Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mon Canard à l’Orange

Today’s plat du jour: duck. I found the recipe in my new most favorite book in the whole world: la Bonne Cuisine. Apparently this book in the bible for French home cooking often referred to as cuisine bourgeoisie. It is recently translated into English and available for your purchase at a very discounted price. I’ve only made a couple of dishes from it to so far. I made a queen of Sheba cake (godly in it’s texture), a quiche, a roasted chicken and that’s about it. I try to read it a little bit everyday. I study the techniques used in the books. They are classic and oh so complicated at times. The part I hate to admit is that I recognize a lot of what I read as being something I have already seen employed…from you know who…HUGO! I guess he’s the one in the relationship that received the traditional, in home, culinary education. Being of the competitive nature that I am, I am determined to catch up with him. As I am typing this, at my glass ‘love’ table, in the kitchen, he is fast away at making fresh bread for us. He will plop the gorgeous rolls with sunken circles into the oven any moment now and we will feast on freshly prepared and baked bread with our tea while we watch The Lives of Others. This is my Sunday and I love it. I will remove myself from the couch in a couple of hours to go leisurely to the store and start the preparation for mon canard.

I love fall, I love Sunday and I love the peace of mind that sometimes arrives at my doorstep, rings the doorbell and jumps in my pocket when I go to answer. It often will walk around with me for a couple of days reminded me periodically that everything is fine, my life is fine, I am doing the right things and living the right way. Then it will invariably jump out of my pocket and run off to inhabit someone else’s Sunday morning bathrobe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ready To Be Brilliant Again

And why oh why does being brilliant equate to getting the hell out of the country? Not sure, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be exploring that concept in the months to come. Finally, the lady returns to Europe. I've always been much more of the jet setting type than the pick-up driving home bound type of girl. These last few years have brought way too little refuge from the inner workings of the residue of my somewhat traumatic, albeit brilliant childhood. In other words...I AM GETTING THE HELL OUT OF ATLANTA!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

okay, I think I'm finished yelling...WOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Now I'm finished. The tickets are purchased, the count down begins. The boy is going as well - so that should be interesting, Hugo and I...drunk, in love, in fights, in peace, in...GERMANY!!!!!!!!!! (I can't promise the caps are actually going to stop anytime soon)

We've been kicking this idea around for quite some time and thanks to an amazing friend it is finally a reality. Now, onto the burning question, the elephant in the room, the shabang-shabang why the duck isn't she talking about Paris part of this post...

~How I Feel About Paris Today~
Well, that's a simple and really complicated situation. Hugo has proclaimed that there will be no Paris to be had while we are in Europe. I think he's boring and dumb, of course - but what are ya gonna do??? So yes, of course, Paris is on my mind. Paris is all I have a mind for! I have, however, always maintained that in order for my destiny to become my destiny, I will have to keep an open mind. Of course it will kill me to be that close to Paris and not run there screaming and proclaiming my undying love for the city of lights, but really folks - that's not what this trip is about. And we're kind of too broke for Paris. So there you go, Germany it is. We will be staying with Hugo's sister and the kids. I am really excited and will go into further detail about the Christmas markets and the Swartzvald and the castles later. For now, just know, I'm still obsessed with Paris (as always) - but concentrating on the fact that my life is going to be very different, very disconnected from America for over two weeks, very soon! And that makes me a happy girl, brilliantly happy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Favorite Mistake

Shaka, and I had to think for a moment about this one. Shaka, my dog, is my favorite mistake. It melts the little butter pat of my heart to admit this. I didn’t want a dog, I was 19, lonely, married and depressed. I had come back to Atlanta to “start my life” after having a nervous breakdown in the big apple and roaming across the country putting the pieces back together. I decided Atlanta would be the city for me to start over in, although I was calling it “getting started” back then. Within 9 months I found myself way over my head in a relationship with a boy I loved. He loved me too, the only problem is that he hated himself at that time – and hey guess what, he took it out on me. He was no mistake though, and if he was – he wouldn’t be my favorite one. He gave me Shaka, more like told me that we were getting a dog. I knew I was too young, “just starting out”, and ambitious as a motha’ fuker. He insisted, I agreed to go and see the baby mixed pit bull pups and there she was. My Shaka, the one with the little white patch of hair on her back left leg. That’s how I remembered which one she was when I went back to collect her. On that first fall night I devised a plan for puppy picking. I pulled all of the baby puppies, one by one, away from the pack to watch what they would do. She was the only one that didn’t go running back. She walked forward. She was my dog, my soul, possibly my savior.

I went to pick her up a couple of weeks later when sufficient time had passed for her to nurse from her mother. She ran and hid and squealed and we had to lift the dog house in the back yard so that we could pull her out from underneath it. Her mother, a golden full-blooded, pitt – took a glaring stance at me as I scooped up her squealing baby pup. I simply explained to the mother that I would take very good care of her daughter. I kept eye contact with her as I backed slowly out of the yard. She almost had a look of relief, definitely an air of compliance.

About 4 weeks later that same mamma pup accidentally hung herself on her own leash while trying to jump over the back yard fence. She was hanging there in front of the puppies until the owner came home to find her like that, dogs squealing, tears falling.

My Shaka never had to see such a thing – in stead she set out on the journey of being raised by two extremely immature, people. We doted and loved, she was our everything. It would be unfair to say that she's now the only thing left– we have our memories as well.

She has lived with me alone for all of her precious puppy dog life, 9 years, save one year I spent abroad. She has been my best friend and companion for most of those years. I am sure I fucked her up good. This is the part when I say “at least it wasn’t a child I did that to”. I could have a nine year old – that hates me because I was really self-absorbed and screwed up for most of these last 9 years. Instead I have her, my Shaka, who still wags her tail and greets me at the door when I come home. She jogs with me. She comes over and lays her head on my lap if I come back after going away for a couple days. She gets in the bath when I tell her to. She eats her food on command and even learned how to “sit pretty”. I need and adore her and the harrowing thoughts of her demise are more than I can deal with most days. I don’t ever want to carry her lifeless body from the living room floor. I don’t want to burry her in the back yard with blinding tears blazing heated trails down my cheeks. I am not ready for that. I am not made of the stuff that can do that.

~How I Feel About Paris Today~

I think Shaka would fit in just fine in Paris. Except now she’s got arthritis and if we lived up a flight of stairs that would be difficult for her.