Monday, 30 January 2012 | 22 comments
While Ben and I were browsing the most amazing bookstore I’ve ever seen in Buenos Aires, I stumbled upon an absolute gem of a cookbook. Siete Fuegos, written by famous Argentine chef Francis Mallman, draws on his upbringing in Patagonia, cooking over outdoor fires with gauchos. It’s fresh and authentic, and I loved it as soon as I flipped it open.I didn’t have room in my carry-on only luggage to buy the book and carry it home, but I jotted down a few ideas and vowed to look it up when I got back. It was beautifully photographed and I sighed a little, jealous of people whose lifestyles let them spend whole days, weekends even, cooking over outdoor fires. Back in the States, Ben’s emails started arriving, describing the Uruguayan vineyard in which he’s spending the harvest. Everything sounded a little familiar, and I realized that Ben is living the Uruguay version of Siete Fuegos.
We went for a swim after work, and then lounged around in the shade of the courtyard [...] At this point, they started getting the fire ready in the massive parilla (giant outdoor grill) and we soon enjoyed the smell of onions, eggplants, chorizo, morcella (blood sausage) and huge cuts of beef grilling slow and steady. By dusk, we all sat out in the courtyard at one long table and ate and drank for the next two hours.
Thursday, 26 January 2012 | 19 comments
A funny thing that DC-area people do is get together to watch political events, like election results coming in, or debates. (I didn’t realize this was not ordinary until recently.)Years ago, watching some election results roll in with my friend Del, it happened that a candidate that I loved won. We ran excitedly around my then-apartment, looking for something with which to celebrate. The only toast-able liquid was a bottle of gin.Guys, taking shots of gin is really just not a good idea, for a lot of reasons, but in this instance it was especially inappropriate because 1) it was bottom-shelf gin and 2) Del doesn’t even like gin. But we were undeterred, convinced that we needed something to mark the event. I measured the gin into those tiny tumblers, and we tipped it back.And here’s the part I’ll never forget: Del, the trooper that she is, screwed up her face and shook her head a little bit. Then she opened her eyes and looked at me calmly. “Tastes like election day,” she said.
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Saturday, 21 January 2012 | 11 comments
We had the first snow since I’ve been in the house last night. It wasn’t much, in terms of snow: just a half inch or so with a nice, crunchy frozen rain layer over the top. Still, it was enough for the car to not make it out of the slick driveway (an adventure I don’t really care to think about now), so there was nothing to do but stoke up the wood stove and simmer a giant pot of venison stew.I’m always inspired by Shari’s documentation of her walks, and I think I was channelling her a bit here. Makes me want to bring the camera along when I go walking around the house more often.Everyone loved the vibrant colors of the Buenos Aires pictures, but the brown-amber-grey-eggshell palette feels much more like home.
Monday, 16 January 2012 | 12 comments
Aside from a little tension stemming from the fact that I know all the songs from a certain Andrew Lloyd Webber show that takes place in Buenos Aires and like to sing them, well, every waking moment we’re here, Buenos Aires is wonderful. » Read more «
Monday, 9 January 2012 | 30 comments
The room I’m sitting in has a bizarre, spartan atmosphere. There is a mountain of boxes still waiting to be unpacked, but I have managed to shove them out of sight and out of mind for the time being. I love being in a new space, but hate the actual moving part. This means I tend to put the proverbial cart before the horse, scribbling garden plans and designing the label for our house ale before I can even find a hairbrush (I am, sadly, serious…but who am I kidding, it’s not like I brush my hair very often anyway). The kitchen, however, is one place that is unpacked and has been in use since our first morning here. » Read more «