[I wrote this yesterday but, for reasons, unclear to me, it never posted. So here it is today.]
I’ve been cooking Thanksgiving dinner today. Yes, I know it’s Monday. You want to hear something even more foolish? We’ll be visiting my wonderful in-laws for Thanksgiving, and they will be cooking, so no one will actually eat my food for Thanksgiving. (I’m not being sarcastic here. I adore my in-laws. Greatest people. You have no idea.)
So why am I cooking? Leftovers. Even more than Thanksgiving dinner, I love Thanksgiving leftovers. Since my in-laws are far from my home, and since we all descend like parasites on their house and eat everything, I don’t get leftovers. By cooking the meal now, at my leisure, I can be assured that upon my return I can put together a Thanksgiving dinner with little effort. Today, I’m making the turkey and gravy. Tonight (or, rather, overnight), I make the stuffing in my crock pot. The only reason I’m not making the stuffing now is that I’m currently using my crock pot to make a pork loin, which we’ll also be able to enjoy upon our return. Tomorrow, if I have the energy, it’s sweet potato and butternut squash cooking time. It’s all the fun of cooking without the pressure to get dinner on the table at a specific time.
Cooking on this scale is time-consuming, in part because I’m neurotic. Raw meat scares the living daylights out of me. Having had severe food poisoning a couple of times, in my mind raw meat is right up there with arsenic, strychnine, and other interesting, deadly substances. I make the situation worse by brining my turkey, so that I have a lot of “splash” as I transfer the turkey from brine pot to rack. Cooking turkey means disinfecting the entire kitchen: counter surfaces, cupboard surfaces, walls, floor — everything. My goal in life is never, ever to get food poisoning again. I think I’ve also washed my hands about 20 times. Doing the pork loin at the same time has the great virtue of putting me through only one kitchen disinfection, not two.
Despite my heroic cooking efforts, I have been paying attention to things out there. In no particular order, here is interesting stuff:
I personally know UC President Mark Yudoff, although he doesn’t know me, as he was Dean of my law school in an earlier career incarnation. He is nothing if not a politician. (Personally nice, but political to the bone, to the point where one doubted whether there’s a real person hiding under that Teflon, PC surface.) Bruce Kesler, who astutely observes the intersection between colleges and antisemitism, noticed something very interesting about Yudoff’s approach to rampant, highly threatening antisemitism on the UC Campuses, on the one hand, and one possibly overly-aggressive cop facing some Occupy protesters, on the other hand. You might want to amuse yourself before clicking on the link by guessing which event triggered Yudoff’s political instincts.
Of course, Yudoff might just be picking up the tone set by our fearless Bore-ator in Chief.
On another subject entirely, I heard a few minutes of Newt on Sean Hannity’s radio show today while I was in the car. I can’t help myself — I like the way the guy presents himself. He sounds completely relaxed. He’s not defensive; he’s not hostile to his fellow Republicans; and he keeps his eye on the ball. That bespeaks a good temperament. Since Newt’s sudden surge to the front of the pack has lined him up for the MSM’s (and Romney’s) proctology exam, he’s set up a website where he offers his version of the events and actions that are now being thrown at him. You can decide whether he has valid arguments defending his positions, or if he’s just a fast-spoken weasel.
Speaking of temperament, in the last three months I’ve read a single romance novel three times. No, I’m not losing my mind. I’m reading it with a purpose. The book is Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax which, until recently, had been out of print for a long, long time. I read it years ago but, other than enjoying it as I do all of Heyer’s humorous, sophisticated Regency romances, I didn’t really think about it a lot. I reread it in September only because all of Heyer’s books got issued as ebooks and I was able to buy several of them at a $2.00 promotional price.
Here’s the premise of The Unknown Ajax: A noble family lives on a ramshackle estate, under the sway of the septuagenarian Lord Darracott, a tyrant both by temperament and by virtue of the fact that he holds the family purse strings. His dependents include his widowed daughter-in-law, her daughter and son, and one of their male cousins. Many years before, Lord Darracott’s second son had the temerity to marry weaver’s daughter, so Lord Darracott promptly disowned him for marrying outside of his class. This was not an issue at the time, as Lord Darracott had an older son who himself had a son. The title was secure. Immediately before the novel begins, however, both the heir and his son have died in a boating accident. The male cousin expected to inherit, and his chagrined to learn that the renegade son, the one who married out of his class, had a son who is now, to everyone’s surprise, the heir.
Having set the scene, the book really picks up the pace when Hugo Darracott, the weaver’s child, shows up to meet the family. I don’t want to give away the plot, which is charming, funny, witty and altogether delightful. I do think that, man or woman, you ought to read the book. If you enjoy exquisite writing and good wit, you will like this. Suffice to say, though, that Hugo Darracott is distinguished by a first class temperament. Even more than the plot itself, his personality is the book’s driving force. I keep reading the book in the hope that I can take away some lessons to govern my behavior. Consider Georgette Heyer my version of a self-help book.
Have I given you all enough food for thought? Even if I haven’t, I have to retire to my kitchen to make that gravy. It sure smells good….