The Beast and I drove to London, Ont. recently to visit with my mom. The two-hour drive there was eventful.
Foodie: We should really do a weekend trip to Buffalo, don’t you think? We could stay at a fancy hotel, which would be like super-cheap because it’s Buffalo, and we could go to the Albright Knox and eat chicken wings at the Anchor Bar and look at Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and that Louis Sullivan building, too. What’s that called again? And that would be just on Friday night and Saturday morning. And then we could stay in Niagara-on-the Lake on Saturday night at some enchanting little inn and just be enchanted and stuff. We could drive back Sunday morning in time to get you to work. What do you think?
Beast: The Guaranty Building.
On the weekend I decided to make bouillabaisse. The Beast, not being a fan of seafood, was unenthusiastic. I looked at a couple of recipes–one from Julia Child, a good place to start, and another from The New Basics Cookbook, which called for green peppers, which made me ignore that version.
In the end, I just made it up as I went. And it turned out wonderfully.
The Beast offered to make dinner the other night. On the menu? Tuna salad on white Wonder bread with a side of Miss Vicky potato chips.
How could I say no?
In the kitchen:
Foodie: What the fuck do you have on your feet?
The Beast got hit hard with a cold recently. So on Saturday, I decided he could pick a movie and we’d go see it. It came down to either the new Alan Partridge flick, or an Italian film, The Great Beauty.
He chose the latter. And I’m glad he did.
“I know we’ve been fighting a lot and it’s Valentine’s Day,” the Beast said to me, “but let me tell you something.”
“Okay,” I answered. He pulled me close and whispered into my ear, “I bet Beethoven never had to put up with this bull shit.”
I’m not sure if the Polar Vortex and the resulting cold weather can be blamed for some unusual behaviour in this household, or if it’s just been business as usual.
The other day I got home from work and headed straight to the kitchen. That’s when I heard the Beast making his way down from upstairs. Usually it’s a soft step, as though he’s wearing slippers. This time, however, it sounded like he was wearing high heels.
Foodie: Wow! Look at those boots!
I first had the idea to make Christmas cake over a year ago. The Beast and I had visited George Washington’s Mount Vernon in November, 2012. There was a special food exhibit detailing what the Washingtons would’ve eaten in the late 18th century. There were even recipe cards. One was for Martha Washington’s Great Cake, which was likely served as part of their grand Christmas dinner.
I had this in the back of my mind when we visited the duty free shop in Las Vegas a year later. I decided to buy a giant bottle of rum to facilitate my Christmas cake making, but not without quite a bit of deliberation.
Beast: Come on. We have to go.
Foodie: What kind of alcohol are you getting?
Foodie: Should I get this eight-year-old Bacardi rum? It’s such a good deal! And it’s “reserve”!
Beast: How much rum have we gone through in the last 10 years?
Foodie: Not much, I suppose. But I could sure use it to make Christmas cakes come Christmas time!
Beast: Do you even like Christmas cake?
Foodie: [Pause] I don’t think so. Do you?
Despite neither of us liking Christmas cake, I bought the rum and then several weeks later I began Googling and going through my cookbooks to look for recipes for a cake that I do not like. I found a recipe for Joey Smallwood’s wife’s 100-year-old Christmas cake. I found another in my Canadian Living cookbook. And another one from popular British cook Delia Smith.
I decided to take the best elements of them all, including Martha Washington’s, to create a perfect Christmas cake.