A lot has been going on around here, in the kingdom of Rue le Sel (and hereby referred to as such), and that’s besides the whole birth of Christ ordeal and the slurry of presents that come alongside.
So (belated) Merry Christmas to all of you, readers, I hope your stockings were stuffed to satisfaction - but really, (really), I’ve been meaning to introduce you to someone, a little man that has taken up the majority of my time and sleep for the past week and has been more than welcome to do so all along. This little man:
His name is Luke and he’s a mut just like the rest of us, loves to eat, and loves even more to sleep curled up in the nook of your lap while you sit on the couch. He will live up to being a cool hand one of these days, just as soon as he acquires some appropriate-sized legs and a bit more coordination. Just you wait.
Introductions over with, I wanted to give you a short list of some of my favorite things over the past few weeks. (Other than Luke. Sorry.) In no particular order, these things have made me very appreciative. Now you can be appreciative too:
1. High Oven Heat
I can’t recall ever having thanked an appliance for correctly doing what it is hardwired to do, but I’ve decided that all needs to change. Cranked up to four hundred, four twenty five, it turns out the most delicious vegetables, just this side of burnt, coddled into carmelization. It makes it look as though those carrots on the Christmas table were a morning-long labor, when really, the oven deserves all the credit.
2. Arizona Dreaming
The spice. It’s made by Penzeys, and if you don’t have one near you, order it online. Soon. Smoky from paprika, spicy from ancho chile, this blend is good on mostly everything, but especially good on those roasted carrots I was just talking about. Seriously, if there was one lesson learned this Christmas dinner, it’s that high heat plus Arizona dreaming plus carrots equals a recipe in itself.
3. Family Heirlooms
This may sound trite, but hear me out. I remember looking at my grandmother’s silver when I was a girl. After the Doxology was sung, I would glance at it from the kid’s table, rickety and near the hutch, at Thanksgiving. It was pretty at best, but I imagined it completely useless. Later, holding an eighteenth century sterling coffee pot - five generations old - in my hands, I realize that functionality is not the point. I imagine how it held coffee after dinner all those years ago, and how now, to have it is not to hold coffee or afternoon tea, but to hold a small piece of history on your shelf, to continue in a small, sterling silver way, some kind of family lineage.
The holidays and their meals always make this lineage clearer, a glaring, twelve-place-setting reminder to be appreciative. The carrots and the spices play their part, too, helping guide generations to the same table, if not in person, than in the song sung immediately before the meal.