25 September 2018

Our Call in the Midst of Kavanaugh





Christine Blasey Ford says that Brett Kavanaugh, current nominee to the Supreme Court, sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s. And it's loud enough out there in the public square that I find myself needing to clarify my own thoughts.  

I offer them here, open to genuine engagement with whomever might come along. 

Some Category Organization:

One: Women have historically been in an economically and politically weaker position in the public spheres of the West. 
This remains true today, though the disparity is less than it has been at other times in recent history. I have had, throughout my teen and adult years, negative experiences connected with my gender. I know of few women who will not articulate the same. These experiences include a wide range of things - from those rightly criminalized by our penal code and which deserve a treatment by Dante - to the things that fall under what are now called microagressions by some, but which I'd call tacky or about which my Mama would smile and say, "Aww. Poor thing. I don't think he's been taught." 

Parsing these experiences is helpful and necessary, but denying their existence is absurd. Failure to admit that women have historically been and still remain in a weaker position in public spheres is naive and patronizing. The question is not whether women have been and are in that position - the question is what to do with that fact. 

The particular suffering of women at the hands of men is real. Men have often abused and still often do abuse their power, in ways big and small.  

Two: Humans of both genders are liars.
My theology tells me that there has only been one exception, and He's seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Science agrees with my Bible - people lie. And, anecdotally, we all know this to be true. Ask any parent in the world.


So, when Human A accuses Human B of an action, and Human B denies it, it is entirely possible that either Human A or Human B could be lying. Because any Human could be lying.  

Three: Humans of both genders misremember.
The science on this is fascinating and unsettling, but it is clear that even without any mal-intention of any kind, our memories are fallible. They are regularly incomplete and often incorrect. Again, my theology tells me the heart is deceptive - we deceive not only knowingly, but we unknowingly deceive ourselves. And, again, anecdotally, we know this to be the case. The experience within a marriage of one person remembering that we have said nothing of Friday evening plans and the other remembering that we clearly discussed going to the Joneses' for supper is not unique to my own marriage. I know, see, because it is the theme of many a standup routine - and everyone always laughs.

So, when Human A accuses Human B of an action, and Human B denies it, it is entirely possible that Human A or Human B is unintentionally misremembering.

Four: Discerning truth when humans disagree can be quite difficult.
When we are presented with situations with Human A and Human B accusing/denying, each person, being created equal and so being equally in nature likely to lie or misremember, deserves to be viewed with equal weights and balances, until such time as things are added to the equation that give us an ability to believe that one person is lying or misremembering and the other is accurately relaying facts.

Complicating this further - it is possible for two parties to be lying, misremembering, or even accurately relaying different pieces and parts of a story - and it is even possible for no one person to be capable of full accuracy. 

Five: There are some instances about which we may never know truth. 

Really smart, honest scholars regularly disagree over all sorts of historical facts, and I still don't know for sure which one of my children originated the idea to tattoo our yard's many lizards.

Six: We are often bad truth-finders. 

The difficulties articulated in numbers four and five do not get at the most significant difficulty of all. The very humans who are tasked (or task themselves...) with finding the truth are affected by being fallen themselves.We invariably want one person to be accurate and the other to be wrong about the facts. 

Americans want our SCOTUS nominee or his accuser to be correct. We want Kavanaugh to win or lose, be confirmed or rejected, and that affects our desires about the situation's facts. We desire facts. Let that roll over in your brain. A desire for certain facts is dangerous if our task is truth-finding. There are impressive volumes of judicial rules about finding dispassionate jurors. Because it's very difficult. 

We are never disinterested, nor are we without flaw. There is one just judge of the universe. And not one of us is He. 

------

Thoughts about our current situation: 

One: I have no idea what happened at a party in the 1980s. 
Neither does anyone reading this.

Two: We should not automatically #believesurvivors. 
The logic that says those victimized must be automatically believed says that having something done to you makes you more reliable than you were before something was done to you. It's simply not the case. Being raped, assaulted, victimized in any way does not change a person's reliability. Human suffering demands all available charity and provision, but it does not change a person's nature as it pertains to reliability, for good or ill. 

A victimized person is a person deserving every single manner of care and respect, a person bearing the image of God, and a person who yet suffers the effects of a fallen human nature. Some have conflated charity, respect, and care with belief, and with that confusion, we do a great disservice to truth and to people.

Three: We should take very seriously what women have to say, because women are humans, and our job as humans is to care for humans.  Moreover, we currently share a special burden to be watchful against the sins of our culture. 
Women have been dismissed in far too many cases, and women deserve the protection and respect of their society. We have corporately failed to protect women from men. We have protected abusers from justice rightfully demanded by their victims, especially when those abusers have been powerful, prosperous, and privileged white men. 

The record reflects that I am a pretty bad driver - therefore, it is incumbent upon me to be especially vigilant on the interstate. We post-modern westerners are bad women-protectors; it is incumbent upon us to be especially vigilant when given an opportunity to defend a woman. This is not because she is more reliable. This is because we should know ourselves, and we should be repenting of our failures and seeking to crucify our individual and corporate sins.  

Four: Kindness to fellow humans is always merited - whether toward accused or accuser.

No one has ever stumbled because he offered peaceful and careful words. Speaking truth never requires being ugly. We are not required to rain down fire and brimstone, nor are we are required to be unpleasant. Thanks be to God. 

Five: This is all annoying, because it doesn't land me on a specific team. 
But that's an indictment of us and our desire to be on a team at the expense of truth and virtue. And it's an indictment of the current culture in which we live that we have not available to us a team that prioritizes virtue and truth above all else. 

But, both indictments are old news. People are terrible. Politics is worse. Come on in - the water is far from fine, but it's the water we have here within the now and the not yet.  I'll pour you glass of Perrier or Cabernet - your choice.  

----
What is our call?  

We are called to be quick to listen, to admit our own fallibility, to examine our own individual biases and their effect on our interpretations of facts, and to keep a good humor about us. 

We are called to remember that this will be a blip on the timeline of history. Our grandchildren may never know the name of Brett Kavanaugh, and certainly their grandchildren will not. But, our children and friends will know what wisdom and temperance look like. (Or what they do not look like.) We will pass down our mode of being to our children, and them to theirs; and lo and behold, how we live our lives will matter to our grandchildren's grandchildren.  

We are called to fight for the weak and to fight for the truth whenever we are given an opportunity. We are called to remember that though there may appear to be a tension, standing for the weak and standing for truth are never in actual conflict. 

We are called to flee tribalism and run to the cross. We are called to remember that there is a just judge on the throne, He is the final arbiter of truth, and He will neither abandon us nor forsake us.  

We are called to have our dinner parties, watch our Parks and Rec, read our novels, pray our confessions and shout our thanksgivings, and remember that the future of America's High Court is not our job, and even if it were, it's ever so self-important to think we can scream into the noise and change the course of history.  

But, we can change the spirit of our social media interactions, debates with spouses, lunches with colleagues, mutterings at the radio.  

We can, by the grace of God, affect the spirit of our homes, and that is exactly what we are called so to do.  

18 December 2017

Our Great Rescuer



As a part of our sort of Christmas theme, I was recently asked to tell our church a story of how God has rescued me.  My first thought was, "Me? rescued?  I feel like I'm a complete mess at every moment," and my second thought was, "Which story of rescue?  There are thousands."

But, I gave it a moment, and God was faithful to walk me through.  The process was humbling and exhausting and simply beautiful.
A few people have asked for the text, so I thought I'd put it here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

God rescues his people from all kinds of heinous sin.  And my life is a story of redemption from sin.  In scripture, we also see God comfort his people through all kinds of griefs.  From Job's utter devastation to Ruth's poverty, we see God rescue our souls from all our sins and sorrows.   And my life - and I know many of yours - are stories of those rescues. 

But he is also rescuing me from a sneakier devil. 

20 November 2017

On Not Holding Too Tightly: Turkey Day 2017

An F for Forster Buttermold.  We won't be using them this year.  And that's okay.  


When Paul and I married in 2006, we were twenty-one and courageous young idiots.  In the spirit of that, I decided that seven months after said marriage, while 5 months pregnant, I would host Thanksgiving at our house.  And we've done so ever since.

But, this year, my Mama asked if we could move the celebration to her house.  She doesn't ask for much, really.  And she wasn't asking that I not play hostess - just that I play hostess with her at her house.  But, I struggled.  And that's when you know you're holding a tradition too tightly.  Families are not made for traditions, but traditions for families.  If I can't move Thanksgiving up the road 15 miles and joyfully give thanks, well, I may need a talking to.

And if you know you may need a talking to, you should probably swerve to avoid.

So, north to Mama's we're headed.

If you love Thanksgiving menus and the evolution of tradition, here are the last eight.  I didn't record the first three.  I grieve.  But, see, I let go, because I've just learned about not holding too tightly, right?  Oh, we need more than one lesson in the same thing?  What is this?

I digress.  Here are the menus:

2016
2014 
2013
2012 
2011
2010
2009

To Twenty Seventeen:

Pick Up Food 
All me, because I'm a pick up food enthusiast:
Sweet & Spicy Pecans
Goat cheese, Honey, Rosemary, Bacon with pears to dip.
Hot Almond Swiss Dip


Main Dish
Turkey - I'm brining it and baby brother is smoking it on The Green Egg.  I'm thrilled with this arrangement.


The Side Board

The two standards return and the six in rotation continue...

Cornbread Dressing - Mama is doing her dressing.  Which is also my dressing.  As I've said before, this is *the* dressing, and we won't ever do anything else, I don't imagine.  Celery, Onion, Two different cornbreads, pepper for days.

Sweet Potato Casserole - Mama is also doing this.  And she'll never tolerate a pecan, so it will be covered in all the sticky marshmallows she can muster.

-------
1) Scalloped Potato Gratin - I try to vary these sides.  We did this last year, but I asked Ada if she had any requests and this was the only thing she said, and I'm trying oh so hard to remember that she's not a little kid anymore and if I asked an adult what he or she wanted, I wouldn't then trample the request in the quest for the tradition of variety. Not holding too tight.

2) Big Beautiful Salad - our dear friends the Sinclairs are coming, and Petula makes a delightful green salad and she's bringing that and I will say thank you.

3) Butternut Squash Gratin - I sent Paul to the store for squash the other day.  He came back with enough to feed two armies. So, I'm wasting not and putting it to use.

4) Carrots - Mama is roasting carrots for us. I imagine they will involve butter and honey.

5) Brussels Sprouts - Our friends the Kelleys are coming and offered these.  They are my favorite vegetable, so that works out very, very much.

6) Creamed Corn.  I just love corn, and I love cream.  I usually spice it up a bit.



On The Table

Gravy - My dear stepmother Carrie is just better at it.  And so this year I just asked her to make it.

Cranberry Sauce - Mama is making cranberry sauce.  I'm asking her to triple it so I can take it to the school thanksgiving feast as well.  Because my husband finds efficiency the most attractive quality in a person, and I like to get him all doe-eyed because I'm only boiling cranberries once.

Eason Family Homemade Pickles - Sweet, Spicy, All The Time

Canned Spiced Peaches - Every year.  And every year I think I might stop, but I'm not going to.  Though, last year they were out of spiced peaches at the store and so I had to make some.  I was quite popular.

Bread Basket - Mama is making butter biscuit rolls.  I'm making sour dough, buttered and toasted.


Dessert Cart

Cheesecake - Carrie. Second year in a row.  I. Can't. Wait.

Pecan Pie - I just love it.  As long as the pecans are chopped so tiny.  I'm going to make two - one in a gf pie crust.

Chocolate Chess Pie - AB and I accidentally made an improvement on this recently.  We were out of baker's chocolate.  We tasted the finished product and both though it was better than the original.  Which I didn't think possible.  We're going to do the same thing, but with a couple of festive tweaks - amaretto may be involved.  Also one gf option.

Apple Cake - Mama.  So good.

Gluten Free Dessert Surprise - Petula. I know it will be excellent.


We're so excited - the folks around here are so ready to chop and stir, though they're happy playing donkey kong right now.  Plenty of cooking to be done over the next 72 hours.  And now, I'll type out the schedule.  ;)

25 January 2017

Why I Didn't March




Last weekend, there was this march.  Don't know if you heard.  

More than half a million women and their supporters marched in Washington, and probably a million others marched around the country and the world.  Maybe more, depending on which alternative of the facts you support.  Regardless, it was a lot.  

These citizens largely marched in protest of our recently elected and now inaugurated President Trump.  They also marched for women's rights and a slew of other progressive causes.  If you want to read the official platform, you can find it here. 

I didn't join these women.  

I am compelled to speak into the noise because of the misunderstandings I've seen throughout media, social and otherwise.  If one tried to respond to each position, well, whack-a-mole city.  But, I will endeavor to try to articulate a few.    

29 December 2016

2016 Christmas Year In Review

Easter Sunday 


It is the fifth day of Christmas, and it's time for the annual year in review.  


From Family Photo Shoot by Ashleigh Coleman Photographer

My babies don't have baby books, I've never owned a scrapbook, and so I blog. Or, I used to.  At least I can keep this one tradition going: the year in review.  ;)  

2016 has been a less-than-awesome year for famous-in-the-80s celebrities, and it was pretty unpleasant for establishment Democrats.  But, we're neither of those things, so we're doing okay.  

We are still loving our house in Sherwood Forest (actually so named), which backs up to the undeveloped flood plain, the Hundred Acre Wood (my name for it I made up).  The boys (and some girls too) are out there a lot, tromping around, dragging dead wood into various arrangements that for them have meaning.  We've moved the dining room table once per year since we moved in, and we think we've found its permanent home, so that's big news and good news too.  We hope to stay in this house until the children have to go through our things here.  We did join a new church this year - First Presbyterian Jackson - and that has been a great blessing for our family.  We do miss our sweet people at Immanuel Pres, our old church, but God has been good in his transition, as He is all the time.  


From Rehearsal Dinner in NOLA for the wedding of our dear friends, Rachel and James.  


Paul's job as Director of Engineering for Flowood is really good to him.  It keeps him outside about half the time, and it never bores him.  This is mostly because there is always another problem to fix, and fixing problems is Paul's favorite hobby.  He also enjoys tutoring - high school science, math, and standardized test preparation.  Of course, I guess that's still just problem solving.   I can say this about him because he's mine - Paul is a model patriarch.  As I type, he's playing mario kart with the children and showing them no mercy.  Paul reads aloud to the people, wakes up in the middle of the night with the still-once-a-week-up toddler, and dances with me in the kitchen.  That's usually my idea though.  Paul has taken back up the flute of late, and we were comforted to know that the thousands of dollars and hours spent in his youth did not go wasted.  He recently fixed a lawn mower engine and is very proud.  

Favorites 
Book:  The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (for whom he might leave me if she was still with us...) 
TV Show:  Stranger Things 
Music:  Abigail Washburn (I don't know who that is)
Movie: La Grande Bellezza 
New Skill: Spoke Shaving 
School Subject:  Physics (still) 
Thing to Wear:  Underwear (he's so funny).  
Food:  Anything Ann Lowrey cooks (isn't he just charming). 
Color: Green 
Activity:  Small Engine Repair 



House Concert at Brooks's and Carrie's House.  

My plate remains full, though it does feel like I have a bit more margin than I did a few years ago.  Margin is my favorite buzzword this year for sure.  I am serving as the Academic Counselor at St. Augustine School (come to an information meeting!), and teaching Logic, Latin, and some English Grammar.  Diagramming sentences is the bomb, parsing makes me happy, and determining the validity of syllogisms is just delightful. More importantly, introducing all those to middle school students makes my heart sing.  Being the Academic Counselor means I work with our administration to pick curriculum, I work with teachers to implement curriculum and determine what we're aiming for our students to master, how to get there, and how to measure it.  It's challenging work, and though I didn't predict it would be my path, I am ever so glad it has been.  I get to be at home on M/W/F, which is a great balance for me personally and for our family.  I did get to have one fancy dinner party (I love a menu card) and a lot more non-fancy suppers this year than I have the previous three years while the school was getting on its feet, which was a huge win.  My goals for 2017 include writing more and engaging more fully with our city.  

Favorites 

Book:  A book of Amy Hempel short stories 
TV Show:  The Crown, for sure
Movie:  Lala Land
Music:  Clay Parker and Jodi James
New Skill: Tuning out political insanity
School Subject:  Logic
Thing to Wear:  a smile
Food:  Apple Walnut Dressing (I tried it for a dinner party, and I can't stop making it).   
Color:  Light Blue 
Activity: Watching The West Wing with Paul William Forster.  







Ada Brooks is 12.5 and five foot three and really excited to eventually be taller than I am, which is not going to happen on my watch - heavens.  Ada loves her friends at school and church, and she loves baking - for anyone who will let her. She's in the school's running club this year, which is not her favorite, but it's good for her.  In school, she's taking Latin 2, Logic (from her mean mother), and Medieval History, which is pretty fun, as well as Algebra I, English, and Art.  She knows way more about the Popes than I do, for sure.  Ada has become quite the competent babysitter for my people and a few other adorable folks.  She blesses her family and all those who know her, and she's rapidly approaching the level of my best friend.  

Favorites
Book:  The Book Thief 
TV Show:  Psych 
Movie:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  
Music:  All sorts.  (she's figuring out her groove)   
New Skill: Calligraphy
School Subject: Logic (be still my heart).  
Thing to Wear: Blue Jeans

Career Aspiration:  Architect
Food:  Pizza 
Color:  Gray
Activity: Baking 







Eason is in the fourth grade at St. Augustine School, which has been fun transition for him into bigger work load and harder things.  He's in his first year of Latin study, and I'm not teaching him, which has been so fun to be uninvolved and watch his Latin grow.  Eas is very athletic, but not in a sports-y way - more in a scaling the nearest smooth boulder kind of way.  Good thing we're low on boulders in Mississippi.  He loves the woods and asked for (and received) camping gear for his birthday.  Eason's level of extroversion can't be quantified (he'd break the Meyers Briggs; I'm positive).  He reads aloud interesting or funny passages to us so often - just so we can be in on the book he's reading.  When this isn't making us tired, it is endearing him to us even further.  

Favorites 
Book: The Ranger's Apprentice (boo) 
Movie:  Rogue One 
TV Show: Kicking It (it's awful.  I'm showing restraint by even allowing it to be chosen as a favorite, but, then again, it's not my favorites list...  keep telling myself that). 
Music:  Cello Wars by The Piano Guys 
New Skill:  Ripsticking 
School Subject:  History 
Thing to Wear: Blankets (it's a problem.  Underwear and blankets-  his uniform).  
Food:  Homemade Bean Burritos 
Career Aspiration:  Pediatrician.  
Color:  Green
Activity: Play in the creek with his friend Truman.  


                               

                               


Collins is seven and a half, and he's such a funny little guy.  He is as introverted as Eason is extroverted, and it makes him tired to live at our house.  Poor thing.  Collins is in second grade, and especially loves the science and history projects his teacher expertly arranges for him.  He played soccer this fall and loved the defensive side of things, but isn't on his way to the world cup anytime soon.  He picks his friends carefully and does not suffer from a fear of missing out.  Collins is witty and he's a phenomenal sous chef.  I wouldn't trade him for the world.  

Favorites
Book: Harry Potter (began this year - it's been fun to add him).  
TV Show:  Kicking It 
Movie:  Captain America Civil War 
Music:  The Piano Guys 
New Skill: Calligraphy (his sister has been teaching him - pretty sweet) 
School Subject:  Science 
Thing to Wear: Ole Miss 
Sweatshirt
Food:  Chocolate Pie 
Color:  Light Blue 
Activity:  Airsoft with Seth.  
                         

                        

Elsa Gray is a mess, a pistol, a character, delightful and spoiled.  She is the fanciest of all the Forsters, and she makes us look like poor little Nancy's boring family in those books.  She adores dress up and pretend play, and we could all listen to her for hours. Until we can't, and then it's time for bed. She says hysterical things all the days, and her hair is always ragamuffin looking in her face (due mostly to the constant donning of and removing of hats, crowns, etc.).  She stole our hearts upon arrival, and she keeps them hidden somewhere very smart, because not one of us has gotten ours back.  

Favorites
Book:  The Bible (She gets me all to herself for Bible and Catechism at night, and she loves it - be still my heart). 
TV Show:  Little Bear or Daniel Tiger
Movie: Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch. 
Music:  Five Fat Turkeys Are We from school.  
New Skill:  Independent Pottying. (she couldn't come up with a new skill.... But I sure have a favorite).  
School Subject:  Nap time.  (Weirdo).  
Thing to Wear:  My pink Christmas Tree dress.  
Food: beans.  All the beans.   
Color: Pink and Purple.  
Activity:  play with Polly the doll, play memory with Mama



Halloween - A shadow, Merlin, Indiana Jones, and a Ballerina
After the Nutcracker at Thalia Mara.  
Mama took the kiddos to watch the rebels.  
At the Gryphon Games at School!  Go Owls!  
First Day of School.  
Fourth of July. 
Sugar Bowl Watch Party 
The Ballerina and Her Shadow.  
Father's Day.  Best Daddy.  
Ono Island with our dear friends the Tysons.  

16 November 2016

You Can't Fuss With Your Mouth Full


AB's Sweet Potatoes from a couple of years ago. We'll see how the rebels do this weekend before we decide if we want to repeat this design..  ;) 

This year is mine and Paul's eleventh Thanksgiving to be married and the eleventh year we'll gather around our dinner table for a meal full of good things with people who make our hearts sing.  Paul is not a cook, but he's a smashing good conversationalist, and I'm proud to play cohost with him year after year, weekend after weekend, moment after moment.

In the midst of the insanity that has been public American life for 2016, I think it's especially important that we pause and give thanks. That we make a pretty table, and prepare enough food to feed an army, and then gather the army, and then laugh.  We should remember that thanks is nonsensical without an object - and that object is the Creator God of the universe.  We can all sit around and lament America, but, friends, I live in a world in which the question, "Which Microplane makes the most sense to grate the fresh nutmeg?" is actually being pondered. There are a multitude of cheeses, fresh fruits, meats, and chocolate.  And did I mention the cheese?  It is all ridiculous, prodigal, absurd.  And when we let it pass by, or sully it with a lack of gratitude, well, we've entered absurdity from a whole different angle.  We've problems a plenty, but last I checked, our blessings outweighed our problems.  And that's not the case for many in the world today.  So, eat.  You can't fuss with your mouth full.

We're traveling to visit dear friends for Turkey Day proper, but we'd not feel we'd done our filial duty if we didn't host a spread here, so a bunch of extended family are all coming on Sunday Afternoon for a 4:00 meal of epic proportions.

Last year, I ruffled everyone's feathers by having no turkey and none of the traditional sides.  There was some embracing, but mostly the people were displeased.  The men especially fussed - you don't realize how a man likes his traditions until you alter things.  And, then the, "But where are the sweet potatoes?" will cut you to the quick. 

You can view last year's menu, as well as back to 2009, if you, you know, you are in desperate need of Thanksgiving inspiration and have a bunch of time on your hands.  

2014 
2013
2012 
2011
2010
2009

To Twenty Sixteen:

Pick Up Food 
Prosciutto Cups with Ricotta and Fig filling
Roasted Spiced Pecans
Crostini with Caramelized Onions, Braised Pears, and Whipped Blue Cheese

Soup
Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic


Main Dish
Turkey... ;)  I'm still debating what to do.  We've done grilled and liked it.  We've done slow roasted over night in the oven and liked it.  We've done traditional in the oven and liked it.  We've done fried and loved it but hated the mess.


The Side Board

The two standards return and the six in rotation continue...

Cornbread Dressing - My Mama is bringing the dressing. Thank heavens. This is *the* dressing, and we won't ever do anything else, I don't imagine.  It came, I believe, from my paternal grandmother - neither of my grandmothers was  a very good cook (funny isn't it?), though I think both of their mothers were great, and they taught their daughters some things.  Including this dressing.  I think Mama messed with it some when I was growing up, but, it hasn't changed much for sure.  Celery, Onion, Two different cornbreads, pepper out the wazoo, as they say.  Or at least as Mama says.

Sweet Potato Casserole - I'm bringing it back.  Sticking with the half marshmallow, half pecan topping. It reconciles all different view points, and goodness knows we can use some reconciliation.
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1) Scalloped Swiss Potato Gratin - I still can't spell it right.  How many p's?  How many l's?  One never knows.  This recipe is a standard in the rotation (not every year but most), and it is one of Paul's and Ma's favorites.

2) Spinach Gratin - My Stepmother is bringing this, and she's simply thrilling in the kitchen, so go team.

3) Salad - Arugula, pears, candied walnuts, goat cheese.  Yes, we're repeating a featured ingredient from an appetizer - pears - but, today in the mail came eight picture perfect Harry and David Pears... and who doesn't obey Harry and David?  If they're still firm on Saturday evening, I"ll poach them a bit.  I did a cider vinaigrette recently for a dinner party that was one of my favorite dressings I've ever made... and I'm certainly using it again.

4) Glazed Carrots - Honey, Butter, Simple Goodness

5) Proper Corn Pudding - The nytimes doesn't win some journalistic prizes, but it does have a great article on Thanksgiving food from each state from a couple of years ago.  I wasn't excited about the Mississippi recipe, but I've never done a proper corn pudding, and the one they published as the recipe from Virginia looks like the real deal.  So, I'm trying it - water bath and all.

6) Butternut, Burrata, Hazelnut Orzo - I'm making this up.  As I go.  But, what the hey - if it flops, we won't be low on food.  And we need a little adventure.  And how cold it flop?  And on and on I go - where I stop, nobody knows.



On The Table

Gravy - Every year, I ask my stepmother for her gravy recipe.  And every year, she dutifully sends it to me.  And every year, hers is better than mine. I'm plotting -I'm going to have all the ingredients ready and require her to make it when she walks in.  Don't tell.

Cranberry Sauce - You know - I've messed with it over the years - ginger, cayenne, kumquats - and its never been bad.  But, I've never thought, "Oh my!  We must never go back to regular ol' cranberry sauce again!"  So, this year, we're doing regular ol' cranberry sauce.  Cranberries, sugar, water, maybe some salt and pepper?

Eason Homemade Pickles - Sweet, Spicy, All The Time

Canned Spiced Peaches - I dare you to make me stop.  Double dog dare you.  I open one can all week... and it will remain this one.

Bread Basket - Rosemary Biscuit Muffins (me) and Sourdough Bread (Stepmother)


Dessert Cart

Honeyed, Salted Chocolate Pie - I saw it somewhere and decided it needed a try.  I'll let you know.

Cheesecake - Stepmother.  Can't wait.

Apple Pie - I've never made an apple pie in my life.  Horrors.  Or, as we Southern women say, Horrahs.  I think it's likely time.  If anyone has a must do, send it on!

Plum Spice Cake - An old family favorite.  I haven't made it in years and years.




It should be a sufficiency, as my dear grandfather used to say.  And hopefully larrupin, as he also used to say.  Regardless, it will be a blessing.





24 August 2016

2015: Christmas Time Review



Ada Brooks
Favorites
Book:  Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
TV Show:  Fetch with Ruff Ruffman
Movie: Inside Out
Music: The General by Dispatch
New Skill:  Baking
School Subject: Math
Thing to Wear: jeans and a tshirt
Food: Flourless Chocolate Torte
Color: Pink
Activity: working in the kitchen
Memory:  Seeing the Lion King on Broadway with Ba and D and all the food on the trip. 

 Eason
Book:  E. Aster Bunnymund by William Joyce
TV Show:  Ultimate Spiderman
Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Music: Elvira (by the Oakridge Boys)  or O Come O Come Emmanuel or anything by Pentatonix
New Skill:  Pole Vaulting with a stick he found in the woods called his staff.
School Subject: Math
Thing to Wear: Sumo footy pajamas
Food: Good Beef in General, especially that steak we had in August. 
Color: Blue
Activity: Climbing
Memory:  Watching the Rebels beat Mississippi State and just knowing we beat Alabama and LSU. 

Collins
Book:  "All the Magic Treehouses" by Mary Pope Osborne
TV Show:  Odd Squad
Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Music: Christmas Hymns
New Skill:  Reading real live chapter books all by himself
School Subject: Math
Thing to Wear: Sweatpants and an ole miss shirt
Food: Cheese Ravioli
Color: Blue
Activity: Playing with Seth (his bestie who moved away this year)
Memory:  Going to the Beans' new house all by myself and building forts. 

Elsa Gray:
Book:  But Not the Hippopotamus
TV Show:  Sesame Street (Particularly Elmo)
Movie:  The Adventure's of Winnie the Pooh (The only movie she'll sit and watch).
Music: Elmo's World Theme Song
New Skill:  Talking
School Subject: Colors
Thing to Wear: Dresses
Food: Yumby Chocket Tandy
Color: Pink
Activity: Dancing.  Definitely.