Cocktails For Three & Bananas At The Dinner Table Part IIMonday, May 11, 2009
My godmother and first cousin, Inesita O'Reilly Kuker has been in my thoughts of late. I wrote most recently about her here.
She has been in my thoughts for several reasons. One of them is that she did get the audio book I sent her mentioned in the above link. She was delighted and it seems she has listened to the book twice.
The whole odyssey of trying to solve my godmother's reading problem began a few months ago when she went on a vacation to her apartment in Punta del Este, Uruguay. She returned and soon after her son Georgito arrived to pick her up to take her for a weekend family gathering. He was shocked. Her face was all black and blue and her eyes were bloodshot. The independent soul that Inesita (she is 85) is prevented her from telling anybody that she had fallen in Uruguay. Her son took her to see a doctor who confirmed that she had a blood spill in her eyes. He injected her eyes and told her it would take at least 6 months to regain her full vision.
Most of my other cousins told me I should mind my own business and that Inesita did not need to read. It would seem that even though they live in the same city with her (Buenos Aires) they don't know how important reading can be for someone, or how important it is to read in one's chosen language. One of my cousins told me to get her a subscription to a large print Reader's Digest. For once diplomacy ruled and I did not bother to tell her that Inesita would never read Reader's Digest in any form be it small or large print.
As I have often written here Inesita would have been categorized by my mother as "gente fina". It is as difficult to translate as the Spanish word educación. The primary meaning of this word is a combination of well-mannered/good upbringing and poise. Gente fina adds to the mix a bit of knowledge of the arts and the person would have to be well read. Inesita, as gente fina would never acknowledge liking or reading the Reader's Digest. And that was exactly the case when I told her, jokingly, that I might get her that subscription. "Don't even think of it."
In Vancouver I admire those in the modern and ballet dance community because I can say with almost no exception that the majority that I have met have this poise, this presence that my mother so often told me was a rare thing. I would have liked my mother to notice that I am trying to make Rebecca and Lauren, gente fina. So we go to dance and theatre and I coach them on table manners!
Today I went to the main post office and mailed Pride and Prejudice read by Jenny Agutter, Daphne Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn read by Samantha Bond (Pierce Brosnan's Miss Moneypenny) and Angela’s Ashes read by the author, Frank McCourt. I wish I could be there when they get to her.
The other reason that I have been thinking of Inesita is that this Friday I will have Willoughby Blew and his wife Chris for dinner. They live in Florida and they are going on an Alaska Cruise. Willoughby Blew is my first cousin. As a young man in the Argentine navy I had a crush on his sister Elizabeth. Rebecca has met my three Buenos Aires cousins, Inesita, Diane and Elizabeth. With Willoughby the list will be complete (there were four more but they died) and when she grows up she might remember enough to keep our family story going.
I told Willoughby I was going to make a cheese fondue. This was his reply:
As you can well imagine we are in your hands when it comes down to deciding where to eat in Vancouver. Either the restaurant (Next) you recommend or the fondue dinner at your home are fine with us and we will leave the final decision up to you. Whatever is easiest and best for all is OK with us.
I'm assuming your fondue is made with equal parts of Gruyere, Ementhaler and Appenzeller cheeses complemented with Neuchatel wine, kirsch, black pepper, nutmeg and garlic. I remember eating cheese fondue practically on a daily basis when I lived in Zurich back in 1969. I just could not get enough of it.
How on earth do you know it will be a rainy day in Vancouver on Friday, May 15? I know that the law of probabilities says it will probably rain but then "the exception makes the rule".
Rosemary is in a bit of a panic as she thinks Willoughby is some sort of perfectionist. Consider what he said of the wine I was planning to serve:
The Hayward "bug" is among us but has never deprived me from enjoying a good glass of wine. Moderation is the word.
The taste of "green grapes" you refer to when you drink a Torrontés is exactly what makes this wine similar to a Gewutztraminer from Alsace. Some people love this flavour and some hate it.
Bodegas Etchart, also from Cafayate, Salta makes a very good Torrontés called "Etchart Privado". I have not seen this wine in the US for some time now. This may be the "reserva Especial" you referred to.
Given that you will drink wine in moderation if it is a Torrontes and given that we have now settled on having your famed fondue would you like me to bring a couple of bottles of whatever Torrontés is available at your local Government store.? A simple yes or no will do.
Manzanilla of course is a sherry and therefore somewhat higher in alcohol than most still wines. I was rather shocked to read (three times) that you pour your half bottle of San Lucar de Barrameda Manzanilla into a soup bowl to drink. Most folks find that a small glass of this sherry makes for a good aperitif. I have never heard of anyone drinking it by the bowlful but then, cada loco con su tema. So much for the Hayward "bug".
Rosemary's Pavlova with dulce de leche sounds wonderful and dietetic to boot.
We are also looking forward to our reunion.
Because I insist in calling Willoughby by his middle name, James, he calls me by my first name, George. I look forward to our family dinner. One of the toasts will surely be to another "gente fina" and that's Inesita our first cousin.