Monday, March 23, 2009

Positive Reinforcement

Sue and I spent a good deal of time this past weekend preparing our tax information for our accountant, and we got our materials sent off this afternoon. Hooray! The annual dreaded chore is done. And it isn’t even April!

I’ve been the worst kind of procrastinator when it comes to taxes, but this year I decided it was important for me to get my act together, especially now that I’m a freelancer and I need to start paying estimated, quarterly taxes. (“Estimated” here equals “stab in the dark.”)

So to reward myself for good behavior, tonight I finally opened that tin of foie gras we bought in Paris. To be specific, it was a bloc de foie gras d’oie trufflĂ© (according to the packaging)—a small loaf of goose liver foie gras with truffles. Oh, man, was it delicious. Vaguely like a braunschweiger . . . one that’s graduated from divinity school. Or no: It is to braunschweiger as fresh butter is to hamburger grease.

Okay, yes, I know how they make foie gras. But I’m willing to enjoy it once in a while, giving thanks for the birds that suffered for my pleasure. And I hope that Tyson never, ever gets into the foie gras–making business, because then the perversion would truly begin, and it would be time to riot in the streets on behalf of duck and goose rights.

It was nice and warm today, sunny, but it was quite windy—gusts in the 40 mph range—and it made our windows rattle. We would have opened the windows a little bit, but we didn’t want our stuff blowing around inside the house like a snow globe. (Taxes, remember?)

So we took our foie gras dinner out on the sun porch, since it’s drafty and sunny out there, enough to make us feel like we were having an outdoor picnic. Or, un pique-nique, en français. Fresh and dried fruits, some plain crackers, some taramosalata, and a small sampling of really special cheeses: Parrano Uniekaas Dutch cheese, which we found at Whole Foods; a seeming cross between an aged parmesan and a fine gouda. A seductive sweet, salty, nutty blend. Then also, two flavored cheeses we got recently from the World Harvest international grocery in Columbia: One with cumin seeds, the other with green peppercorns.

It was all so very good, to sit there on the comfy old sofa next to Sue, as the sun was getting low in the sky, as we nibbled on all this delectable fare. Even the “Fre” wine we were sharing seemed okay. (Nonalcoholic wines have a long way to go to catch up with the flavor of n/a beers. But until they do, the “Chardonnay” by Fre is about the best of the bunch. Drink it out of a nice glass. That improves the flavor. It really does.)

Well, there’s not a lot to report, other than the taxes being sent off to our accountant ahead of the very last minute, and that’s good reason to celebrate.

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