Saturday, June 19, 2021

A rose is a rose...even when it's not a David Austin rose.

 I am so guilty of coveting the David Austin roses I see on Instagram. I look at them and think that if I were even ten years younger, that's where my money would go. 

But priorities went to putting in a garden to sit in when we moved here five years ago and roses got left out except for a red Knock Out rose that RH planted outside the fence to distract from the trash can sitting close.


A glimpse of this rose bush through the kitchen door makes me happy May through October. And I couldn't ask for a prettier picture than the one above that RH snapped one morning while taking out the trash. 

But it is climbing David Austin roses that I am far too greedy for even though I can't think of a place for them to climb without the deer getting to them. 

This year a climbing rose magically appeared in the trees in our turn-around!


It wasn't there last year. The only wild roses here were down in the thick road hedge, pretty but too far away to enjoy.

And yet this one sprang full grown and drooped gracefully to the ground. 

Close enough to walk to every morning when feeding the birds. 

Close enough for me to bury my face in and inhale its scent, close enough to study it's old fashioned petals.

Even if it's not a David Austin rose.



Friday, June 18, 2021

In honor of Richardson Wright's birthday and a good roast beef recipe.

 Dipping my toes back in blogging water once more. 

This dear man, Richardson Wright, motivated me to attempt it while I was reading his The Gardener's Bed-Book yesterday. It's something I do most days and I noticed that the next day, today June 18, is his birthday. 

I have seven posts in this blog under his label and nine at poor neglected Dewena's Window so why not add one more in honor of the day of birth of House & Gardens' longest serving editor in chief, from 1914 to the early 1950s. (In my opinion, the magazine went downhill fast after he left.)

I remembered that in February of 2020 I made one of the recipes from my 1943 first edition of his The Bed-Book of Eating and Drinking, found the pictures I made but never used and turned to the recipe that he included in the book on April 30. 

My shopping trip to Whole Foods that winter day of 2020, before the unheard of possibility of shutdown ever existed, produced a beautiful cut of roast that I can't remember the name of but it was a better cut than Richardson's suggestion of top sirloin of beef. 

Now I'll let Mr. Wright's directions accompany my pictures:

A lone and unprotected male can never know beforehand what will happen to him when he ventures into the farther reaches of Long Island. My purpose in going there was to deliver a lecture--with dinner before...On this occasion the strange people turned out charming, and the hostess, a Naval wife fresh from Pearl Harbor, covered herself with honor by serving Hawaiian spiced beef. She graciously gave me the recipe.
For a night and a day, 24 hours, to be exact, soak a 5-pound piece of top sirloin of beef in the following mixture: 1 cup vinegar, 2 cups brown sugar, 3 onions coarsely sliced, 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cloves and 1 of nutmeg.

When it has marinated in this conglomeration of spices the appointed 24 hours, put the whole mixture into a kettle without adding water, and boil for 3 or more additional hours.

I remember this roast smelling so good while it was cooking. And it was delicious eating, a little something like the beloved Spiced Round, a Tennessee 1950s Christmas dish that I used to make, except that spiced round marinates for almost a week. 

 And the sauce is delicious over rice or mashed potatoes.

The sauce is thickened with a little flour and water to which salt is added. Wild rice and string beans are companionable with this magnificent dish.

I forgot to take a picture after I poured this sauce through my old gravy separator to remove the oil on top but it was a very good meal. Not as good as my favorite two roast beef recipes that I alternate between but good for special occasions.

Father's Day is coming up and RH always requests a roast beef that day but I know better than to give him anything but a chuck roast with onions, carrots, and potatoes. Substitutions have been tolerated but not the absence of a pie of some sort.  

There will be a day of rest for him, maybe. You just never know. He's a little bit like Richardson Wright in that way, the garden is always calling. 

Happy Father's Day to RH and to two of my sons who sometimes read their mother's blogs--if Feedburner has not stopped sending out email notifications by the time they look. I'm told that July 1 is the big day that we will no longer get email notifications of blog posts through them. 

And Happy Birthday in heaven to Richardson Wright, the former editor in chief who spent much of his retirement time serving as a lay Episcopalian. When he wasn't in the garden.