Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Random Thoughts Particular to the Day


1. I am wondering, today, about the reasons for the apparent overlap between the grooming and sartorial choices of hippies and those of practitioners of early music. I am not naming names, but if you're curious, take a look at some Google images of actual early music players. And, lest you think that my musings are based solely upon the internet, let me assure you that it was ever so in conservatory, too. I wonder if it's because there's a back-to-the-land ethos about early musicians, which one can expect to go hand-in-hand with the delving into a past that's dead and gone, on the part of musician-scholars who spend their time plumbing old archives and playing models of excessively antique instruments that have long since fallen into disuse.

2. I am thinking, today, that there's one thing I really don't miss about Christmas in New York, and it is the unstoppable proliferation of panettone (above) in everyone's life. I really hate the stuff, and everyone brings it over when they make holiday visits. I used to be inundated with it at Christmastime, especially when I cantored at a church down in Little Italy. I often had five or six unopened boxes of panettone in my kitchen after Christmas, getting progressively even drier in my overheated apartment than the stuff is naturally. I hate to waste food, so I would spend several weeks after Christmas toasting slices of panettone in the morning for my miserable breakfast. If you want to try something Italian for Christmas that's good, go for panforte instead.

3. On the other hand, I have discovered something really good: gummy army men. Each is about two inches long, and they're molded into various poses just like little plastic soldiers: standing to hurl a grenade, lying prone and firing bazookas, etc. They're all green, naturally, and taste like sour apple. Saint Nicholas left a few in my son's shoes last night, along with a profusion of Swedish Fish, which I think is the best candy in the world.

16 comments:

lissla lissar said...

I love Swedish fish.

I keep thinking panettone would make okay bread pudding, but no one's ever given me any, and I'm not buying it in order to make bread pudding.

Pentimento said...

I think Swedish Fish are (is?) the Platonic idea of candy.

I am going to have to confront panettone next time I see my parents, so I'll keep bread pudding in mind. Thanks for the suggestion.

JMB said...

LOL I just saw the aisle of Panettone at the A&P and thought to myself - oh yeah it's that time of the year again! I really don't mind it toasted with butter and some fried eggs - it's not bad, better than pfeffernusse!

lissla lissar said...

Anything is better than cookies baked with baking ammonia. Have you ever been near them? Our housemate's girlfriend made them here once. It took about a week to air the house out.

French toast might be okay, too.

Pentimento said...

Yikes, I've never had pfeffernusse. Is it bad?

Pentimento said...

Lissla, what on earth is baking ammonia? Sounds horrific.

ex-new yorker said...

I just mentioned my high school gummy habit to you in email, but I'd missed this swedish fish reference. I usually didn't eat lunch at all in high school, but sometimes I went to this little store in the corner of the cafeteria to buy gummies. I'm not sure whether they stopped carrying them or what because it wasn't every day. I think they had swedish fish in a machine, though, but they were so disappointing. Not enough of a citric acid bite, I guess. My husband likes them a lot, but he likes circus peanuts, too. I never had much of a taste for unadulterated sweetness, like the shoo fly pie we had at some diner not far from Amish country. I may well have tasted panettone given all the occasions we've spent with my Italian godfather's family, but I was not a big fan of Italian baked goods in general -- they mostly seemed so sweet and bland.

Maybe I should change my posting name to "roughly on-topic stream of consciousness." No, too long.

ex-new yorker said...

The word verification was "fectaggh." Sounds like something a very frustrated old Irishman might say.

JMB said...

Pfeffernusse is a German Christmas cookie that looks like a lump of coal, is rolled in confectioner's sugar and made out of awful spices. My mom is of German descent and these were a Christmas staple in my house growing up. That and Stollen.

Pentimento said...

That's okay, Ex-New Yorker, since this whole blog could also be titled "roughly on-topic stream of consciousness." I also happen to love circus peanuts. They are way, way better than panettone.

Pentimento said...

Actually, I think I *have* had pfeffernusse, or something like it. Panettone is still way worse.

lissla lissar said...

It's something that was invented and used before the invention of baking powder. AS friend lived with a Mennonite family for a while and learned to make cookies with it. She was dating our housemate and they had a baking spree until four in the morning, baking about five hundred cookies, among them pfeffernuse and peppermint cookies leavened with baking ammonia.

The entire house was filled with ammonia fumes when we awoke. She insisted that they tasted great as long as you didn't breathe in while eating them....

lissla lissar said...

Pfeffernuse isn't that bad, if you can get over the shock of cookies tasting like pepper. Anyway, nothing beats cookies that smell like cat pee.

Pentimento said...

Wow. It sounds like the Little-House-on-the-Prairie-reenactor types should beware of authentic period baking.

Thom, SFO said...

I love gummy bears, and I bet I'd like their conscripted cousins, too.

Pentimento said...

Gummy anything is all right by me, but these army men are the ne plus ultra, Thom.