Ramsey's Braggarts Morris Men, or some subset thereof without small or medium children or 6am worktimes, goes out to the pub after practice on Tuesday evening. If you consider Pizza Luce a pub, which we do. It features serving maids (some male, most tattooed) and beer on tap and the menu includes high-carbohydrate foodstuffs. What more do you need, definitionally?
This year Ramsey's Braggarts Morris Men are blessed with a fine-dancing new member, Bob's young son Smack. Smack is picking things up exceptionally quickly, in particular our syncopated double-step. In this he puts older folks to shame, but that's to be expected. Smack is turning out to be a fine Braggart, but he does need to return homeward at 9pm or so, which means we lose both him and Bob. Alas. Alas for us, but alas for Bob as well who misses greatly joining us at the Pub after practice.
But as it happens Bob has his very own pub in the basement of his house, the Land of Liberty Peace and Plenty, stocked with homemade brew and good cheer. So now and then we repair to Bob's basement after practice, and all is well. Except that we sometimes forget when we've planned to do this, because we may dance like the wind but we have the focus and attention span of the tumbleweed.
Mid-day yesterday Bob recalled that he and Smack would be unable to attend practice that night because of a school commitment, but he sent the team email noting that the Land of Liberty Peace and Plenty was open for gathering if we still planned to do so. We had, of course, forgotten that we'd planned to do so, so this was a handy reminder. I took a five-minute break from work and walked over to Surdyk's to pick up some cheese because the Braggarts, as a team, are hugely appreciative of fine cheese. And good beer. The Brie was excellent and perfectly ripe, I hadn't picked up any Parrano in a while, and for a third choice I went, randomly, for some French Raclette. There was also Swiss Raclette and Minnesota Artisan Raclette, but the cheesemonger recommended the French, which was the least expensive.
It was a group of only 7 who were free after practice last night, so we deemed my cheese sufficient repast. Usually Deb and Matt would have added significantly to the larder.
When I unpacked my serving platters and utensils and laid out the cheeses, Bob said, "Ah, Raclette" and explained to all and sundry the tradition of a Raclette oven -- Raclette is the name of the cheese and the appliance both. A Raclette oven is an appliance that is a sort of roof-heated mini-hearth, into which you stick small pans of Raclette cheese until they melt, at which point you pull out the small pans and scrape the melted cheese with a special wooden paddle onto bread or a cracker. It's a sort of deconstructed fondue, that cooks small individual servings at a time, and makes for a social time as well as a tasty meal.
Then the lightbulb over Bob's head went on and he went upstairs and brought down an actual Raclette oven, which had been a gift from a Swiss houseguest. Bob's oven requires a converter, being Swiss. Then Bob demonstrated and we made Raclette. Bob brought down his household jar of herbes de provence (doesn't every household have a large jar?) which you sprinkle on the melted cheese after spreading it on the cracker. It was so so so delicious. Yum. Yum again.
Because, you know, it's just the right thing to have a light snack of Raclette after Morris practice. When I tried to articulate how rare and wonderful of a moment this seemed, my teammates responded as if this were a perfectly unnotable occurence. As indeed, but for this journal entry, it was.