Saturday, November 19, 2005

11-13-05 -- Pot lucky

Hey, look... winter! Comes fast, the change; one minute you're playing front-porch word games in the golden glow of a post-happy-hour sunset and the next you're like "Man, I'd better get to bed soon" in 4pm darkness. My poor plants are actively flinching away from the chillwaves wubbing out from the R-0.5-rated single-glazed windows. I have some of that plastic sheeting you're supposed to put up to keep your place cozy and your heating bills down (well, less up), but I don't have a hair dryer, and I'm sort of shy about asking the Hiltons next door for use of theirs; am I the only one who thinks of hair dryers as very personal items?

Now, I've got nothing against winter or anything winter brings; I mean, how long do we all have to live in this dim, dry latitude before we get over it? Winter's actually kind of sexy... exotic, even; there's a kind of National Geographic Islam vibe going on when all you can see of a girl is two beautiful eyes lasering out from between toque and scarf. And when you consider the odds these days are good she knit that neckwear herself, well... knock me over with a feather.

Less exotic is the resurgence of the winter potluck. The cozy compulsions that drive us to winter woodshedding and slipper shopping, combined with imperative race-memories (or actual copies) of Good Housekeeping Holiday Entertaining guides, culminate in a desire to carry towel-wrapped casserole dishes into houses whose windows are frosted from kitchen steam, shuck overcoats while grinning hugs and greetings, and have big bowl-glasses of two-fisted Cabernet put into our hands. There's no time like winter for a potluck party, and the best part is that everybody's craving comfort and assumes (rightly) that everyone else is, too, so the buffet gets beefed up with the heartiest, fillingest, rib-stickingest comfort food kitchens can create. Summertime potlucks get my not-so-famous carrot-ginger slaw; wintertime potlucks get this:


Boil frozen perogies, in clear soup stock for extra mystery flavor. Saute two big organic onions with lots of butter until golden. Put perogies in a buttered casserole, mixed in with a couple tablespoons of the best kraut you can get, a dollop of sour cream and a goodly amount of old white cheddar and maybe some more butter. Top with onions, and bake at 375 for a half hour or so. Pair with red wine, as a precaution against heart attack.

Even the crammiest hoser (well, maybe not the crammiest; true crammers have neither casseroles nor working ovens) can cobble that baby up -- I mean, I made it up on the spot based on what was left of last month's groceries -- and it's such tasty, filling, wholesome Grandma food it might even be able to convince a few people that your life's not gone completely off the rails.

So, winter. Cozy parties, cuddly sweaters, exhaust vapor, hours and hours of Night Society and everything set to the shing-shing-shing-shing of synthesized sleighbells, and... oh, fuck! We're getting an election, aren't we? I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand it'll give us all something to talk about at the aforementioned parties (maybe, depending on the crowd), but on the other hand it'll mean pathetic canvassers stumping around the country in the freezing cold, and that has the potential to sorely test my sense of wintertime hospitality. Do I offer a warm cup of coffee to a guy who's trying to sell me on the merits of a minority nuthouse "led" by Stephen Harper? Maybe I would, if the coffee had been cooking down amd blackening up on the warmer for a few hours; a little Brake Shop Espresso, that's the wintertime drink of the true conservative.


Long time, no post. Guess I've been too busy delving into secrets no man was meant to know, getting drunk under the Interstate, playing weird videogames on airplanes, talking to artists and getting to know Johnny Cash. Shit; I have been busy.

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