TND – The Invading Russian Army

February 23, 2011

Back when I was in high school – you know shortly after the last ice age and before cell phones became ubiquitous (although they did exist and were in fact small enough to put in your pocket – my father had one he never turned on except to call us from the Immigration line at the airport to say, “The Eagle has landed”) – I used to go hang out in downtown Geneva with friends on Saturday afternoons.

Before I’d leave the house I would always end up having some variation on the following conversation – and remember this was pre-cell phones, because if I’d had a cell phone the entire conversation would have been rendered moot.

My father: Where will you be?

Me: Downtown.

My father: Where downtown?
(Bearing in mind that when you say downtown Geneva you either mean the Rue de Rive or you mean the Rue du Mont Blanc, possibly if you’re feeling adventurous and it’s a Saturday morning you mean the flea market at the Pleine de Plainpalais – my point is Geneva’s small and the options are limited.)

Me: [shrug] You know, downtown.

My father: But where downtown?

Me: [changing tactics] Why do you need to know?

My father: How else will I know where to find you to tell you if the Russians invade?

Me: I think if the Russians invade downtown Geneva that I’ll know about it without being told.

The invading Russian army was a recurring theme for conversations in my house, although you’d think that in the unlikely event that Russia did decide to test Switzerland’s stance on professional neutrality that there would have been ample warning signs given that the Russians would have had to cross Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and parts of Germany before they ever got to Switzerland. The theoretical Russian army (and when I pictured it in my head, it was always the Russian army that repelled Napoleon) was a touchstone for all kinds of things in my house. We planned for what would happen if they invaded unexpectedly, and then we planned for what we’d feed them if they did arrive on the door step unannounced – as in, ‘there’s enough food here to feed the Russian army’.

My personal Russian army is Dinner. I always labor under the delusion that I will have leftovers. I really don’t know why after more than a decade of Dinner I continue to harbor this fantasy, but I do. On Sunday I made 8 apples worth of apple sauce, then shrugged and added another two and figured ‘hey, maybe I’ll have leftovers.’ On Sunday I also butterflied chicken breasts and set aside enough for 8 people, and then added another two servings in case people were hungry and thought, ‘we can eat any leftovers for lunch later in the week.’ Last night I portioned out enough potatoes for eight people, added another two servings for the pot, and then shrugged and added another two handfuls of potatoes and thought ‘well, that’s a lot of potatoes, but at worst I’ll have leftovers’.

There were no leftovers.

Chicken Paillards
Apple Sauce
Spicy Roasted Potatoes
Carottes Râpées
Massaged Kale Salad

Chicken Paillards
This is just a fancy way of describing lightly pounded butterflied chicken breasts sautéed in olive oil (or butter) until cooked through.

Apple Sauce

Recipe previously given: Bangers-n-Mash

Spicy Roasted Potatoes
Apparently it’s been years since I made these. Someone asked what the spicing was and everyone smirked at me when I started the list with cinnamon. Yes, I’m predictable.

Recipe previously given: Spicy Roasted Potatoes
(my entry titles have clearly gotten more imaginative/obscure in the past few years – see below for conclusive evidence thereof)

Carottes Râpées

Recipe previously given: Stuck a Feather in His Cap

Massaged Kale Salad

I used Asian Pears this go around, which was less successful than the regular variety of pears. I have reached the stage of winter where I would commit homicide for a piece of fruit that wasn’t an apple, a pear or a grape.

Recipe previously given: Introducing Fancy Molasses (and her cousin Black Strap)


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