Ivanka Lavender Top…

…and “Woodland Venison.”

This weekend, I will be participating in the Lavender in the Village festival (I’ll post a link to this below). This is supposedly a GIANT event, meaning a few thousand people attend. I have an Herbes de Provence recipe that uses lavender, so I talked them into letting me have a small information table. I was also fortunate to end up inside, instead of outside in the sweltering heat. I won’t be preparing or sampling any food, because the cost of participating (booth rental, liability insurance, food, containers, labels…) became rather overwhelming. I’ll be bringing my cookbooks and I also had a few promotional items made up to sell. Wish me luck!!!

The fabric I chose for my tablecloth ended up being a black moire taffeta. I was hoping for lavender to stick with the theme, but nothing was available. Then I looked in my closet and didn’t see a single item that resembled the color lavender in the least. Surely some store would have a lightweight blouse that would be suitable? 

And thus, the quest began. One boutique was having a sale, but the only items that bordered on lavender were hot, long-sleeved, and really more of a grape color. Another boutique only seemed to sell red, white, black, and grey clothes. 

Off to Dillards. By now, I was concluding that lavender definitely was not a popular color this season. I was considering a print, as well, just something pretty with lavender accents somewhere. On the ground level, I spotted a whole corner devoted to the Ivanka Trump line. Here were my exact thoughts:

“I just know it…the only lavender items are going to be from Ivanka. SHIT.”

Sure enough: on a table were two items, both lovely prints that were mainly lavender. They were made in China. I asked the clerk, “Do you have any other items that are lavender?” She was about to steer me back over to the Trump stuff, when I said, “…that aren’t Ivanka Trump’s? Because I won’t buy her line.” She was afraid not.

On the next floor, a more helpful and sympathetic clerk found two more casual tops, and I ended up buying one. Crisis averted.

Plus I had the added bonus of boycotting Ivanka Trump.

That’ll show her!

From “The Hobbit”—Elves

Bilbo and company do not meet elves again until after their disastrous journey through the forest of Mirkwood. You’ll remember Beorn warning them not to drink or touch the water here and not to eat the wildlife. Well, of course, circumstances affect judgment, and one dwarf’s physical problems lead to trouble. All dwarves tend to be stocky, but Bombur is quite fat. Accidentally, he falls into Mirkwood’s magical stream. This causes him to fall into a deep sleep and the other dwarves now have to transport him through the forest, which they proceed to do in teams of four.

Now Tolkien disliked allegory (which you can read about in the forward to The Fellowship of the Ring), but the metaphor here in Chapter Eight, “Flies and Spiders” is unmistakable and frighteningly applicable to our modern times. Chubby or plump? These qualities are okay. Morbidly obese? Definitely not. We can sympathize with Bombur, however; when he suddenly wakes, he has actually forgotten everything that had happened since they first left the Shire.

When told all their rations from Beorn were gone, “he sat down and wept, for he felt very weak and wobbly in the legs. ‘Why ever did I wake up!’ he cried. ‘I was having such beautiful dreams. […] I’m just going to lie here and sleep and dream of food, if I can’t get it any other way. I hope I never wake up again.'” His dreams are exacerbated by tantalizingly fragrant hints of real food cooking in the depths of the forest. The Woodland Elves are roasting meat, but they are not keen on sharing with uninvited guests. Chaos ensues and Bilbo and company, instead of finding food, almost become a meal themselves for many of Mirkwood’s giant spiders.

“Woodland Venison”

  • 1-1¼ pounds venison (stew meat or from a roast), cut into 2″ pieces (you’ll need 20) ***
  • ½ cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
  • ½ cup mango chutney
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wine from marinade
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large apples, peeled and cored, each cut into 8 chunks (for a total of 16 pieces)

Combine the meat and wine in a medium-sized glass bowl. Refrigerate 2-4 hours and stir a couple of times. In a blender or small food processor, combine the next 8 ingredients. Coat a grill with cooking spray and preheat to medium. Coat 4 metal skewers with cooking spray and alternately thread each with 5 pieces of meat and 4 chunks of apple, beginning and ending with meat. Place on a medium baking sheet. Place kabobs on grill and liberally brush with half of the glaze. Grill 3-5 minutes. Turn kabobs over and brush the tops of kabobs; grill another 3-5 minutes, or until meat is cooked to the desired temperature. Let the kabobs rest a couple of minutes on a clean baking sheet, then remove from skewers and serve. Serves 4.

*** You can substitute other proteins, such as beef or chicken, but pork tenderloin is a lovely option. Your cooking times may vary according to the protein you use, your grill, and your own taste.

Check out the Lavender Festival below!


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