Oh, and I also had to face the frigid to open the door to guests, because the reason I didn't have to go anywhere yesterday is that New Year's Day is the day for the annual Feast of Friends, of which I've written each year since I've had a journal. Some local friends of mine get together each New Year's Day to cook Indian food. When I moved downstairs from Stephen, one of the organizers of the dinner, the event got moved to our place so that we'd have the use of two kitchens.
This year many events in Stephen's life prevented him from helping with the planning, so it fell to Douglas and Jan. They changed the format a bit. The participants were assigned foods to prepare at home in advance (and to prepare enough to ensure the distribution of leftovers) and we met at 5pm rather that 2pm. There was still a moderate amount of cooking to do on the spot, but it didn't have the feel of an all-day cooking marathon -- and the cleanup was vastly simpler. I, myself, tend to whine obnoxiously about change ("But that will take away the wonderful frantic collective cooking part of the day!") but actually it was a sweet and pleasant and special evening.
As it happened I didn't know until 11am that people weren't coming until 5. Sometimes communication isn't the best among these folks. What this meant was that I had the amazing gift of three surprise free hours in an apartment that is as clean as it ever gets. (I had spent a good portion of the previous two days cleaning.) So I sat and read and napped and had the most peaceful afternoon in the universe.
I supply most of the beverages (not the lime ginger iced tea or the chai, which fall in the category of dishes to be prepared), but it's never clear exactly what will be needed. So I was well stocked with red wine and white wine and Indian beer and English ale and apple cider and sparkling water all at hand. It wound up being an all red wine night. An all Spanish red wine night. And I didn't have to drive home afterwards, through the biting and bitter cold.
We ate many delicious dishes, and the nan was sourdough. There was no printed menu this year, so I can't recount the dishes, but there were many chutneys and rice dishes and little fried appetizers and vegetable dishes galore. Oh, it's a vegetarian feast, the founder of the feast itself (now living elsewhere) being a vegetarian. This year my guests did nearly all of the dishwashing, which was lovely.
I feel very privileged.