E130

Yesterday was not a particularly restful day, and my cold lingers on. This is the seventh day. The rule for colds is that they last seven days if you treat them and a week if you don’t, so this should be The End.

At the brunch yesterday I met some new people. At one point I was talking with two of these new people and one was telling a long story about how some people were knocking at her door and wouldn’t give up even though she didn’t answer and then she said , “And two of them were black.” This, in case you can’t tell without the tone of voice and expression, was intended to clinch the scariness of the entire experience.

I never let this sort of thing pass entirely, but I try to approach it with delicacy and kindness, asking questions perhaps to bring the offensive and false idea to light where it can be discussed politely.

In this case, the other new person in the conversation was herself African-American. Being polite about the first new person’s bigoted remark would be offensive to the second new person, while bringing the first new person’s comment to her attention would embarrass her.

A bit of a quandary. Partygirl is an excellent hostess, though. She joined us at that point and began talking about diversity in eduction in homogenous communities, allowing us all to discuss the issue in the abstract, and allowing me to speak quite firmly on the subject to my old friend Partygirl, in a way I would not have done with my new friends — well, the bigot probably won’t become a friend. Politicians who make racist comments like to say that they “misspoke” or something, but I think that comments of that kind do not come to people’s minds unless they are in fact racist. Saying “Well, yes, I am a bigot, but I am a polite bigot and wouldn’t say what I mean unless I were under stress” doesn’t fix it for me. Neither did the woman’s subsequent long story about the sweetest little nurse from Laos who took such good care of her in the hospital.

I can even make allowances for age on this kind of thing, for people who were brought up under very different circumstances, but this person was not more than 30.

easter 001 I may not care for old ideas, but I do like old cookbooks. Following the brunch, the cookie baking for Son-in-Law’s folks, gymnastics, the delivery of the cookies, a trip to the library for #2 son’s study group, the grocery, and a trip to the old store to swap empty boxes for an empty file cabinet, I made this old-fashioned pineapple upside-down cake for today’s Easter celebration.

I also made an old-fashioned Devil’s Food cake, but I still must assemble and decorate it before I take its picture.

The interesting book Something from the Oven points out that most people from my generation and younger have never actually eaten a real homemade cake, and the taste of mix cakes has become the standard. Because of this, I like to use old recipes for cakes most of the time. They are better.

I like new recipes for vegetables, though, and am looking forward to doing some interesting things with carrots and cabbage and jicama this morning. #1 son is in charge of the corn, #2 son is in charge of the mashed potatoes, my husband is in charge of the rice. All is in place for the meal.

easter 003 The other thing that I am in charge of is the table.

Once I gave up completely on the idea of making an Easter outfit, I pieced the table runner from Provencal fabrics. The red was #2 son’s idea, and I think it jazzes the whole thing up in a way that leaving it just blue and yellow would not have done.

As you can see, this is not pressed or quilted or bound or in any way finished.

Many quilters, especially those to whom 2 and 7/8″ is a meaningful measurement, feel that this is the real ta da! point. The backing, binding, and quilting is like the finishing on knitting to them — something you can mess up and then you have spoiled the real work, but not an important part of the creative process. Some even hire that part out. Not I. I like the quilting best, and it is, to me, just as important as the piecing. Nonetheless, I may put this on the table today. It will be largely covered with dishes full of food, after all. It can have a bit of an audition before it is finished.

It goes with the pineapple upside-down cake’s plate.

Having recently read some hints on entertaining elderly people, I was wondering whether those tips applied in any way to my parents, who are coming to lunch today. Not the bits about helping them keep alert or anything, but the parts maybe about having things warm and not making the food too spicy. Maybe you can fail to notice that your parents are getting old, just as you can fail to notice that your kids are growing up (#1 son is 18 today, as it happens). I asked #2 son while we were in the car.

“Do you think your grandparents are old? Like, elderly? Should we be taking better care of them?”
“They can take care of themselves. They’re very sharp. I’d say they were wise, if it didn’t sound weird.”

Happy Easter to all who are celebrating Easter. I wish you a good combination of good new ideas and wise old ideas, especially in the matter of recipes.