Thursday, January 27, 2011

snowpocalypse: the beginning of the end

How's that for an epic title?

We got a whole ton of snow here in Philadelphia - I think the final numbers were around 15-16 inches.  Today began the great dig-out, so I moved through today to the soundtrack of shovels scraping the pavement.  That's right, folks, I got another snow day after all.  I wish I'd known ahead of time, like I did in high school, so I could just sleep in, but I think I got a lot more done than I would have if I'd gone back to bed.  I really did think I was going to work this morning, despite my desire for another snow day; however, there's not much you can do when all the buses have stopped operating and every train that would take you to your destination is being canceled.  Since the sidewalks were a hideous mess and cabs were sliding into the curbs, walking to the train station to wait for a train that would never come kind of lost its appeal.

So, thanks to Snowpocalypse 2011, I have begun the process of moving, which I will probably document here as a pitiful excuse for my interesting meal stories diminishing.  Believe me, my pots, pans, and everyday dishes will be the last things packed (besides the cat), but I fully anticipate:
a) some take-out dinners in the last part of this process and
b) packing taking priority over posting.  I'm only here now because my new bottle of Beaujolais, picked up when I was harvesting boxes from the wine store, was singing its siren song and I needed a short break from wrapping every(fancy)thing a person could possibly drink from in newspaper.

I spent most of the daylight hours hunting down boxes since I can't get them home from my office.  Between Essene, the wine store, and a few other places, I've managed to procure 14 boxes.  So far tonight, I've filled two, but it's only 10:30, so I have time!  I also traded some books for $33 of store credit at a used bookstore beside the thrift store that will soon inherit some wine glasses, bowls, and decor I've outgrown.  This packing-n-purging thing is going really well.

By the way, if anyone was wondering the outcome of last night's quandry, I was strongly encouraged to consider baking cookies by Mister... I really didn't need that much coaxing.

Plain Jane chocolate chip cookies, but boy were they good right out of the oven.  I got so into making these [wonderful] bizarre fusion cookies that I forgot how magnificent it is to bite into a gooey, melty chocolate chip cookie.  Don't be alarmed!  I've remembered.

As my own form of repentance or a spectacular display of irony, tonight I made Pasta Con Broccoli from Appetite for Reduction.  Those cookies are the reason cookbooks like this must exist.

It was delightful, just like last time, although the broccoli got a little mushier than I wanted it to be and I really feel like 1/4 cup of sliced garlic should have a more obvious contribution to the meal.  Perhaps I've been spoiled by the bite of raw garlic in my recent recipe testing, but I could barely tell there was garlic at all!

Anyway, the broccoli got mushy because I let it steam too long while I was trying to clear the table for dinner.  Putting 14 boxes at the table seemed like a good idea when I was bringing them all home...

I think the hardest part of, well, anything, is starting.  Just like I always have trouble deciding which recipe to make first when I have a fresh menu, I had more than a small amount of trouble trying to figure out where to start packing.  Obviously, I would start with things I use infrequently and as the next 16 days progress, I'll move closer to the things I use regularly.  Two weeks from now we will absolutely be eating from takeout containers.

Finally, I decided the most logical place to start was by packing the things I never ever use.  Also, there is something in the restaurant downstairs that vibrates sometimes and causes these beautiful teacups to make very annoying clattering noises.

This is one of those family heirloom stories - I have very few of them, so I cherish those I have.  Aside from the rightmost teacup, these teacups (and the ones in the first picture) have been passed from my mother's mother to her, and from her to me.  As a result of my love of these pretty things, my dear friend and my mother-in-law are helping me to build my collection.  The rightmost teacup in this picture was a Christmas gift from my friend back when I lived in my ghetto apartment.  She gave me another one this year and my husband's mother has given me teacups the last two years for Christmas; for my bridal shower, she gave me a whole tea-set, including the teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl.

This "shot glass" is 108 years old.  You may or may not be able to see in the picture that it is cut crystal, with red tint and two thin gold bands bordering the white stripe in the middle.  I have four and I cherish them - they are what is left of six original glasses with a small crystal pitcher that I inherited from my father's father when they were almost exactly 100 years old.  The reason I know their precise age is because they were apparently a "parting gift" at the 1903 Republican National Convention.  My grandfather was born in 1913, so although I inherited them from him, he must have inherited them from his father.

I love old things.  My design ethic is completely bizarre and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out in the new home (where I'll actually have space to decorate and design).  I admire the sterility and order of modern design; as I believe I've mentioned once or twice, I am completely in love with IKEA and have no issue designing my home to look like their catalogs (I've already begun plotting my kitchen improvements for the new place).  On the other hand, I adore old things and the aesthetic of antiques.  I have very Victorian leanings, but dear heavens does that create clutter!  I love my grandmother-mother's teacups and my grandfather's souvenir shot glasses (I'm pretty sure they're actually stemless cordials) because they link me to a far off past and join me to my family in a quiet, subtle way.

Speaking of subtle, I think the last sip of my wine is the quiet prompt to get back to packing.  I think we'll do platters and plates next.  See you tomorrow!

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