I spent a long Christmas weekend with Steve, my sister and her family, and my parents. I'm not quite sure what happens when we all get together, but we seem, more often than not, to wind up in hysterics over the strangest things.
This time, it all started with a bread nubbin. What, you may ask, is a bread nubbin? Well, I'll tell you: my mother had a loaf of bread on the counter. It was one of those crusty loaves with the split top, and there was a bump of raised hard crust on the side of the split. My mother, for reasons I did not comprehend felt the need to shave this piece of crust off.
I'm not making this up. She took the loaf of bread over to the sink and with a very sharp knife, shaved off this bread crust. This poor discarded piece of crust became known as "the nubbin". When I asked my mother why she had felt so compelled to perform this "nubbin-ectomy", she said that she didn't want anybody to break a tooth on it.
Who on earth, I asked, could break a tooth on a piece of bread. I was then informed that my father had once broken a tooth or lost a crown on a piece of marshmallow, or something like that, so, you know, you can never be too careful.
Maybe it was being around my sister, which can tend to make me get a bit punchy, or maybe it was the fact that it had been a while since I'd had a good belly laugh, but I could not stop laughing about this bread nubbin, and began to think of all the different recipes you could make with said nubbin.
There was lamb with bread nubbin, Chicken and Dubbins (a combo of dumplings and nubbin), and a Nubbin Pot Pie. It was Steve, however, who proved himself Master of the Nubbin, with his suggestion of Chicken McNubbins.
Nubbins aside, this was one of the nicest visits I have had with my family in a long time, and it made me start thinking thoughts that are perhaps better suited to Thanksgiving, but nonetheless...
It is almost the last day of the year, and it is naturally a time to think back on the year that just was, and to think ahead about the year to come. Maybe this is a product of getting a little bit older, but I find myself feeling very lucky and thankful to have the simple things in life: friends, family, health, a home, jobs.
We are taught in this country, to always want more, more house, more car, more money, more more more. But recently, we have had a few loved ones experience illness in themselves and in their families; a friend who lost her mother to cancer, another friend whose mother is fighting the disease, and a beloved member of our own family who is sick herself.
These events reminded me that, really, less is more. It is the simplest things in life that matter the most: the love of family, of a spouse, time spent with friends, any day being healthy, another day lucky enough to be alive, the enjoyment of a beautiful day, a delicious meal, a wonderful wine.
All of these things are extraordinary gifts, and are to be savored, and appreciated, and wished-for. So for 2011, that is what I wish for myself and for you: more of these simple, and simply wonderful things.
My Wine for a New Year Nubbin is not a wine, but rather a liqueur. Domaine Canton Ginger Liqueur. This stuff is delicious: sweet and gingery and perfect for the end of a meal. It is made from a blend of macerated Vietnamese ginger, herbs and spices which are blended with Cognac. It has a lovely ginger flavor without being hot or spicy.
It's delicious on its own, but would also be yummy added to a pomegranate cocktail, a Cosmo, or a Moscow Mule with vodka, ginger beer and lime.
Here's to a Wonderful 2011; nubbins for everyone!!