Stick a fork in me, I’m done. One who prides herself on seamlessly multi-tasking, even I couldn’t make this week wrinkle-free. I traveled from one activity to another like a frog hopping along a path of lily pads trying to reach the safety of the bank. “Rivet.” Where are the weeks going? Santa is out there shaking his naughty or nice finger at me and I haven’t added so much as a notch on my credit card balance to acknowledge his arrival. Ach.
I’m using my creative side for the holidays in 2013, like I have in Christmas’s long past. My sewing machine is sitting at the ready on the work table with piles of fabric in a bag next to it on the floor. There is no possible way my face will show up on any in-store security camera on Black Friday this year or any other year. One time I was coerced by a friend to go with her while living in Boston. Filene’s basement at the best of times was a zoo, but on the day after Thanksgiving you’re lucky to make it out of the store with all body parts in tact. Insanity prevails, with pushing, shoving, swearing and shoplifting all occurring concurrently in the same confined space. Activities all geared to make you want to sing, “Tra, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la”. Trying to make the best of it, I held up a scarf I was admiring to get a better look at it. A lady with bright crimson hair and what appeared to be an entire of tube of red lipstick slathered across her lips walked up to me. Without a word, she whisked the scarf from my hands. Raising one well-defined raised eyebrow she shot me a look I took to mean if I had any issues with this behavior I could take it up with my undertaker. Turning, she flounced off amidst a noxious cloud of Charlie perfume undoubtedly also lifted another part of the store. One last look to ensure a clean escape, she tucked my scarf in her massive bag I’m sure with other items already purchased at a five finger discount. Who am I to argue with success? Besides she looked like she could take me.
I have to admit it creates an atmosphere not unlike a feeding frenzy with people grabbing items they don’t need, or really want, then arguing about who saw it first. From what I understand Filene’s has since closed their doors. Looking back I’m glad I got to add it to my many memorable Boston experiences. The store also hosted an annual “running of the brides”. The bulls at Pamploma pale in comparison to a thousand plus bride to be’s stampeding through the store in search of the perfect designer dress at a drastically reduced price. Sales clerks took their lives in their hands working a shift that day.
The carrot my friend used to get me to accompany her was ice skating at the Frog Pond at the Boston Commons after Filene’s, followed by lunch at the English Tea Room on Newberry Street. Yum. I would even have put up with the rampaging brides if she’d thrown in a dish of spicy Indian Pudding from Durgin Park. If I close my eyes I can still smell the delicious aroma of that pudding.
Truth be known, I’m less than a gifted ice skater. Canadians are supposed to take to skates like ducks to water, but somehow my ankles never got that memo. Most of my time on ice was spent actually on ice. Amazingly I sacrificed no bones in the making of those memories, and other than frostbite came out of the whole experience no worse for wear.
My daughter and her family are heading out to Phoenix on Wednesday night for Thanksgiving with my oldest granddaughter, also their oldest. It worries me to think of them flying. Stories are floating about of pilots inadvertently landing at the wrong airports, passengers losing their sanity mid-flight and announcing a bomb on board, escape chutes inflating inside the cabin, and even on one flight a pilot not realizing the P.A. could be heard in the cabin alarmingly announced “we’re going down”. Passengers began leaving last messages for their loved ones and praying when he realized the switch was in the on position and apologized saying he simply meant they were dropping to a lower level to avoid turbulence. Good Lord. I bet the bathroom line was lengthy after that.
It was also alarming to hear about two pilots on the chubby side who actually went to sleep at the wheel, so to speak, and nearly missed the landing. It seems due to their weight they suffer from sleep apnea and hadn’t been sleeping well. In flight is possibly not the ideal time to catch up, but that’s my opinion. Also airlines are toying with the idea of allowing passengers to use their cell phones during flights. That’s the nail in the coffin for me. In restaurants people talk on the phone, in movies people text…..big sigh.
Over the years I’ve prepared turkey dinner for thirty plus, and this year for two plus one cat. One year I decided to cook dinner on the lower level of our last house which we’d converted to a pool room, both for shooting pool as well as use after swimming in the above ground pool on that level. It was originally tagged for a mother-in-law I think, but as the owners prior to us divorced, it remained unfinished at the time we purchased the house. Built on the side of a steep hill there were two accesses to the lower level, a steep cement ramp to one side or out the sliding glass door on the second floor patio and down a spiral exterior staircase. Neither were optimum for serving guests. There was a smaller kitchen on that level and lots of open room. I set up tables, chairs, a TV for those so inspired, and decorated for the occasion. Not having enough matching plates for thirty, and not a fan of paper plates for special occasions, I purchased six sets of inexpensive dinnerware which would work perfectly.
Unloading the dishes at the house I realized I had to get them to the third floor. Still boxed I decided to stack the boxes on the dolly and take them down the ramp. No flies on me. I’m not blond for nothing, you know. Three boxes loaded, I weighed whether to let them go down before me or pull them down after. I decided after was the ticket. I know. This really confirms all rumors about being dropped on my head before my first birthday.
Slowly I inched down the first third of the steep hill the dolly behind me. Getting heavier it began to push on my arms and pretty soon it pulled over to the left and passed me completely. Oh-oh. Once in front of me I was turned around digging in my heels and the dolly picked up speed. At about the two-thirds point I lost control of it completely and unpiloted it flew down to the end of the ramp, over the ledge and on down the hill onto the empty lot below. By the time I reached the boxes I was sure there were nothing but pieces left to unpack. Not one broke.
In the end it was the most exhausting Thanksgiving I ever lived through. Every time I sat down somebody needed something on the first floor. Only Thanksgiving I actually lost weight after the meal.
This is the best sauce ever! I use it as a base for my peppercorn sauce as well. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed
Steak de Burgo with Mushrooms
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper
2 4 oz. filet mignons, trimmed
1 pkg. sliced mushrooms (1 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
14 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
Heat oil and butter in saute pan over med.-high heat until butter is melted and beginning to froth. Season steaks well with salt, pepper, and garlic pan. Add to pan and sear on both sides (about 2 mins. per side for rare). Remove from pan and tent.
Add mushrooms to pan. Saute 3-5 mins. until nicely browned. Add garlic, basil, oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper to pan. Cook 1 minute.
Whisk together vermouth and cream. Whisk into pan. Reduce by one half.
Add filets with juices on plate. Heat through. Serve with sauce and garnish with parsley.