They call them nor’easters up here: howling, maniacal weather that blows down small trees, power lines and any other object stupid enough to be built in its way. They don’t respect the calendar. Nor’easters clobber Boston with rain or snow and leave a trail of havoc behind.
I drew up the shade in my bedroom this morning and, at first, could see nothing except more snow on the ground. Where was the storm? Then I looked again. The street looked hazy somehow, as if a fog had descended. Then I noticed the snow, blowing sideways so hard that I could barely see it. Well, okay then. Here’s our storm. It’s the devil in the clouds and in the wind. It’s dark out by now and I haven’t opened an outside door all day. Schools have been canceled for today and for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s high? 7 degrees Fahrenheit.
I made history yesterday, along with several million people all over the world. I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. We were 175,000 people strong. By the time we got to the Boston Common, the area was so crowded that we couldn’t hear the speakers, only clapping and roars from the crowd closer in. It took us over two hours just to get from where were stood at the center-rear of the Common to the street where the march commenced. I was surrounded by energy, love, diversity and hope.
I came with 16 other people, organized by my good friend Michele. She gathered family and friends, many of whom came in from other New England states to participate in the march. Some of those same folks left that same night. I applaud their energy and enthusiasm. We represented all ages. Michele (as well as many of us) is in her 60s. She was joined by siblings, nieces, friends of nieces and more. We had a family tree on its way to Boston Common!
It was an amazing day. Our numbers were far higher than anyone had expected. The same was true of marches in other parts of the country. We were a sea of pink pussy hats yesterday and we sent a message, whether or not our new “president” deigned to hear it. Everyone else did.
I’m still floating today. Every news source was full of stories and pictures of millions of people demonstrating and marching. There were marches in Antarctica, Europe, Asia and Africa. The DC event was the largest protest march in history. Our election put our own people as well as people in the rest of the world in danger. As an American, I have a responsibility to rectify that. Donald Trump was not elected by a majority, but by an antiquated electoral system that did not serve the interests of the American people in November.
I feel empowered, for the first time in months. And, I don’t intend to stop here. The marches were just the first volley in our second American revolution.
I decided to play hooky from work last week and took myself downtown. It was a lovely day and I needed some down time. I took the subway to Charles Street and started my adventure there. After lunch I visited the public garden and took a few snaps. Heck, I even took a ride on the swan boats!
Well, here we are at 2015. I’m ready for it to be a fine 12 months. I started the year by going back in time. I had to order a new version of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Mine falls to pieces the minute you open it. I didn’t get the requested item for Christmas, so I ordered it online. While I was browsing around I came across another book, intriguingly entitled: “Fannie’s Last Supper.” The author is Chris Kimball, the host of America’s Test Kitchen. He wanted to recreate a meal from the original, 1896 edition. I’m a sucker for stuff like that, so I ponied up and got myself an ebook copy, which I’m reading on my iPad (talk about juxtapositions!).
The book got some bad reviews on Amazon, mostly because the author found most of the recipes in the cookbook to be absolutely terrible. I think he’s being a bit hard on the old girl. That was then and this is now. If you can’t deal with soggy, overcooked vegetables and heavy cream sauce over everything, then do something else. Still, it’s an interesting read with lots of social and culinary history thrown in among the revised recipes and admonitions.
I have a few historical versions of this cookbook: a reproduction of the original, a reprinting from 1918 (with wartime recipes and suggested substitutions, another version from 1951 and another from 1965. The menus change pretty radically along the way, so I guess jellied salad and fish boiled for an hour didn’t withstand the test of time. At some point they swapped out coal stoves and added baking temperatures, thank God. Really, I don’t need to learn how to light and maintain a stove. Checking oven temperature is an absolute necessity, particularly in my crappy old stove. See? If I had the cast iron coal stove, I could have switched it over to gas and it would outlast me by 100 years. So, there, Chris Kimball!
I have to say, I like the book, although he’s very snooty towards Miss Farmer. He did acknowledge her marketing and business sense, since the book is a classic and has been for over a century. It sold like hotcakes the minute it came out. It had precise weights and measures, suggested menus (holy cow!), information about cooking classes at the Boston Cooking School and even a section on cooking for the sick. Toast water, anyone? And how about this for brekkies:
Burp. I’ll get a cramp in my hand if I copy down her suggested dinners. Would I make anything from the original cookbook? Probably not. Some of them really do sound kind of gross and the method of preparation would cook every bit of nutrition right out. Boil that sucker for an hour! Get the deep frier ready and pass the cream sauce.
Every now and again we get a nice, spring day. Today? Well, lovely, in a word. It almost (but not entirely) made up for the days of wind, cold and rain we’ve recently had. I’m sick to death of gray skies where I don’t feel like taking one step out of the house. It’s downright depressing.
I had some time to make up for today. I’ve been missing my walks and decided to roam a bit further afield, to Menotomy Rocks park. It’s about a 20-25 minute walk from my house and nestled in a quiet neighborhood of very pretty, Victorian houses and well-tended gardens. There’s a lovely pond with a walking path around its perimeter. There are myriad other paths as well, that are about as peaceful and contemplative as you could want.
I spent a blissful hour or so walking to and from the park, then walking around the pond. There’s also an outdoor art exhibit there, sponsored by the Town and open to any and all comers.
I haven’t been to Menotomy Rocks in a few years. I remember taking my parents to it at one point and walking around the pond with my mother. She loved to walk and, like me, enjoyed parks and gardens. My dad’s a more sedentary guy and took a seat on a bench while we ambled and talked.
Walk or Sit, It’s Up to You
Stairway to Heaven
Urban. Can’t You Believe it?
Come For the Peace, Stay For the Quiet.
I finally left when my bladder had a very urgent chat with me. Damn. That’s what happens when you get older. I did manage to snag a few pics of the neighborhood on the way down, so it wasn’t a total loss.