Dec 18, 2011

Day 69/240: A feast

Saturday, December 17th

I have been put in the position of having to worry that my blog title sounds a little whiny.

My brother and SIL came to visit and they brought food. In times past they have occasionally brought hams or cold-cuts for these daylong visits, so imagine my delight when they told me that they were bringing vegetarian dolmades (rice-stuffed grape leaves).

I decided that I would provide some dishes that were similar culturally and geographically. Since I already had the excess from the jars of red and green zkhuk that I'd made as a present for them, I was already partway there. I cooked a pot of chickpeas for hummus last night. This morning I started soaking the bulghur in stock for a tabbouleh salad. I made a quick trip to the store for some flat leaf parsley, lemons, good olives and pita. By the time my guests arrived, I had the makings of a pretty good middle-eastern feast.

Imagine my surprise when they started hauling out containers of baba ghanoush, another eggplant dip, more hummus, some salads, a block of halvah and something I'd never seen called "metch" (it turned out to be a delicious cooked tomato and bulghur combination which looks easy to make).. They also had tzatziki and baklava (but I won't hold that against them since they did so spectacularly well on everything else). We ended up with a dining table groaning under the weight of a fantastic 95% vegetarian meal.

I was deeply touched. Even my relentlessly omnivorous wife and son were joyfully filling their plates over and over.

In the middle of our meal there was a knock at the door. Outside was one of the neighborhood kids. He and his siblings and friends were making the rounds of our cul-de-sac with a large insulated jug in a red wagon. They were hawking hot chocolate door-to-door! I was tickled by their industry but didn't think that cocoa went with the meal in progress so I thanked them kindly and refused.

When I returned to the table I had to suffer my wife's disbelief and horror at my callousness. By the look on her face you might have thought that I had killed the tyke's puppy. Eventually the discussion of my curmudgeonly ways faded out and the rest of the meal continued pleasantly.

After dinner, we moved to the living room, lit a fire, poured some wine, and chatted before exchanging gifts. I guess that, with the previous evidence of thoughtfulness, I shouldn't have been surprised that one of the gifts I received was a cookbook, "The Artful Vegan".

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