The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New yarn, old hat, and the soup

My order from KnitPicks finally arrived on Monday -- LATE -- due no doubt to the post office being unable to recognize the TRULY IMPORTANT packages that need to be delivered IMMEDIATELY, rather than those containing mundane Christmas presents and other unimportant items. The Simple Stripes is for the Last-Minute Stripes Sweater, one of the free patterns on the website, and the Shine (in Blush) is for a scarf-shawl for me. I also got myself Folk Shawls, since I have read so much about it on the blognet, and I have gone completely head over heels with the patterns. Given enough opportunity, I think I would knit every one. Unfortunately, and frustratingly, I have had absolutely NO TIME since Monday to start either of the new projects.

On the actual knitting front, not much happening there, either. The second no swatching hat is languishing in the knitting bag, getting a row or two here or there but pretty much IGNORED, because every time I sit down, I suddenly remember there are packages to wrap, or something I forgot to pick up at the grocery, or there are cookies in the oven, on and on, ad nauseum. I have managed to do a bit more than when I took this picture on Tuesday. (See, haven't had time to blog, either.)

The old man has been working on his Christmas specialties. He baked 11 loaves of stollen, his annual gift to our friends. Actually, he baked 8 of them, and then decided that he was tired and that I was going to finish up the baking, seeing of course as how I had absolutely NOTHING else to do (see above). Oh well, it's not like I was going to be getting any KNITTING done anyways.

He also made our traditional Christmas Eve soup. Every single Christmas Eve since the little drummer boy picked up those two sticks, his family has made mushroom-sauerkraut soup. There is no meat in it (Christmas Eve used to be a no-meat fast day), but the flavor comes from European mushrooms, dried, and then resoaked and cooked into the soup. You would never miss having meat in the soup. It is a pretty basic soup, actually -- mushrooms, several cans of Bavarian style sauerkraut, some beef boullion (we're not fasting), onion, potato, and celery. The trick to getting the real flavor is to use dried European mushrooms, but those aren't easy to find. One year, not that long ago, he couldn't find any of the usual mushrooms, so he bought a bag of dried ones at the local Asian market. The mushrooms soak overnight before making the soup, and the next day he dumped mushrooms and liquid into the soup kettle with the rest of the ingredients. All that afternoon the scent of simmering soup was making our mouths water. At dinner, we dug in eagerly and for a minute or two there wasn't a sound around the table except lips smacking and soft "Mmmm"s. Then Barbara, the youngest said, "There's a bug in my soup". We all laughed and I told her it was just the caraway seeds that come in the Bavarian style sauerkraut. "Well", she replied, "my caraway seeds have wings, then." We all stopped eating and looked in our bowls.

The caraway seeds all had wings. And legs. The soup was full, FULL, of bugs. The dried mushrooms, when they were soaked and rehydrated, had been full of dried bugs as well.

The entire pot of soup went down the disposal. We never went back to that market. We had bread and butter for Christmas Eve dinner. And ever since then, it's been "Bug Soup again for dinner, Dad?"

Holiday traditions. Gotta love 'em.


Blogger Ann said...

I love the Folk Shawls Book! I did the Wool Peddler's Shawl first (I know, an easy one, but I was in a hurry) and it was well written and came out perfectly. I've got my eyes on one of the Estonian ones next...My eight-year-old is laughing the bug soup story. Yes, we are both early risers. He, I think, is practicing for the big day. Merry Christmas!

5:09 AM  

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