Wednesday, January 15, 2020

We did it! We have reached the halfway point of our first month. So… 1/24th of this project is complete. If we were to adapt this project into a one-second-long movie, the first frame would be in place. And such a delicious frame it has been.

National Soup Month

No, we won’t be neglecting the week-long or month-long festivities this year. Jodie’s colleague, Annette, prepared this bud-quaking soup from leeks and cauliflower, with just enough veggies to make it heavenly. On a day when it would appear the sun has opted to fully shirk its planet-warming duties, a warm splash of soup is the perfect defense.

Soup comes with many faces and many flavours. Some prefer the bite of a bisque, others would sooner chow into some chunky chowder. Myself (Marty-self), I love a gumbo, bursting with sausage, shrimp and okra. Jodie’s favourite is that old-fashioned bastion of feel-goodery, chicken-noodle (though yesterday’s recipe is apparently climbing her charts). Whatever your fancy, I hope you take a meal out of your January and stack it up with soup – there is truly no better time of year for this celebration to land.

Speaking of apt arrivals:

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Most dogs we’ve met have worn clothing only reluctantly, and it tends to reflect the image of the person on the other end of the leash when pups are made to appear ‘human-fashionable’. In this cold climate, an extra layer of cozy is a kind gesture to a pet, though. Trixie and Rosa – in particular Trixie, who does not appreciate any additional inconvenience in her already-burdened little life – are not big on getting dolled up. Today they obliged.

Dress Up Your Pet Day has been a fun hashtag to follow over the past 24 hours, but we won’t be making a habit of this. When it serves a function it makes sense, and they should certainly join in the fun when Halloween rolls around, but I doubt you’ll catch these two in any state other than au naturel for most of this year.

Then again, I’m not specifically the one who gets to decide this, so…

Poetry At Work Day

Jodie delivered a beautiful reading to her students yesterday morning, and their response was ecstatic. I work in a government office, so standing up and reciting poetry would have been deemed a distraction at best – a mental breakdown at worst. So I made sure all emails I sent were in haiku. No one noticed.

I then bombarded a few of my friends at work with some verse through our instant message software, until we all remembered that as servants of the taxpayers our time would be better spent napping. That way we’d be ready if a real emergency rolled around. Don’t forget – your government works for you, as much as they legally have to.

I composed this little stanza as a tribute to my unglamorous desk job in consumer protection, with a nod to how wonderful a teacher Jodie has become.

Consumer protection requires correction and that’s why I get out of bed;

I could be a teacher but I’d never reach her, she’ll always be eons ahead.

But I’m a debater, a good celebrator: I praise and I write and I eat;

For now here I’ll stay, in the beige and the grey, but the book ‘bout this gig will be neat.

National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

We could bore you all with yet another diatribe about how “real” pastrami exists elsewhere and how this city can only muster up rubbery coldcut pastrami, but anyone who knows us will have heard that rant before. I present exhibit A above: the best we could find in town – a somewhat-thicker-cut vacuum-pack of pastrami that we steamed and served on rye with mustard. It was okay. The fatty parts were chewy, gristly and inedible, the seasoning was quite mild, but it held the flavour of actual pastrami.

This is exhibit B from Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The meat submits to the will of your teeth with an elegant curtsy, allowing its juices to swirl around your mouth like a cascade of seasoned glitter. The fat isn’t chewy, it’s effervescent, dissolving in a splash of umami wonder when it hits the tongue. If heaven was to manifest in sandwich form, it would bow down to this masterpiece.

Okay, we went on one of those rants. We apologize for nothing. If you live somewhere fortunate enough to boast a real deli serving real pastrami, don’t worry if you missed the sandwich’s big day. You deserve a hot pastrami sandwich. We all do.

TODAY

Four items on the menu for today, and three of them are literally menu items. Bundle up and join in the party for these numbers:

  • National Hat Day. When the high is -30, everybody wears a hat. But do they wear hats indoors? At work? Probably not, and they probably shouldn’t. But today, we shall.
  • National Bagel Day. We leap from one staple of New York cuisine to another, only we won’t be settling this time. Bon Ton Bakery makes a fine bagel, and once the lox & cream cheese step onto the stage, it’s a show-stopper..
  • National Strawberry Ice Cream Day. Dessert! Really, some of these celebrations must have been concocted in Australia or somewhere in the southern hemisphere. We’re eating a lot of ice cream for the coldest week of 2020.
  • National Booch Day. Jodie has tried kombucha, I have not. Today we will enjoy some with dinner.

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