The Tovsky Tribe

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Apples, Honey, and a Ramekin of Salt!

Written (9/9/10)

Happy New Year!!   Rosh Hashana is a time of celebration, and joy, too much food, and a healthy serving of chaos.  Most of the holidays are, particularly where I come from.  But, I love chaos.  I love the holidays.  And, indeed, I do love food.

I have always loved to cook.  The slicing, the dicing, the mixing of flavors and smells.  I love it all.
When I was younger I could not wait to have a house just so I could cook fancy meals and  host holidays.  And dinner parties.  (Clearly I had no idea that home ownership came with so much responsibility.)  We've lived here 6 years and we have had exactly zero dinner parties.  I stilll dream of them.  I set aside recipes perfect for such occasions, a poached pear with balsamic drizzle, or a soup, served cold and in a shot glass, and have invested in serving pieces appropriate for such intimate and tasty affairs.  I suppose, someday, dreams will come true.

Holidays, on the other hand, we've hosted plenty.  They are like dinner parties, minus the intimacy.   I love hosting the holidays, cooking new recipes, drinking good wine, using my china.  But, here is how hosting a holiday goes when you have three young kids under foot.  (Note: The two school aged children under foot have been off from camp and school for four weeks now, making things a little more interesting!)

Waking up early, trying to have some time to myself before the romper room begins, I bought myself exactly ten minutes because they all woke up early too.  All of them.  And, so, since I had nothing done in advance (which, despite my tendency to procrastinate, is unlike me when it comes to the holiday) I now had 8 hours to do everything, while tripping on three kids, and squeezing in a doctor's appointment for Ryder.  I was beginning to feel a little bit like Robert Irvine.  Ha, that would be a mission I would love to see him accomplish. 
I would love to say that I used this very opportunity to put aprons on the kids and teach them a thing or two about the kitchen.  But, that is not exactly how this went, though they did each stir, smell fresh garlic, and put their hand on mine and help me chop some veggies.  Mostly, it was a one handed juggling act of disappearing ingredients and background noise of whining.
Turner, who has been working his way off of my hip, found comfort in my arms and nowhere else and left me flipping a six pound brisket, using unsturdy tongs, with one hand. Ryder, my independent and creative thinker, decided at that moment to be a chef and was concocting a masterpiece of his own (see photo above.)  I offered him a few things to use; a rib of celery, a few pieces of onion, a teaspoon of flour, and he tossed it in the salad spinner with delight.  Of  course when I turned my back, he took all 9 of my smashed garlic cloves that I had prepared earlier so I would have them when I needed them, and dumped them in his bowl.  9 garlic cloves.  That is nearly a full head.  I barely had enough to replace them.  See what happens when I try to be organized and prepared?  Then, later, he took my entire ramekin of kosher salt and dumped into his bowl.  9 garlic cloves and an entire ramekin of salt.   Of course,  it was too dry, so he added a few drops of purell as a liquid.  Pure genius, that boy.
Chase, who spent entirely too much time in front of the television, does not let many moments pass between his need for attention and his desire to say something.  Anything.  So, every few minutes there was a joke, or a demand, or a dance, or whine, or a charming smile and compliment.  Anything to take my attention away from the food, or the toddler, or the chef-to-be, and on to him.  And, only him.

But, somehow (thanks to the moms who came to help), and in the knick of time, the tables were set, the appetizers were out, the dinner was in the oven, I was in clothing other than my PJ's, and the boys were not fully neglected.  And, the night was wonderful.  Fun, tasty, loud, and everything a new year's celebration should be.

Already looking forward to next year, only I think I will put the boys to work in 2011.

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