After working a double with nary a good tip and suffering from a cat-allergy-induced cold for the past few days, including and perhaps at its apex during Thanksgiving dinner, I have been less than interested in doing anything other than lay in bed and wheeze. However, this has not been possible. Yesterday was spent getting out of town and touring historic Donaldsonville. Historic Donaldsonville! Home to America's first African-American mayor, Pierre Landry, and to America's first caesarean-section (performed on a slave, no mention of whether she survived or not...). Walking past an old grocers called "Shaheen's" I noticed a plaque written in both Arabic and English. My heart skipped a beat! Lebanese immigrants. Also, Donaldsonville had a considerable Jewish immigrant population, the synagogue now an Ace Hardware (does Hebrew still hum in the woodwork? Do the mice still squeak shalom?). Lunch at a so-called "African-Creole-Cajun" restaurant-gallery which turned out to be mostly 'Classy Cajun,' vegetarianism being something freakish, or so I was led to assume, and the gallery bit being a showcase for quaint glass crosses and paintings of dogs in gardens. We toured Laura Plantation afterwards, an old Creole place facing the Mississippi, lovely, gardens heavy with oranges, tangerines, satsumas and persimmons. They were selling all the citrus in the gift shop; I asked about the persimmons and the woman behind the counter had no idea what I was talking about. She said "help yourself" and so I did. I love the persimmons sweet permissiveness.
Thanksgiving was the day before, and quite fine. We had a few friends over, no big deal, but invented a new tradition in which we stuff random objects into a ceramic unicorn bust with the hopes of removing them in the year to come. I invented the 'screwhound' for breakfast (though unlikely to have been the first to do so), vodka with grapefruit and orange juice. We played Star Wars monopoly (Dan besting both me and Beau) before cooking, once again missing the opening day at the track for the fifth, or is it sixth, year. On the menu:
Star anise and satsuma-cooked cornish hens, or something like that.
Apple and onion stuffing brought by Steph
Red onion, cranberry, and tangerine salad, also by Steph
and the best thing she brought, lemon nut cookies (ridiculous)
(and my additions) Mashed potatoes a la Joy of Cooking
Roasted fennel with olives and garlic
Brussel sprout hash with caramelized shallots
Pumpkin and Marscapone Pie
and caramel cake with coconut milk instead of dairy.
As for the eats today: 1 sandwich and a persimmon for breakfast, Reginelli's breadsticks with artichoke hearts and green olives, and penne marinara and fake sausage, and a persimmon, for dinner.