Thursday, December 31, 2009


There's a blue moon to end this decade, the oughts or noughts or whatever we end up calling these last ten years. Here in Toronto it's raining, weeping for us? or perhaps simply washing us clean? as we move on into 2010.

Last night we kicked up our heels and our hearts and danced with friends until the early hours of the morning. It was a very happy evening here with conversation and food, as well as dancing and laughter, with people of all ages and stages (we had every decade covered, from under ten-year olds to over seventy-year olds, a lovely mix).

This morning I woke up feeling a little stiffness in my shoulders and couldn't figure out what dancing effort might have caused it. And then I remembered the start of the day; dancing had nothing to do with it! I'd gone to Kensington Market to food shop and by the time I was walking back I was seriously overloaded with pounds of root vegetables of all kinds from Potz, a pound of Ethiopian coffee, two beautiful chickens from a new local butcher, and other oddments too, like pressed tofu, ginger, green onions, etc.

By seven-thirty in the evening the chickens were roasted and carved (and the carcasses immersed in water for today's soup); there was a large Le Creuset pot of mung dal (tart with tamarind and aromatic with Bengali seasonings and a secret shot of red wine) hot on the stove; the sticky rice was steaming and perfuming the house; two trays of mixed coarsely chopped root vegetables (beets, blue potatoes, black radish, parsnips, parsely root, rutabaga) had roasted in the oven to tender intense flavour (dressed only with olive oil and salt before hand) and were out in a large bowl (though the beets were in a bowl on their own, tossed with a little cider vinegar); two boxfuls of mandarins were heaped on a huge wooden bowl-platter; and friends were starting to arrive with various extra food and drink treats. Of course the party started all jammed up in the kitchen, but eventually, seduced by artfully spun music, some of us moved out into the cleared-of-furniture living room and the dancing began.

It's like a happiness treatment and celebration, dancing. And last night there was a lot to celebrate, apart from the wonderfulness of our extended family of friends old and new coming together. The best was the triumphant survival of a good friend KCC who this time last year had just been diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer. Things looked hopeless for him. Twelve months and experimental chemo and other chemo etc etc later, he is cancer free and looking and sounding like himself again. I like this kind of miracle.

Several of us were talking together late last night about his harsh year, and how hard it had been for his family too, of course. David said that for him the painful and scary passages of life are like a run of very bad luck in a poker game: "It's easy to play a good hand; the hard thing is to play a bad hand well," he said. "You just have to survive and stay solid until your luck changes." Great advice.

So as the numbers turn on the decade clock, and the moon glows full for the second time this month, I wish for all of you an interesting open-horizoned new year, with lots of stamina for enduring the rough passages and plenty of glad-heartedness and generosity for revelling in the smiling times.


Mmm....that's good said...

Wishing you a health, love, and happiness, Naomi. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for leaving by 2009 with some delicious memories I will cherish forever....xoxo, Jodi

Elissa Altman said...

Wishing you all the best, Naomi. A beautiful post- And indeed, your friend David hit the nail on the head, it sees, for all of us. All best, Elissa

Unknown said...

Hummmm, ce diner avait l'air extraordinaire ! J'en ai l'eau à la bouche.
Clément a suivi tes conseils hier en mélangeant du riz gluant noir et du blanc.
As-tu reçu notre e-mail ?
On t'embrasse.
Maëlle et Clément

Anonymous said...

Anytime I read a travel piece I am ready to book a ticket. I'm such a sucker for any cultural experience. Sounds amazing! I've done Europe, much of Asia, and North Africa. Hands down my favorite trip was a food and wine tour to Tuscany. Really had the time of my life and it's like every local is there to help you enjoy. Next trip you should check it out.