Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Annual Report from Pompanuck

Again this year Kyle and I were welcomed into the Gandell Family reunion at Pompanuck. The full name is Pompanuck Farm Institute. This delightful place is in the foothills of the Adirondacks and within a few miles of the Vermont border near Cambridge, NY.

Every year we join our adopted family. The beautiful roundhouse is where we stay in the room under the stairs. It's much bigger than Harry Potter's. The commercial kitchen is turned into a behive of activity as folks take turns cooking their specialty. The meals produced by David and Joyce Dean are nothing short of miraculous. This year he arrived in a rented mini-van filled to overflowing with groceries from a decimated Price Chopper. The cuisine ranges from tex-mex to upscale cajun. Over the years he has seen to the import of dishes and glassware to suit his presentation. This year it was square white plates for 24 and beautiful bordeaux glasses.

Dahn has in the past done authentic Tuscan cuisine. She spent a week in Tuscany at a cooking school. Kyle is the master of southern comfort food. His pork roast, collards, onion gravy, a salad of cucumbers and artichokes... you can check all the details at Kyle's blog.

As I write at midweek, the Halpern's are leaving for NYC (Fort Lee, NJ actually). Dahn's brother Dave and Darcy are on their way. And so it goes all week. Great food, fun and interesting people. The young adults, the kids, David's sister Ruth and her husband Leo from Chicago.

The thunderstorms just passed and the sun is out. The search for the snapping turtle in the pond continues.

We always discuss a book. This year Dara Horn's The World to Come is our novel and Deep Survival is our nonfiction selection.

In Horn's novel a painting by Marc Chagall is stolen by Ben, who remembers it hanging it his house as a child. This seminal event brings us into a riveting story of the family's history which starts in early twentieth century Russian and the pogroms that drove out the Jews. I was only familiar with this from Fiddler on the Roof, based on the stories of Shalom Aleichem. I learned much more about the story tellers who wrote in Yiddish. What is "the world to come?" Read this author's Jewish perspective. It believe it was the first story I have read that took place in a Jewish-presumptive world. Very worth the read.

Deep Survival was not my cup of tea. The authors points are well taken but he glorifies foolishness for the sake of thrills. "Flying a plane upside down 10 feet off the ground in the mountains" seems to be something he recommends. He also talks about the attributes of those who survived the World Trade Center disaster by acting counter intuitively in a way that seems somehow demeaning to the event.

At home I am planning to expand my iris/daylily beds. For the price of separting some rhizomes and sharing some of my irises at home, I will have new stock for the project.

Darcy's minute dog (a teacup poodle?) pees on two legs. She walks on her front feet as she does this.

The snapping turtle in the pond has been captured. His or her fate is unsure.

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