Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Keeping It Simple: On Unexpected Guests, Singed Hair, and Truffled Popcorn

Wednesday Evening...

Clothed in ratty pajamas, sitting amidst a mess of papers, books and other paraphernalia, I settled in for a cozy evening of writing at home. My solitude was interrupted by a thumping on my stoop door. I was slightly worried since my friends never knock at the stoop door and wondered who could possibly be knocking. I assumed it was someone who had found themselves at the wrong house. I immediately went to the window to see and I saw a woman with an unfamiliar face leaning over the railing. I shook my head at her and said, "Wrong house." She glanced at me quizzically and then a man appeared in front of my window. Again I looked at him and repeated, "Wrong house." He looked baffled and then asked, "Isn't this the house of A. ( my husband)?

At once I realized who these strangers were, A.'s foreign colleagues in town for a visit. But A. was working and had given no notification of their arrival. I had no idea why they were at our doorstep. Despite my shabby dress, I had no choice but to open the door. They explained that A. had told them to come by to meet him at 8:30. I told them there must be some terrible mistake because there was no way he would be home at 8:30 and he hadn't mentioned a word about it. Still, I asked them in , apologizing for my pajamas and the attendant mess that greeted them.

It turned out that S. and S., had spoken with A., who in his overworked confusion, had somehow led them to believe that he would meet them. After about an our of laughing over the absurdity of it all we agreed to meet again when A. was available, my house was in better order and I was appropriately dressed, which turned out to be Friday night.

Friday Evening...

I invited S. and S. for drinks, that evening on our way out to dinner. I intended to put out a few snacks for us and I thought truffled popcorn would be just the thing. As the hour drew near, I began to think that popcorn was not enough and contemplated a bowl of roasted chickpeas. I turned up the oven to 450 F. to reheat and went about my business for a few minutes before realizing that I hadn't heard the gas ignite. Instead of turning off the oven and starting over, I opened the door, only to hear the burst of gas and see the giant blue flame leap out at me, as Izzy looked on.

I shut the door in horror, only then smelling the odor of burnt hair. I assumed I had just gotten a strand or two until the smell lingered and I went to the mirror where I found a substantial clump of hairs were singed and frizzled. Considering I had just had my hair cut that day I was rather distraught. I combed out the frizzle and tried to calm down enough to at least make some popcorn. Before I could, the guests arrived.

I ushered them in and then set to work on my popcorn, fearing that more bad luck would come my way. S. and S. are from Germany and although they said they eat popcorn, they had never seen anyone do it my way. They watched in the kitchen while I heated olive oil with a few test kernels, allowed them to pop and then added the rest. When all of the kernels had popped I dumped the popcorn into a bowl and melted a couple of tablespoons of
D'Artagnan Black Truffle Butter (thanks D.) in the hot pot. I drizzled the butter over the warm popcorn and then sprinkled with salt.

This popcorn, which is horribly addictive, was quite a success. We drank red wine while S. and S. munched happily away, awaiting A.'s arrival. And I of frizzled hair, wondered why I thought that I needed anything more. Truffled popcorn was all the excitement we needed.

So once more I am reminded of the importance of keeping things simple, so as to avoid singed hair and other unpleasantness.

P.S. A. arrived on time that evening and we all went out into to the stormy windy night, for dinner. In the interest of keeping it simple, we went to a nearby restaurant and the food was mediocre at best. Would our evening have been that much better, had we traipsed further from home and endured the storm? Probably not.

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