Measured Extravagance

07 May 2003 - 4:24 p.m.

Joining M'ris and Mer in their in-passing paeans to their crock pots: I poured a couple cups' worth of barley into my slow cooker this morning, along with a quart of spinach broth, two mashed-up cloves of garlic, some slices of raw lamb, and liberal amounts of ground black pepper.

I then turned the dial to "low" and promptly forgot all about it until I came home to the fragrance of slow-cooked lamb. Mmmm.

There's some yellow squash I'll probably stir-fry with a bit of onion, there's a bowl of lima beans left over from yesterday, and a bottle of wine in the fridge that needs to be finished sooner rather than later.

I was consulted on an etiquette question yesterday, which led to me checking my copy of Miss Manners Rescues Civilization, which diverted me momentarily with her discussion of "Bad Manners for Good Causes":

Let us consider how the Christmas charity into which Marmee led her daughters might be practiced nowadays. (Note to ignorant gentlemen: Marmee is the mother of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, the Little Women of Louisa May Alcott's novel, on which proper young ladies are still brought up, so that they can learn to eschew exaggerations of domesticity, passivity and selfishness in favor of warm and energetic self-reliance. The lady you love thinks of herself as Jo. Don't ask Miss Manners how she happens to know that.)

Glancing at the entries from two years ago and this time last year, it seems as though Dixie storms are a matter of course here during the first week of May. It just feels like the soggiest week in recent memory. (Of course, as I type this, the skies are calm and the songbirds are trilling their little hearts out. Just you wait. As soon as I head out to pick up my dry-cleaning. . .)

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