Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bread and Lilies

Sunday morning, I crawled out of bed to the smell of rising dough. When I walked into the study, Shel Silverstein's book was lying on my desk opened to...

Oh this shiny new computer –
There just isn’t nothing’ cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don’t need no writing’ tutor,
‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I’ll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

And in front of it sat... that's right -- a shiny new computer (and a shining new monitor too). That was the best birthday present Jason could have given me! I hear this thing has a great processor and comes with a food blogging chip that can crank out 5 posts a week, so you can expect some good reading on Beyond Salmon any day now. My old computer was threatening to die, but knowing how busy Jason was, I didn't think he'd have time to put one together for me. Our attitudes to computers are the same as those to tart dough, pasta, and bread. What do you mean you can buy one already made?!

The end of summer is a super busy birthday season in our family. I have a feeling that 80% of people are born in August and September and the rest are distributed among other months. At least this has been my impression based on the number of birthday gift certificates I've been sending out for Helen's Kitchen cooking classes lately and the number of birthday candles blown out in my own family. My best friend Gaia and my husband Jason's birthdays just passed in August, my Dad's is today, and mine was this past weekend. Daddy, if you are reading this, I wish you a very Happy Birthday and better health in the coming year.

When we saw my parents last week on vacation in Montreal, they gave me a huge fish platter for my birthday. As you can imagine it’s a very Helen type of gift and I already put it to good use for a whole grilled striped bass. Can you guess what the other present was by looking at this picture? You see the sharpness of the fish head, and the fading out of the background? As I just learned, it's called depth-of-field and something you can only achieve with...

A "real" camera. Nikon D50 was a joint present for Jason and me from all of our family. We don't remember having this much fun with a digital toy in years! I must say that Jason is catching up to f-stops and apertures better than I am, but I am enjoying the fruits of his photographic labor (the credit for the striped bass picture goes to him).

I really wish I made better use of this new toy on Sunday night when Jason kicked me out of the kitchen and made me an absolutely incredible birthday dinner. But I was enjoying the warm baguette, creamy asparagus soup, and grilled tuna too much to think about pictures. The dessert simply knocked my socks off. It was a pear tart tatin that was just… oh my, how can words describe it? It was the perfect fall desert with golden juicy pears and the dough tucked around them like a blanket. I must warn you though, the flaky edges of the crust coated with caramel are dangerously addictive. But hey, the calories eaten on a birthday don't count!

The digital and cooking toys are nice, but the real gift is sharing my life with Jason, my family, and friends. For this I am forever grateful.


Anonymous said...

ooh, what kind of computer did you get? The fish - and the photo of it - look fabulous!

shoma said...

Happy (belated) Birthday Helen! Your birthday dinner sounds amazing (yum) I am looking forward to reading more of your posts now that you've got a snazzy new computer!

Helen said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Anonymous, to tell you the truth I didn't even know what computer I got, except that it's shiny, new, and fast ;) But I just asked Jason, and here is the scoop:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3400+ 2.4Ghz
Memory: 512M PC3200
Video Card: GeForce FX5200 128M

Ivonne said...

And a most Happy Birthday to you, Helen!

I'm so happy to read that we'll all be reading more of Beyond Salmon! And enjoy your new little toys!

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

Happy birthday Helen! I look forward to discover what you do with your new toys! Funny birthday season is April and May around here ;)

Claire said...

Ah...Happy Birthday! Computers are nice. I have the school issued computer that everyone (EVEN the TECH GUYS at school) fought against. The first year class this year could get whatever computer they wanted, not a specific one! Nice camera, too. I'd like a new one soon. we'll see! BTW, the grilled eggplant looks FANTASTIC!

paz said...

How very cool! Happy birthday! I wish you many more!

All the best,

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Happy Birthday too!

I think we're in need of a new camera and I love the depth of field note. I suppose I should have known what it was called. I took photography and worked in a photo processing place for 6 years (although I think I know more about chemicals and processing than I do about taking pics)