Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter in the Canyon

The Maharishi is in the garage listening to npr and re-organizing his detritus now that he's brought in a huge wopping safe in which to store his arsenal. (Never mind the water, canned goods and emergency supplies.) It was delivered this morning in a shiny white truck with an electric lift at the back. The man screwed it into the floor and then stood back, waiting, obviously, for the ta-da moment, which did not, I'm afraid, come from me. He tried in vain to show me how to change the pass code too. Terribly complicated. It reminds me of something out of "Hart to Hart." I'm sure Max is going to burst in any moment and try to blow it up with a stick of dynamite (cos when they met, it was moider).

This gives me time to contemplate Easter, only ten days away, and I've realized after some phone conferences with Aunt Susan, that twenty seven people will be here, so I'd better get my skates on. I don't know why I suggested Lebanese food because the Maharishi's family are food purists and the only kibbeh to have is the one made by late Aunt Josephine's housekeeper, and the tabbouleh can only come from one Lebanese restaurant, not the one in the Valley favored by the other aunt by marriage. All terrifically confusing. I fear I may have mired myself in a wee bit of a poke. I fumbled through a conversation with lovely Susan throwing out words like "Meditteranean influence" and "Libya" and "Syrian" and "za'atar" hoping that perhaps their expectations will be less lofty.

Silly me not to make the theme Norwegian or White Trash or something less controversial. I know that the tabbouleh, kibbeh, fatayeh, baba ganoush and grape leaves will be taken care of by concerned family members. I know that the Maharishi will make his world famous hummus (no olive oil, just on top) and the tahini has to be the right brand) and that there will be at least three different meats being smoked and grilled (it's the Maharishi and he moves mysteriously as we know). I am armed with my new crutch, considered probably dull by the readers of this blog, the fabulous Ottolenghi cookbook. I'm thinking about tomatoes, feta, Persian cucumbers, good virgin olive oil (oh no, I will never refer to it as EVOO and turn myself into a Rachel Ray wannabe, a slightly plumper version to be sure). I'm thinking about mint and parsley and lemon juice and all manner of loveliness. Maybe roast lamb with garlic too? Isn't that an Easter favorite? And of course those yellow fluffy birds on the table, just the way my Mamma does it.

Matti emails me "Your daughter just asked me if Prada is Italian. How is this possible?" I wrote back "O, so thrilled she's not materialistic. Ask her about Nietzche." This is an aside. But an aside, nonetheless that show you What We're Up Against In This Town. Every child over the age of three know that Prada is Italian and owns at least four pairs of Prada sneakers before the age of five. Sad. But true.


sian said...

..im feeling responsible..fingers crossed the boys from Otto pull you through! sianeyxx

Anonymous said...

Miss Whistle,

First, your daughter hasn't a clue who Nietsche is... I just asked her. Further, to associate Prada with materialism is short-sighted.

In the days of my Grandfather, when he needed a new pair of shoes, the shoemaker would travel from Vienna to his estate, where he would stay for a month or two and make new boots, shoes, slippers, opera pumps, etc.

Nowadays, the last bastion of that kind of quality and expert design can be found in the House of Prada, among others.

Knowing what Prada is, is as important as knowing who Nietsche is and Louis Vuitton.

My sole cries out!


Anonymous said...

hi miss whistle- here is an easter present- it's Ina Garten's tabbouleh and it's, like, the best ever!! It's super simple and you can't stop eating it. your vegetarian friends will love you forever.



* 1 cup bulghur wheat
* 1 1/2 cups boiling water
* 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
* 1/4 cup good olive oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
* 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
* 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
* 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes and mix well. Season to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

Miss Whistle said...


I love the idea of the poor shoemaker travelling down the Danube and I think that if you would like to guest post something about that our readers would be enlightened. Your passion for the House of Prada is most touching.

I stand corrected.


Miss W

Miss Whistle said...

Dear Anonymous fan of Ina Garten:

Thank you, dearest reader, for your thoughtfullness. The tabbouleh recipe is most excellent and hopefully will satisfy my difficult yet loving family.

The lebanese do not, however, use boiling water in their tabbouleh, the one difference I've noticed.

Thank you for your support and for your comment.

Yours truly,

Miss W