I hope everyone hither and yon had a great Thanksgiving. May you all be enjoying lovely turkey sandwiches as we are. And a big thank you for all who sent notes and well wishes for the holiday. They all mean a great deal to me. Without getting really mushy, I have to say that I have a lot to be thankful for. Last year at this time, I was extremely ill with no clue as to what was happening. That was so frightening. This year, I'm tumor free and 2/3rds through with my treatments. Yes, 2/3rds. The Docs have decided that due to the rare nature of my cancer, to err on the side of caution with chemo. Thus, I have five more to go instead of one. Still, I'm not deterred. A delay in my plans is far better than facing this all over again in a few years. So, I'm Thankful to be on the mend and to have the love and support of my family and friends as I press on. I can't begin to thank all of you who've sent notes and prayers to those who are toting me around and sitting with me through treatments. The hubs still thinks this gig with me is a good one. The cherry on top of things this week was having the vigor to make a full, southern style meal and modestly entertain (more on that later). For a foodie like me, that meant the world.
Organ Meats and Toxic Produce
All summer long, I've been gleefully gorging myself on fresh fruit. I kept big bowls of cut fruit ready for snack attacks. I'd also been enjoying all sorts of green salads. Since the lovely gift of fine, aged balsamic vinegar, I'd even been making my own dressings. That's before we get to the fruit smoothies. I'm nowhere near being an advocate for the raw food movement (frankly, that movement puzzles me deeply), but I was one produce eating machine. Thus, when told that my blood counts were down, I immediately began to think about my strength building menus and fall fruits and veggies. And that's when my brain caught up to the restrictions and warnings the doc was laying down. While my immune system was suppressed, I was forbidden from eating any raw fruits or veggies because of the chance of contamination. Really?? Things have gotten that bad in the food supply chain that fresh fruit and vegetables require a health warning? I don't know about you, but I found that to be appalling. Fortunately, I was able take care of the fruit cravings with juices that were Pasteurized. And the great thing about fall veggies is that they taste great roasted. And that tastes great with balsamic vinegar. Alas, I had to stay away from salads. The spinach salad with fresh raspberry vinaigrette could contain deadly toxins. On the other hand, I was allowed to have all the organ meats I could stand. I took the opportunity to get my fill of Ann Burrell's wonderful chicken liver pâté .
What Was Cooking Last Week
The weather was so cool this past week (we woke to temps in the 30s on a few mornings last week), I've been able to use the oven without having to turn on fans or even the AC. Today, it's cool and windy out while our apartment is very cozy with the scent of turkey soup in the air. Thus, last week I was in prep and cooking paradise. And I had a new implement in my arsenal. I bought a proper chef's knife from the Giada DeLaurentiis collection. It was very efficient and extremely scary to have such a sharp implement in my hands. I had to re-learn my hand positions and technique for the increased sharpness. I set up my sitting down chopping station and spent a couple of hours whacking away while looking at cooking shows I've seen a dozen times. Delightful, it was. I bagged the veg and spread the actual cooking out over a couple of days, so I wouldn't tax myself. I think spreading it out made the food come out better. I spent more time on each dish. They turned out very well, especially the turkey and the sweet potato pie. I didn't make as many pies as I typically do, but these very few turned out exceedingly well. The turkey was amazingly flavorful and moist. And all of this was accomplished without a nap attack in front of the stove or while the guests were eating. I felt quite accomplished.
Year of Fun – Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is part of the Year of Fun, because it was wonderfully normal for us. Aside from a properly opulent array of dishes, we celebrated with Phil and Marie, alums of Borders Store #93 and our very good friends. As is our tradition, we shared war stories of store #93 with a horrified newcomer. Oh, how can the stories be, you may ask. It's a book store after all. I'll just share the punchlines, and you can be the judge.
And I asked him why he was naked and smoking a cigarette in the men's room. He said it relaxed him.
As if to draw a fine point on our argument, a homeless man soaked in gasoline with an open can of fuel and a match turned up in front of a tour of regional managers.
How did no one notice the guy taking a dump in front of the men's room door?
Ah, good times. It was an evening filled with great food and laughter – the kind of laughter where you start crying. I can't think of a better way to spend a holiday.
The writing is going at about a page a day. I can't complain. There will be a cookie making frenzy before the next round of chemo. I'm saving Craig vs jury duty for next week as I'll be seeing him this week.