Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Christmas Magic

NSBR and I are trying to work up a little musical number for Christmas day with my family. My mother is playing piano duets with NSLR and S, and M is going to sing "Jingle Bells" with my brother. So R. and I want to do something with this gem, which we only discovered in the past year or so. Robbie Robertson strikes again (his "Broken Arrow" was one of "our" songs, and we were pretty outraged when Rod Stewart had a hit with it a couple of years later).

So R.'s working on guitar, and I'm trying to come up with a descant on the mandolin. After a year of sporadically trying to learn cross-picking in my nonexistent spare time, I discovered that what Robbie George (Princeton professor and erstwhile bluegrass musician) told me in June is true: if you can play pizzicato on the violin, you can pick out a melody on the mandolin. But of course, now I want to play all these long, drawn-out notes. Please don't let me discover that I should have worked harder on the violin, that the violin was what I wanted all along. I want to make pretty mandolin sounds! I want to pick the living daylights out of that thing like Chris Thile!

Super-Easy Little Mince Pies

Buy a big jar of mincemeat and two boxes of ready-made pie crust (the kind that unrolls).
Grease a mini-muffin pan.
Cut out circles from the unrolled crust with a 2 1/4 inch biscuit cutter and press into pan. Put a teaspoonful of mincemeat (and I mean a teaspoon from your flatware drawer, not a measuring teaspoon) in each one. Cut stars to top pies (you'll need a star cutter that's on the small side). Press star points onto edges of bottom crust, although this turned out to be an empty exercise on my part. Bake at 375 degrees (in my sluggish oven) for 20 minutes. Cool in pan.

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