I sit here at the computer patting my warm sleek black cat who purrs as though it all means something. But cat, I’m procrastinating. There are soaked kidney beans to be boiled then baked this afternoon in slathers of molasses, packed with sweet onions and mixed with mustard. There are chicken thighs to be spiced and stuffed with olives and medjool dates, capers to be cast, lemon juice to be sprinkled.
Pie crusts range upon the counters, clamoring to be filled with sliced apples, nutmeg and cinnamon, crumbled brown sugar and more lemon juice. Grape pie filling sits in bowls, waiting for the final prep and the plunge into the hot oven. Both the apples and the grapes grew upon this little property as did all the lemons I use like a chorus.
I have two flavors of bread dough to start today so it gets the tang of an overnight rise, I have an enormous cake already baked to split the layers on and spread with mixed-berry jelly before I robe it in cream cheese frosting. Oh yes, let’s not forget imbibing it with syrup as well! Can’t have a grand cake crumble like sawdust in the mouth.
Stuff those pasillas, corn and goat cheese and a mincing of onions. Mix the spice rubs, a sneeze-worthy combination of paprika and black and white pepper, salt and thyme, a smidge of cloves and a dash of allspice. That’s for the racks of ribs, to be slow-smoked in the grill for four or five hours till the meat is truly melting off the bones. Tomorrow, last minute, I’ll oven-poach flanks of salmon under different glazes, one a buttery European blend of herbs, the other a blazing Thai take with honey and our own violent red peppers fresh from the kitchen garden.
So, am I cooking for an army? In a way. Tomorrow evening we host the annual welcome party for faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni and fellows of the university’s department of Earth Sciences. An army of people who every year work to better understand this earth on which we stand. Earthquake hunters, fossil seekers, people who snuff along spying on the mysterious ways of water. Our army, Earth’s army, in a long struggle that moves without much note from the rest of the world. Must make sure that if anyone leaves hungry it’s his/her fault not mine!
I’m a Fellow of the department. I joke I’m entitled to the name of Robin Goodfellow by their honor. What am I doing? Procrastinating.
See you after the feast.