Last year I shared in a few different posts why I was breaking up with L.L.Bean despite decades of loyalty and satisfaction. In summary I outlined how the quality had declined so much that we were doing too many returns/exchanges which preceded Bean yanking their legendary return policy, customer service suffered and I witnessed them moving almost all of their manufacturing from the US to overseas. I wanted to move more towards buying US made and ethically sourced clothing. Here is an update, contrition included:
O Lord of life, and Lord of love! Love us into life, and give us life to love Thee. And if the passion of our souls go not out toward Thee, yet let obedience and quiet godliness be ours, until such time as faithful doing shall bring gladsome singing, and thy statutes, which once were but statutes to us, shall “become our songs in the house of our pilgrimage.”
O Lord of boundless life, grant us life enough to put life into all things, that when we travel o’er this part of our life, and it seems but dust and barrenness, we may be of those who hope in Thee. Smite Thou the rock, that water may come. Touch this barrenness, till all things bloom. Touch those of us whose life is barrener than it need be— lacking knowledge and beauty, filled with petty interests and foolish cares, growing no Rose of Sharon, no flowers of God. Lord, forgive us that our life is so poor, and grant us the thoughts of God, that we may be enabled for the time to come to make this very desert blossom as the rose.
I’ve been knocked out with a bad cold and sadly had to cancel some of my social festivities. Even though I should be getting plenty of bed rest I take great joy in baking, especially Christmastime and am not willing to forgo it. I’ve never made a gluten-free shortbread until yesterday and boy are these good and so simple to make! I wasn’t sure how they would turn out since I used only gluten-free flours and true to a shortbread formula, there are no eggs which gluten-free baking often requires. You don’t even have to dip them in chocolate if you want a super quick to prepare recipe that you can easily make in time for Christmas.
Wayne and I will be having a cozy Christmas dinner for two. Every year I’ve made a standing bone-in rib roast but this will be the first year that I’ll be serving Yorkshire pudding made with meat drippings, yum! Here’s my recipe for Yorkshire pudding prepared with oat flour, tapioca and peanut oil (so meat drippings are optional) that tastes divine.
I’ve been busy baking scones and getting ready for early tomorrow morning when some lady friends will be joining me to watch the wedding. I’m so touched that Price Charles will be walking Meghan down the aisle! Also I’m feeling proud to be an Episcopalian knowing our first African American Bishop will be speaking! This is all so romantic and wonderful, plus it’s making me even more excited about my own wedding! Here’s how I’m setting up for tomorrow:
Are you getting excited for the Royal wedding!!! (That wasn’t a question.) OK, so I know not everyone is into it, but I am completely. I wanted to create a gluten-free cake inspired by American(!) chef Claire Ptak’s revelation about what the cake will be:
I’m not kidding when I tell you that this is the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. (Wayne is still at work so we’ll see how he feels about it tonight!) This is my own recipe, and the “secret” is a new-to-me sweet red cheddar cheese from the world’s oldest surviving cheddar maker in England. I purchased it at my local Whole Foods for the first time last month and have been buying it every week since. You can use any hard cheese you like in place of it in case it’s not available near you, but if you can, do give this sweet and smooth cheese a try!
My love of mashed potatoes started back when I was a little girl eating the “Little Jack Horner” from the Fort Lee Diner’s kids’ menu in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a slice of rare roast beef Au Jus with a small mound of creamy whipped potatoes served by my favorite waitress with the large bouffant. My appreciation continued as a young adult during road trips (the most noteworthy one being out to Seattle and back) with truck stop fare for lunch. They always seemed to have the best mashed potatoes. The cafeteria at the University of Maine in Orono used fresh Maine potatoes for theirs.
My own recipe for smashed reds combines Maine red potatoes, Meyer lemon from California and British clotted cream for a harmonious side mash or meal!
Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law sent us beautiful, fragrant organic Meyer lemons from a tree at their home in California for a “Merry Citrus!” I’ve never experienced anything like them. Our kitchen smells like warm sunshine, if that’s possible! What a perfect balm for a frigid December. I selected a vintage scone (pronounced sconn) recipe from the book Traditional Dishes of Britain published in 1953 by Philip Harben, the “TV Cook.” Scottish scones are very different from the Americanized versions; in fact they usually contain little to no sugar and few or no eggs. Additionally, they were often cooked on a “hotplate” which produced a “flat shape that is so convenient for splitting and buttering, the natural destiny of the scone.”
Here is a recipe for an obscure and worthwhile 1905 treat, “Mother Eve’s Pudding” from a British Women’s Cookery Book in my collection. This recipe was submitted by “Miss Orkney from Bervie.” (I found an earlier recipe in poetry form online.) I made this last year and cut the recipe in half, as follows, for a smaller pudding: