I just knew yesterday was going to be a great day, and it was! The weather was crisp and dry. There was time after barn chores to do some last-minute housework and prep for dinner before Clay arrived. One of my first questions when the Kids come up is, "What is your time frame?," so I can plan accordingly when cooking is involved. Especially given the poor state of our roads, I understand completely when someone says they want to get out of the hills before dark.
I'm not kidding when I say the kitchen is the warmest room in the house in winter when I'm cooking, and there are stools for guests to keep me company. Some of the best conversations happen in the kitchen, and yesterday was no exception. I love having one-on-one time. I asked Clay, "How is it you requested liver and onions for your birthday dinner?" Even for me, it's a bit out of the ordinary. My reputation really went on the line when he told me he'd hated liver when he was a kid and thought it was time to give it another try. Oh, crum. There was potential for disaster here.
The meal started coming together: roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy mashed potatoes, plenty of caramelized sliced onions, and, at the last minute, sauteed liver. We agreed that our mothers had fried liver until it was as tough as shoe leather and dry. The trick is to brown it well on both sides and take it out of the pan. Liver cooks very quickly, only three or four minutes to a side.
Clay's reaction made it all worthwhile and my rep remains intact. It was darned good, if I do say so myself. Along about sundown, we went out to put the kids to bed. The temperature was dropping again and Clay brought up a couple of wagons of wood. I know that was an act of kindness, but there might have been a hint of self-preservation. (Since we were going into the living room, I finally lit a fire.)
All in all, it was a great visit and a very good day, indeed.