Georgetown Cupcake often has a line out the door, but Sunday afternoon it was amazingly long, and customers were carting away cupcakes by the dozens. People were either stocking up on a supply to get them through the Oscars later that evening, or, with the approach of spring, planning to consume as many as possible while winter coats still disguise the results.
Today we celebrate two festivals: Groundhog Day, at which time we learn, as the groundhog emerges from his burrow, whether or not the end of winter is near; and Candlemas, when, in the Christian church, the infant Jesus was presented for the first time in the Temple. Each is a festival of light in a season of darkness, ever-necessary even in a world of perpetual artificial illumination. (Probably more so.)
On this day, some people make the candles they will then store and use the following winter. Others make crêpes, a lovely round golden symbol of the coming sunshine (and if you can flip your crêpe without dropping it, you will supposedly have luck in the coming year). Some spend the evening entirely by candlelight, which really makes you think about the meaning of darkness, and the legacy of Thomas Edison. And some gather around the tv screen to watch Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and laugh and feel hopeful all over again. In our family we have done each of the above. But not all the same year. Happy February 2nd, all.
This was inspired by Deb, who last week hosted book club and decided to abandon all her tried-and-true desserts in favor of something new: an amaretto-and-apricot-glazed gâteau with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream. We were contented guinea pigs. (Deb keeps a far tidier kitchen than does Daphne.)
(Continued from yesterday) We watched the children don cloth caps, masks, and aprons, help prepare and serve the food, and then clean up: scraping scraps into the compost bucket; rinsing plates, milk bottles, and chopsticks before they went off to be washed; crumpling aluminum foil and depositing it into the recycling bin. NO TRASH. Surely the schools of our nation’s capital city could do as well.
After lunch the children and teachers put on headscarves, took up mops and brooms, and went to do the daily post-lunch school cleaning. There’s your next proposal, Councilwoman Cheh!
In a recent issue of our local DC paper, I read of an ambitious proposal by Councilwoman Mary Cheh to improve the DC school lunch program, with an emphasis on healthy local foods, recycling and composting. This reminded me of a visit to our son in Japan when he was teaching English in the local public school of a small mountain village. Our family spent a day at his school, which included sharing lunch in the cafeteria. (To be continued tomorrow.)