Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Slip Slidin' Away

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This past weekend, we joined Ellen’s siblings and cousins for a reunion at Carol’s and Bernie’s lakeside house in VA. It was fun to see relatives/friends and to enjoy stories and videos from times past. Carol had prepared a variety of foods to which we added our potluck items. Great company and wonderful food made it a perfect event. (It was nice that the weather cooperated as well.) On the way to VA, we visited Ellen’s brother and his wife in PA and then Ellen’s nephew and his wife at their house in NC. By the time we got back to MI we had put more than 1800 miles on the car in six days.

Several weeks ago, we visited Marge and Charley in St: Joseph, MI. Marge surprised me with an invitation to cook rabbit with her for my surprise birthday dinner. This was not the usual 2+ pound rabbit one finds in the freezer case at the grocery store. It was a fresh rabbit and weighed over five pounds! Marge had found an interesting recipe in a Patricia Wells cookbook (Patricia Wells At Home in Provence) calling for preserved lemons. We used three of the five pounds of rabbit and had a wonderful dinner – though we were both nervous at how salty the preserved lemons were… (The flavors worked out okay. Marge and I decided to reduce the liquid portion of the lemons to reduce the saltiness.) I brought home the remaining two pounds with which I plan to make Terrine de Lapin.

Ellen’s sister Tish has been staying with us for most of July as part of her annual stateside vacation. This year when she leaves, she will be going to teach in Nairobi (and we are all relieved that she did not choose to extend her teaching contract in Cairo). Tish said that one of the things that she missed while in Cairo was live music. I could echo her comment in referring to Vaison la Romaine though we know that there are a lot of music venues in Vaison in the spring and summer (when we are not there!). We went to hear “The Delta Rhythm Kings” and “Frog and the Beeftones” and enjoyed live music at the “Taste of Downtown Lansing” gathering. We also went to see a friend’s grandson in a lead role in a local production of “Next to Normal”. Local performers, world class talents.

We watched the Tour de France on television and got to see the amazing riders climb Mt. Ventoux and then depart from Vaison la Romaine on the stage that took them to Gap and the Alps. Ma belle soeur (Sister-in-law) found a charmingly funny video about the Tour de France visit to Vaison. Go to: and click on “Les Romanus”.

BTW, today I picked and enjoyed the first tomato from my garden. Fresh vine-ripened tomatoes are among the greatest pleasures of summer, especially when I can walk into my own back yard to pick them.