POSTED: January 1, 2022
2021: Well there is a year to kick to the curb! What a bust. Like everyone else I started the year not believing this was to be going on indefinitely and looking forward to my shots. Got the shots. One, Two, Three. Feeling better about the future. Then omicron.
Traditionally I do a round up of the letters I have received over the year. On ones that are focused on topics that are hopelessly personal I respond to directly, but most are of a general nature and if more than one hit on the same topic I respond here.
There is this crazy thing that has been going on with this website for the last several years. Each year there are more and more regular readers and each year there are fewer emails. One day I may succumb to the use of social medial platforms but not to this point. So, if I haven’t made it clear to date you can reach me at email@example.com
Are you going to be stuck in Malta for 2022?
Stuck! Stuck? Malta is quite a special place, with some great people, a really multicultural vibe and a fantastic climate. While it is true that I had never envisioned myself staying in one place this long, Malta is a damb nice place to hang out. I have also carved out a very enjoyable life here, something that had escaped me until just a few years ago. I get to teach some simple cooking classes, do the cooking for Malcolm, Martha, Gerhardt and Gabrielle and in exchange they pay for the groceries and wine. So with some sales from the Django Store (you can go there after reading this posting, LOL) I am actually getting a bit of money ahead for when En Plein Air will need some attention beyond the usual upkeep. Based on that I fully expect Ciara and I will stay here until things really do improve with this pandemic.
For a while you were on a real rant about U.S. and other politics and now you seem to have changed the channel – what’s up with that?
Well, when I was doing that critical analysis and political review (ranting) Donald Trump was very much on the scene and with him in office, and Putin in the Tsars thrown, it was hard not go down that rabbit hole. The world today is not really much better – the climate is a mess, most countries are inching to the right (although it was nice to see Chile move to the left), Hong Kong and Ukraine are about to fall, the spread between the haves and have nots has been growing, and oh yea- we still have this pandemic and much of the world is focused on its own well being and not on that of pandemic in the third world.
Beyond those world events, this year, like most Canadians I was beaten up by the whole discovery of all those indigenous children who had been abused and died in Canadas Residential Schools. This is not ancient history, in my time kids were still being sent to these places. The Turks hang their heads in shame when they think about what the did to the Armenians, the Germans when they think about the Holocaust, and the Americans and others, slavery, and this is right up there with those awful acts. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a start. Reading their Calls To Action is a good place to start if you are not familiar with this: calls_to_action_english2.pdf (gov.bc.ca) The Canadian Government is working toward various restitutions, reconciliation and compensation. Almost all churches and religious groups involved have apologized and are taking steps to acknowledge their roles. Yet the Roman Catholic church continues to refuse to apologize. Perhaps its time to tax the church properties.
So yes, I am still mad as hell, disappointed in my generation, and totally at odds with uncontrolled capitalism, but I am not going to dwell on politics in 2022. I have stress based neurological disorder, and other than my concerns about these topics I now have carved out a nice life. Some people have helped with that, but I am now almost self sufficient. I get to enhance peoples lives every day both here in real life and from the emails I get from people who like what I write. And most of the emails I get are ones from people who are struggling with understanding life, just like I am, and if some of my ramblings have helped them that really makes me try to be better each day.
Your cookbook reviews are interesting and quirky. Many more of those coming up in the next year?
Quirky? Quirky? Thank you. There are so many fabulous chefs, writers, and food reviewers out there that I don’t try to do the straight review. I just tell what I think of a particular cookbook or how to approach a dish and that’s it. One review that I have been meaning to get to is based on those really out-there cookbooks that are fabulous at covering some really off beat topics. Some are the favourite recipes of famous people, so you get a bit of insight into how they think. Others are really off beat cooking techniques like manifold cooking. My buddy Jim has a stack of them, and I can spend hours with a bottle of wine going over them. I did that one afternoon and evening when in Canada in the fall and took some pictures and notes and am working on some of the recipes. So yes, expect to see that in 2022.
You have described your life during Covid as “hiding under the bed with a bottle of wine” – is that the forecast for 2022 now with Omicron?
Well Ciara and I, and almost everyone I know has there three shots, and have a good set of protocols for living in quasi – isolation. With that said at my age I don’t want to piss away any of my remaining functional time on the planet so I have some personal goals for the year ahead. I am not really one for New Years Resolutions ( I have a bunch of unused ones that are in a box under the bed and when I am hiding there with the wine they are sort of right in my face) but I do like to set some goals for the year.
A few weeks ago, before we knew we were going in for another round of this Covid business and starting to let a bit of optimism creep into our lives, I was out for a walk and was chatting with a fellow who seemed to be a bit older than I who was walking his Beagle in the park. He seemed like a nice lad and we had a good chat. When I asked him about when he had received his booster he laughed and said a long time ago – “one of the advantages of being old”. He told me he was 92. That is old enough to be my dad!
Now this is a guy who is very lucid, could probably beat me at backgammon and was out doing his regular walk with his dog. I had to ask what the trick is. He of course talked about moderation and a getting a bit of exercise but talked more of enjoying each day while making plans for the future. He doesn’t like the idea of not moving forward, even though we are in a pandemic, so he has some goals for the upcoming year. Some were quite modest, but some were it seemed to me somewhat ambitious. He says he has always objectively looked at his skill set and experience and set goals that are just one little notch above what he has done before. He also tries to not repeat what he has done before in travel, initiatives, or adventures. Wise fellow. I look forward to running into him again.
I am thinking through my thoughts for the next year. Its easy to just slide into the notion that we have to sit and wait to be told its safe to come out from under the bed, but my meetings with people from my reunion last year and a variety of conversations with friends going for the big sail or renovating a lighthouse have me ready to take on something new this year.
And before wrapping this up I was sent a picture by a buddy who is a bit hyperactive and who historically has lived for making plans for the future. He plans house moves and trips and his finances and what to have for dinner next month so for him Covid has been a really scary thing. He has been learning that he can’t plan anything as so many things change. It has been good for him, I think.
The image he sent me was one of him poking fun at himself as he has taken to using the term pencil booked as everything he plans he has to be able to erase with the changing Covid situation. His Delta erasure has seen a lot of action, and he now has a fresh, new, Omicron one. While he is a bit more of a planner than most, I think it says it all for most of us.
See you on the other side.