Friday, November 25, 2016

Park Power

Well I just ran 10.7k or 6.62 miles.

I mean, yesterday I and everyone else ate a week's worth of food in one sitting so...let's not congratulate me too hard.  This was both penance and necessary! I feel great as a result.  I love the park loop when it's empty, it's very soothing.  It was also a perfect temperature - it's cold but it doesn't have that icy chill that renders me completely useless.  This is a temperature that somehow makes me automatically pace myself perfectly.  I didn't plan on running to the park, around the park and back from the park but when I set out it felt so light and easy that I just kept going.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which for me means neurotic recipe hunting, baking and of course gathering with some of my nearest and dearest.  I was also on Maverick duty so I did start my day with a big loveable dog which is always something to be thankful for.  I went over there at 9, took him for a walk then went home to start the food part of the day.  
I enjoyed a new Thanksgiving novelty this year - brunch while watching a live stream of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  This was the brainchild of one Carlos Morales, and I applaud his wisdom.  We did the whole thing, French toast and mimosas and fruit and bacon, all delicious.  This kicked off my afternoon of cooking.  I made cranberry sauce (with blueberries and orange and lemon zest), a pumpkin pie (crust from scratch, of course) a huge apple pear cake with a caramel topping (this I am especially proud of because I made the caramel and it came out perfect - not grainy, not burnt, glossy creamy and not too sweet) and a bread and onion stuffing.
After a quick nap (because phew, long day already by 4pm) we packed up our wares and travelled to a tall narrow house with a blue door, where Ali and Ben were our Friendsgiving hosts (as they were last year).
The whole evening was like a big warm bowl of friend soup.  And the table of dishes - some made in house by Ben and Ali, others brought by guests - was heaving and amazing.  There was a beautiful turkey, in addition to which Ben made slow cooked beef and root vegetables cooked in a beer butter.  Sweet potato mash, bread stuffing, rice stuffing, collard greens, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, something new I learned about called a hash brown casserole that is potato based and covered with - wait for it - corn flakes.  When this dish was brought out, Natalia, Jamie, Sam and I - foreigners all - gathered around staring in bewilderment, waiting for someone to explain the dish of cornflakes.  It was made by the wonderful Lauren D-C who is from North Carolina and she explained that it is a very typical Southern thing.  (It was very tasty).  Ali also makes a squash casserole that blows my mind, she made it last year and this year she made two to satisfy demand.  I'm very fortunate to be friends with many good cooks.  The dessert bar was also high although less homemade I think - Naty made a sort of cookie-based dulce de leche cheesecake that she invented as she went along, very indulgent.  My cake and pie were amongst another couple of pies including pumpkin and pecan.  I'm happy to report my cake went down well with my gracious host Ben as I was very proud of it.

Ben also had a music playlist based around Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings as per my request...what can I say, we have mutual musical respect so I thought I'd ask and I received.  A Muppet Christmas Carol was on TV in the background, jokes were cracked, small amounts of dancing broke out, wine flowed and it was altogether a feelgood indie movie-worthy scene.

 Parade brunch

My masterpieces!

Of course we ate ourselves silly.  Fortunately, I did have to leave at a relatively early hour to head back to Maverick - I mean, I left at 10 and walked him at 12, taking leftovers with me - this was really for the best because it prevented me from continuing to sneak spoonfuls of squash casserole, also it forced me to move which surely prevented food coma suffering.  

Today funnily enough I haven't had any large meals.  Though I have had a small slice of apple cake and plan on more! 

And long live my reignited running motivation - I hope this wasn't a fluke!

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