Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taste vs Judgment

Food glorious food surrounded Em and Ryan, his parents, and MOTB-blogger (me) at last Sunday’s wedding-tasting feast. We were invited to the event last year too, since we had booked the venue two years before the wedding date. How carefree we were in 2010 as we faced, just ahead of us, three cuts of beef,  and then a quarter turn to our left – four fish dishes, and with another turn – chicken this , chicken that,  and  chicken this and that. More choices than a Food Network home page lay before us and, like kids in a candy shop, we ricocheted from one counter to the next, pleasure our only principle.
The goods were just as abundant this year in an elegant room that felt as if it was being hosted by the Ghost of Plenty Past. This time, however, we weren’t so carefree.  Along with a plate I had my notebook in hand. I’d take a bite and jot. Bite and jot.
 Breast of Chicken Jacqueline- tastes like piccata. Very Olive-Garden-ish
Breast of Chicken Tuscany – good but sausage mix ??? Rules out the non-red-meat-eater.
Apple-stuffed Breast of Chicken – hmmmmm just right – especially for a fall-flavored feast.
For the non-meat eaters I considered:
Salmons with a fruity salsa – nice and light
 Filet of Sole with Scallop and Crabmeat Stuffing, topped with Lobster Sauce – a little heavy for my taste
Then I dipped, sipped, bit, and jotted
Butternut squash soup OR butternut squash ravioli –  not both. Too much of a good thing.

This went on through salads (7!), pastas (4), so many butlered- hors d'oeuvres, I lost track, and four flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Bite and jot. Bite and jot. Bite and jot. Bite and jot.
Hard work, I know, but someone’s got to do it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

With the holidays over . . . here comes the bride!

I just shoveled four inches of snow off the driveway. New England snow as it should be. Fluffy. Light.  Bright enough to wrap midnight, last night,  in the monochromatic grays of a late afternoon.
Looking out the window this morning, it’s difficult to believe that nine months from this very snowy day, ivory, the color of Emily’s wedding gown, will be the whiteness that accents the day and night.  We’re all hoping a classic New England fall landscape of flaming maples and golden oaks will surround her. An ever so light breeze in the late afternoon sun would be nice too.
But what if it rains? Or an unexpected autumn wind drives us indoors for the ceremony? Ryan, Em’s fiancĂ©, has a brother who got married in a tent one June, a few years back. The plan was cocktails on an open patio and dinner under a tent with no walls, to encourage a wisp of air here and there. Instead, the skies just opened to buckets and buckets of rain. Not one cocktail was sipped in the open air. The tent’s unfurled plastic walls were all that kept the guests dry from the outright deluge taking place outside the ceremonial bubble. Yet, as I recall from looking  at photos of their festivities, there was not one frown or grimace on face of bride, groom, party or guests.  They all seemed to go with the flow, the flow being, in this case, lots and lots of rain water.
The photographs captured them hopping, skipping, and jumping through puddles in their bare feet. The girls held buoyant skirts  above their knees, and looked as if they were laughing the way children laugh through spontaneous summer showers.
The same  grayness that appeared out my kitchen window in last night’s snowstorm surrounded that wedding entourage.  But spots of perky umbrellas stand out here and there against the grayness in the wedding photos. The contrast reminds me of the way brightly painted dinghies on a lakeside in Ireland seem to  almost thumb their bows at the continual rolling in and out of dank Irish mist.   
Good weather for the wedding would be nice, but it’s not essential. That’s what the pictures of Ryan’s brother’s wedding tell me. They also whisper that the good time that took place in a gray, rainy landscape stands out as  more unique  and special than the so-called ideal panoramas of outdoor celebrations featured page after page in bridal magazines. So now, nine months before the BIG day, I’m going to stop worrying about the aspects of the day Emily and I will not be able to control and get down to the labor of love that will make it lovely in any weather.