Making sausage definitely brings to mind indelicate subjects. Not just one, several. You can imagine, and I will let you.
The rest of the dinner was fantastic. I broke my scalloped potatoes losing streak with the help of Anne Mendelson's elegant and precise recipe. What was I doing wrong all those years? They are so easy.
I can't praise Mendelson's book Milk highly enough. Her crisply written history of dairying, which includes the most sensible analysis of the current raw milk controversy that I've encountered, is riveting. The recipes are all for simple dishes, but they have so far proven flawless.
For vegetable: McLagan's double butter salad. You make the dressing by melting butter until it begins to brown, add cider vinegar and salt, then pour it over some butter lettuce. Tastes like butter, but also like salad, and is delicious.
And for dessert: McLagan's choux paste beignets -- cream puff dough spiked with Pastis (or Pernod), fried in lard, and dusted with fennel-flavored sugar.* Served with hot chocolate.
After this, the ladies went home and the children and I retired to the sofa for two episodes of Friday Night Lights. The longstanding Wednesday night DVD tradition (it began when Mark took the Wednesday night shift) may seem questionable because we stay up too late and watch shows with "mature" content. But Isabel and Owen fight so much the rest of the time, this seems to be the only way the three of us can enjoy ourselves together. It's a happy shared ritual and that feels important, more important than bedtime or going to our separate rooms to read worthy books. Plus, FNL: awesome.
*Put sugar and fennel seeds in a spice grinder until powdery