Sunday, December 26, 2021
Delicious & Decadent - Cinnamon Honey Butter
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
A Rafter of Turkeys - Happy Thanksgiving
Wild turkeys are native to North America. The Spanish brought them to Europe in 1519, so REVENA would not have had turkey on her dinner table. She would have chicken, partridge, geese, duck, and pheasant.
What might be the menu of one of REVENA's holiday meals?
Menu items: pickled vegetables, cabbage chowder, creamed fish, roasted venison, mushroom pasties, mutton stew, haddock in brown ale, cherry, plum, and pear compote, custard tarts and pudding, and mulled wine. And bread.
You can find the recipes for these medieval foods on The British Museum's blog or check out Castle Life - Medieval Food & Cooking.
Here are the members of my rafter from oldest to most recent. This year's version is at the bottom.
Sunday, November 07, 2021
Favorite Childhood Feel-Good Foods
I associate specific foods with certain people. All of my comfort foods come matrilineally.
My Uroma (we’re Austrian on my mother’s side) lived in a communal farmhouse called Kaserermühl along the Mühlbach (mühl means mill.) She was born in 1891. When I stayed with her, she had the baker deliver Salzstangerl for me for breakfast. Uroma made the best broths, clear and rich with flavor.
My Oma and I went to the butcher often because back then you bought your food fresh for the day’s meals. He always had Leberkäse, still warm from the oven between two slices of fresh bread, ready for me for our visits. On really special occasions, we went to the Konditorei in Hallein for a Heiße Liebe (Hot Love), warm raspberry sauce over vanilla ice cream.
My mother bequeathed me Zúckerbrot, bread, butter, and sugar, a combination that is better than any drug to calm and soothe. She gave us Schmandi, eggs, milk, and a little flour cooked in butter and topped with sugar. I have yet to find it on the internets. The closest I have gotten so far is the Kaiserschmarrn, but that’s way more work than our humble fare.
I’ve given my daughter Sick Peoples’ Soup, basically a chicken broth egg drop soup with cream of wheat that I made her the many times she wasn’t feeling well.
My grandson requests a plain toasted bagel topped with whipped cream cheese and cut into 6ths. According to him, this is perfection.
What do you consider the perfect feel-good food?
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Boo Hoo - What Did You Do on Your First Halloween?
I stood in the rain and watched the water drops splash up from the ground through the arches of my feet. The light from the street lamp sparkled and refracted on liquid beads. I turned my face up to the weeping sky and felt nothing.
I was the only being out on the street tonight.
The wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube jack-o-lantern in my neighbor’s yard dodged and bobbed in the wind. The blowup ghost hissed and moaned. An umbrella, its bones turned inside out, tumbled down the avenue, skipping to the tune of spooky music blaring from static speakers.
The children in the only decorated house on the block pressed their runny noses against the living room window, sadness painting their faces instead of costume makeup. I waved to them. The brats ignored me.
Halloween in the time of covid. No Trick or Treating.
The weather wasn’t helping the festivities. If it weren’t for the freezing rain, the brats would be outside all night, hooting and hollering at the Blue Moon while their mother sat on the stoop sipping wine.
They usually kept me awake as their house was right across the street from my bedroom window. Being a crotchety old man, I grumbled about irresponsible parents and rowdy children with no business having fun while my ancient body ached.
I’d yell at them to get the fuck off my lawn, but they never came anywhere near me or my stuff. No one had any respect for old people nowadays. Even worse, they had no time.
My children and grandchildren lived hundreds of miles away and rarely called. I hadn’t seen them in years. Once their mother left me ten years ago, they felt no genuine compunction to contact me. I had few earthly possessions to tempt their attention, and mutual affection evaporated around the time of puberty. Mostly, I was ignored.
Just like now. I stood in the rain, staring at those damn kids staring at me, and they acted like they couldn’t even see me. I approached their fenced in yard. I wanted to pop all of their inflated decorations. Besides the orange tube guy and the trite white ghost, there was a black cat with demonic eyes, a dancing witch with neon pink hair and bright green skin, a hairy wart wiggling on her nose, and a skeleton that fell apart and reassembled to the tune of “Dem Bones.” Frankenstein’s monster had given up its Mortal coil. He lay shriveled on the ground like a spent water balloon.
I went through the front gate. It didn’t squeak. Disappointing. I glided around various homemade tombstones, quiet as a corpse rising from its crypt. I have to admit they were kind of clever:
I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK
NOAH SCAPE - ALWAYS FELT TRAPPED
PLEASE DON’T WAKE THE DEAD - THEY’RE GRUMPY
HERE SHE LIES - DEE COMPOSING
I even chuckled at a few of them, but I would never admit to that, especially after nearly stepping in dog poop. You’d think they would clean up a bit before putting out the ornamentations. It seems they had better things to do. In my day, we cleaned and straightened up for days before a holiday so we’d be worthy of a celebration. It felt like getting a trophy just because you showed up.
I survived the canine waste obstacle course and hunkered down in the bushes under the window. I rose a little, my eyes and nose breaching the sill. I got a good view of childish chins lowered to immature chests in sorrow. You’d think someone had died. The floor behind them held an assortment of drug store costumes, plastic masks, and discarded candy wrappers.
Mom lay on the couch, an arm thrown over her eyes, an empty glass on the floor under her dangling fingers. Their German Sheppard, Fang, rested in the chaos, his ears twitching, shifting like a satellite dish on the lookout for alien signals, and his eyebrows danced like Groucho Marx.
The mutt jumped up and rushed to the window. He barked and lunged, scattering the children. Mom startled, sat up, and yelled at people and the animal. I ducked down and ran for the street. The front door opened, and Fang shot into the yard, followed by the mother and her brood.
I dove into the hedges next to my house and sat on the ground to catch my breath. I expected rapid breathing and a palpitating heart. I felt weirdly calm.
From my hidden perch, I watched the unwashed masses storm the road with weapons in the shape of brooms and shovels. One of the minions brandished a three-legged doll that was missing patches of blonde hair. The dog snarled as Mom held it by the collar. Her heels dug into the lawn’s dirt while his licked up tufts of soil and brown grass.
This was more excitement than an aging person needed. I always knew by sixty I will have had enough. The noise, the mess, the constant upkeep. Why bother?
I felt justified and satisfied with my decision even though I had made it jokingly in my twenties. I had no desires left. I bequeathed curiosity to the neighborhood Tom. I watched all of the Andy Griffiths and Gunsmoke reruns. I couldn’t hang out at my local bar anymore.
Thunder and lightning chased the little monsters across the street back into their den. The slam of the door snuffed out their shrieks. Mom must have pulled the plug since all of the blowup figures deflated, the lights went out, and the tin canned spirits exorcised their right to some rest. The night returned to the unnatural pandemic quiet.
I turned back to my home, reached the front stoop, and grabbed the door handle. It passed through my fingers. I pushed on the door. It didn’t move, but I ended up in my front room. There I sat in my recliner, slumped over, head lolling to the left, my favorite beer mug on the side table, my revolver on the floor under my lifeless fingers.
Saturday, October 02, 2021
Saturday, January 16, 2021
This Reading Life
I plan to do more reading in 2021. Over the last few years, life exhausted me, so I found I stopped doing things that feed my soul, which is not the way to go about things. I tend to shut down and zone out, and I want to change that. Unfortunately, I can’t think when I get like that, so I have to make plans and lists that don’t require input; just do. It is incredible how empty I can make my mind.
Here’s my reading list for January 2021:
Simple. The top half is E-Books that I read anywhere. The bottom four are paper books that I read while couch potatoing. (Believe it or not, spell check recognizes those underlined words.) I bore easily, so this gives me multiple sensory experiences, various ways to read for all possible locations, and the ability to go slower and faster depending on the work.
My minimum quantity of reads each month will be a classic work of fiction, a contemporary piece of fiction, a writer’s book, and nonfiction work.
You can find my book reviews at Nessa’s Reading Room. I finished The Bell Jar last week, and I posted my review.
Oh, and you may have noticed that my book, Revena’s Revenge, is at the bottom of the list. Yes, I am reading my book because I will finish revising the damn thing and publish it this year. I swear.