Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving and . . . Lutefisk?

A friend asked me to share my favorite Thanksgiving memory, so this journey into the past brought memories of a Thanksgiving feast from early in the 1970's.

A motley crew of some 18 hungry souls had gathered as my sister and I prepared our fabulous dinner. The first course -- lutefisk.

I should explain that my sister's sense of time was cosmic. She was connected to the larger universe. Tiny matters of turning the oven on at the right time escaped her. But finally, everyone gathered around the long table. All looked festive. The appetizers long gone. In fact the guests looked rather long in tooth as my sister and I carried two large platters of steaming lutefisk to table.

Would you believe those two platters made it all the way around the table without one person taking a single serving?

Perhaps it was the sight. My husband calls lutefisk a kind of fish jello with white gravy. Or it could have been the smell. The fish, soaked in lye to preserve it, comes from specialty stores, looking something like a board. The fish must be reconstituted by soaking in water overnight (or a little longer, to make sure the lye is totally gone). But the poor, weakened fish must next be boiled in cheesecloth; otherwise, it would boil away entirely.

I have no pictures of that long ago feast,
but this picture by MTCarlson (Flickr)
will give you an idea . . . 
Then, slathered with white, cream gravy, lutefisk is a dish for Swedes. And well loved. My sister and I sat at the head of the table and pigged out.

Later, we had turkey. Everyone praised our Thanksgiving feast. But for my sister and me, it was always about the lutefisk.

Now in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and following Annette's suggestion, do YOU have a Thanksgiving memory to share?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Remembering a summer afternoon

Just for fun, here are some photos from this late summer visit to the Corbin Art Center here in Spokane for a small exhibit, "Art in Bloom," that paired quilts with flower arrangements. 

In 1912, formal gardens were added to this historic home, originally built in 1898. First a friend and I wandered through the exhibit of quilts, admiring the quilts and the matching arrangements of flowers donated by local florists.

Detail, "Under the Tuscan Sun"
Quilter: Florence Coffey
Florist: Wildflowers

Detail, "Summer Hydrangea"
Quilter: Terry Engleman
Florist: Poetry in Bloom
Detail, "Bouquets for a New Day"
Quilter: Terry Engleman
Florist: Vicki's Garden Center
Then we walked in the restored formal Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens, just outside the door of this old mansion, up the rocky terraces, the flowers seeming to have that last gasp of color before winter descends, late summer sun, an afternoon with a friend who loves quilting and gardens.

Snowcrop (Sedum)

Amaranthus Tricolor ("Jacob's Coat")

Reflecting pool

View of Spokane