The friend of my friend is … an ass-hat?

I threw a funeral this weekend.  Okay, I exaggerate.  My husband and his pledge brothers from way back organized a memorial service for one of their own, and I made some snacks (including the beautiful cheese tray pictured above).   The brothers organized an outstandingly moving ceremony, and everyone contributed something:  stories, pictures, beer, and checks for the children of the departed.  It was an emotional afternoon.

We (the main organizers)  arrived, as planned, two hours before the ceremony started because we knew that the current residents would not have the fraternity house cleaned to mature adult standards.  The other wives and I had too much fun asking half-naked college boys to find things for us.  Jean now has a great story to tell about a young man in boxers fetching her a leaf-blower while I entreated a young man wearing nothing but a towel to find me some platters and a pitcher.  Would it have been untoward to have asked to borrow a towel?

Anyway, it was a long, moving, and draining day.  After hours of laughing, crying, singing, hugging and so on– I finally, accompanied by a beautiful French friend, made my way to the bar that was kindly stocked with beer and wine donated by a famous winemaker member of the fraternity and a not-yet-famous winemaker who is my husband’s brother.  As Emmanuelle and I opened a bottle of yummy Viognier,  a high school friend of the honoree appeared and started trying to impress us (or maybe just  Emmanuelle) with his appreciation for French wine and his disdain for the California wine in front of him.  He insulted the Reisling by the famous winemaker as well as some imaginary Chardonnay (for there was none on the table that day).  He begrudgingly acknowledged the tastiness  of the lesser-known Viognier  and the well-known Rosé,  then he proceeded to open the last bottle of Petite Syrah and pronounce it “the kind of wine that should never be made”.   He held forth for much too long on his relationships with various small winemakers and their superior products until I was forced to abandon the conversation or punch him. (It was a memorial service! Slugging some blowhard would be bad form.) How clueless and/or blind could he have been?  I was wearing a name-tag clearly bearing the same name as the wine label!   Emmanuelle and I almost burst into laughter several times, but this guy just kept going, and I had to go away.

I hope that Emmanuelle forgives me.  I’ll buy her a bottle of French wine.


Time and Green Beans

I took out the green beans today.  Some of the vines had already dried up, and the rest were covered with an unappetizing mildew thanks to a morning rain shower last weekend.  We finished off the last of the beans last night in some “Basil Fettuccine with Green Beans, Walnuts, and Crème Fraîche” from  The Greens Cookbook that had us licking the bottom of the bowls because it was so good.  The homegrown beans and basil gave the dish a real freshness, but the homemade pasta is what made it really special.  Homemade Basil Pasta.  Yes: fresh, homemade pasta is that much better than dried from the store.  Why don’t we make it every time we have pasta?  Time.  This is a three day weekend, so we had time.  This three day weekend also allowed me to get caught up on my lesson plans and some of my grading.  And get my car serviced.  And take out the green beans.  Why can’t I get everything done on a regular weekend and still have time for homemade pasta?