Frozen Peas as a Palliative

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another post from outside the kitchen. I've had to have what I'm describing to my friends as "gentleman's surgery" It makes walking difficult and peeing a real adventure. As a result I've missed a week of work, sort of unexpectedly. My surgeon said that I should apply cold compresses for a few days after the operation. He then chuckled and leaned toward me as if to impart a secret. "We have found that packages of frozen peas work very well in this area as they conform nicely to the shape of the body." He was particularly pleased to be recommending this to a cook. He was correct. No, I did not later eat the peas. It would have felt unseemly somehow.

There are plenty of things to talk about, just the same. Today is the second anniversary of my friends Israel and Rosibel Cruz. They both have to work today, so last night we went to the Plaza Garibaldi in Durham for a little celebration. I am particularly fond of these two, in part because I attended their wedding in the mountains of Oaxaca. Our fiesta included huarachas, cocktel de camerones, and caldo de siete mares. It was just like being in Mexico except that there was a Big Lots across the parking lot.

Back at Crooks, I've begun bringing back the layer cakes that were so popular last summer. Again, many of them will come from Nancie McDermott, but this year I'll be able to expand my repertoire. All last year, people told me "you need to try my grandmother's this or that cake" and began giving me family recipes. I've also gotten some favorites from friends. Our first one this season is a wonderful orange cake from my friend Marcelle Bienvenu at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. It's delicious and of course served with a big blob of fresh whipped cream. It is made with frozen orange juice.

Lastly, as I have been confined to quarters I have been studying my house a little. When I first bought it in 1994 it suddenly occurred to me that I could paint things any color I wanted. And I did. One Saturday at the Farmers' Market, I bought a bunch of yellow beets for that damnable goat cheese salad that we are serving right now, fourteen years later, as luck would have it. When I cut open the cooked beets, their color was so wonderful that I stole one and took it to the paint store to have it matched. The color is a lovely rosy gold and is still the color of my hall today. I had hoped for a Tuscan effect, but I think I got Mumbai. Anyway, I still love the color and I have had it copied every time I repaint. The picture above is remarkably close to the original

posted by Bill Smith at 2:03 PM


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