Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jansson's Temptation (Page 572)


  • Date: Sunday, December 14, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: C

The Vegetables section of The Book is running a little low, so I am left mostly with things that don't sound so great. For instance: this potato and anchovy gratin dish. I love almost anything with the word gratin in it, but I was worried that an entire can of anchovies would make this dish not-so-tasty. The recipe was simple enough: I tossed chopped anchovies with strips of onion and put them in a buttered dish. I then arranged sticks of russet potatoes over the anchovies and onions and poured cream evenly on top. I baked for 30 minutes, then sprinkled with bread crumbs and butter and baked until the topping was crisp and the potatoes were tender. This dish was really not to my taste. Obviously the crispy topping was delicious, and the potatoes and cream had the potential to be lovely. But the strong flavor of canned fish totally dominated the dish. The whole thing reeked of anchovies. I like a touch of anchovy as much as the next person, but a whole can of them was just too much. The dish was incredibly fishy, and for me that was a big turn-off. I had hoped that the cream would temper the fishy flavor of the anchovies, but it didn't work out that way. If you are a huge anchovy fan, you might like this, but if not, steer clear.

This recipe isn't online.

We have been talking a lot today about family traditions and how they evolve over time. Basically, my special gentleman has been getting (jokingly) harassed about how he wasn't here with his family for Christmas Eve, and that was breaking tradition. It's a difficult issue, though, trying to balance out family holidays when you have a partner. We are very lucky in that my family has always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, so it is no problem for us to go to my special gentleman's family for Christmas Day. We are also blessed by the fact that our families only live about 9 hours apart (by car). It would be much harder if they were separated by thousands of miles and we had to fly. It works out well for us.

I have heard many stories though of very angry families because their child is missing Christmas because of a spouse. I have a good friend whose mother was brought to tears because he might miss Thanksgiving. Another friend has parents in the US, while her husband's parents are in Europe, and this causes problems almost every year. And worst of all, I have a friend whose parents dislike his wife, which only adds fuel to the conflict over who spends holidays where. Such issues are very real, and very common, so I am feeling particularly blessed this holiday that we got to spend time with both of our families and that everyone gets along wonderfully. Merry Christmas!

No comments: