Saturday, March 01, 2008

Food and manuscripts

Weekends seem to be a lot about food for me, but I surely didn't mean last night's supper to turn out as it did. I was getting ready to "refresh" some leftover restaurant chicken salad and saute a few green beans when Jordan called. She and Jacob were at a nearby park and did I want to meet them at Hofbrau--she had thought the people she was with were going there, and I guess she had her mouth set for it. Both Jordan and Megan worked at Hofbrau in their school days, so it's sort of a sentimental favorite though I'm never sure what I want there, except the brau chips which are so awful for you and make you too full to eat anything else. I did and I didn't want to go, but Jordan and Jacob are a powerfuld draw and I really didn't need to sit at home with leftovers (I had the chicken salad for lunch today, but it hadn't lasted well). We met at Hofbrau, but Jacob was discontent, not satisfied to sit still, and a bit of a pain. Jordan decided we'd order to go and take it to my house (very close). So in a rush I ordered a baked potato. Then Jacob got interested in the people at the next table (who were very kind) and his crackers, and Jordan decided we'd stay. I wished I'd ordered more. Then Jacob was discontent again and she decided we'd go. My head was spinning, but we ate at home, which is truly better. Jacob wandered, played with his toys, and watched "Melmo" (Elmo). He was happy and delightful. I sauteed those green beans to go with my potato, and Jordan fixed us both salads, although she got mine a bit acidic and I had to swallow hard for a couple of minutes to finish it.
Jordan and I both like lemon, and we do tend to overdo it. I did that tonight, making our favorite salad dressing--essentially oil, vinegar, and blue cheese, only this time I put it over watercress salad and wished I'd gotten an avocado at the market this morning. Then I made Dover sole with lemon butter. All good but by the time I finished, I rushed to get an ice cream cup and pour chocolate sauce over it. Ah, a good excuse.
Tomorrow I've lured friends in from Granbury, 30 miles away, with the promise of quail. Rodger said, "I love quail. I'm up for it." I frantically emailed today to tell him to reset his taste buds--Central Market was out of quail. Rodger will get buffalo meatloaf, Louella's rice (delicious and so easy), and salad--but maybe another, less acidic dressing. And since I'd planned a sort of sophisticated meal, I'll go ahead with the crab-stuffed mushrooms I'd originally decided on. It's sort of strange to stand in the meat market and make an instant choice of what to serve guests, strange at least for me who plans these things ahead.
I've spent a good part of the weekend reading a manuscript. If I don't see one working out, I don't often devote this much time to it, but I see something in this one that needs to be sculpted out. It's a hard line to walk between the manuscript the author wrote and wants it to be and the one I want it to be. This one deals with genealogy (and the discovery of a black branch of the family) and fasola or Sacred Harp singing. The latter is what drew me to it. I'd like to do a book on Sacred Harp but it's sort of a secondary theme in this work. I can't quite tell the author to make it the theme, when she has her own story to tell. I'm pondering.
Meantime I'm also pondering on a book about Scottish Texans. There's not much available--small bits on Texans with Scottish ancestry, including many at the Alamo--and the common knowledge that most Celts went to Appalachia first and then moved west. And the ever independent Scots didn't come as a group, as did, say, the Germans. They came as individual families, making them hard to trace. But I don't want to tell the stories of Houston and Austin again with a Scottish tilt to the telling; I want to tell about the ranchers, etc. It's fun to watch the bits and pieces move around in my mind.

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