It’s about 38 degrees and drizzling on the island today, and the whirring travel gears which have propelled me for over 2.000 miles up and down the East coast are finally grinding to a halt. I’ve been in the same house for about 3 days straight, and I think all 11 of us are itching for an outing. Clearly, the movies are in order.
But back to where and when my Holiday journeys began…
I left Miami on a Friday morning just over a week ago. The weather was cool-ish (high 60’s) and drizzling, a little like today. Semi-frantic errands (drycleaning, daily coffee trip to dunkin donuts) and saying goodbye to Cervantes made me just a tad behind schedule, so when I ran smack into traffic in Ft. Lauderdale, I started to panic. Luckily, the logistical masterpiece which I’d arranged the night before worked out. Left the van at a friend of a friend’s house, key under the plastic santa, and the cab *finally* found my location. Cell phones save the day, again. Pulled up to the gate about 8 minutes before they started boarding, and 3 hours later I touched down in a very cold, very dark Philadelphia airport.
Thank goodness there were warm arms to greet me, and give me a snack before we headed further north. Connecticut was our destination, where food and lodging were waiting at Dave’s aunt’s house. Warm beds, sharp cheddar, and fixing the nation’s educational systems started off the vacation fantastically.
“Northwards ho” was the phrase of the week, as we set off “early” in the morning for New Hampshire. Saturday afternoon found us at the Henry house, with a homemade lunch and many holiday greetings. The younger generation set off in search of a piney pagan symbol, but we were stymied in our search for a tree. Turned into a nice tour of Concord, but no needley goodness to bring home. Shopping and more tree hunting on Sunday, cooking for 10 on Monday (cioppino and chocolate ganche cake
S0, then by Tuesday I was ready for a day of nothingness.
Thanks to a light coat of snow the night before, I got my wish. Instead of packing up to go skiing (the cross country places were closed anyway), we settled for sleeping in and going for a run. Ha. Dave and I went out on a date that night, which was funny; dinner and a movie in Concord may not be as glamorous as some of our other outings, but it was fun.
As we drove home from Spanglish, I finally got in touch with my family after weeks of phone tag. For the Williamsons, the holiday spirit is most embodied by traditional recipes and familar scents. Of course, both sides of the Williamson clan, 1,500 miles apart, were gearing up to make lefse. I laughed at my sister’s only half-joking lefse face-off and smiled as I imagined the scene in our kitchen: Dad reading the paper or a cookbook, swearing that the roast pork will be done any minute, mom nodding off or working on the lefse dough, and my sister prodding both of them along or throwing flour around. It made me feel a little homesick. I’d been so welcomed by everyone I’d met in New England, but it was still New England: a little cold, a little foreign, and not somewhere where they roast pork butt.
I have not been cooking a great deal lately, and since most of the presents I opened for our miniChristmas on Thursday afternoon involve food, I started to get a little wistful. The lefse I made in the hostile environemnt (without my trusty griddle and canvas) cost me more than a little frustration, so much so that I almost didn’t want to bring them with me on the plane. At the end of it all, around the table for christmas dinner it was agreed upon that the TCW lefse outdid the ARW/CLW lefse for tenderness and moisture content, although for ease of making I clearly lost. Cooking should not be a once a while thing in my life, it should be every day. When I used to get stressed, I’d bake. Now, when things get bad, I either go to sleep, or have a glass of wine with my roommates while I yell and scream. I’m not sure how I feel about this sort of progression, and it hasn’t helped me develop a palate for fine wines either.
Somehow, I’m going to have to find time, in between two more grad classes this semester; the extra hour of school; an extra class of students to grade; FCAT preparations; and my increasingly complex life to sit down and cook. I need to cook for myself, my roommates, my friends, or my family, but most of all for my own peace of mind. I’d better start figuring it out, and I need to do it before I get back There.