Christmas 2009: Gluttony

Medieval theology and philosophy usually cites Gluttony as the least series of the seven deadly sins.  In the division of types, it is one of the sins of the flesh (along with lust), and it is easily conquered through abstinence.  You know, the kind so many people embark on after the New Year.  Call it a resolution.

Medieval theologians and philosophers never saw these:

These individual bittersweet chocolate soufflés provided the dessert course to our hors d’oeuvre dinner.  Our dear family friend L. brought them, and baked them in our oven just prior to serving so we would have as fluffy and elevated a puff as possible.  She was wise to do so.  Just look at that gorgeous height!  The cracked tops provided a lot of textual diversity, which was lovely because the insides were so luscious and creamy and rich.

We served these miniature masterpieces with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of spearmint, which I happened to have in the kitchen leftover from spring roll production.

They were a really nice, sophisticated blend of flavors.  Because the chocolate was bitter- to semi-sweet, the richness of the soufflé wasn’t overwhelming.  In fact, the whipped cream leant a very pleasant sweetness to the dish itself.  L. added orange zest to the batter for that classic combination, which emerged only as a subtle undertone, very complementary to the relative bitterness of the chocolate.  It was like a grown-up throwback to those chocolate oranges that you smack on a table and then unwrap to reveal perfectly molded segments.  There were nine of us.  There were nine soufflés.  We only managed to eat about six of them because they were so decadent, so rich while curiously so airy, and so sinful feeling only moments after that last loving lick of the spoon.

I fell asleep dreaming about the leftovers.  The next morning after a triumphant gift-exchanging ceremony, the Husband and I jetted off to spend the big day with his family, while my sister and her boyfriend did the same.

N.’s family does a very traditional style Christmas dinner after the fashion of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner: an enormous turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, the works.  It kept our dog’s nose, and desires, busy all day.

The next day, feeling repentant, we set off to share lunch with my sister and her boyfriend, whose parents live only a few miles from N.’s old homestead.  After a few days of richness, what could be more penitent and healthy than rice and fish?  Perhaps many things, if that rice and fish looks like this:

This jewel-encrusted carbuncle of sushi beauty is courtesy of Mikuni Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar , my favorite sushi establishment, and perhaps even my favorite restaurant in California.  The rice is chewy and nutty and sticky, the fish is extremely fresh and expertly handled, and as you can see, the combinations and toppings are imaginative and beautiful.  N. and I shared three rolls which, as you can see, I forgot to document until it was almost too late.  Such are the consequences of gluttony.

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