"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, May 23, 2008


Sweet woodruff runs rampant along the front of the Lodge, having spilled out of a shady garden. And I let it run around freely, because it's so pretty, and so useful.

I've picked some sprigs so I can concoct May Wine, or Maibowle. Like feasting on white asparagus--to which I have no access--it's a European tradition in the midst of springtime.

The harvest--

Ideally, May Wine is made with a sweet white wine--a German Rhine wine like Liebfraumilch or something. A young wine is recommended, as presumably the grass-like woodruff infuses it better.

Here's a proper recipe:

Choose a light German white wine, the younger the better. Pour into a bowl. Add a half-ounce of dried sweet woodruff (or four or five freshly dried sprigs) and a couple of tablespoons of sugar, if you like. Cover it. Let it rest in the refrigerator overnight so the wine is infused with the herb's essence. Strain out the herb. Place the wine in a punch bowl, add strawberries and serve cold.

Here's what I did:

I chucked my generous handful of fresh (not dried) herbage (flowers and all) into a vat of whatever white wine the Chap was keeping in the fridge. I didn't even look at the label, but I know it's something dry. (He doesn't like sweet wines; I was practically weaned on them, 'cause my dad lived several years in Germany). I also poured in a little of the blush wine we keep on hand for my personal consumption. When I'm next in the kitchen, I'll throw in some superfine sugar. Haven't got any strawberries, they aren't in yet, and in my opinion they aren't necessary (unless serving guests--the berries lend a festive note.)

My Maibowle will rest throughout the day so it'll be ready tonight. I plan to sip it while sitting on the porch, listening to the birdsong and planning my weekend.

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