Tag Archives: spiced nuts

Sugar and Spice, and Herbs

At lunch time my major concern is that window washers are coming down and there are ropes hanging. Our poor old dog doesn’ know what to do so I’m awaiting their arrival and introducing them as our friends, as I do every year.

I cannot go out or get lunch anywhere until they are below us and friends.

Today my husband went out a new adventure. Part of it is attending a wedding for a young cousin. Brava! We sent her one gift this morning, no, two. I had the opportunity to teach the bride and her cousin cooking classes, two years at Thanksgiving, when she was just a little girl. I heard that she and her future husband  like to cook together.

All I’ll tell you about the first gift is that it includes reference works (how romantic) plus the same spiced nuts I place on Nanny’s table every year for 14 years come next week. The spiced nuts were not sent to the bride, but to her mother, to calm her nerves and know everything will be OK. Don’t stress! Nanny and I are there in spirit for you. Just place the nuts on the table, take a breath.

Of course for Thanksgiving I never would have tried to do pies or cakes. First, I do not bake. Second, you couldn’t imagine the tastes up there on that Thanksgiving table. Forget the table after being satiated by turkey, ham, brisket and numerous side dishes. Feeding 50+ with just desserts, one must use windowsills et all!

I thought a lot of fresh spices and herbs would complete our wedding package so ordered it from Penzey’s this morning and it will arrive before the wedding as well. I remember when the bride’s youngest brother climbed off his mother’s lap and insisted on kissing me goodbye. He’s grown now and would hate to hear that story. I’ll keep it for blackmail!

For the bride and groom come common herbs, chilis and cinnamon sugar, sugar and spice. Congratulations, newlyweds!

In the beginning I  concentrated on two things and knew no-one left much on the kitchen table. I brought my homemade boursin and crackers, plus spiced nuts and just left them on the table. During The Game all the ladies congregated in the Kitchen and I hope I had a part in that. Next year I gave them spinach balls but left that recipe to a new bride in my new family.

Mincemeat tarts, Brussels sprout and cauliflower vegetarian (but rich and sinful) gratin. I don’t remember the rest at the moment, only that the boursin and nuts always are on the kitchen table and after all the good dishes are cleaned and replaced that’s where we go to relax before the next round. Yes, there’s a next round after The Game and it entails plastic cups and paper plates.  That’s why I wanted cousin the MOB to have the nuts on the kitchen table in a bowl, or wherever she wants them. My husband flew them south this morning and will take another flight and car to the wedding.

Sorry I will not be there. I did go off the bride’s gift list but then again, I taught her cooking when she was a little kid and her cousin K said my first year (before marriage) that “Nanny has shoes like that.” Ouch! Love these gals and it makes me feel really old to see one getting married. To Bride and Groom! Dee



It is also called “Viking Chess.” We bought a lovely wooden set for Nanny as she said she wanted a new game to play at Thanksgiving.

We measured and practiced in the front yard. All the kids were in back behind S’s place so we set up there, heirloom tape measure in hand, to downscale the size of the “court” for the younger kids.

We were missing one stake but instead of asking the company for another my husband has another route: string with rings, one for an adult court, one for kiddos.

They loved it and our best players were C and K, and K is a five year-old girl who had her target and went for it and was solid. C can be expected to be an athlete, and came through with winning strokes.

It’s a nordic game that is actually played up north in the USA. We brought it south of the Mason-Dixon line. Basically you chunk wooden “javelins” against small wooden posts and the winner gets the castle.

I never played, only tossed two javelins, but was active for both teams on the sidelines while my husband and brother (his, now mine) refereed. Oh, yes, this game needed some teaching and refereeing! We all had fun until three games in, the sun started to go down and the temperatures with it.

I did get to meet Uncle S’ new dog, a Great Pyrennees who protects the goats. Also I petted Dolly, a gorgeous Percheron, the biggest horse I’ve ever met. I’ve been spooked by horses for many years since I was thrown by a pony as a kid. Dolly let me pet her and followed me out into the pasture. So did a little wild kitty named Wayne.

Thank you Nanny and grands and great-grands for alleviating my fear of horses. Thank you Wayne for being you and taking care of mice in the barn. Thank you, M and J for housing us and Nanny and A for feeding us and letting me know I have family and now Kubb in the South, land of Sweet Tea and every kind of dessert possible.

I was held up on a train (freight derailment) so only got to make three dishes instead of the five or six I had planned to do. Brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin with parmesan and toasted pine nuts, mincemeat tarts, and southwest-inspired toasted almonds and cashews with ancho chili powder, chipotle, other chiles and cumin. The latter goes to the kitchen table after dinner where the ladies sit and chat.

It is always good to see the ladies and chat after supper. We now have a family photo and then the blessing, then go to dinner. Yes, I’m now with the moms and grandmas and there are growing up kids that don’t need 24/7 parental attention as they’re all with each other playing something on the grounds.

My standouts last week? C playing piano with me (he’s never had a lesson) and violin, he has studied for four years. He has an ear for music and a talent I’ve not seen often. He gave me a big hug when I left and yelled out “I love you!” I thought that was so sweet. I tried to talk to him about fingering on the piano but he would have nothing of it. Then again I asked if the gold mark was third position on the violin. I always had a star sticker on first position. One must nurture talent.

Find out about Kubb, also termed Viking Chess. It’s a fun game for family gatherings or work or whatever. Enjoy! Dee