07 March 2008

How A Foodie Fasts

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
~ Doug Larson

The past couple of weeks have been a never-ending stream of x-rays, ct-scans, ultra-sounds and numerous hospital stays, all with the same answer: you are perfectly healthy and everything is functioning normally. We will just up the dosage of pain medication for the inexplicable and God-awful pain. Really? Thank you ever so much. Actually, a permanent IV of morphine would do nicely.

In short, the past couple of weeks have been exceedingly boring.

The most horrific part of my mystery illness has been the inability to eat anything. And I do mean anything. Well, anything solid and having any taste at all. Broth. This is what it has come to: broth. Sigh. Man does not live on broth alone….and neither does a Southern cook!

Happily, my non-existence appetite and broth exile has not affected my ability to cook and try new recipes on eager and willing friends and family. So I have filled my bed-ridden time pouring over foodie magazines, devouring old cookbooks and searching gourmet websites for ideas for the next culinary brouhaha: Easter dinner. This year, two of my roommates will be staying in town, so it promises to be a huge and absolutely insane gathering. I cannot wait!! If there is one thing I like better than cooking for my loved ones, it is cooking for a lot of my loved ones! ;-)

It has been a set-in-stone tradition in our family to serve ham for Easter dinner. No Virginia table would be complete without it and the one year we actually had Easter dinner out (the ultimate horror!) I swear I actually heard Robert E. do a 180 in his tomb! I myself am a great upholder of tradition ~ even traditions that are not strictly my own. I soak my soul in them! There is something comforting and connected about traditions ~ they say that what someone did and who they were mattered. And that hopefully we learn from what and who went before us. That being said, I also like to try new things.

So, how does this translate in the kitchen? Well, this year, the traditional ham will take center stage, but the glaze I use will be completely different from any I've tried before. I have not wuite decided on which one will win out, but I have several in the running. And in a supporting role this year will be lamb ~ a meat I have yet had the pleasure of swearing over…I mean, cooking. Not sure what costume it will be wearing when it does make its debut: in a stew or as a roast or perhaps even as chops? Then there will be the chorus: an endless array of sides: twists on old Southern standards, with some appearing in all their old regalia, completely untouched. After all, what’s the point of creating your own tradition if you don’t tip your hat to the old ones?
And the finale? Well, dessert will be a recap of what went before: old and new together. Mom's standard, old-fashioned coconut cake; my sister's rum-soaked banana pudding and something new, which I am still debating: dark chocolate and orange tart with toasted almonds, lemon panna cotta with blackberry sauce or individual maple and marscpone cheesecakes? Hmmm. Maybe I should have my readers vote on which dessert I should make (but of course, not eat!). Well, then ~ which should it be? Let me know!
And have a blessed and delicious weekend! ;-)
Oremus pro invicem,
Mikaela
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