Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cooking and Gosford Park

I haven't shown you the other bunny cross stitches I finished before Christmas, here is one. I love these.

I felt so energizes, the sun was out yesterday and it's out again today. I got some cooking done. I made a delicious veggie soup (just 1/2 onion, 1 leek, 1 carrot, 2 celery and 2 Roma tomatoes with a box of chicken broth). I also made some granny smith applesauce with dried apricots, Meyer lemons and giner in it. I'm going to freeze some of that. I've started using my canning jars to freeze things and they work well, so easy and reusable. Last year I made the effort to stop using plastic as much as possible. I still use a little but not near as much. Today I'm finally going to make that barbecue sauce for the freezer. 

I looked up butler's in the library catalogue and found "Gosford Park" a British movie about upstairs/downstairs, but they focused more on the downstairs. It was suppose to be a mystery, but it really was a small part. It was interesting to get some good pictures of the downstairs and they did a good job of showing what the servants did. After reading Rose about the ladies maid I was very interested to see the ladies maids and the valets polishing shoes and taking care of the clothes. Unfortunately the movie has an R rating for some sex although there is no nudity and you really don't see anything you don't want to see. It's not a family movie. The interview of the director and others involved in the movie was interesting and I found out they had a real butler, cook and kitchen maid as advisers, but the director did put in things that really would never happen that he thought were funny, I guess. Like the footman spiting on a fork and then polishing it. Julian Fellows wrote it, he is the one who wrote Dowton Abby. I loved him in his role on Monarch of the Glenn as the best friend of the laird. I realized the time frame for this story is just about 6 years before I was born. It feels older I think because it is British. The war changed everything and the British Empire fell apart around then and took a lot of wealth with it. My only complaint about these movies is that they focus on every ones secrets and sometimes you don't want to know. I know life as shown in this movie for the servants is quite good compared to many, it wasn't a very pleasant life in many ways, you really had little life of your own, but it was better than some of the alternatives like starving or begging.

 I just finished a mystery "Threadbare" by Monica Ferris and it's about people that live on the street, many not all there mentally sound and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Their families don't know what to do for them. A person that is paranoid doesn't trust anyone. I remember in Reagan's time when I heard that they were taking mental patients out of the institutions and putting them out there in society. I think the idea was that organizations would help them, but they ended up on the street. I may have this wrong and I hope I do but that is my understanding. In this book the shelters try to help but they can't help unless the person is willing to be helped. Our society just doesn't deal very well with these issues. In the days of the big houses some of the help were a bit simple and they would be given the jobs no one else wanted to do or jobs that didn't require any thinking like washing dishes. I can see that the servant culture was a help, of a sort, to some. I don't know that we are doing much better now.

I'm also reading the book about the girl that goes to La Cordon Blue in Paris ("The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry" by Kathleen Flinn) and it is interesting. It goes though her days at school and exactly what they do and what the other students and chefs are like. The food is very traditional french cooking, exactly what I would expect, but I realize I'm not interested in doing that kind of cooking. It's too heavy and complicated. She also tells a little about her life outside of school and finding an apartment to rent with her boyfriend, who becomes her fiance and meeting the people of Paris in shops and so on. They spend a lot more on food in Paris than we do because it is so important to them. I haven't been cooking because of continuing tummy issues, but I want to get back to some of the lessons I learned from the last book I read of french cooking, eating slow, making things beautiful, courses and shopping more often for fresh products.
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