". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, December 26, 2015

After Christmas, Prior to Cuba and the New Year

Christmas Day's pork roast turned out very well, according to those who ate it and, I confess, to my own judgment as well. The roast is almost entirely about the stock elements around it, which were in the freezer as leftovers from previous pork entrees, and about timing, ensuring it is well cooked, but not even a little bit dry.  So it's paying attention more than physical work.

Trust me: peeling a butternut squash is hard work!
The parsnip and squash soup was more complicated and difficult for me to pull together. Unlike the roast, the soup is a lot of steps from cutting open, peeling, chopping and pre-roasting both parsnips and squash just a little bit before starting the ingredients in the stove top soup kettle. Then  must be paid a lot of attention, to keep from scorching.

Perhaps a meal of left-overs, just enough for el V and me.  :)

This paying attention part -- I'm rather astonished I pulled that off, considering the consequences of Christmas Eve included not getting home and into bed until nearly 5 AM.

Christmas Eve dinner was outstanding. It included venison and wild boar sausages and duck breasts, both grilled outside. That's what many on our coast have done this year because it's been so unseasonably warm. With no need or desire to further heat up the house, many traditional winter foods were jettisoned for the feast and instead of baking a ham, grilling out in the garden is the thing. K & C's courtyard / patio was just lovely. Except we were certain that mosquitoes were about . . . .

Among the terrific company was this year's winner of the Man Booker Award for Fiction,  He managed to get a flight in from Minneapolis. In fact we first met years ago at another holiday dinner, Thanksgiving, also hosted by K & C -- the n'er to be forgotten Thanksgiving when the dining room table's additional leaves parted company with each other, and everything on the table slow-moed into the ever-widening, snowy-lined table cloth crevasse. And, then the disaster after that, while K was fare welling the guests on the long steep brownstone steps, he slipped on a bit of ice that hadn't gotten the salt, fell and broke his ankle. This was back when the huge economic depression was just starting, and when people like us, artists, freelancers etc., were hit, and hit very hard, almost a year before there was official recognition that the economy, thanks to the banks, was crashing and burning.

BTW,Booker winner plans, he says, some big Fantasy fiction set in a fantasy Africa, drawing on African myths and history.  El V and I just happen to have some fairly serious knowledge of these matters . . . and as well there are two big West African projects he's doing himself in 2017, which will involve going back to the African Atlantic coastal countries for some serious time.

It was a terrific Christmas Eve.  We had no idea it was so late because the time just whizzed by in great conversation, food, drink and friends. At midnight I looked out of the great bay window of K's second floor study The perfectly round winter moon was nested in a web of bare black tree branches, wreathed with bits of fog. If this had been a film and I looking out that great bay window at midnight, I would have exclaimed, "Oooooo, look everyone!  It's snowing!" And have seen Santa's sleigh and reindeer gliding through the fog above Madame Jumel's mansion.

But it did not snow and  I did not see a sleigh and reindeer crossing the moon.

Instead, we embarked on a dancing salsathon to K's magnificent vinyl record collection of Puerto Rican and Cuban salsa stars.

Today's much colder than the previous days of this week.  But it's still grey -- can't remember the last time there was a sunny day.  Rain is to begin, yet again, and keep up until Tuesday.  This is going to interfere with the getting of these things one must have before flying to Havana.  Among them disposable champagne glasses* for 30 +, to drink to 2015 at our last U.S. meal before taking off for Cuba.



My special gift this year: a set of indescribably beautiful -- and fragile -- champagne flutes.  They are staying home.  But we used them last night, specifically, to drink a toast to the confounding of rethuggianism, those who made so much money out of our economic miseries.

Among other things though, I received Mary Beard's SPQR!  And the print version of Isabella: Warrior Queen, which is one of my year's best / most important reading round-up -- but I actually listened to an audio download.  Now I have the author's footnotes and bibliography, thank goodness.

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