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if ever we took seriously our new years resolutions, at least those uttered with the greatest frequency and conviction in the first 48 hours of the New Year, we would none of us ever go to a new years party again, i am convinced.
again this year, as the day approaches (the night of the day), i find myself looking forward to it with a sense of sad inevitability, holding out some hope that i will find myself in some company that can content itself with merely eating All The Cheese and drinking All The Wine, and will not at the 11th hour fall prey to a predictable and ill-fated urge to go “do something” for the ringing in of the new year itself. i fear, with an idle and bland fear, that this is a vain hope.
attempting to excavate the trash heap of my memory in order to turn up some examples of truly satisfying new year’s eves, two out of the only three that suggest themselves fittingly have to do with food (the odd one out involved spending the night with my partner alone, neither leaving my room, nor turning on the lights). the first, only last year, was unfortunately only a preamble to the eventual mistake of party-hopping, and so is more firmly impressed upon my memory not only because of the warmth of the conversation, bouillabaisse, and brussel sprouts, but because of how starkly that contrasted with the bustle, chill, and frustration which enveloped me as soon as i left that living room. as this event returns to me as a but a peppering of recollections, i won’t attempt to reconstruct the meal. i remember pestling garlic, cayenne, olive oil and bread into a rouille that afternoon, thinking hard about maple syrup + bacon as an alternative to butter + white wine for brussel sprouts, and being very conscious of the birth of my adult appreciation for seafood (which, in realizing we are now nigh upon the 1-year anniversary thereof, feel comfortable insisting to an irrational and perhaps irritating degree upon seafood being part of this year’s festivities).
mussels, who knew?
the second i cannot assign a particular year, but it must have been prior to my entering adolescence and the public sphere of new year’s revelry; i could call it any or every new year’s of my childhood, when my parents had some people over (friends? family? it remains indistinct), and we all just ate and were merry and i was excited to stay up. the food was ‘special’ i guess more in the sense that it was declared so, or made so by the occasion itself in a satisfying circularity, than that it was in itself something particularly noteworthy. i remember chili, certainly, some version of swedish meatballs, and possibly those assorted ‘asian’ finger-foods that one could get pre-made and bakeable at the local grocery store. there is an age at which the exoticism of a miniature egg roll is not lessened by it being oven-baked, and however much one might balk now at the thought, its passing cannot but be mourned.*
i could also add the first time i had a wheel of brie stuffed with apricot confit and baked in phyllo pastry, then proceeded to leave the house in order to get in a streetcar accident at 11:45pm, if the pattern constituting my wariness re: leaving the Warm Food Place needs to be further impressed. i trust it needn’t.
so. the clock ticks, the hammer falls. show me what you got, Toronto.
* i believe i also stayed up late watching Predator with my brother, and am considering just bringing a copy along this year, because in a pinch i’m convinced it could win the day.