I’m in California for the holidays visiting family. I started out in San Francisco, where I visited Crissy Field with it’s awesome views of the SF skyline, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge (which you can see behind my dad in this pic):
We visited his neighborhood weekly farmers’ market on Fillmore Street, where I sighed a little over the crops we can’t grow back East, including citrus and almonds. However, I also noted that there were several things I haven’t found at NYC farmers’ markets that could be there, including persimmons and dried fruit. Persimmons grow on the East Coast, and we’ve got plenty of fruit that could be dried as a winter market offering. (Let me know if you spot either in an NYC market and I’ll not only become a grateful customer, but I’ll add the info to The Locavore’s Guide to NYC)
From SF, we headed north to Yreka in the Mt. Shasta region, which is where my mom lives these days (yeah, I know all this traveling negates some of the good my locavorian diet does as far as my carbon footprint. My family is scattered between multiple locations, but they’re my family, what can I say? I need to hang with my folks now and then).
My mom doesn’t have room for guests where she’s living, so she arranged for us to stay at a friend’s and take care of the friend’s cat, Gus, and dog, Tommy.
Tommy lives outside 365 days a year even though the winters get pretty brutal here. He’s in a penned area. It’s large, but it’s fenced, and apparently Tommy is not completely reconciled to his situation. Yesterday morning when I went to feed him he bolted and ran past me fast as a race horse, disappearing across a field.
I called his name for about half an hour to no avail, starting to panic because “I lost your dog” was not a phone call I wanted to make. Fortunately, Tommy eventually came home on his own.
Last night my dad, pianist Kelly Johnson, played a wonderful concert of Chopin, Debussy, and other romantic composers. My Grandma Nea, 97 years old and a lifelong music lover, was in heaven.
Today my mom’s husband Frank is cooking up a Mexican-style Christmas Eve feast. Tomorrow we’re doing the whole traditional holiday thing, including a local free range turkey. One thing on the menu that is not local here is the cranberry sauce my dad made–the cranberries are from Massachusetts. It makes me smile, actually, that even here in Californian agricultural nirvana there are a few things from Back East that are special occasion treats. When I make cranberry sauce in Brooklyn, the cranberries are local but the orange that I like to add comes from California or Florida. I have no problem with either the west or east coast version. The holidays should include a few extravagant indulgences.
Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith