Friday, 19 August 2011

24 ramakins

sunny, hot, temps 29

An unexpected and beautiful day. Was supposed to rain - storm even. but so far it's been gorgeous. And - to make it an even better day - we have an Abercorn Bakery lemon meringue pie in the fridge. If you're in the area there are two bakeries you must try to drop by - the Abercorn Bakery, in the village of, yes, Abercorn. It's just across the border from Richford, Vermont. and, in Sutton, the magnificent La Rumeur Affamee. Which has baked goods, but also has the most wonderful selection of cheeses, and meats - and sorbets. And if you like date squares....well - their dates will get you to third base in no time. they're obscene.

We zipped across to Richford, then to the bakery, then to cowansville, then to Knowlton for lunch - then home to meet Johnny and his son who came to take the rusty old clawfoot tub and a sink out of the basement. then Tony arrived to get the ten year old paint tins out of the basement and take them to the toxic site. Ugh.

We're convulsing with activity here. I'm trying to organize the kitchen into three sections...a sort of kosher construction project. There're the things we want to keep. The things we want Kirk to sell (nice glass and plates), and the things we want to offer to friends (good things, but not necessarily collector's items, just good, sturdy kitchen wares). And then there was the shocking amount of stuff that just got thrown away. Out of date food, opened and stale stuff, broken wares. Honestly - it's very humbling to clean out an old kitchen and see all the stuff that just got shoved to the back.

How did we end up with so many mugs? And glasses? And those little ramakin things. How many does any family need? Probably none - which is what we'll have after this renovation.

Want a ramakin?

And measuring cups. Dear lord, if this was my next-of-kin cleaning it out they'd think their Aunt Louise was barking. for a woman who barely cooks, how come I have two dozen ramakins and at least 5 one cup measuring cups? And three meat thermometers. And no tupperware container matches the pile of tupperware tops. I also have at least thirty cookbooks. but, to be fair, I use those a lot when writing the books. I'm surrounded by cookbooks and poetry books. And pastry. And cafe au lait. Dreadful, the life of a writer.

Wheeled the recycling container to the curb yesterday. it was overflowing. Only to realize an hour later that it wasn't the week for recycling. So I wheeled it, bouncing, back....and Lise, God bless her, and Donna went through it and found all sorts of useful things I'd decided in frustration to recycle.

I'm actually at that stage in life, and in the renovations, where I want to keep so little.

Want a ramakin?

Michael. Trudy. A good book, a fireplace, a nice cup of coffee or tea. A La rumeur date square sometimes. A bathtub. A Queen bed, so we can cuddle, but also have our own space. A laptop to write with, and a notebook and pen. the complete works of Auden. And knowing that the people I love are healthy and happy and safe. That's what I need.

who needs a ramakin? or 24?

Oh, I wanted to tell you that my terrific Quebec publisher, Flammarion, has put Le mois le plus cruel(book 3, which is just translated and published in French in Canada) in the front window of the two major bookstores in downtown Montreal - Chapters and Indigo. Our great friend Dom took this photo of the Indigo store window today and sent it to us. Isn't that a fabulous image in the window? I'm stunned. And thrilled. Thanks, Dom!

Now that's what else I need - kindness. And love. Finding lots of both these days. Makes it so much easier to downsize things.


Nancy said...

Absolutely, that is a fabulous image! Congratulations on the downsizing. It is a huge job, I know. Then, in my experience, ten years later you will still be able to pare things down more. i enjoyed your list of things to cherish and keep. You have made me hungry for pastry.

Lynda Graham said...

Actually Louise I could really do with some ramakins (crème brulée, individual cheese souflées etc etc.) I will happily come get them - you can find me here at the B&B tel. 3227

Anonymous said...

Also desperately trying to rid myself of things nice but not needed.

Thanks for the inspiration. We ALL have to do this!!!!!

Miss Diane said...

Ma chère Louise, je crois que vous avez oublié la fabuleuse tarte au sirop d'érable du resto/pâtisserie Les Sucreries de l'Érable dans le très beau village de Frelighsburg. Il vous faut l'essayer si ce n'est déjà fait.

Bon week-end!

Mary M said...

I love the feeling of lightness when clearing out. My big dream is to have the time to clean and organize and then curl up with café au lait and one of those lovely pâtisserie.
Just got my new I-pad2 and am reading books for the first the electronically. As soon as I post this I am going to order... never mind just went to another screen and already pre-ordered A Trick of Light. Apparently I can download on the 30th. Didn't think that I was going to like the e-reader function, but I do. My cozy scene: me, my coffee, my sweet, a big soft chair and my electronic with A Trick of Light on the screen no clutter. Who would have thunk it?

Cece said...

After having cleaned out our parents' home as they downsized(3 full [like place settings for 12] sets of fine china-a CLOSET full of vases-3 kitchens' worth of stuff-9 broken telephones! Who keeps broken telephones?)my sister and I swore we would NOT do this to our children. She is much more ruthless than I, but it is freeing to divest. No more "I will save this, the kids might need it"-the kids don't want it!

Barbara, Wolfeboro, NH said...

Yes, we too have ramekins but none of ours match...I just kept buying two shaped like this and two more shaped like that. We end up using them for small ice creams at night, when we shouldn't have any or nuts with afternoon cocktails...who knows what the nieces will think when they clean out the cupboards...thank you for the bakery recommendations. We are heading to Quebec City in October and always take a circuitous route. We often stop a our favorite bakery in the old city before departing for home and then eat the bounty all the way. Perhaps we can eat our way up as well.

K.B. Owen said...

This is so funny! It's like going through a junk drawer (on steroids). I could use a few ramekins, but I'm way too far away to come pick them up, lol.

Love the Indigo window picture - you must be thrilled! I'm currently enjoying book #3 in your series, so I know it's well-deserved.

Good luck with the de-junking!

Jodi said...

Louise, I use ramekins all the time. As mini sugar bowls, for salad dressing (I make my own), dipping sauces, grated cheese....

However, like K.B., I live too far away to come and get them.

As a hopeless pack rat, I admire your zeal and courage in tossing all that stuff!

mannlua said...

I remodeled my kitchen early in the year. I can relate to all the stuff you find in the back of the cupboard. I threw away sooooo much.

Colombine said...

On amasse, on amasse... tant de choses en double, triple ou quadruple, c'est vrai. Finalement, on se sert des mêmes items "chouchou" dans notre cuisine surtout. Et quand on s'en débarrasse... on fait des heureux.

Je me suis procurer "Le mois le plus cruel". J'en commence la lecture... À +