Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14, 2012

We're continuing on our journey for daily celebrations to make family meals more fun. Today is a really challenging day because we have one of those "committments" days where everyone is everywhere at different times. Also challenging because it's Bald and Free day according to the holiday calendar. What does one do with Bald and Free day?
I've decided that at our house, we will be bald and free by eating smooth round foods,  without sauces or dressings. So, dinner at our house is fruit, cheese balls, and brussels sprouts. Appropriate too, because Kevin comes home from Brussels today.
And because we've so many places to be today, our blog is bald (unadorned, short) so that we can be free.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012: Music Day and International Skeptics Day

So here we are looking at holidays to make a Celebrate Every Day meal plan for the the year. Today I am confronted with music day and the (dubious) international sceptics day. I'm not sure international skeptics day is a real holiday, but I know lots of skeptics who would embrace having a holiday, if they believed in holidays. I found a website for skeptics called eskeptic, which is managed by the Skeptics Society. They had a conference in June about Science, Spirituality and the Search for Meaning. From the pictures of the conference; the massages, the rooms, the view, the food; skeptics do believe in a little hedonism. Which is good for us menu planners, we can run with whatever we like and skeptically wonder if we have imbued it with meaning.

And what does one do with music day? So much to choose from. I am picking my favorite songs, associated with happy events and people I love,  to share with my daughter. Its just us two this Saturday night; the boys are off on their own adventures. So to celebrate skeptical musician day, I plan to play some old Ed Moss Trio tapes I bought when Kevin and I were first dating. Ed Moss played piano all around Cincinnati, from Coco's in Covington to the Blue Whisp.  I met him when I worked at a coffeehouse on Ludlow Avenue called the Cove Cafe.  Most of the staff at the Cove hated to see Ed coming. He had a reputation, in coffeehouse circles, as a tough customer to please.  He likes his espresso just right and won't accept less.  Good expresso earned you a great tip, though.  He was a difficult guy to get to know, Ed Moss. Talented, obsessive, driven and impatient--but he played great piano, and he made good food.

Kevin and I  had dinner at his house, Schwartz’s Point, in over the Rhine. I think that was in 1989; we still both number it among the best meals we ever had. The meal had several courses, and lasted hours. Ed would stop between courses to play piano. He had plans, he said, to open his home as a jazz club someday. He said he liked food and jazz. It showed. Ed didn't just have people to dinner. He invited us into his kitchen. This, mind you, was before the whole foodie movement---James Beard and Julia Child were like the only famous TV chefs. I'm not sure I had even heard of Emeril yet.

That dinner taught me a lot about food and entertaining. The meal unwound slowly. Ed went off to the kitchen to prepare each course, sometimes beckoning us to come in and watch, sometimes telling us to relax and listen to music while we he worked. Ed's dinner made a huge impression on me, partly because my palate was so inexperienced. I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. Pot Roast, potatoes and side of bread. Maybe sometimes pizza from Pasquale's. I never ate chinese food until I left home; I'd never had an artichoke until Kevin's mom introduced them to me. I knew nothing about good food.

Ed Moss made dinner about the food. For Ed,  food is a medium of expression, much like the piano. He shared his love of cooking in a way I'd never experienced. For example, he brought a whole uncooked fish to the table, so we could admire its scales. I remember being surprised that it was beautiful. That meal is kind of magicial,  hazy dream--the food, the wine, the conversation. Kevin and I both still talk about the magic of that dinner, and the sparkly candlelight reflecting on the fish is just part of it.

I read this summer that Ed Moss has opened his home to the public, completing his planned club, just like he talked about at dinner so long ago. Sometime, when Kevin is home, I'll take my kids to hear Ed play.  Its an experience I look forward to sharing with them.  And tonight, for dinner, I plan to take Maria to Dorothy Lane Market to pick out a beautiful fish with sparkly scales. Then, we can cook it together while we listen to Ed play and talk about skeptics.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The start of blogging

You know what I hate? I hate fixing dinner for my family and sitting down to wrinkled up noses. "What is it?" or "We just had this!" are things everyone whose worked hard on a meal wants to hear. So, I posted on facebook that we were in a meal rut and I needed help. I said "Post a recipe, save a mom." Recipes came from everywhere. It was great. But my kids: still not so excited. They agreed that some of the food was good, but "its still chicken."

What is a mom to do?

I went to the library, of course. I took out bunches of cookbooks; I planned; I shopped. My kids ate and pushed food around on their plates in the same percentages. Some things ok, some things not.

Then I took out a calendar of holidays. I started cooking to match the holiday. Ethiopian New Year, we made bread with teff flour and shedded spiced chicken. On Roald Dahl's B-day we had cornish hen (I couldn't get my hands on a pheasant) and peach cobbler. Kids ate! Kids excited!

My new idea was born. Celebrate Every Day. A 365 cookbook with holidays. Include the kids in the research, planning and cooking.

and we're off.