, and the rest of the glass filled with just boiled water. Variations include throwing some tea into the mix, and milk and sugar if the spirit moves you, though dairy and alcohol might just throw you for a nasty loop in quantity.

Parsley and Garlic Soup


1. Cut at least two heads of large garlic.
2. Cook over very low heat with olive oil and black pepper. Stir frequently
3. Add eight cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil.
4. If using water, add at least two vegetable bouillon cubes.
5. Add a teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt.
6. Once the bouillon has dissolved turn the heat down a bit.
7. If you want, add a few handfuls of uncooked pasta. It will cook in the soup.
8. When the pasta is done, turn off the heat and add at least half a bunch of parsley. We used frozen parsley from this fall, but fresh would work just as well.
Serve with delicious bread and parmesan if you want.