David (quemadmodum) wrote,

As the year winds down

Darker, colder, snowier, but curiously cosy in its way, winter enfolds New England. There was so much bad weather this weekend that Bill and I stayed home in Cambridge and I made the first steamed pudding of the year. Can this be a solstitian reflex? I suppose it doesn't count because it wasn't a suet pudding (the suet is in the freezer in Shelburne). Nevertheless it made a nice indigestible finish to a meal otherwise consisting of scalloped cabbage with ham.
Moving right along into Sunday with not much to do, we put together our first Chistmas letter ever (hoping that it wasn't going to be as tacky as some we have received in the past). It must have been the weather because the entire batch of vanilla thins I baked for tea disappeared.... Bill wanted me to try some rolls I had mentioned to him from Elizabeth David's magisterial "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" which got me started on bread baking 30 years ago, so I made a batch of "Aberdeen Rowies" which are like little square croissants. The rolling and folding and so on went very well but when the butter began to run out of the rolls and burn in the oven, all of the flat's smoke alarms went off at once...we were running up and down, cursing, opening windows, and flapping towels to drive out the smoke. Eventually several neighbors came to enquire anxiously about our wellbeing, but quiet reigned at last. The rolls were delicious, by the way, with a batch of clam chowder. I think we'll try to live on steamed veg for the rest of the week.
Today being Beethoven's birthday, the Harvard radio station felt compelled to air one of his most tiresome compositions, the 9th Symphony (people will now write furious comments). I think that the first three movements are quite wonderful, but that banging, thumping last movement, with its variations on what must be one of Beethoven's stupidest tunes, always irritates me a great deal.
Now the radio is playing that curious recording of "Turandot" (not a fave either) with the never-on-stage cast of Dame Joan Sutherland as dragon lady (certainly no problem with the high notes), Monserrat Caballé as Liù (better pianissimi than anyone else in the role but a BIT of mutton dressed as lamb for a young frail girl), Luciano Pavarotti as Calaf (well, if you like that sort of thing) and the wonderful Nicolai Ghiaurov as Timur.
I haven't been here for a month, now I look forward to reading all of my friends' contributions for the past month.
If I don't get back here in time, I wish you all an enjoyable Christmas, a peaceful and happy new year, and remember--Dubya is on his way out.....
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