If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973)
Last night’s party aboard Sonofagun was quite a happening.
Everyone we invited turned up. The sight of 19 people (and one friendly rottweiler) jamming, laughing and chattering together on the back deck of the boat—as well as the flotilla of a dozen dinghies hitched to the back platform, and a full-sized sailboat, Outsider, rafted up alongside so that people could cross from one boat to the other—was pretty damn impressive. It was impossible not to feel the love from all these friends who made the effort to leave the land and join us on the water.
The menu was a success…Christophe declared the coq au vin “perfect” and “nearly as good as my mother’s” (*fistpump* Yes!), while the dips (the bagna cauda and borani esfanaaj, particularly) were pronounced “addictive” by several friends, who hovered around that end of the table nearly the entire night. A fondue of dark chocolate (served with strawberries, macadamias, and some ill-chosen marshmallows that nobody touched) and cups of strong coffee at the end rounded the dinner off with a sharp little perk-me-up that after-dinner joints and more booze worked into rowdy revelry, before leading everyone back to the ciabattas, olives, cheeses, nuts and dips…to quell those notorious munchies.
The last of the crowd went home by two a.m., though a couple of friends went to sleep on Outsider, just next to us, while Tobias the rottweiler and three other friends unrolled their swags and slept on deck.
On the whole, a party to be remembered…especially as I didn’t take any photographs! Flash bulbs and long exposures on a moving boat would only have produced blurry, dark, grainy and greyish photos of the evening, anyway, and captured none of the energy, the conversation, the merriment, the aromas of simmering wine or liquified chocolate and coffee that hung in the chilly air. Such moments blossom in a rapid geometry of sensations, emotions and ideas…and because I wanted to really be a part of that dynamic Now, as it was unfolding, I didn’t even think of getting my camera out, let alone entertain any concerns for finding a good angle or getting the lighting and exposure right. I’m trying not to let anything stand between myself and the Present; I want to be more than just a spectator of my life.
My only photograph of the day was taken in the morning, laved in refined sunlight, music flooding the boat, during the peaceful and relaxed enjoyment of my third cup of coffee, in-between having made the borani esfanaaj (heavenly) and getting ready to start the mashed potatoes (for which recipe I succumbed to food hubris and complicated processes by using Julia Child’s version, purée de pommes de terre à l’ail. It was sinfully buttery, fluffy, and infused with a gentle, creamy garlic flavour. Taking my hubris a notch higher, I would suggest improving this recipe, next time, by using oven-roasted garlic flowers…instead of boiling the garlic cloves in water. Presumptuous beyond belief.)
For the coq au vin, instead of using the pressure cooked recipe, I ended up slotting use of the pressure cooker into the full-on, multiple-process recipe from Julia Child’s first volume of French cooking. *sigh* I know I said I wanted it to be quick and easy, but in my heart I knew that the flavor of the sauce would suffer, and you can’t sacrifice flavour for the sake of convenience! May as well grab a bucket of fried chicken, in that case, no? So, really, Christophe’s cocotte-papin or autocuisier only saved me 15-20 minutes of cooking time whilst I was tenderising the chicken. Everything else happened in Julia-time…sort of like the culinary version of William Morris’ Arts and Crafts Movement: the dish took 5½ hours to prepare, from start to finish, not counting the time spent washing the various pots and skillets, along the way, but counting the final heating of the dish before serving.
- Defrost in translation… (smallestforest.net)