Monday, September 17, 2012

QUANTUM OF GOUJONS


As we traveled from Ireland to Scotland, England, Wales and back to the Emerald Isle, I took stock of local delicacies, sampling as many as possible:


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Bangers and Mash, Irish Breakfast, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Tea Cakes at Harrods


Lots of things with ancient names, such as the drool-y Scottish whipped dessert, Cranachan, devised of whipped cream, fruit, oats and whiskey.  


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The Edinburgh celebration of Pork:


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Despite making a cultural comeback, I left haggis hanging.


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Haggis, Haggis, EVERYWHERE!!!

Also some universally mundane items wrapped in terms my Internal Irritation Drive obsesses over long after the fact.  

To whit: The Chicken Goujon (goo-ZHON). Pronounced in Northern Irish (Gaelic for “Cuts Steel”) as “GEW-jdohn”. 

Otherwise known as Chicken Fingers.  Chicken Strips.  Proving once and for all that the only word which properly describes long-cut bits of white-meat chicken--"strips"-- is the very one which makes it completely unappetizing. Is it hitting the pole for tips?  Note to the NI delegates, Chicken Fingers is our contribution, so no prizes there...

I fully realise, and revel, in the plasticity and welcoming nature of English.  My favorite number is 1066.  Thus our language contains approximately 14,000 French-based words, which is why we have a word, Pig, for the squealy beast the lower-caste Saxons herded; and the word Pork (Porc), the culinary end product the upper-caste Normans delighted over.  Lamb and Mutton (Mouton). Cow and Beef (Boeuf). 

Tomato, Tomate; Lavender-Honey Ice Cream, Glace à lavande et---

So rich and flavorful on the page and on the plate, and yet, I find my quantum of tolerance for the cheesy- or provincial-sounding to be inversely limited.  Again, the Atlantic scale remains balanced, I did live in the south-east for three years:

“Oh hunny, thows ain’t cawk-rowchis, thows'r just paaawl-meeh-tow buuuugs!”


Splat.

Usually in a fit of pique, any two countries so closely related as America and the UK trade barbs over drawls and pretensions, but this one just--GAAAAHHH!!!--- flips my tick.  So I clicked over to the Babelfish Translation website to find enlightenment, and reported to GingerMan.

Me:  Ha!  I went to Bablefish "Goujon".  It means "stud"

GingerMan: Lol 'Chicken Stud' makes me think of a chicken dressed as The Fonz.


BikerChicken
That’s Le Fonz to you, pal.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Quick Note From the Datebook:


Eleven Years.  Hmmm.  This could be soupy and over-drawn.  Long-winded or some other hyphenated blogerary travail.
September 11, 2001 was three days before the birthday I share with my younger sister.  Four years apart to the hour.   Yeah, we got our sh*t together.  We were in our room getting ready for the day when our mom came in and mentioned that before we left the house we might want to turn on the TV. 

Mistress of Understatement.

So what happened?  A few unspeakably inhuman freaks committed an act of terror against the human race.  It turned into some clownish 11-year ordeal which has brought seemingly little closure to many involved in the militant festivities.

What has happened:

Six weeks later, I met my husband, the Incomparable GingerMan.  A year later, we were married in a beautiful ceremony in my grandmother’s garden, as would my sister a few years later, both while our grandmother was alive to share it with us.

I gained a family in Ireland, and got to travel to the UK for the first time in 2003 for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  It was huge celebration and she was gorgeous and he was charming and handsome and nearly 10 years later, they still are, but also 3 beautiful children richer.  I've traveled there 4 times and WOW you should see London at Christmas!

Through the machinations of fate, after a layoff three and a half years ago, I walked into a yarn shop the next day and introduced myself to the people who would become my family, my real community of friends.  We are knit together in die-hard support, superficially by pretty string and deeply by Love.

Drawn by wool, I met the sister of my heart, the ineffable Jedi Jasmin, her husband Amazing Andrew and Vavoom Gigi (if you meet her, the Vavoom may be silent but always present).  They have added Danger Mouse, my alarmingly precocious niece to the flock and we are a pretty big bunch at Christmas, I will tell you.  And Thanksgiving.  And Mother’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July...What I’m saying is, we cook, we eat, we’re Family.

Today, on September 11, two of my dearest girlfriends are bringing their second adopted daughter home from the hospital.  I will leave the “adopted” here, because possession is nine-tenths of the law, and as one with an “mid-season replacement” mom, I will reliably inform you that Family is 90% mental.

So many new little people, people I’ve met, things GingerMan and I have done and places we’ve gone.  Road trips to fiber events and late nights drinking and knitting in hotel rooms.  But sometimes I still feel that existential angst.  That voice that says pfftt, what have I done with my life, what’s happened?  

Every week, I hang with older and younger friends and mention a song or a book and someone says “WHAT are you talking about??”  And then I get to show them, play them a new song.  Or be shown and be played to.  

GM and I took a three week kick-ass holiday to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, London at the end of the Olympics and Belfast for our nephew’s second birthday.  When I got home, Danger Mouse was crawling and cruising and looked like a different kid.

So many different things learned and seen every single day.  Not having seen or done or tried means you have so many things left to do! Dr. Seuss was totally right.

Yes, clich√©.  And yes, I lose sight of that even while I’m sharing these things with other people, then I stop and go, quote:

WHOOOOOOAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

Eleven years and more of Life.  That’s what’s happening. 

TO MARY URQUHART:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DEAR, DEMENTED, BELOVED SISTER.  LOVE, YOUR WEIRDO.
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