I get pretty excited by new beginnings, even just the beginning of a new month. All the possibilities! Here are some things I’m looking forward to tackling in December.
Reading The Idiot. I save my Russian authors for the winter. Not only for the obvious reason (i.e. I’m fairly limited and equate Russian literature with snow), but also because if I didn’t restrict them I’d read them all at once and then not have any to look forward to. Last year I tackled The Brothers Karamazov and Eugene Onegin. This year I’m super pumped to read The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Hadji Murat by Leo Tolstoy. Both are the new translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky—who I’ve become pretty dedicated to recently.
Cooking Beef and Guinness Pie. I’m excited to take a crack at this recipe from Katie Davies’ wonderful book: What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Pieces (I also highly recommend her fabulous blog). I’m pretty sure all things can be made better with Guinness, and this applies especially to anything of the beef-stew variety. And just look at that puff pastry crust! I’m looking forward to a cold, blustery December day so I can bust this out. Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to try it too.
This album on repeat. Hey mom, it’s Sting! I know. I KNOW! I don’t care. I too am a Sting skeptic—while The Police are irreproachable, solo Sting is hit or miss—”Fields of Gold” is obviously great, “Brand New Day” is obviously hilarious and wrong. That said, I find this album to be a whole lot of fun, it gives me the perfect amount of that old Celtic, Greensleeves-y lute and horn. You try listening to Soul Cake and see if you don’t dance around just a little.
Shopping for ornaments on Newbury Street. M and I have a fairly recent tradition of heading into town every year to buy a few new ornaments, and its become something I really look forward to. All bundled, we hit up the shops on Newbury Street (mostly window shopping), then take a walk through the Public Garden and Boston Common to check out the Christmas lights and listen to the street musicians play carols. Normally there are hot ciders to be had and pubs to be visited as well.
Drinking Willett Rye. We talk about cocktails quite a bit on this blog, but I’m also a fan of a simple drink. To warm me up on cold December days, I plan on having some of this Willett rye. It’s a good, old fashioned whiskey—upfront and bold—but also elegant and smooth enough to sip. You get a bit of apricot and mint, and is never over-oaked. I like it neat, but it’s good on the rocks too; however, its important to use one very large cube, as the high proof will melt regular ice in a flash.