Surfaced from post-Christmas torpor and lethargy, mince-pie fatigue, etc and realised we are going out for supper on 30 December and entertaining (yes, again) on New Year’s Eve.
‘Let’s go vegetarian with a festive stuffed Moroccan butternut,’ I suggested to the housemate. Thinking about pomegranate granita and tossed wild rocket in a simple vinaigrette.
“Let’s so not,’ came the reply. Parties attract carnivores.
So there is a leg of lamb, pork fillet and possibly rump steak to be defrosted and marinaded. Quail to be stuffed with couscous or polenta. Maturing Brie and Camembert cheeses, figs to be wrapped, peaches ripening, A deep dish in the freezer of homemade vanilla ice cream using fresh sticky vanilla pods from Madagascar. The friends, jovial and indefatigable party anumals, are bringing pretzels and salted almonds, trifles with whipped cream, more baked hams and salamis, panforte with candied quinces. The sturdy Stollen nobody fancied at Christmas.
At some point, all this will have to be scaled down to what a lively group of overfed adults are actually likely to eat. I like to plan eight-course meals, aided and abetted by the housemate, but in reality we only need salad and good breads.
And if the weather is good we shall build a large fire and sit outdoors under the stars. But the weather is 100% humidity with 45% chance of rain. As if anyone takes metereological percentages seriously. It is damp and oppressive, with black rain clouds that never rain. This weather reminds me of my childhood home on the Mozambique border and cycling to school under flamboyant trees hoping not to get caught in a rainstorm. I still get homesick for Zimbabwe, what I think of as the ’real’ tropical Africa. Shona women selling ripe mangos, maize cobs, live chickens at the busstops, good-humoured queues waiting for the bus and laughing, telling stories, donkeys or mules pulling carts of yams along red dirt roads, open-air hair salons in the shade of the flamboyant or jacaranda trees – everywhere you go in rural Africa there are men, women and children sitting patiently on kitchen chairs or stools while their hair is razored, snipped or braided. Nobody ever writes about how wonderful communal life is in so many places out here. The warmth and simpicity and selflessness.
The end of another year of sobriety. Odd to note that I have no idea what my guests will choose to drink on New Year’s Eve. None are alcoholic and most drink very seldom. They might have champagne toast at midnight or some wine with their meal. There will be mineral water and icy gingerbeer or homemade lemonade, fruit juices. While alcoholism doesn’t go away, the preoccupation with alcohol fades and all those blessed days of reprieve do add up to a year worth remembering.
From Chapter 6 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.