Friday, November 28, 2008

eat drink

Our drive through eight states was a grand success: Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Normally, where I was raised, 660 miles might get you two or three states – eight was a number that required flight. We cut the trip down the middle and spend Wednesday night in Middleton, NY, appropriately enough. We arrived at the farm in Gray, ME at 1pm sharp and walked into Christian’s full-fledged Thanksgiving cookery show. My attempt to jump in upon arrival – as planned in my own little mind – was thwarted by my forgetting to score the chestnuts before roasting. What you get in that type of situation is the first exploding nut causing everyone to hit the ground in avoidance of shrapnel. X immediately recognized the sound – experience teaches – and Chris pulled the pan out and immediately covered the ammo with a towel. There was much exploding and chestnut guts on the kitchen floor. We managed to save more than was needed and had a good laugh at my well-deserved expense. Chris flew through the Turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted mushrooms, parsnips, and beets, gravy, brussel sprouts with green beans, pumpkin and cherry pie, a beautiful apple crisp, and lord knows what else. I did the apple and chestnut stuffing along with a way too big pan of oyster stuffing. Christian’s mother brought along a fantastic pile of pearl onions and the homemade cranberry sauce to finish out the spread. I think that covers it all but I’m making no guarantees. Amongst the eight of us sitting around the Norman Rockwell farm table we might have damaged about 10% of the product.

We all headed into Portland this morning for shopping, tea, and menu planning – as if we need more food. Christian and I parted with the rest of the crew and he showed me the dreamy food shopping available in the city. We have five live lobsters that we’ll (he…with my oohing and ahhing) turn into fresh stuffed lobster pasta that he’s throwing onto of the lobster bisque. I’m going to try to put together a lobster-spinach pizza thing as an opener for the clan when they start sniffing about the kitchen.

Our last stop on the way out of town was at an Italian shop (restaurant and personal shopping) where I stocked up on a bunch of stuff I can haul home for the kitchen. But, the most awesome part of the joint was the baker who presides over his oven and goods. He does primarily fresh bread and pizza that come out on 30-minute intervals indicated by signs that keep the folk away from the artist. We waited for the bread train for about twenty minutes and grabbed a half-dozen loaves of the most amazing bread I’ve ever eaten. There was some idea of driving back to the farm with hot, fresh bread in the backseat – and we did drive to the farm – but one loaf was quickly devoured by those in the front seat.

It’s a bit cold. It’s November. It’s Maine.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all.


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