Saturday, December 22, 2012


As isolated flakes of snow drift down onto the terrace and the wind makes the seams of the building creak, the fava beans still bloom above our heads. I'm not picking those stems. I am very curious as to just how long the flowers and beanlets might last.

And the cilantro (coriander for the dwellers on the other side of the pond) really does like cold weather. I've always had better luck with it when it is cool. Otherwise it's just bolt-o'rama. Yet it hails from southern Europe and North Africa. Warm places. I don't get it.

Speaking of leaves and vegetables -  if you haven't given yourself a present yet, make it Elizabeth Schneider's Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini. A real book with real heft, and insanely out of print. Nevermind squashing spiders, it could squash a rat (I use my opera dictionary for the very control, when le chat noir decides to bring one of his cattle in from the summer range for our delectation - and no, I don't ever squash spiders). Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini is a beautifully photographed, encyclopedic reference book - each plant's history, cultural context and its nutritional information precede some very interesting recipes. It's a great source of inspiration. There are many unusual plants and vegetables in it, including the kind for which I forage, as well as mushrooms. At $70 it's not cheap, but it is a keeper.

On the terrace, as I type, stray dead oak leaves scuttle across the gravel, my peripheral vision interpreting them as mice or chipmunks. The cat is dozing under his Christmas tree, his new favourite spot, and is singing little cat Christmas carols to himself. Breakfast is long over and its dishes are being packed away. We had fruit buns and strong coffee.

Later we'll head to the Union Square Christmas market. Vince insists we need a cat-shape ornament for the tree, and all we have found, so far, is dogs.

Update: Indeed, the market had cat ornaments. Lots of cat ornaments. Also waffles.

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