Thus I spent the last four weeks exploring possible playlists that might adequately satisfy the season-specific music void that exists Halloween and Christmas, something like a dignified tribute to noble November. Enter the notion of Feast Folk -- a seasonal buffet of harvest-inspired "folk rock" mainly adapted from or informed by ye olde English Roots music as exhumed by many a new age troubadour in the British Isles of the late 1960s (the likes of which is surveyed at length in Rob Young's exemplary book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music). Here is some food for thought:
This year, the first day of Hanukkah (25 of Kislev) happens to fall of Thanksgiving. It’s a big day for American Jews and the people who love them (and their food). We might as well go all out this time because this fortuitous collision of dates apparently won’t happen again for another 70,000 years, and we may be busy then.
So here we are in a double bind: Thanksgivukkah meal extravaganza to plan (sweet potato latkes? Matzo stuffing?) AND eight crazy nights of gifts for the fam! Zorg zich nit, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few gift ideas you can pick up at Amoeba or order online at Amoeba.com (free shipping to the U.S.)!
For the Music Lovers:
-- Anything on the Idelsohn Society label, particularly Twas The Night Before Hanukkah. This two-CD set celebrates the duel role of Hanukkah and Christmas music. With songs by Woody Guthrie, the Ramones, Bob Dylan, Dinah Shore, The Klezmatics, Sammy Davis Jr., Mickey Katz, and so many more.
[insert terrifying caption here]
Unlike many, I look forward to Thanksgiving not because of what I get to eat, but what I get to cook. For this reason, I love to host the holiday. In a village like Los Angeles, it’s usually easy to find many lost little lambs who’ve no place to eat (and no ability to manage kitchens themselves). Honestly, it’s like flunking Home-Ec is a requirement to moving to the City of Angels; I guess Type-A personalities don’t have a lot of patience for braising.
Nothing makes me feel more like a magical wizard than when cooking-challenged people like my boyfriend watch me prep food. Am I roasting zucchini or casting a sleep spell on the whole kingdom? Because his reaction would be interchangeable in either event.
I learned to cook from my Mom; sometimes instruction was direct, but mostly I just hung around the kitchen while she cooked and made a nuisance of myself, learning by observation. I was hypnotized by corn starch and its ability to turn any liquid in to a thick sauce. Separating an egg seemed like a delicate and ancient Chinese dance, and gee whiz…! See what you can do when you whip those egg whites?
There were some causalities, from which I grew wiser. One sneaky bite of unsweetened chocolate taught me that some of life’s greatest pleasures can come from something so foul. I learned Tupperware cannot be used like a pot on the burners, and soon after I learned how hard it is to clean cooked and melted plastic off a grill. One of the few scars I have on my body is on the knuckle of my left thumb from the first time I learned how to use a peeler – I don’t remember what fruit I cut myself on, but I’ve always remembered how to hold the instruments securely since then. Oh! And I learned it doesn’t take very many bittersweet chocolate chips to destroy an appetite.