Thursday, November 27, 2008

Russian Around the Kitchen

Whenever I prepare a huge meal--Thanksgiving, Passover--I need music to cook by. Loud. One time I had the Stray Cats' "Rock This Town" blasting so hard that the Boy Wonder could hear it 50 yards down the street.

It was just us three for Thanksgiving, as everyone turned down our invitations and we weren't asked anywhere. (SIGH...) But I went ahead with plans to make dinner with all the fixings: turkey, rice stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, garlicky cranberry chutney (recipe here, but the vinegar is omitted in the cooking directions), green beans, salad and apple walnut brandy cake.

Well-caffeinated (I recently bought a stove-top cappuccino maker on eBay), at 9:45 a.m. I prepared for the kitchen onslaught.

First order: music. Darling Husband had a wicked headache, so rock 'n' roll was out. I'd been in the mood for Russian music since hearing a snatch of Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kizheh" on the radio the other day. So I headed to our music library (thanks to DH, we have a vast collection of CDs and vinyl, though I supplied much of the classical and funk), then cranked up the Russkis:
  1. Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique") and "Romeo & Juliet"
  2. Prokofiev, "Ivan the Terrible," "Alexander Nevsky" and "Lieutenant Kizheh"
  3. Rimsky-Korsakov, "Scheherazade" and "Russian Easter Overture"
  4. Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor
I discovered that the Troika in "Lieutenant Kizheh" (used in Woody Allen's "Love and Death") has a perfect beat for chopping vegetables, though doesn't roust BW out of bed (directly above the stereo) the way P-Funk's "Get Up for the Down Stroke" does. The Rachminoff was great for tablesetting, gravy-making and salad-making (DH's job).

For variety, the last CD I put on was Beethoven's 9th Symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein with a cast of thousands in Berlin on Christmas 1989. We chanced to sit down just as the "Ode to Freedom" began. (The "Ode to Joy" was retitled for that performance, in honor of the Berlin Wall coming down.) What inspiring music for Thanksgiving!

I said, "Was Beethoven deaf when he wrote this?"

DH answered, "Yeah, that's why it's so loud!"

I lowered the volume and we had a very joyous and thankful meal. Delicious too; which is a good thing, as we'll be eating leftovers for a week.

Next-day Update:
The apple walnut brandy cake (I used cognac) was a huge hit, especially with the Boy Wonder. Darling Husband and I had one piece each last night, and this morning the cake was half gone.

No comments: