Monday, January 13, 2020

Thankfully, apart from some grotesque shovelling labour, we didn’t have to leave the house even once yesterday. Unfortunately a bit of tragic family news derailed our video yesterday evening, however our celebrations remained intact. And our celebrations were fantastic. Well, except…

National Kiss A Ginger Day

I suspect this holiday came about because of Eric Cartman. In a season 9 episode of South Park, which aired in November 2005, Cartman asserts that gingers – a.k.a. redheads – have no soul. Just over three years later a guy named Derek Forgie launched a counter-attack, encouraging folks to kiss their scarlet-tressed friends and family instead of mocking them to the point of bullying. This is the perfect redirection.

A few words about redheads from the great author, Tom Robbins:

To believe that blondes and brunettes are simply redheads in repressive drag is to believe that UFOs are kiddie balloons. All redheads, you see, are mutants. Whether they spring from genes disarranged by earthly forces or are ‘planted’ here by overlords from outer space is a matter for scholarly debate. It’s enough for us to recognize that redheads are abnormal beings, bioelectrically connected to realms of strange power, rage, risk and ecstasy.

What is your mission among us, you daughters of ancient Henna, you agents of the harvest moon? Are those star maps that your freckles replicate? How do you explain the fact that you live longer than the average human? Where did you get such sensitive skin? And why are your curls the same shade as heartbreak?”

We both wished we could give a genuine ginger a kiss yesterday, but with temperatures confining us to our home base, we settled for a more literal interpretation.

National Curried Chicken Day

We took a fresh take on a beloved dish yesterday, and tried out this recipe from the BBC. The result was creamy and just explosive enough to set our tongues ablaze. Curry is not a simply defined concept; there is no ‘curry spice’ that can wrap its arms around the breadth of recipes which carry the ‘curry’ moniker. For this dish we leaned on garam masala to sing the chorus, while turmeric, fennel, cumin and chili flakes sang backup. This also marks the first time I’ve ever used icing sugar in a main-course recipe.

Our only deviation from the roster of ingredients was to swap out white meat for dark meat – not out of allegiance or loyalty or a lingering memory of Breast Appreciation Day, but that was what we had available. With a sauce as boastful and bodacious as this, the meat-shade is easily swappable.

National Sunday Supper Day & National Sunday Supper Month

We have fond memories of Sunday suppers. For Jodie it meant the family gathering together with six children squawking at various levels of volume. For me (Marty) it meant schlepping over to my grandparents so I could play pool and read Mad Magazine in the basement while my parents talked grown-up stuff before and after the food was served. As parents, we didn’t prize the Sunday suppers as sacred, and perhaps that was the reason our kids phone us so rarely. Either that or we’re just assholes.

Sunday Supper is so prized, it is given both a day in January and a commemoration for the entire month, likely to remind families that even once the holiday season is over, they still need to tolerate one another and should do so over food at least on a weekly basis. With zero kids living within these walls, our Sunday suppers are just about us now. That said, we will be supping on the regular for the Sundays remaining this month.

National Pharmacist Day

I am fortunate to have an aunt and uncle (married to one another even!) who are both pharmacists. Well, my uncle *was* a pharmacist – he was granted admission into that glorious country club known as retirement not long ago. As they live in Calgary we felt no obligation to drop in and say hi (a three-hour commute is a bit much), but I gave them a call to talk pharmacy life with them.

I heard tales of regular customers and horrific crimes perpetrated by the desperate and habitually medicated. I heard of a lifetime of service, of compassion and connection over decades. If you are a regular recipient of pharmaceuticals, I hope you have found a dispensary that knows you, with a staff who exhibits this level of concern and compassion. A pharmacist is not merely the conduit between the doctor’s incomprehensible paper-scrawl and some medication; they should be seen as an integral human component to your well-being. All pharmacy counters ain’t the same – find yourself a good one!

National Youth Day

We were able to flee this day without having to see a single youth in person; even our dogs are technically both into dog-adulthood. Instead we opted to soak up a bit of youth music while I cooked and while we both ate. Here’s a sampling of our playlist:

  • Stevie Wonder: Fingertips parts 1& 2
  • The Jackson 5: I Want You Back
  • Lorde: Royals
  • Tiffany: I Think We’re Alone Now
  • The xx: Intro
  • Davie Jones & The King Bees (young David Bowie): Liza Jane
  • Helen Shapiro: Don’t Treat Me Like A Child
  • The Box Tops: The Letter
  • The Strypes: Blue Collar Jane
  • Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers: I Want You To Be My Girl
  • The Runaways: Cherry Bomb

Sadly, we didn’t get around to any young Donny Osmond. Maybe next year.

National Marzipan Day

Marzipan is a wildly sweet concoction made of sugar, sometimes honey, and ground up almonds. It has found its way into becoming a staple of dessert fare all across the European continent. Hungary and Italy both claim to have originated the treat, and it’s also possible that Spain and/or China may get some credit. One thing is certain – the American version of marzipan features more sugar, while the Europeans tend to include more almonds. This should surprise no one.

As it was, our marzipan looked… well, it looked a little phallic. Fortunately, that didn’t take away from the flavour (nor did it enhance it, or at least I don’t think so). It was quite sweet, but astoundingly perfect as a follow-up to the curried chicken.

I get an extended-play long weekend today, while Jodie must slog her way to her daily grind. Still, a challenge for both of us today.

  • National Gluten-Free Day. We are devourers of gluten, but we feel for our fellow humans who must abstain for health reasons. So today we join in unison, forego breadstuffs and other gluten sources. Gotta be easier than switching to vegan for a day, right?
  • National Peach Melba Day. Fortunately, any traces of gluten are MIA from this tasty dessert treat. Looking forward to this, after our carefully crafted supper.
  • National Sticker Day. Jodie has stickers at work. She will make good use of them today.
  • National Clean Off Your Desk Day. A much as we both bathe in the froth-waters of chaos and impulse, we emerge surprisingly organized. Our desks will require very little cleaning, but cleaning they shall receive.
  • Stephen Foster Memorial Day. A few choruses of “Camptown Races”, anyone?

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