Having finally got through the cruel deadlines that had accumulated during my self-indulgently prolonged stay in the somnolent madness of Greece, I have been catching up on old webular connections such as the Saylor’s journal. It reminds me that music is essential and hard work epiphanic and that there are friends to be made out there if we only have the courage to introduce ourselves.
Meanwhile, my daughter, poking around the small but magical bookcase in my boudoir, came across the shelf of cherished books. Some I have already lent her (James Stephens’s The Crock of Gold, The Unquiet Grave by Palinurus, Seven Men by M. Beerbohm), but I had withheld Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian because it is far too powerful a thing to hand to an adolescent, as I discovered long ago when I was 17 and a young woman I scarcely knew handed it to me. Most grown-ups find it jejune and much too French. I thought it enchanting when I was 17, and I still do. Which probably disqualifies me from serious literary circles, now and forever. The other books I adored that year were The Lover’s Annual by Nigel Frith and Querelle of Brest. Taken as a whole, my mid-teenaged reading shows an astonishingly violet uniformity, and now that I come to think of it, I used to match it by dressing in very tight black velvet suits, silver lurex shirts (bought from Biba on Kensington High Street) and much too much eye makeup—but that was the sensitive-straight-male livery in those innocent glam-rocker days.
My son will wear something more austere this afternoon when he gets married—as will I. For the last few days we have been getting to know the parents and sister of his bride-to-be, Kayoko. They are extremely good company, though the language barrier is profound (my Japanese was learned from the back of a sushi menu). However, we find we have certain enthusiasms in common—namely baseball and Schubert and our children. Kayoko’s sister, Yumika, has brought us delicious treats from Japan—a dark green and fiery paste of yuzu and chilli which could easily become an addictive condiment; vacuum-packed rolls and patties of processed fish with the delicate texture and taste of poached scallop; small pots of a relish that looks like tartar sauce but turns out to be wasabi and sake (so strangely perfumed, so sinus-clearingly hot, so irresistible); little glazed rice crackers that are amazingly crisp, fresh and ethereal, making the ones we buy here seem like gravel. I had thought to take the family to Hiro or Kaji or Hashimoto but my son (whose Japanese is improving) tells me they would prefer to eat Western food as this is their first trip outside Japan. I am interested to take the measure of the culinary culture shock (could be massive, but maybe not—what do I know?) when Kayoko’s father joins me at the Jays game on Tuesday. Boston’s in town. We are hoping Daisuke will be pitching.
In other news, a message comes in from Rocco Agostino of Silver Spoon on Roncesvalles. “My wife, Kara,” he writes, “is a personal assistant to Peggy Nash (NDP), the federal MP for our area. Peggy and Kara have organized a “100 Mile Brunch” to take place at The Rhino, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. next Saturday, September 22. The purpose of this brunch is to showcase the wide variety of commodities available to local chefs and to promote a sense of community conscience in regards to the food that we eat. Area chefs and entrepreneurs will be preparing dishes for the brunch using only ingredients obtained within 100 miles of Toronto. All proceeds from the brunch will go to benefit FoodShare Toronto, an organization that redistributes the money to community kitchens in the area. We are thrilled to have Jamie Kennedy stop by to say a few words during the event.” Sounds interesting and the cause is righteous.