Goodbye 2022

And good riddance, I might say (not that I expect 2023 to be much of an improvement, at this point), but I’m trying not to be grumpy.

Just trying to send up a flare that I’m still here and had a typically quirky New Year’s Eve.

That’s the now-traditional New Year’s Eve tapas, strongly influenced by the friendship I formed with azahar here on WordPress in (checks watch) 2008. Little nibbles of this and that seem such a civilized way to celebrate; here we see goat cheese stuffed mushrooms, pate made from the mushroom stems, scallops in parsley and butter, Brussels sprouts pan-roasted with honey and cider vinegar, wasabi deviled eggs, a little French onion soup with Basque cheese, Manchego and Marcona almonds.

Just a light collation.

You will see there both champagne flutes and sherry glasses. What happened was, out of nowhere exactly, I heard from Izzy on Friday. He still tells me how not to screw up my retirement account, and something about my asking him an end-of-year question must have sparked a train of thought, because he sent a picture of a bottle of Chandon bubbly and asked if I would like it for New Year’s. Apparently, in our locked-down existence, he has been reluctant to open it because Mrs. Izzy has no head for alcohol and he had no intention of drinking the whole thing himself.

“It’s been in the wine cellar for decades,” he added, “so I should warn you it might not be any good. Let me know.”

We were game. I got the last of the food on the plates and turned to see the Cute Engineer deploying the pliers. This is not the usual tool for opening wine, but apparently the foil at the neck of the bottle had become one with the wire cage securing the cork, and had to be prised away delicately. (There is a story about why we keep pliers in the kitchen to begin with, but another time.) Shred by shred and twist by twist the disturbingly amalgamated mass of metal came away. The Engineer positioned the bottle and braced his thumbs against the cork.

It snapped like a balsa twig.

I’m really afraid to ask how many decades Izzy meant. We are both a half century out from legal drinking age. Anyway, we’re not sure what to do with this bottle; you can maneuver a broken cork out of still wine, but the projectile potential here is nothing to trifle with. Is there some kind of possibility it might explode during the weekly collection if we put it in the trash bin? Should we take it up to the glass recycling dumpster with all the other household jars and jeroboams, shot-put it inside and duck? Bury it safely on the property?

Izzy was piqued by my neither/nor answer to his question about the quality of the wine (there are apparently some things Mankind was not meant to know) and, generous as he has always been, slipped by while I was doing hill repeats today to leave a bottle of Israeli Cabernet in the porch. “I promise it will not explode,” he said in an explanatory e-mail.

We had a nice Lustau Amontillado (which had been chilled as a backup) with the tapas. Yeah, Az, I know it was supposed to be Palo Cortado. We hosed the shopping list. What can I say? It was still fabulous. Happy New Year.


5 thoughts on “Goodbye 2022

  1. Did the cork ever pop out? Usually once the metal thingy is removed, if you just leave it, the pressure inside will eventually do the work. I’d have put it upright in the basement with a towel over it (and then run away).

    I think that with that lovely range of dishes the amontillado would go better anyhow, it’s such a versatile sherry.

    Happy 2023! Let’s have a good one. xx

    • Yeah, that’s pretty much what we did, except we left it on the screened porch in back, which is the most dilapidated part of the house with little left to damage. The cork did indeed eject at some point in the night, ending up who knows where, and the contents proved to be tea-colored and vinegary (I tasted For Science but did not swallow). It had formed a slight sediment.

      I’m rather in the mind of the Ogden Nash poem that ends “Duck! Here comes another year.” But what choice have we?

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