Gentle Breeze

I got home from work tonight and it was sweltering in my apartment. One of the side effects of having a top floor apartment that gets lots of sunlight I guess.

I pushed one of the living room windows open to get a breeze going but it really didn’t seem to do much.

But just now a cool breeze blew through here. A gentle puff of cool summer air, fragrant with the blossoms of summer.

A sudden flash of memory of my mother’s house. We would open our windows wide to lets the heat out of the house at night. The cool air would drift in the same way, caressing my skin gently, cooling.

I can see my mother’s kitchen, smell the coffee and cigarettes, feel the uneven texture of her floor, see the bugs flying around her porch light, and hear the peepers in the trees, and taste the dinner we just had.

A good memory.

Had Some Friends Over For Dinner

Had Some Friends Over For Dinner

Martini of Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Vodak Vinaigrette

Port Wine Braised Beef Cheeks on Polenta Planks

Roast Loin of Pork Stuffed with Three Mushroom Duxelle with Haricot Vert Bundles and Yukon Medallions

Arugula Salad with Mirin Vinaigrette

Pear Tart with White Cacao Sabayon and a wege of Mt Tam Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery

Of loaves and fishes

Thursday night I’m having six people over for dinner. I’m planning a sumptuous feast that will leave them gasping, panting and singing my praises to the top of Mount Tam.

Or not.

I was dutifully informed by one of my guests that her husband is violently allergic to garlic. He’s ok with onions, shallots and scallions, but garlic will leave him gasping for breath while large sores erupt on his body…. or something equally inconvenient but not quite as severe. I pity the poor man who has been forced to avoid the pleasures of the root, but I will adjust my menu accordingly.

This actually the largest dinner party I’ve thrown in several years and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m also already behind schedule on the cooking. A five course meal is easy to pull off if you’re organzied. I beleive in the old adage “Plan your work and work your plan.” I just need to actually sit down and formulate a plan.

My lunch hour will see me at the Ferry Building getting some last minute ingredients that are vital to my concept. Things I wouldn’t deign to buy at Safeway. Some good cheese, nice flavorful mushrooms, and some secret stuff that I won’t talk about here because I know that at least four of the people coming on Thursday read this blog.

Once I get back from the Ferry Building, my plan of attack will be made. I need to decide what I can make tonight, what I can make tomorrow night, and what I can do at the last minute on Thursday. This way I can also tell them that I cooked for them for three days… THREEE DAYS! DO YOU HEAR ME!?! THREE LONG AGANIZING DAAAAYS!!!

I also at some point need to go into my bedroom, pick the dirty clothes up OFF the floor and do something with them. I need to change my sheets, or at the very minimum, make my bed. What this has to do with preparing a five course meal for seven people, I really don’t know. It has something to do with watching my mother scrub her house from top to bottom in anticipation of people coming over. It was usually a brutal process that included cleaning areas that I was sure would never be seen by who ever was coming over. I remember her cleaning out the basement once. I asked her why and she said she just couldn’t handle knowing that she’d have guests “sitting right on top of this pig sty”.

Um, ok.

Yet it seems to have rubbed off on me. I walked past my room on my way out the door to work this morning and my mother’s voice rebounded in my head. “pig sty….pig sty… pig sty…” With a mildly panicked feeling, I realized I had people coming over and they would see how I really live. They would sit in quiet judgement of me over the first course. By the time we had moved onto the second course they would have begun conspiring with each other. By the time the third course was cleared, an open revolt would be in process and by the fourth, I would be running for my life. By dessert, I would be in a fetal postion in the corner saying “IT”S JUST A LITTLE DIRTY LAUNDRY!!!!!” while clutching a broken bottle of cabernet as a weapon and flinging garlic at random guests.

Or not.