The weekly “little of this, little of that” feature here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!
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Happy New Year! And happy Epiphany!
A few little shots of holiday doings…
We attended a lovely “community” wedding, by which I mean that the bride’s community — and ours — contributed in all sorts of ways to her vision of a day in which many, many people would come together as a real family to celebrate. It was great fun and most joyous. I couldn’t resist taking this shot of the side of salmon I brought:
That’s my biggest “caterer’s” platter! Those are big lemon slices! I had to time the cure, which meant that for a wedding on the 28th, the salmon had to go under the salt by Christmas. So I bought the filet a couple weeks before and froze it, plunking it in its pan on Christmas Eve to cure without even trying to thaw it!
It’s been so cold here (and I had so much food in my extra fridge) that I left it on the floor in the mudroom and it was just dandy! (The method for doing this is in this post. The black spice there is juniper, some of which I crushed up to add to the brine.)
We are drowning in cookies. Send help!
What with family and company and a lot of “visiting” crammed into a long week, and the wedding, and not sure of who would be around for New Year’s Eve, we exhaustedly forewent our huge party and did it up “koselig” with lots of “hygge” — and good thing too — it was so bitterly cold that I wouldn’t have wanted dozens of guests to be parking who knows where.
Not a good picture, please forgive me.
Here is what all is on that little table, clockwise from the top: Aged swiss and cranberry-studded cheddar, grapes, and pomegranate. Roasted broccoli and red onion. Cranberry and onion compote (for the ham). Spinach and artichoke dip (which always seems like it’s going to be trite until you have some and then oh my). White bean and pesto dip; liver paté (this time with curry, coriander, and cumin; prunes; and pomegranate molasses, which is just a reduction of pomegranate juice that’s very sweet and sour, you buy it in a bottle; red pepper hummus); ham, sourdough bread of deliciousness (I’ve been getting better at my starter, must post about that soon), butter. Crackers. Mulled wine, wine, cider…
For dessert we had cookies, fruitcake, and bûche de Noël. Champagne!
I had to laugh because I’ve been obsessed with the Smorgasbord thing (in part because the wedding was Swedish-themed, and also because Sukie has been doing this for Christmas for a while, since her husband is so often on call), so now that you can choose a hashtag to follow on Instagram, a lot of my feed has been just that. Photo after photo of cozy platters of goodness.
The other day I found myself scrolling and thinking, “Wow, this Smorgasbord idea is super viral right now!” Duh, yes, you set it up that way…
On to our links!
- Evelyn Waugh’s Helena prays for the conversion of her son at Epiphany.
- Manhood is Not Natural — Super important read. “A good man is the fountain, not the drain. The formation of such men is the first task of human civilization, and its largest threat when ignored.”
- Obscure homeschool resource alert: A site with all sorts of information about Anglo-Saxon history and literature! Here is the poem The Wanderer, with its intriguing footnote: __line 92a: In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, in chapter six of The Two Towers, Aragorn sings a song of Rohan (itself a version of Anglo-Saxon England), beginning “Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?”. The song clearly comes from this section of The Wanderer. (A more strictly literal translation of “mago” would be “youth”, hence “Where is the horse gone? Where the young man?” — but since the horse and the youth appear in the same half-line, Tolkien’s rendering “rider” is very hard to resist.)__
- A hilariously click-bait-y title for a rather arcane subject, but David Clayton writes about an ancient way of keeping a choir (and the priests!) on key in church: Using Drone Warfare in the Battlefield of Sacred Music. I agree with him that it’s far preferable to using an organ — and there’s a reason why. Organs are tempered instruments — their tuning is not exactly on pitch to compensate for the vibrations of the pipes. Whereas the human voice uses “just” tuning. So when instrumentals accompany the voice, the voice must compromise. It’s true that many do not sing with good pitch, so using the organ or piano keeps things on an even keel. This is where acoustics come in — a church with good acoustics can vastly help the singers actually hear themselves and each other, thus staying on pitch better. Anyway, the drone is a good way to solve this problem.
- This is my last chance this year (maybe even beyond my last chance) to plug Epiphany: Counting Christmas: Celebrating the Twelfth Night. And don’t miss the embedded link to a beautiful piece: Christmas Traditions – Christmas With Charles Dickens, by Mamie Dickens, his daughter.
- This article posted by Patrick Madrid about Facebook when you’re married reminded me that actually, the issue is the groups where people complain about this or that and get bad, bad advice, whether it’s about their baby’s sleep or their spouse’s transgressions or what have you. When you have a problem, it’s on you to find someone trustworthy to discuss it with. You have to know that people as a group and in a group can’t help feeding discontent, and they also tend to be super ignorant. Stay out of groups that aren’t something like how to knit socks or whether your old wood stove is worth saving, to name two of my favorites, not that I spend much time even on those. Sharing your problems about your bees is one thing; sharing your problems about your husband is another, and leads to disaster. Good New Year’s resolution: Just say no to those groups, which are the opposite of support.
- Do you ever worry that you will die a sinner, without a priest? That sounds strange to throw that out, I know. Do you ever worry that you will be with someone who is dying and not know what to say to them? Also a bit awkward, sorry… but here is a short audio version of a little booklet from St. Alphonsus Liguori on Perfect Contrition, which simply means repenting and being sorry for our sins — sorry because of God’s great love for us. We can help ourselves and help others if we are in the habit of talking to God about our sorrow and repentance — we can even get to Heaven this way, and get them to Heaven too! It’s in this post — do give it a listen. It’s very old-fashioned, but sometimes I think that in our effort to put everything in a contemporary mode we lose some of the simplicity and power of the old teachings. See what you think.
From the archives:
- I’m sorry, it’s so stunningly cold here that Auntie Leila is just worried you aren’t dressed right and so has to keep reposting this post about it. It’s all “my kid is FINE in a t-shirt, you busybody” until the wind chill is well below zero.
- It was a year ago that Crisis published my article about the three liturgical changes we need now. In theory, these articles just float down the river and are forgotten, but until the changes are made, I’ll keep thinking this is just what I want to say, right now.
- These days when a pot of soup or a bubbling casserole would hit the spot, it might be helpful to revisit the idea of stocking your freezer — not with pre-made meals, an idea that doesn’t appeal to me much, but with the prep work all done for meals for you to put together with little effort.
While you’re sharing our links with your friends, why not tell them about Like Mother, Like Daughter too!
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