Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catching Up

I haven't posted in quite a while so I'm going to catch up the month in one post.

The major theme of November was illness. Right after the month began I came down with what seemed like a fairly minor viral infection over a weekend. I didn't feel too bad afterwards but I did notice issues breathing. It morphed into bronchitis. That's when I made my major error in that I should have gone to my alternative medicine folks then when that type of thing would help. But there were a number of times when it seemed like things were getting better so I held off.  Then it went down into my left lung and it was definitely NOT getting better. Just before Thanksgiving, I finally decided I needed to do something but unfortunately my doctor was out of town so we were doing consultation by phone. We tried some things but they didn't work and we made the decision I should go to Urgent Care and get a chest X-Ray. The doctor there said, "let's listen to you first because if it is obvious, there's no need to radiate you unnecessarily." This was Monday morning. He said it sounded like a classic case of pneumonia and prescribed some antibiotics that I started immediately and I can say within 48 hours I've seen a big improvement.

In spite of all this I've been doing a lot of cooking. We had a very quiet Thanksgiving with Cabinet Lady, Dr. Debbie (ret) and Dr. D's sister. The turkey I did was crazy good. I've been working on this recipe from Saveur Magazine the last 4 or 5 years that is an apple cider based brine with a very high temperature cook. Each year I seem to get it refined a bit better.  I also finally pulled the plug on the great stuffing/dressing experiment. My Mom always used Pepperidge Farms packaged stuffing in the bird and everyone loved it. I've tried so many from scratch recipes without success. So this year I just bought the package - less work, better results.

Wife and I are also putting on a party this weekend so we're doing a bunch of cooking for that. I decided a while ago that I'd had it with people coming to our place for meals and then saying something like, "Oh we should have you over but I couldn't possibly cook like you do." and then we never hear from them again. So I started this year to recruit people who could be my audience. My rules are simple:
  • I like to cook and I need people who want to eat so I can cook
  • If you come there is no obligation
  • I don't want you to bring anything and I don't expect you to invite me back
  • If you can accept those rules, you're on the list.
I had quite a few takers so we'll have a dozen folks here not counting ourselves. Our theme is FOOD FROM OUR TRAVELS. So we've been working on finding recipes for all kinds of things we've eaten and loved over the years. It is going to be a progressive buffet. I'm not sure that is a real culinary word but it should be. It means we'll have an initial amount of cold buffet and then start adding hot dishes but not take anything off of the buffet.  I will give a full report on this next week. I've already made a number of dishes and so far everything is tasting great. Hopefully I will take some pictures though I've been terrible about that lately.

We also cut the cable meaning we no longer have cable TV or satellite TV. We have a high speed internet connection, a Roku box, and an over air HDTV antenna. It really doesn't affect me as I haven't watched a lick of TV since before our last trip because I AM ADDICTED TO WRITING!

It's crazy. I've talked about it before but I would rather be writing every night than just about anything.  I finally finished Book #2, the sequel to my first book. Three people actually read the first book and the feedback was it was like drinking straight Coke syrup - too much going on, too jagged, too intense. In Book #2 the conflict between the original younger author and the current older author's voices was finally resolved. And things definitely stretched out. The subject matter of Book #2 was so much that I pushed lots of it off to yet another book. And Book #2 came in at 364 pages compared to Book #1 which was 187 pages. I should be on to Book #3 any day now. Then there is the prequel and the rewrite of Book #1.  It was funny when I was done on Monday because on the one hand I was "Yay I've finished" and on the other it was "Boo Hoo, I'm going to miss all the stuff and folks I've been living with these last 9 months".


alexis said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your health! That all seems to have happpened while we were on holiday. :( The cooking sounds amazing and I like your rules very much. I can't wait to hear how the buffet goes.

Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere! So sorry to hear you've been sick. Bring sick for so long can really drag you down.

Agent W said...

Wow! Sorry to read about the pneumonia! Now with the antibiotics, you are on your way back to good health again!
I am glad you are doing what you love to do......travel, writing and cooking. You are a wonderful chef & I like your rules very much! Looking forward to your next blog about the up coming weekend! Hope to see you over the holidays!

Xani said...

Glad you are on the mend! Your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful. We did an Irma-inspired meal with mostly classics like the schmaltzy mashed potatoes, and it was delicious. We did have issues with our pies, which we froze unbaked ahead of time, then partially thawed then baked FOREVER but still had raw dough issues. How did Irma do her pre-made pies?

I often find myself wanting to cook and entertain and sadly we have very few local friends who have the interest/availability to participate (most have small children, some have dietary restrictions). However Erin and I did manage to wrangle 25+ of our female friends to come to a holiday brunch at my house this weekend- wish us luck! and I wish you luck with your progressive buffet- great idea!

de-I said...

Xani - Irma used to bake her pies completely before she froze them. She'd often make the pies months in advance when the fruit were in season. Then she would defrost them completely and finally heat them up in a relatively low oven (I think 300 degrees) uncovered.

At least that's what I think I remember :(

I'm sure about the baking them ahead of time. And I know that she defrosted them before heating. It's the specifics of reheating that I'm a little foggy on.

25 people don't sound like a party - It sounds like a fundraising even :)

Terri said...

It's that time of year - all that illness going around. So sorry to hear you've been so sick. I hope the antibiotics do the trick.

Sounds like you've got the makings for a great party this weekend. With your guest rules, who could resist???

Congrats on all of the writing you are accomplishing! It sounds very fulfilling. Looks like you've found your retirement hobby! (Guess it's more than a hobby, isn't it?)