Monday, November 24, 2014

I [heart] NY

It's been slightly over three months since I moved to New York City. I've written very little on my silly blog about it and I know this annoys probably half of the ten people who read it. The fact of the matter is that I don't feel like I have the time to post. Grad school is busy. And when you have retinal damage like I do, it takes twice as long to read books and essays as it does for everyone else. Sometimes three books a week takes precedence over writing a blog post no one sees. Except the ten of you who "follow" my blog. There's a lot of writing too - this is a writing program - and that writing is a bit more important than this.

But I was sitting in church yesterday thinking about what I love about living in New York and what I don't and I decided to hurry up and write it down before I forget or my mind gets changed, because like this ever changing city, the things I love and don't about New York are bound to change in one of its famous minutes. The semester is winding down and it's a holiday week so I only have three classes. And yes, I should be reading Ragtime by EL Doctorow right now, but guys, I get it. Mother's Younger Brother is sad because Evelyn stopped loving him. Houdini isn't thrilled by his magic anymore so he's in Europe flying a Voisin for the Archduke Ferdinand. Father engaged in coitus with an "Esquimo" during the long Arctic expedition and now cries when with Mother. Taft is president and everyone suddenly feels the need to slim down. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It's actually kind of fun, but so superfluous.

I digress. Here are things I love, and things I don't, about New York City.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas Cake

My mother is British. She was born in London a few years after World War II and immigrated to the United States with her family as a kid. When I was a kid we'd spend Christmas Eve at my British grandparents' house with aunts, uncles, and cousins. With jam tarts, sausage rolls, and Christmas crackers (the toy, not the food). With modified raspberry trifle (modified by my grandmother to be virtually sugar-free as a fifth of her grandkids and a few of her sons had Type 1 Diabetes), lemon curd, and mince meat pies. My grandmother would end the night by giving each of her children a loaf of Christmas Cake.

Christmas Cake is what I like to call a sober fruit cake. A traditional fruitcake is aged in the freezer, wrapped in a liquor-soaked cheesecloth or unbleached muslin that's been saturated with rum, brandy, cognac, bourbon, or whiskey. During the aging process, the cake absorbs the liquor, the tannins of the dried fruits are released (read: fermentation), and the fruitcake gains a richer flavor. That's not to say that alcohol is necessary to make a fruitcake a fruitcake. It's easy to find recipes that don't use alcohol. So what makes my grandmother's Christmas Cake different from other sober fruitcakes? It's my grandmother's recipe, and it's been in the family for generations.