|MS. Douce 199, fol. 252r, Bodleian Library at Oxford|
Curried Eggplant Soup
Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Pears
Early Grey-infused Apricot Tart in a Hazelnut shortbread
And there was Macmas, too, that time of year when all good friends gather and there is brunch and we unite, as with all these holidays and surely since the Middle Ages (ok, since Saturnalia), to hold off the cold and be together. Mac was truly valiant this year in gift assembly, as two out of three dreams come true required extensive tinkering: a doll house (Eleanor) and a microscope (Iris). Oliver's wish of a cat has come true in the form of two kittens who will enter our lives after the first of the year - a wee girl and a boy who have been named by the kids (somewhat inexplicably but it works) Miss Frizzle and Darwin. Cats and dogs entered medieval households with much less fanfare - though every time I say that, I think of all those Books of Hours and those noblewomen with pampered lap dogs and know there's a a study to be done of the medieval pet (maybe already has?). Perhaps as that tiny terrier helps Mary of Burgundy think on her Book of Hours, Miss Frizzle and Darwin can help me say something meaningful about siege engines and medieval colonialism. Or I can think on the most excellent Pangur Ban, the Irish cat who helps his monastic companion hunt and wrestle with ideas because he does the same with mice. We are not alone in our struggles.