Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Future and Existential Questions

I used to feel that I was going to live to be 100.  After all, some people live that long.  I eat right, exercise, and have not only loving relationships but good cholesteral.  I thought I might go back to school.   Get a PhD in something other than music just so I wouldn't end up being 92 and bored.  But I don't like writing papers, following teachers' instructions or writing checks for $200,000, so I reconsidered.

Then my father died of a heart attack at 72 and my mother died of lung cancer at 69.  They both had non-smoking, low fat, good exercise life styles.

I'm 52.  It's possible I have 20 years more to live.  or 17.  or 40.  or 1.  Maybe I have just this month or just this minute.  It makes a difference!  I like to plan ahead.

I like planning ahead so much that at any given time our refrigerator has two weeks worth of menus posted under a magnet.  Menus carefully designed to use the fresh produce from the refrigerator, rotate frozen items, and follow up with specific leftovers.

Just this morning I made my shopping list for Christmas Black Cake.  That would be for Christmas 2012.  I called La Cuisine to determine if they will have glace cherries and citron in the summer, or if I should stock them now since the fruit traditionally marinates in rum and wine for six months.  This recipe comes via cookbook author, Laurie Colwin, who writes,

"There is fruitcake and there is black cake, which is to fruitcake what Brahms piano quartets are to Muzak.  Its closest relatives are plum pudding and black bun, but they are mere third cousins twice removed.  Black cake, like truffles and vintage Burgundy, is deep, complicated, and intense.  It is light and dense at the same time and demands to be eaten in a slow, meditative way."

None of this answers my Big Existential Question about how long I will live and how to plan my life, but I certainly hope to make it to next Christmas!


  1. I wish I could learn to plan! Is this the fruitcake you gave us? It was YUM.

    I would love to figure out how to plan menus in advance! helllllppppp!

  2. It's not the same. That one was Pat's Alabama Fruitcake, which is also extremly good. It might be a Mozart Piano Concerto instead of a Brahms Piano Quartet.

    The key to planning menus in advance is 1 family cooperation and 2) just enjoying the planning process. When I sit down to make menus it puts my whole life in order.

    I plan therefore I am.

    My mother was the same way, except she planned menus BY THE MONTH. In the days before she died she sat with a yellow legal pad and pen. Morphine scrambled her thinking and she couldn't remember what she was planning, but everytime she saw the yellow pad sitting on night stand she'd point and I had to give it to her so she could put things in order.

  3. The headache I woke up with is a little worse after reading this conversation-(but I still enjoyed it). You guys are so casual as you talk about planning and being systematic! Be grateful if your heart rate doesn't increase when you contemplate organization and planning ahead! For me, it's painful; I love and long for order, and I spend way too much time struggling to achieve it- with low returns so far. What's the solution? Maybe one cake at a time? Maybe just forget the whole thing? A New Year's resolution I made is to have more fun. (I just signed up for a Swing Dancing class). What is the deeper meaning behind this?