Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's All Over But the Scouring

I'm so bossy - even my signs tell people what to do...

It's official.

January of 2009 has arrived, and the Season of the Oil is now over.


The vonB Bird Hannukiah, ready to be stashed away in the attic

After a month of potato peeling, onion mincing, weeping over onion mincing, and frying up latke after latke, it's done, people.

I'm a tad conflicted about this fact. Why? We'll get to this in a minute.

Let's first go over the obvious question that's going through your collective beautiful minds - Baroness, what the hell is this "latke" of which you speak?

This depends on who you talk to.

To some it is a golden crispy potato pancake, fried and warm; oh-so-slightly oily and salty and, when served with chilled sour cream and/or nectar-licious apple sauce, is a delicacy just this side of Nirvana (the place, not the group - I do not believe that grunge would be all that tasty, based on the name alone).

To others, a latke is a deep-fried gut buster, guaranteed to keep your clothes reeking of canola vapour for a very long time, and your bowels regular for at least a month after ingesting. It renders you immobile and grasping for that industrial Costco-sized bucket o'Pepcid. It is the stuff of notorious legend, where an entire 3rd world country - after eating just one - is miraculously cured of its chronic and long-term constipation.

For the record, my concoctions fall into the first group.

I think.

Every year, our extended family hosts two holiday events. My sister-in-law and her husband kindly and graciously host the phenomenal Christmas feast. The Baroness and the rest of the vonBloggenschterns in turn host the annual "Latke-palooza".

This involves the babysitting of a beef brisket for two days straight, the depleting of jelly donut stocks in every bakery within a 5 mile radius, and the creation of about 100 (at least) latkes. These are usually fried up my yours truly.

Here's where the confliction comes in.

Usually, by about the 3rd go-round of making these grease bombs of love, I'm really hating the process. I'm hating the asshat who ever had the thought to ever dig the first potato from the ground. I'm starting to get angry.

[And I'm truly one of those weird people who thinks that if you cook angry, you're going to cook some of your nasty chi into the food. Case in point, I had a bagel the other day made by some furious short order cook - the bad bagel chi ruined my whole afternoon. Really.]

I digress.

This year, I didn't want the process to ever end. Why? Because I was cooking latkes for not only my family, but for Duke 1 (home from university for the winter break). And...

And I had the most amazing crew this year - The Baron, Duke 1 and 2, and my glorious nieces, The Good Countesses Schmee and Schmoo. Everybody chipped in and made what is usually a monumental task the easiest meal prep EVER.

I had food runners, potato peelers, table setters, flower arrangers, latke flippers, sour cream mixers, jelly donut displayers, veggie blanchers. They did almost everything. I did virtually nothing but supervise , change the music periodically and provide comic relief with my Beyonce dancing impersonation.

Plus, I had a fantastic break part-way through the first day of preparation.

I not only got to meet up with one of my favorite bloggy friends, the gorgeous AsthmaGirl of Is My Cape Fluttering?, but also her lovely husband (who appears to be neither old nor goat-ish; I must be missing something...). They graciously carved out a little time on their way home for a cuppa; we caught up on their Northern excursion and all the other things we could cram into a short amount of time.

Then to come home to a group of willing workers?

Ahh. It was golden, I tells ya.


Not unlike my perfect latkes.


Anonymous said...

I would willingly be a minion in order to learn all there is to know about your latkes! From your description, I think they'll fall into the first group! (Not grunge rock group)

What do you do with all the peelings?

Anonymous said...

PS~ It was beyond lovely to see you. The blog picture hardly does you justice!


RiverPoet said...

Sounds delish!

And isn't it great to meet up with bloggy friends? I think so. Just ask NATUI!

Peace - D

Cormac Brown said...

Happy New Year and may your latkes be as light and as ethereal as you are.

Mental P Mama said...

I am so jealous. Are ya'll coming to Virginia this Summer?

Anonymous said...

And we love you and your latkes.
I am going to be latke withdrawled for a year now. And I will certainly hate life.

Thanks for being awesome and letting me sleepover and making me all this awesome food. I appreciate it more than you would ever freaking believe.

Although it's never fun smelling like grease. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO worth it.

{i}Post said...

Golden for sure! Sounds fantastic and I can understand why you don't want it to end.


Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess AG: Anytime you want to help, give me a jingle - I am an excellent teacher, and I am certain you are an excellent student. As for the picture, it was just lovely - a reminder of a gentle respite in an otherwise frantic weekend.

Countess D: I can't explain how giddy I was to be able to meet Asthma Girl again - although I should make more of an effort to meet compatriot bloggie buddies who live in my own back yard...

Count Cormac: Aren't you the sweetest? Thanks for the warm wishes, and I send them warmly back in a southernly direction.

Countess MPM: I would LOVE to come to Virginia, but can't manage to think any further right now that getting Duke 1 back on a plane back to uni that isn't cancelled because of our sucky weather. Don't get me started...

Countess Schmee: Every year, it is truly a pleasure to feed such a willing crowd. And it makes my heart soar, that half-way through the meal, the only sound heard is the smacking of lips and gumming of brisket.

Having my own personal army of able and eager assistants is just icing on the jelly donut.

Countess iPost: If I could somehow get them from me to you, I would. I might just have to make you a latke postcard instead. (And for this, I think applesauce will be the way to go...)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I feel that way when I am making Swedish meatballs from scratch. All excited and pumped for the first dozen or so. After that, it's just messy, nasty, and I start channeling Betty Crocker's alter ego, Tandy Cruet.

Love your sign, btw.

Baroness von B said...

Countess NATUI: How could I ever have guessed that you and I would have similar cooking philosophies?

As for the sign, hand-made by moi. I can make you one - "From the Cradle to the Grave(lax)", or "Ollie & Lena, Sittin' in a Tree..."

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