Sunday, January 31, 2010

my "julia" project.

There are hardly words to describe my state of...well, being.

Last night mom and I decided to make "Julie Child's Bouff Bourginon" - little did we know of the delicate procedure. After buying all the ingredients, concocting numerous brews, assembly it all through over 30 "specific" steps, and achieving ultimate perfection....we reached our goal of "bouff bourginon" and gorged ourselves. The amount of fat in every bite, is something I would rather not think about. I'm surprised that I didn't have a heart attack after the first bite, and even more surprised that I haven't keeled over by now.

All the same, I don't think I've ever tasted anything better. After being in the kitchen from 3pm to 7:30pm, we were expecting it to be worth it, and it was.

I absolutely love to cook...but after several hours of strait preparation...things do to seem to fall a little out of perspective. Don't believe me? Just try making this and you'll understand. I have, however, learned something worth learning (I think).

Ever since I saw Audrey Hepburn in "Sabrina", I've been in love with France. The beauty of it and it's architecture, the art, the music, the culture, and of course, the food. However, I always thought it was almost a "waste" to go to a lovely restaurant and spend heaps of money on a half a cup, if not less, of well put together food. After a few bites, you're done! What's the point?! It's in your stomach and moving to you know where, and the money is out of your pocket. It seemed wasteful, in my opinion. Especially knowing that hours had been spent to make this arrangement prime.

Last year, mom got me a book called "The French Don't Diet Book"; it's all about their food, why their healthy...and pretty much "dissing" the American life of eating. (Don't worry, it's written by an American, nothing said about 'yanks') I'm sad to say, but truthfully, America loves and wants "quantity" over "quality"- just look on the back of a Cheetos bag and you'd see what I mean. French, on the other hand have been raised with "quality" over "quantity". Wouldn't you love if you could get up in the morning, ride your bike into town and buy a loaf of bread, fresh from the ovens still crispy and warm, and a piece of fruit ripe off a tree? Well, I would, anyhow.

To get to the point, the French spend so much time preparing their food, because they don't make a big deal about it. I'm sure you're thinking, "Hah, what a paradox." But it's true. Americans make such a big deal about diets and food and exercise, and yet, we're the nation with the most obese people! The French, even though they seem to make a big deal about their food and how it's prepared, just enjoy it and then let it go. So many people in America(and other places too) binge and over indulge in food orgies. I'm guilty of it. You come to the holidays, and that's what they seem to be about. It's crazy.

Even though I was tired by the time mom and I finished making dinner last night, I took the time to enjoy the meal s l o w l y, because I knew how much time and effort went into it; because of that, I enjoyed the meal so much more! I didn't scarf it down, I savored it. All the steps in cooking like Julia really do make a huge different even if I thought it was bizarre. The mushrooms have their own sweet, buttery flavor because we had to take the time to cook them separately. Same with the onions and carrots. Same with the beef and bacon...everything tasted better because we took the time to do it.

So I learned last night, that this is why the French take so long to make their food, and why they only eat smaller amounts.


"Watch a French housewife as she makes her way slowly along the loaded stalls...searching for the peak ripeness and flavor...What you are seeing is a true artist at work, patiently assembling all the materials of her craft, just as the painter squeezes oil colors onto his palette ready to create a masterpiece."

Keith Floyd

Saturday, January 30, 2010

the happy days of winter.

So I've heard that quite a few people are distraught and rather unhappy about the snow....their fretting isn't seeming to cease. Coming from my previous entry, it's actually quite encouraging to have snow on my birthday....even if it is little inconvenient. Everything is white, clean, and perfect...minus the Fahrenheit scale of course. It makes for a perfect excuse to cuddle up with a warm cup of tea (or hot chocolate if you must) and just relax. Take the day in as it comes. I find that on so many days, the hours go by like a freight train and I never give thought to the wonderful life that is around me. Whoosh, and those moments are gone, never to come again. Sometimes life gives you a moment where you CAN relax, sit back, and watch the beauty that God has created. I am guilty of "being" in life, but not "living" life. There's a huge difference, but I guess you might have to experience that for yourself. I pray that everyone is safe in this weather and that you are ENJOYING IT TO THE HILT.

"Advice is like snow- the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks, the more it soaks into the mind."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Thursday, January 14, 2010

wednesday night: candy

So yesterday I told you I was going to write about my adventures with Chawlie and Ellie, but I got back too late to write. Anywho; we had a laid back night. Watched Mario and Luigi, ate dinner, played hide-n-seek, had a bath, read several books and hopped in bed. Still, I had a lot of fun with them. When I got there, I was warned that if I heard any of the kids whispering, then it was probably because they wanted candy. (You know, all the candy leftover from Christmas can't be eaten at one time, so it must be eaten gradually) ;) I was instructed that there was to be no more candy if youthful mind were suddenly to have the urge for chocolate M&M's.

The whole night, not one request for candy, so I thought all was well. After the lights were turned out and I was placing Ellie in the crib, I heard the faintest whisper.

"What, Ellie?" I asked. (slightly confused too, because she never asks for anything before bed.)

There was a slight pause, cock of the head and then another whisper, "Candy?"

It was all I could do not to burst out laughing, so I refrained. I felt so bad having to tell those big baby browns that she couldn't have anymore, but I had to.

"No, sorry Ellie. No candy tonight...would you like some water?"

Again, a pause and cock of the head. A turned up smile covered her face, "Candy?" she whispered again.

This time I laughed, but said no again and offered her water. She couldn't seem to make up her mind, but then finally decided a 'yes' when she smiled again and whispered, "Water?"

The water was given, the covers were pulled over and tucked in, and the babysitter went on to study.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

'chawlie and Ellie'...

Within the past few months I've been honored to have the job as "babysitter" for some of our friends at Church every Wednesday night while they do Navigators for the Cadets at VMI. I say honored because the two that I babysit are truly wonderful for me, hilarious, and amazing little kids! Charlie (or his version, 'Chawlie') is the youngest boy in the family, (4) and Eleanor (Ellie) is the youngest of the family and the only girl(2). Recently they have been heaps of fun and have created stories that I love telling, so I thought that I'd share my adventures with you all every Wednesday night. Enjoy!