Feasting with Friends

My failure to photographically record yesterday’s food frenzy is unfathomable. How could I, after spending the better part of two days preparing an extraordinary feast, forget to take pictures of the final product? I cannot explain. I cannot justify my oversight. I will never forgive myself for the lapse in mental acuity that permitted those visually gorgeous experiences to pass unrecorded. Oh, well, it’s done. Nothing to do but accept it and decide to either let it go or recreate the entire thing so I can take pictures. I am not mad; I will let it go. But before I do, I must record for posterity and my own future recollective joy the components of the unphotographed feast. Our hors d’ouevres/tapas feast consisted of the following:

  • Albondigas de Cordero a la Hierbabuena (Lamb Meatballs with Mint)
  • Cauliflower Fritters Topped with Yoghurt & Caviar
  • Cucumber Tapas
  • Marinated Shrimp
  • Spanish Chorizo Poached in Red Wine
  • Cubes of Smoked Pork Loin
  • Mushrooms Stuffed with Italian Sausage
  • Radishes Dressed with Goat Cheese and Toasted Cumin Seeds
  • Gochujang Mixed Nuts
  • Gochujang Deviled Eggs
  • Traditional Deviled Eggs
  • Chocolate-Olive Bread
  • Cherry Tomatoes*
  • Pickled Asparagus*
  • Green Olives Stuffed with Jalapeños and Garlic Cloves*

Only the last three items (*) required no effort by us, save opening a jar. The rest came together over the course of two days in the kitchen. The occasion? We had long promised some neighbors a feast in reply to one they prepared for our enjoyment. And we had promised we would introduce them to some friends we thought they might enjoy (rare people where we live, people who share our mutual political and social perspectives). So, we finally found a date that would work for all of us. Seven of us came together, beginning with a blind taste test of four wines (all from the same vintner) and that monstrous spread of hors d’oeuvres/tapas. None of us correctly identified all four wines (we tasted Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon; I got just one out of four), suggesting that it’s probably pointless, when buying wine in restaurants, to say anything beyond, “I’d like a red wine, please.”

By the time we had waded our way through all four bottles of wine (and finished another half bottle) and had eaten as much of the banquet as we could without exploding, we were seven sated souls. I rated only one of the dishes (the chorizo) unworthy of the rest; it tasted fine, but cutting and chewing it reminded me a little of the shoe leather my mother used to feed me when all the rest of the victuals in the house had disappeared on gone bad (the bit about eating shoe leather is fantasy, but the texture of the chorizo was pretty damn unappetizing). In spite of our efforts to finish it all, we have a refrigerator full of leftovers. The trick is to eat them in sufficiently low volume over a sufficient length of time to allow me to successfully return to my diet, which I destroyed in nuclear fashion yesterday.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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