Thursday, July 29, 2010

July has been kind of a crazy month. For one thing, I moved with 8 days notice. When I was starting the process I thought how I did it might make for an interesting blog post, but I did everything wrong, so I really can’t give anyone advice on this particular topic. I'’m not far enough removed from the various disasters for them to be funny yet, so I won’t be talking much about them either.
In the midst of this chaos, I hopped on a plane to St. Anthony to visit Boyfriend. Boyfriend is working as a Viking this summer, as part of the Norstead Theatre Festival. Norstead is the recreation of a Viking trading community circa 1000 AD built near the archaeological site at L'’Anse aux Meadows, where the Vikings actually did settle 1000 years ago. It’s something I always wanted to see, and with Boyfriend there (for three months!) I had the perfect excuse.
It was a wonderful vacation, although the weather was bad. On a foggy day I climbed to the lookout point on top of a cliff, where I could see the waves crash on shore and the mist swirl around the sod longhouses. On a rainy windy day I retreated into one of those longhouses, with strawberry plants growing on the roof, and sat around the fire with ladies in full Viking dress. One of these, called Olga on the site but Violet outside, taught me naalbinding. Naalbinding is the technique Norse women used to knit hats, mittens and socks. It uses only one needle, about 3 inches long, flat and made of Caribou bone. The needle is threaded and worked through loops on the opposite thumb. As much as I love crochet I’'ve never mastered knitting, which can be frustrating as it’s much better for practical items. Perhaps two needles are just too many for me. Naalbinding might be the answer. Boyfriend has promised to bring a needle home with him when he comes.
When off site, I stayed with Boyfriend and two of his co-workers, P&N in a modern 2 bedroom apartment. Since they were hosting me and saving me the cost of accommodation, I wanted to do something nice for them. If you know me, you already know this means I did some cooking. There were a couple of challenges to this. First, they are only there for the summer, so they only brought the necessities in terms of equipment. Second, I didn’'t want to buy a lot of ingredients that wouldn'’t get used up. Finally, P is a vegetarian, something I’m not used to considering.
The first day I made Marcella Hazan’'s fabulous tomato and onion sauce, because it was easy and they had all the ingredients on hand (Put ¼ cup butter, one onion, one large can of tomatoes in a pot. Season with salt and pepper, simmer for 45 minutes) I served it over rigatoni, because that’s what was there. The second day we went to the grocery store where I bought ingredients for quiche, pizza, and chili.
I used a pot for a mixing bowl, a beer bottle for a rolling pin (I know a wine bottle is classier, but hey, we were Vikings, after all) and when the chili wouldn't fit in the pot I split it into two pots.
Like most vacations it was over way too fast and I was plunged back into the chaos that is my house. But more on that later, when I'm ready

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