I've been in several cities when the hometown team won a championship: I was in Philadelphia when the Sixers beat the Lakers in, hmmm, must have been '83?, and not far away when the Phillies won in, I think, 81. I was in Houston when the Rockets won--both times, I think, though I might be wrong about that. I was in Chicago when the Bulls won, all six times (and was among the cheering, yelling crowds at least once), and now when the Sox won. Luckily, I was NOT here when the Bears won, or I don't know what I would have done. (C is an uncontrollable Bears fan, and he's already teaching the Kid that, every week, one roots for two teams: for the Bears, and for whomever is playing the Packers. I fear for our marriage, or, at least, my sanity, if the Bears ever get close to the Super Bowl again.) It's a little strange, at this point, given that those of us who get all excited about it are basically getting excited about watching people do their jobs. The stars no longer (or rarely) take the subway to the ballpark or live anywhere near the fans, and even the "fans" are more likely to be businesspeople who can write off the tickets as entertainment expense. What's amazing, nevertheless, is that beauty still breaks out of this capitalist stranglehold--men and women play hard, play well, execute flawlessly or nearly so, not because they're getting paid, but because they can. The equation works the other way around, I guess: they get paid precisely because they CAN execute. (And do not come here to bitch about players' salaries: the money that sports teams make can go to two groups of people, the owners and the players. Given that choice, I will always pick the players. And there isn't a third choice.) Anyway, to use something that Susie mentioned the other day, I think that, at its finest and best, sports can be transformational--watching OR playing.
As soon as I get around to it, I'm adding twisty to the blogroll, because I'm lovin' her patriarchy-blaming style; go check her out. While you're at it, check out badger, too. She's dealing with some very tough times right now (as is Twisty), and they're both giving new meaning to the notion of grace under pressure.
But you people, you don't care about that--you want to know what I've been making this week, don't you? Well okay then. Yesterday was a bonanza of sugar and fat. We took home two kinds of lemon tart, one made with lemon curd that was extremely good and one made with lemon cream, which tasted like lemon butter and I really disliked it intensely. Both had meringue on them, but we baked the meringue separately, so I've been chowing on meringue and its evilness for two days. We made a Paris-Brest, which is (bottom to top): pate a choux with nuts, hazelnut pastry cream, pate a choux, more pastry cream, nougatine (!), more pate a choux with nuts, and then, piped around the whole thing, more hazelnut pastry cream. It's made to look like a bicycle wheel (or, at least, to invoke one), because it's in honor of a bicycle race between Paris and Brest. We also took home a St. Honore cake (St. Honore is the patron saint of pastry chefs): inverted puff pastry (i.e., the butter is on the outside, rather than the inside, of the dough), pate a choux puffs filled with a different kind of pastry cream (called chiboust; it's got whipped cream and meringue folded into the basic pastry cream) and dipped in caramel (I burned ours a bit), then dipped on the other side and attached to the puff pastry; and filled with the chiboust cream, which is piped using a special St. Honore tip. (St. Honore's day is apparently either May 16 or May 20; I can't seem to find out. But my bakery will give out free pastry on that day.) Today we finished the pistachio nougat mousse cake, but I won't take mine until tomorrow. Bottom to top: pistachio dacquoise; apricot-passion-fruit gelee; pistachio dacquoise; nougat mousse (italian meringue made with honey instead of hot sugar); pistachio dacquoise; nougat mousse; pistachios, apricots, and dried cherries, all chopped up; and a thin layer of apricot glaze to seal and protect the cake. It is extremely good.