Maria last week talked about hibernating when weather grows colder
and nastier here in the place along the border where the Green
Man offices are. I, Jack, want to talk about a conversation
I was havin' in the Kitchen with other staffers about what their
favourite food, beverage, or book was -- whatever was a winter
talisman of sorts on their part to keep the Dark from coming too
close. Oh, don't tell me you don't have one! Mine is an old leather
overcoat from some war best long forgotten -- faded green in colour
with fur lining, shearling lamb I think. Ugly as can be after
years of very hard use, but oh so warm. It's kept me warm buskin'
in St. Petersburg, served as a pillow under me head on the Trans-Siberian
express as Bela sat nearby smokin' his pipe, and has enough pockets
to hold everything I need on the road save me fiddle. Hell, there's
just 'nough room to tuck the fiddle case inside if need be.
Elizabeth Vail piped up, 'Lessee -- for winter,
my favourite treats are the three goodies that my mother bakes
every winter for Christmas -- fudge (just that, super good, though),
snowballs (orbs of brown sugar and pecans rolled in icing sugar,
although for the last two years I've developed allergies to them
she says smiling, and cheese crackers - the sharpest cheddar imaginable,
mixed with Rice Krispies and other ingredients... Every year she
makes these for us and the relatives.' Her 'favourite winter movie
is, and has always been since I first saw it -- Bernard and
the Genie, a sweet little BBC film starring a young Allen
Cummings, Lenny Henry, and Rowan Atkinson. Cummings plays a nice
bloke who is fired from his job by his evil boss (Atkinson, whose
character inserts 'ye' into every sentence -- 'Sit ye, sit ye.
Bugger ye off!') right before Christmas,who rubs a lamp summoning
a genie (Lenny Henry) who grants him an unlimited amount of wishes.
Gary, over a pint of his favourite libation, said
'OK, here's mine. A flagon of Snow
Cap Ale with something sweet -- homemade gingerbread with
lemon icing will do, or a morsel of dark chocolate. There should
be a fire going, and some good music: Maria
Kalaniemi's wintry accordion music perhaps, or Beethoven's
Fleck & Edgar Meyer, or some Edith Piaf.' Cat noted
that he likes homemade cocoa made with dark chocolate and warm
gingerbread which caused Maria to look up from her book, a Braunbeck
short story collection, and say with a wicked grin, 'Warm gingerbread
with hot lemon brandy hard sauce. Drool. Or hot snickerdoodles.
Mulled wine full of damiana, which has aphrodisiac qualities.'
Ahhh, I do like a lusty lass who's into bundling! Now Huw is into
'nother sort of bundling: 'A log fire with a dog snoozing by it,
a glass of port in one hand, a P. G. Wodehouse novel in the other
-- or maybe some M. R. James ghost stories -- that's just about
my perfect winter's evening.'
Now it's time to be off to the signing for Emma
Bull and Will Shetterly's War for the Oaks screenplay.
It's being held in the Great Hall as we expect members of both
The Summer and The Winter Courts to be there. Now you should know
before you come down with me to the party that Emma arranged both
the bands and the food. Really. Truly. Let's see... Reynard, have
you got those notes from Emma on what she wanted? Ahhh, good.
Here's what she wanted:
Boiled in Lead, of course, and Leslie Ball, and
Prudence Johnson. The Tim Malloys, Lojo Russo, and Folk Underground.
Sugar reunited, if Bob Mould isn't doing anything this week.
Molehill Orkestrah. The Dolly Ranchers. Faun Fables. How many
days does this signing go on, and is it 'round the clock?
Can I have Afro-Celt Sound System, too? And Mary McCaslin?
And the throat-singing guys from Tuva, and Te Vaka, and of
course Richard Thompson (don't leave home without him). Is
it going to be, like, a music festival with six stages, 'cause
otherwise this could be hard to schedule... Oh, and Riders
in the Sky! (Unless you want to save them for the signing
for the book I'm working on now.)
Refreshments: Coffee. Lots of coffee. Really
good coffee, roasted dark. Order it from Seth at Old Bisbee
Roasters, because it is the very, very best coffee. Guinness,
especially if we get the folks from The Field in San Diego
to tend bar -- they know how to pour it. Blackstone or Ravenswood
merlot, 2000. Any single malt old enough to vote, especially
For food, there must be cheese. Devastatingly
good dark chocolate. Caramel apples from the Candy Jar on
Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. Cheese and pepper boureks from
the Armenian bakery on Lankershim just north of Burbank in
Los Angeles. Hummus and babaganoush from the Carnival restaurant
in Sherman Oaks. Crispy Juicy String Beans from the chef who
used to work at all the really good Hunan restaurants in Minneapolis
and St. Paul. Bread -- we must have bread! Mexican bolillos
from Marissa's on Nicollet in Minneapolis, whole-wheat bolillos
from La Mejor in North Hollywood, and that French bread that
used to be baked by a Twin Cities outfit called Four and Twenty
(though my friend Rae makes sourdough French that nearly eclipses
it), and scones and artisan bread from Il Fornaio in Los Angeles.
Oh, and Will wants really good cake doughnuts.
And we need one of Bill Colsher's cheesecakes,
because a) It's the best, and b) He made one to celebrate
the very first War for the Oaks book release party
at First Avenue, way way back when.
Given the number of bands, that may not be
Given the fey nature of Green Man, there
will be enough food and drink. So come along -- bring your soft
soled dancing shoes, your appetite, and a mighty thirst as it's
going to be a truly amazing party!