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Paulina Borsook

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2000 12:24 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Not home for the holidays

Coming of age in the kitchen of a Canadian commune.

In 1969, when I was 15 years old, I ran away to Canada. I know that in today’s harsh climate of ’60s bashing and family piety, I am supposed to say that this was a bad decision and an error of my youth. It wasn’t and it wasn’t.

What’s rarely remembered or recounted about the ’60s is that many of us, particularly during the last two years of that decade, were filled with paranoia, despair and a scary sense that the United States was blowing apart. Thomas Pynchon’s “Vineland” is about the only thing I’ve ever read that gets that feeling of end times and desperation right: the military transports and Nixon’s election and the body bags and questions about just who was an agent provocateur and whether there was strychnine in those tabs of acid.

Suffice it to say, I left home for motivations both personal and political. I did not like where this country was going and I had come to the end of the line in my own trajectory: Goodbye application to Radcliffe; goodbye to all I had loved. It was time to go and try something else, somewhere else, somewhere more benign.

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2000 1:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Virgin stuffing

The best kind, for first-timers and seasoned pros alike.

Make a stock, using:

1 turkey neck
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 peppercorns
1/2 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley

Simmer for one hour, covered.

Meanwhile, sauté half a pound of coarsely chopped mushrooms in butter over low heat for at least half an hour and up to 45 minutes. Stir from time to time. The point is to shrivel the mushrooms until they are black and gnarly and reminiscent of dried mushrooms. They will have an incredible concentration of flavor, and border on crispy.


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