Friday, December 21, 2012

Milk and Elves

We have only three days left until Christmas eve. Three days to make pierogi, finish shopping and present-making, and finish my pre-Christmas cleaning. Cleaning before Christmas is essential - a clean house on Christmas Eve will make everything easier throughout the year. I also wake up especially early on Christmas eve, and avoid as many frustrations as possible to keep the year peaceful and to keep myself from sleeping late all year long. There’s a lot of pressure packed into one day, so today, while I can, I’m going to put my feet up and drink some ‘magic milk’. I don’t have a consistent recipe for my magic milk - a drink I discovered at a cafe in my hometown. They used milk, almond milk, saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla (I think). I use whatever I happen to have. Today it’s a small pot of milk, with almonds, a vanilla bean, cardamom, nutmeg, and just the tiniest amount of cinnamon steeping together on the stove. When it’s hot, but not boiling, I take out the almonds and the vanilla bean, froth the milk and pour it into cheerful blue and white cups.

I’m rereading a story my husband read to me last weekend - "The King of the Elves" - about a tired old man who lends a hand to a troop of tiny elves and ends up their king. I loved the whole of it - from his desperate attempts to explain his new role to the other men to the needy, peevish uncertainty of the elves. It’s a story ideal for reading aloud in the evenings - not too long with visually satisfying characters and just enough excitement. But nice for quiet reading as well, on a Friday afternoon while snow blows outside and hot milk steams on the stove.

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