So this is a story about betrayal, deception and denial. But it’s not all dark and horrible. It takes place in a very bucolic setting. Take a look.
We decided to go up to our cottage last weekend. All this cold weather and snow has been starting to get to me and I figured if you can’t beat it, join it. We were joined by one of my oldest and dearest friends, and her husband. We have been friends since we were 13 years old and now that we live in different cities, we just don’t get to see each other enough. Leading up to the weekend were a flurry of phone calls and e-mails to discuss, what else, the food! She offered to bring Friday night dinner and I graciously accepted. (YAY!!)
As we were discussing menus we slipped into the obligatory January discussion about overindulgence in December. We agreed that we would not do appetizers before dinner. We always eat too much of them and then by the time dinner is over we both feel stuffed. We would, however, allow drinks before dinner. Clearly we have our priorities in order. Feeling virtuous we said goodbye and hung up. The next day, she inquired in an e-mail, “If we’re not doing hors d’oeuvre, does that mean we aren’t doing dessert either? I have a banana recipe that I really want to try out.” I shot back a reply, “Bananas are fruit. That’s allowed. I’ll do apples for Saturday night dessert .”
About an hour after we arrived at the cottage on Friday afternoon, it began to snow. Big fat fluffy snowflakes, with no wind at all. My friend said it was as if someone had turned on a tap up above and let these snowflakes fall. And they continued to fall, in their lazy steady way all weekend long. It looked like something out of a Disney movie set. We built a fire and poured out some red wine to let it breathe.
We were vigilant in our no hors d’oeuvre pledge and proceeded to dinner after a glass of wine. I sat back and relaxed as my friends served a beautiful dinner. We all cleaned up together after dinner and reminisced about when we used to rent a cottage together in the mid 80′s. It was a beautiful cottage on Lake Simcoe. The house was set high on a hill, and you had to walk down stone steps through a forest to get to the sandy beach. We spent many happy hours there sunning and listening to the Blue Jays on the radio (Those were the good old days!!).
After doing the dishes we collapsed on the couch and dessert was served. My friend brought out a banana cake. Cake??? I thought we were having fruit for dessert. So either I had been deceived or my friend was in complete denial. Either way, my brain was way too happy humming on a sugar high to care. This banana cake was better than Sarah Lee! You have to understand that this is very high praise as I grew up on Sarah Lee Banana Cake and consider it the gold standard. I feel compelled to disclose that I also grew up on TV dinners and Swanson’s Chicken pot pies. It was an idyllic childhood.
The next day, those big fat flakes of snow continued to fall. We decided to take a walk on the frozen lake. My friends strapped their snowshoes on (yes, they’re those kind of people), and I got to try out my brand new winterproof boots. We almost fell into an ice fishing hole, but aside from that, the 90 minute hike was beautiful. And I am happy to report that my feet stayed warm and dry.
When we got back, I took a shower and upon entering the living room discovered an empty bowl with a few orange crumbs clinging to the bottom of it. I licked the crumbs from the bottom of the bowl. Aaargh…Honey Barbecue Chips. Betrayal!! In her defense, my girlfriend swore they were the baked variety. After that, it was a slippery slide into Prosecco and red wine. I tried to stem the tide by bringing out edamame pods and carrot and celery sticks but it was clear at this point we were into full-scale deception and denial. I did what any self-respecting woman would do and trooped off to the kitchen to make salted caramel sauce.
To serve with the caramel sauce…Apple Fritters, from Karen DeMasco’s new book, “The Craft of Baking.”
We dipped the fritters into a cinnamon-sugar mixture and skewered them with a cinnamon stick. Salted Caramel Sauce was drizzled onto vanilla ice cream. Deception never tasted so good!