Friday, June 20, 2008

The one day of the year

Yesterday on local ABC radio there was a talkback discussion of annual 'days' for this and that -- Red Nose Day, International Women's Day, Fathers' Day -- and I got the feeling that a lot of people think we've now got a 'days' overload. One bloke in particular took against the whole concept of International Talk Like a Pirate Day with some violence; the mention of it by ABC dudes Matt'n'Dave (and they got the date completely wrong) was the first he'd heard of it, of course, but did that stop him having an opinion? Nobody in the part of the discussion I heard was anywhere near grasping the principle of viral internetty anarchy that lies behind it, although one sweet old bloke rang up with a riddle:

Q. Why are pirates pirates?

A. Because they arrrrrr.

(There is a LOLpirate in there somewhere, along the same lines as 'Interested cat is interested.')

Anyway, in this calendar of natural, cultural, UN-sanctioned and Intertubes-generated International Days of This and That that Matt'n'Dave and their own special breed of regular listeners had a fine old time deploring, my own absolute favourite is the Winter Solstice, which will keep happening long after personkind has disappeared from the face of the earth. I love the feel of the year turning and this side of the planet tilting back towards the sun.

This year it's tomorrow morning, Saturday June 21, at (in Adelaide) 9.29 am, as per this site.

If I were a poet, which alas I am not, I would squirrel away that beautiful and evocative phrase 'civil twilight' -- 'The time after sunset and before sunrise when the Sun is below the horizon but not more than 6° below it. During civil twilight, the sky is still quite bright and only the very brightest stars and satellites can be seen' -- for future use. In the meantime here's the recipe for solstice-celebrating mulled wine that I posted last year:

Take one (1) bottle of decent red, something not too bossy that will accommodate additions, and pour it into a saucepan over low heat. Shake the cinnamon jar over it a bit. Tip the honey over the pan and squeeze till you think that's enough. Chuck in six or seven cloves. Cardamom and lemon peel also work.

Heat gently, stirring. Don't let it boil, just get it nice and steamy. If you have an open fire and can therefore rustle up a red-hot poker, by all means use it to heat the wine.

Strain into pretty mugs.

Drink. (Civil twilight would be a good time to do this. The evening one, I mean.)


In the comments thread of the original post, the lovely and talented Zoe from Crazybrave, now also a born-again cookery blogger, suggests that any leftover mulled wine can be kept till the next time you are making a beef pie or stew, which indicates to me that she makes beef pies or stews a great deal more often than I do. Also, "leftover mulled wine" is a concept I can't quite get my head around. The Devil Drink has more power than that.


The Devil Drink said...

AKA "Winter Sangria". It's lovely on Walpurgis Night as well, keeping your local witches happy.
Leftover mulled wine? Never seen it, never expect to.

Pavlov's Cat said...

We have a local witch, actually. She lives in a completely overgrown, falling-down house on the corner, with many cats, and dresses the part. She is often to be seen at her front gate, chatting with fascinated local children. I'm quite sure she'd enjoy a drop of hot cinnamon-infused SA red, too.

Anonymous said...

Stews and pies tend to be good for those who live with children (or other hordes), but crap for those who cook for one or two. Unless you like cooking on Sunday and eating the same thing all week.

As for left over mulled wine, well it's a sad tale, but we frequently fail to finish a bottle between the two of us these days and leftovers have become the norm. My younger self would be horrified.

Zoe said...

It doesn't last forever, mind, but it's prime pie weather.

As for pies for those cooking for one or two ... make LITTLE PIES!!! A cunning solution.

docwitch said...

Oooh. Love this. Will have a go at it today as soon as the sun is decently past the yard-arm. Fortunately, at this time of the year, that means closer to 4pm than 5. Afterwards, I'll have a jolly ol' hoon around on my broom.

Leftover mulled wine? That kind of restraint seems a bit unseemly given the circumstances.

Zoe said...

Not if one makes the mulled wine with a GIANT CASK, people! And yes, I do think it perfectly fine to use a giant cask in a highly flavoured mulled wine that will be warmed for hours.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Giant cask of mulled wine, eh? Ah yes, I can see those winy spicy little pies lined up steaming on the cupboard as we speak.

Hilary said...

I would be quite happy if the winter solstice was the only 'day' we ever celebrated. I can understand why christmas is so popular in the northern hemisphere.