Monday, December 03, 2007

the warm and the cold

Part I: the warm

Several weeks back, Ed read a NYT article on Penna olives. (Penna Olives are harvested and prepared in California. Stupendously wonderful olives. BTW, Ed loves olives.)

If I buy my favorites, we could open them all at once. You could do an olive party and so it wouldn’t be a waste. (Ed hates waste. But he loves olives and he loves the idea of eating many different types, all in one day.)

I have always wanted to go to an olive harvest (in Sicily would be fun), but they are in the wrong season for me. I can’t leave work for more than a long week-end in October or November. So I have a dormant desire to get close to the olive and no chance to let it (and myself) loose. The idea of an olive party appealed to me.

Ed ordered fourteen jars of olives. In double. (The second set is for me, I mean for us, he says. In case your party guests eat up all of the first batch.)

I invited friends whom I thought of as olive people. And I prepared a supper based on olives. (Keep it simple! – this from Ed. Ed hates a fuss.)

Everything was ready. The olives:

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…and the condo. (Ed was ready too. He remembered to turn off the TV just as the first set of guests arrived.)

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We ate olives and drank wines that I thought were suited for olives (red, white, rose, and rose a la methode champaignoise – meaning, everything).

And we ate cheeses from a Provencal cheese board (Provence = olives). And slurped hot roasted (in olive oil) tomato soup and downed a roasted veggie salad. With olives.

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…finishing the meal off with A Ligurian cake. With raspberries and a significant amount of olive oil.

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Here’s the important part: yes, you too can order Penna olives. They are fantastic! Which was the favorite (I asked people to vote)? The Olivasecca. But don’t count on my report. As someone said – this one stood out because it was unusual. The others were all brined and thus they blurred for us. A sea of olives. Mmmm. Go have an olive party. And don’t forget to include the runners up: Parmesan Romano Cheese, Stuffed. You’re welcome.

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Ed and guest, talking olives

Part II: the cold

I sat in my office today and watched the students head for their last week of classes. The Mall lawns were covered with what the skies dumped on them.

I have been proud of what Madison (and, by extension, the UW) does with snow: it removes it from places where, in its slick version, it creates a hazard.

Today, I reconsidered. Look at these photos, taken in the course of a ten minute period:

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On my way to the bus stop, I paid for my photographing of the plight of others. I was a slipper and a slider. Forewarned, I caught myself each time. But barely.

I am happy that there is snow on the ground. I am unhappy that cars have a clearer path than those of us who try to live a car-free life. But, I’m determined to keep trudging. Even though it felt like one big Rockefeller Skating Rink out there. With moguls.

the olive

Sunday. The day was dedicated almost completely to a celebration of the olive.

Intrigued? Monday. I'll tell you about it Monday.