Category Archives: Food

Social distance, day 93

For this 93rd day of physical distance from others, a cover of Disney’s “A dream is a wish your heart makes,” from Cinderella.

And a confession:  I am a weak, weak man.

The Costco run today, to collect blood pressure meds, led me right by the Prosecco.  And the largest bag of crunchy Cheetos I’ve ever seen, or purchased.

Lord, have mercy on me . . . a glutton.

The week in review

My world is opening back up, if only slightly.

I enjoyed some coffee time Thursday morning with a friend, on my patio, distant but not masked.

I saw a masked allergist on Monday, and found out that I’m allergic to the same allergens from 30 years ago — mold, the pollen from hickory and ash and elm and maple trees, ragweed, dust mites. Cats. And dogs.

But dog dander is manageable, and my peace of mind is more important. So Nelson stays.  In comes the HEPA air filter for the bedroom, though!

Webster is ready to welcome administrators back, and I may need to start going to the office again.

I got to the Missouri Botanical Garden on Saturday for two glorious hours of walking and literally smelling the roses.  Photos will roll out over the next five days.

Amidst the irises in the Japanese Garden.

Webster University’s BLACK LIVES MATTER banner was stolen sometime Thursday evening. A posting about this on Facebook led to an outpouring of support, and the usual idiots posting their venom as well. How disheartening, that college-educated alumni of a progressive school, one founded on tenets of social justice and inclusion, are venal and noisy and unrepentant.

Friday was a dark day as Trump and His Toadies finalized a rule rolling back some queer and trans protections established under the Obama Administration. Trump et al. chose to do this on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Their evil knows no bounds, and their places in some loveless afterlife are secure.

On the other hand, Trump got a slight slap-down from numerous ex-military leaders, and more than a thousand retired DoJ employees. The Unhinged Man continues his ways, however. Our national election cannot come soon enough.

Screen shot from the FB video feed.

Unemployment high. Stock market tumbling again. World standing continuing to decline.

My local Episcopal diocese ordained our new bishop on Saturday. Our first immigrant bishop in this diocese. Our first gay bishop in this diocese. And the youngest bishop in the Episcopal Church.

And then there’s Nelson. Wonderful, wacky, weird Nelson. He is more voluble now that he is comfortable. He is clingy and needy. He is clearly a lady’s man. And I adore him.

Nelson left me a little present this week after I was gone too long.  He is deliriously happy when I arrive home after being away even for a few minutes.  He loves car rides,  being outdoors, getting wet in the sprinkler.  And this week he went with me to a garage voice lesson out in Ballwin, where he kept the rest of the family entertained whilst I taught.

Nelson does like to sleep with his legs in the air.

Here’s more:

After rolling all over my bed and mussing up the sheets.

The boy loves to be outdoors. And this was taken ten minutes after I had cleaned the glass. He already had his nose on it.

Nelson is also a helper in the kitchen, joining me as I made passionfruit curd:

And no matter where I turn, he seems to have his eye on me, or at least on my escape route:

On the flip side, Nelson had a gambol in the gladiolas, to their detriment:

Note to self: Nelson cannot be outdoors when the neighbors are having their HVAC serviced.

I made two batches of pot-stickers this week. And a couple of Dutch babies for breakfast. And a new batch of slow-rise bread is in the works!

Canning

So many people are corona-baking. I am as well.

But I’ve started this year’s canning early, and am spending time over the stove every weekend.

In the past few weeks:

  • Two batches of blackberry preserves
  • A batch of raspberry preserves
  • Harissa
  • Chermoula
  • Passionfruit curd

This weekend it’s been sweet pickle relish, from scratch (English cucumbers, onion, red pepper, garlic, salt, white vinegar, sugar, turmeric).

And a few quarts of my famous lime pickles.

I have been ordering produce from SunFarm Produce, a wholesaler who is selling to the public. Two days ago they delivered a $107 order, since the neighbors and I went together to place an order.

They had pickling cucumbers. I ordered 10 pounds.

I pickled. Simple.

But the homemade sweet pickle relish? Heaven! I could really learn to like this stuff. As usual, though, I’m giving most of it away.

(The photo is from previous pickling sessions.)

A dream

Aunt Esther came to me in a dream this week.

With Aunt Esther, May 22, 2012. She’s 100 years and 28 days old.

She was as real my mind could conjure.

I was in the those early-sunrise hours, where random ideas and sounds and people dance in the semi-awake mind.  My alarm had sounded.  Somebody was making noise out on Lawn Place.  I heard the furnace kick on.  NPR was on the radio.

And I had rolled over for another 30-minute snooze.

We were in quarantine, Aunt Esther and I.  She was staying with me in a studio apartment.  And suddenly, in my right hand, I felt her soft, fleshy skin.  She said something I couldn’t make out, and then I was awake.

And in tears.

Aunt Esther had, in my memory, the softest skin that any lady of a certain age could have.  I remember she would take the remnants of the egg white from an egg shell and rub them on her face after clearing up breakfast.  She’d let that dry, and then rinse, all as part of her skin-care regimen.

Her hands and forearms showed no sign of really having worked the earth or toiled in labor.

And as a child, I loved holding her hand.

Truth be told, I did an an adult as well.

I’m taking her rêve visit as a sign that I am now on my 33rd day of not having touched any living soul.  Handshakes will be most welcome soon.  Hugs will be even more needed.


That same morning, I breakfasted on something I used to make at Aunt Esther’s neat little house on Clayton in Columbia — honey butter.

The table honey had crystallized, and I wanted honey with my toast, so I put the plastic bottle in some boiling water.  “It’ll be too hot to put on toast,” I thought.

And then I saw my butter dish.

So it was that a knob of butter and some hot honey were mashed and stirred until I had a childhood treat to put on the toasted bread (supplied by my friend D).

And happy was I.