As so often happens in life, stuff happens and this August has been no different – in and outside the blogosphere. Beginning with the latter: the penultimate weekend in August is usually a weekend of poetry in our village. It’s a time of happy energy and busy-ness and this was its seventh edition. This year, when the date was announced, I knew two things. The weather would be what it would: either boiling hot and unseasonally summer-like or freezing cold, howling, even snowy and wet – as it should be as winter wails its way out. Secondly, the number of eateries for evening dining was limited – only two, potentially three. Last year, they run out of food. So, I went out on a limb and said that we’d do Suppers @ The Sandbag House – for three consecutive nights. I was either very brave or barking mad.
As often happens – she says again – stuff happens and things in the village changed – as they often do. Suddenly a slew of new “proper” eateries appeared on the McGregor-scape between then and now. However, being of the ilk that once committed, and with the offering publicised, we would not pull out.
As the weekend approached, and understanding, as my poet blogpal always reminds us, poets are poor and starving. Over the last seven or so years, I have also learned that poets are not really good at planning, so food is often the last things on their minds, so we decided to waive the regular requirement of booking by a cut-off time – for Friday and Saturday, anyway. Part of the preparation involved much weather-watching with, of course, menu-planning. The fare was to be price-sensitive and simple, so as not to detract from the conversation, poetry and conversations about poets and poetry. It also had to be multi-purpose: dishes that would work for both meat-eaters and vegetarians and, in the event we had no diners, with the least possible waste. As you know, I have a thing about food going to waste.
The ultimate selections were simple: I made a gallon (or so) of broccoli soup which was portioned and frozen. Friday, was jambalaya which is ideal for the major dietary choices and the dessert a traditional South African pastry – koeksisters. The soup and dessert would work for all three nights and if any of them ran out, I had a plan B up my sleeve. The jambalaya, if there was any left, would become the vegetarian option for the second evening because it is actually better on the second day – the flavours have really developed.
As it so happened, there was plenty left – we had no diners. I was much relieved because the day had been a challenging one making 50 koeksisters and preparing for the market. Also, a friend dropped in to rescue our poet guest – more of that, anon – and needed a glass of wine and an ear. That’s what friends do.
Saturday dawned and the market done, I came home to make moussaka. I was thrilled to have been able to source lamb mince (ground meat) which would have made the moussaka even more authentic. I produced eight beautiful individual moussakas which were to be served with Greek salad – the perfect way to end a day that had soared to an unseasonal 32ºC (90ºF).
Or so I thought. The old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover, in this instance, really does apply.
As I cooked the meat, I wasn’t entirely happy with it. It seemed to have very little fat and a lot of liver – the latter I could smell. I had wondered whether the herbs and tomato one must add to the moussaka would “disguise” the liver. Alas, it didn’t. When we ate what looked like a beautiful meal, I was so grateful we’d not had any takers. I could not have, in good conscience, have charged diners for that supper.
Someone was looking after us: the best part of that meal was the salad and better than the salad, the beautiful, handcrafted and McGregor-made ceramic bowl.
So as with the best-laid plans of mice and men, Sunday would have to be plan B. As it happened, we did have two potential bookings which were confirmed. One of the diners is a friend, while the other wasn’t – probably now is. The third, a friend we’d invited – just because. The main for this dinner – Provencal style chicken casserole – is on the list for a future post.
As so often happens in McGregor…stuff unfolds. Our non-McGregorite poet and whisky-connoiseur-diner, is a teacher from my old home town and also a graduate of my almer mater, teaching at a school where I’d had taught as a student…
His thank you note says it all.
As does the mutual agreement that the conversation that happens around our table stays @ The Sandbag House.
A last word….
August just flew. It was so busy that it feels like more than only a month ago, today, that I wrote my first “off-the-blockchain” post about the Steemit blockchain. Then, I lamented not having achieved my goal of reaching my goal of 1,000 Steem. I am delighted that over the last month, notwithstanding my inactivity and the significant changes on Steemit, I was able to reach that milestone thanks to @streetstyle for his monthly Steem Power Up Day and the incentive of squirreling away my Steem. Powering it up all at once, well, it really has an impact. Wow!
Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:
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promisehint about future WordPress posts.
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