I had one Irish great-grandmother who was supposedly kind of bossy and mean, which is fitting because she certainly had bossy genes. All of my life people have stopped me on the street to ask if I'm Irish. Even though I'm (mostly) not, I smile and nod, because they're proud of themselves for making the call and it's a fine thing to be. But then, what isn't?
Last night, to mark St. Patrick's Day, my father had us all up to his house. I was in a dark and reckless mood and consumed, in large quantities:
Guinness ice cream float (it was actually delicious)
In tiny quantities:
Today, I'm fasting in penance and preparation for launching into Jennifer McLagan's Fat tomorrow. The challenge with this book will be acquiring essential ingredients which include marrow bones, caul fat, suet, kidneys, duck fat, leaf lard. I've found sources for some of this, but not, for instance, caul fat. Another issue: McLagan offers a number of enticing sausage recipes, and I'm considering buying a grinding/sausage stuffing attachment for my mixer. We're not rolling in cash at this moment, but I've always wanted one. Yes or no?
On a related topic, I'm putting us on a food budget. For the next few weeks, I'm just keeping track of what we spend so we have a baseline. It'll be embarrassing, I'm sure. Trying to figure out what a family of four should be shelling out for food is a fraught and fascinating question to which none of the so-called experts have the same answer.
Finally, I finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which petered out in the end but still: great. One of the novel's two narrators is obsessed with something called "gloutof," which she describes as a "rather voracious Alsatian cake." (Can you use voracious that way? I don't think so.) She says, "Everything that is dry and heavy about Alsace is transformed. . . into an aromatic masterpiece."
I had to know more about this incredible cake, started looking for recipes online, and found nothing but indignant French comments on Amazon saying that "gloutof" n'existe pas and what she really means is "koglhopf." For which, as you can see from the poll on the right, McLagan just happens to offer an unusual recipe, one I find not the least bit tempting.