sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 4, 2005

rivulets, atmosphere, and messes
posted by soe 5:11 pm

On Thursdays, we note three beautiful things from the last week:

1. On my walk to the Metro in the morning there is a bush with tiny, pink, lilac-like flowers that is in bloom. This week, the flowers started to drop and have filled the crevices in the sidewalk, leaving the walk outlined in a rosy hue.

2. On Sunday, we went out to Wolf Trap for a concert by Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris. We had lawn seats along with seven of our friends and we made a picnic of it. I couldn’t help but contrast it with the Sting show we saw at the Meadows in Connecticut a few years back. We also went with friends to that one, but the Meadows doesn’t encourage you to bring your own food and they outright ban alcohol from being brought in. Sting was okay, but pretty much seemed to be going through the motions. There was no interaction with the audience, no changing up the songs, no emotion — plus it was an exact duplicate of the show we’d seen the fall before. We were unimpressed. Sunday’s concert, on the other hand, started with a picnic (complete with wine, hard cider, and a thermos of iced tea). When the show began, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it because Elvis just launched into the first couple of songs. But then he started giving the stories behind some of the songs and telling anecdotes, and he and Emmylou and the band really seemed to want to be exactly where they were, doing precisely what they were doing. It was an entirely different atmosphere from two concerts that had very similar ingredients to them, and I came home pleased.

3. For Sunday’s picnic, I decided to make hummus. Back in June I won a copy of Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava from Amy at Bay Area Bites. Since then, I’ve been reading it in bits and bats on the Metro and during lunch hours at work. And it inspired me to try my hand at some Middle Eastern cooking. So early Sunday afternoon, that’s just what I did. Of course, drama follows me whenever I enter the kitchen. We all remember the trifle woes of last month. My mother can tell you about the time she came home one afternoon when I was in high school and found me sitting in the living room and talking on the phone as a burning smell wafted in from the oven in the next room over. And Rudi and Jason can tell you about the time that I burned the rice I was making as part of supper for the three of us. So, it was no surprise when the hummus did not start out quite so easily as it should have: Although I looked at our mini food processor and thought, will there be enough room in that, my head’s answer was “sure!” Let me tell you, my head clearly knows nothing about cooking. Because there wasn’t. The first chickpeas went into the mixture and all the liquid started pouring out the sides and underneath and everywhich way. Rudi helped me mop up the mess, but the only things to do were 1) laugh heartily for the next 10 minutes, 2) ladle out about half the mixture and do it in batches, and 3) keep plowing through. Luckily, although my head knows nothing about cooking, my stomach does know about eating and I made a mean batch of hummus for my first go.

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