Sunday, January 13, 2013


"Wash and dry half a dozen oranges.  Cut a very thin piece out of the rind about the thickness of a thin cord, as if you were quartering them. Boil them in plenty of water till they are quite tender, then cut them into the quarters already marked off; cut out the pips and the hard bits of pith; boil in plenty of strong sugar syrup for half an hour; let them steep in the syrup for four days, then boil for 15 minutes, and do this four times; strain into another pot and add more syrup and boil to a crackling point and pour over the oranges.  When cold, tie down very carefully."


Note: When I think of these preserved oranges, I think about the powerful, persistent and fragrant sweetness of my dear cat Eddie, gone (but who will return, I’m certain, it happened before, that's how this whole thing started) suddenly this week.  From the moment we all knew each other (again), everything changed and shifted to a higher plane.  He never failed to make the bad tolerable and the good great. Amazing grace for us.


Recipe:  Twenty-Two Authentic Banquets From India, compiled by Robert H. Christie, New York, Dover Publications, 1975. 

Gregory Isaacs: Tune In (Link)


  1. The guinea pigs say hello, they are their usual mood lifting selves. What a delightful recipe :)

  2. Please say hi back to the guinea pigs. It's been a trying week here. Our wonderful large orange cat Eddie left us very suddenly. He was a marvel and my best friend. He was a feral who came into our lives a long time ago -- just walked in through the back door after a long time in the wild and became a house cat immediately. He was never obviously ill; this movement of the earthly string was just played out, which is how I feel at the moment. This book, which is probably still obtainable through, the bookselling exchange, is well worth seeking out. It's an abridged version of a collection of Indian recipes (although this one is actually of Afghan origin) assembled by a member of an Edinburgh (as I recall) club in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The recipes tend to read like poetry, although they're eminently usable. Also, as the title indicates, the individual dishes are components of banquets which are laid out in all their glory and make you wish you had the energy (and staff) to recreate them. It's cold, gray and rainy in Tuxedo Park, NY, in the Hudson River Valley this morning. We're here (and will be here for the next several weekends) packing up fragile items ahead of men arriving at the end of the month to pull up the carpeting and replace it with wood floors, which we're told will make this house more saleable. I'm on what passes in my fatigued state (we're tending to another recuperating animal -- one of our dogs) as tenterhooks waiting to hear whether any of several potential employers will choose to acquire my full-time services. I'm very glad this reached you. The Gregory Isaacs song is marvelous also -- as the Rastafarians would say "upful." Curtis

  3. Very BEST wishes for all that's going on! Sorry to hear about your cat. Maybe he will reappear if he hasn't already? Best wishes for your dog as well!

    Thank you for writing more about the recipe book.

    The guinea pigs say hello back once again:) They must know it is winter. Their fur is getting thicker even though they live inside.

    Will listen to the "upful" song.

    1. Thank you and you're welcome. Curtis

  4. RIP Eddie.

    And sympathies, Curtis.

    Losing a best friend like that, no matter how many times it happens -- are they not all our best friends, the furs, each and every blesséd one -- never an easy thing.

    (But... what's with "reappear"? Huh? Like in cartoons, or table-tapping? I'm unclear on that concept. Had thought life to be a one-time deal -- thus its beauty, its cruelty.)

  5. Curtis,

    I guess I just oopsed a comment into cyberneverland, alas.

    Just meant to say, RIP Eddie. And all sympathies to you. Eddie can never have had a better friend.

    1. Thank you SO much. This means a lot to us. We were all -- people, cats, dogs, birds and fish (possibly not fish or birds, actually) unbelievably lucky having Eddie here palpably, every day. I'd like to think we're eventually coming out of what has been a difficult period. Currently, though, it remains one of those times where every day seems to get a little more difficult. I'm hoping to be "back" soon. I'll try to bring Caroline with me. Jane, thank heaven, is doing fine, and I should probably try to emulate her best personality features. Curtis