A Tale of Two Christmas Dinners: Industrial v Homemade

Larry and I live in rather unusual circumstances.

We live with his mom, who is now almost 90 years old and two of his siblings who take care of her. Before we came to live with them three years ago, these three had a ongoing household that also included Larry’s father. When he died in 2017, many things changed, but their household continued on as before in the way the lived and the food they ate. Remarkably Larry’s mom at age 89 is quite healthy—while she has memory problems she has none of the modern industrial diseases of the body. She walks up and back a long driveway every morning to get the paper and every afternoon to get the mail.

They have their ways of doing things and Larry and I have our ways and they aren’t the same. But we all allow each other to “whatever works” as Mom says.

This year what happened for Christmas dinner was that two other siblings who don’t live here decided to send those of us who do live here a preprepared Christmas Dinner from Whole Foods. Because of covid restrictions, we didn’t have a family Christmas as we have had in years past. I was told this dinner was arriving on Wednesday. But generally, I make a Christmas dinner and I still wanted to make it.

Larry and I decided what we wanted for Christmas Dinner and purchased the ingredients.


Winter Solstice—Celebrating the Return of the Sun, the Source of Our Food Supply

Today is Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Tomorrow morning when the sun rises it will be the first day that the days become longer. Tomorrow is only a few seconds longer here where I live, but as the days become longer and longer, eventually, six months from now on the Summer Solstice, the days will be hours longer.

The importance of this is that all food on the planet required the sun to exist.

We don’t think of this much in our today’s world where we have a constant supply of food from the supermarket, but in times past when there were no supermarkets and no farming, humans obtained their food from their local ecosystems. So they were eating seasonal plants and animals.
 


The Perfect Rice Pot: A Life-Giving Gift


 
In my Lifely blog this week I wrote a post about Life-Giving Gifts which is about, as its title implies, giving gifts that specifically contribute to life and health.

Here is a story Larry and I wrote together about a life-giving gift we gave to each other for Christmas 2016.


Making a Mise En Place

Mise en place is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while but hadn’t gotten around to it. But there are just some recipes—such as Turkey Tikka Masala that just require mise en place because of the speed or complexity of preparation.

Mise en place (or “mise” for short) is a French culinary term that means “to put in place” or “everything in it’s place.’

It is a procedure generally used in professional kitchens that preps and organizes the ingredients a cook will require to make the menu items that are expected to be prepared during that shift.

A professional cook works very quickly. He or she cannot stop and chop the onions, for example. So mise lays out all the prepped ingredients in an organized way (prepped and measured and in order) to the actual assembly and cooking of the dish is as efficient as possible.


Protected Designation of Origin

Sometimes I just run into interesting things while I am looking for other things, and this is one of them.

This is actually a European Union product certification that we don’t have here in the USA, but I think we should have it in the future

In Europe there is a tradition—that we don’t yet have here—of identifying foods by the name of the region from which they come…


Whole Fish: My Extraordinary Experience Eating Directly From the Ecosystem

 

Since the latest fire had been filling our air with unhealthy levels of air pollution (ashes were falling like snow) on 28 September Larry and I went to stay with a friend of a friend (who is now our friend, too) way up in Northern California right on the Pacific Ocean. We were so close to the water that we could hear the fluctuation of waves as they varied from gentle to strong throughout the day and night.

Joseph, our host, is a fisherman, so when he offered me fish for dinner and I politely declined, he said, “Do you not like fish because it tastes fishy?”

When I said yes, he said, “The reason it tastes fishy is because if you eat commercial fish, by the time it gets to the supermarket it’s about a week old. Fresh-caught fish doesn’t taste fishy.