November 12, 2011
Dear Loyal Readers, Friends and Family,
There’s lots of talk in our house these days about Santa. Almost every morning, Master M. wakes up and asks, “Did Santa come last night?” Gosh, it’s not even Thanksgiving and we’re already barreling down on Christmas! Today, during quiet time, he and I had a rather deep discussion about the Grinch and why he would try to steal Christmas. Despite the fact that Master M. felt I should somehow have super-mommy powers great enough to reach inside Seuss’s book and change the narrative–“I don’t like him stealing Christmas, Mommy”– he was mollified by the message of the story: that, indeed, Christmas can’t be stolen, no matter how many gifts and tinsel get carted away; the act of coming together is a bigger force than any gesture of vengeance (and any present, too.) What touched me the most, though, was how relieved he was when the Grinch was forgiven and how much he enjoyed the glee with which the Grinch sets about to carve the Whos’ “roast beast.”
Forgiveness, in our house, is a familiar theme—how could it not be with a two-almost-three-year-old running our operation? Many times a day we are discussing how to say, “I’m sorry,” to Hemmy, whose tale was just pulled, or to poor, patient Hoppy who just suffered an accidental bonk on the nose with a wiffle ball bat and then, to add insult to injury, was attacked by Hemmy (who thinks Hoppy’s tale is a very large, squirrely toy!) Hemmy, for the record, is turning out to be the most tolerant cat (when he isn’t persecuting Hopper), even submitting himself to an ongoing balloon sculpture, of which he is the foundation.
Today was chillier than it’s been in a while but, even so, while Dan worked with his friend, Frank, on a construction job out in Falmouth Foreside, Master M., Hopper and I piled into the car and drove to a nearby field for a long walk and then went to the Farmer’s Market. As the afternoon waned, M. and I found ourselves in the kitchen, making a dinner that ended up being a mini-Thanksgiving. When he isn’t pulling tails or trying to drink his juice “like Hemmy” (i.e. licking it out of his cup), M. is the perfect, enthusiastic sous-chef. Tonight we roasted a half-chicken with simply a little oil and sea salt and some good red wine in the pan. Into the oven went a handful of potatoes and out of the fridge came a Savoy cabbage, a couple of golden carrots and a red onion, which were all chopped and mixed into a deliciously creamy slaw. A few cranberries were pulled out of the freezer for a quick sauce.
Then, some magic happened: I lighted upon a pie crust left over from a dinner party last week at the back of the fridge. We looked at each other and I said two magic words: “Apple tart?” I was the coolest mommy anywhere for the next fifteen minutes.
In two shakes of a lamb’s tail, we were rolling out the crust and thinly slicing apples. Musing, (with tarte tatin on the brain), I said, “What do you think about the idea of a thin layer of ricotta?”
“That sheep’s milk ricotta we got today, Mommy?”
“Yeah, that one.”
“Yum,” and my charge went swiftly to the fridge and pulled out the jar of creamy, salty sheep’s ricotta, purchased this morning from a cheese maker who somehow continues to be a secret at the market while she blows our minds every week with something special.
Onto the crust went a clumpy layer of the ricotta, a thin covering of apples and a drizzle of butter that was browned with sugar and maple syrup. Then I shoved it into the oven next to the chicken for about twenty minutes. After our pre-Thanksgiving dinner, we had a dessert that was, truly, sublime. I might have to recreate that one when the holidays roll around!
Speaking of simple gifts and holidays, I found out last week that Made for You and Me has been nominated for a Good Reads Choice Award in the category of “Best Travel and Outdoors.” Apparently, we can all go and vote—I guess it’s a democracy on Good Reads!– and sometime in the coming weeks the votes will be tabulated:
What are your thoughts for the holidays? What simple gifts are you choosing to accentuate? I’d love to hear from you.