Sunday, January 2, 2011. Eleven Hundred Miles For Rotini Pasta Bordelaise. Wife and brood departed Maryland for home at four this morning. They drove from deep dark to deeper dark and arrived safely home at eight p.m. Such a marathon can be done with two stalwart drivers (MA and Jude). But I'm still glad I wasn't along on that one. It's an 1124-mile trip, which means that their average speed was seventy miles per hour. I feel rushed when I average more than fifty on a long trip.
The Amtrak Crescent takes more or less the same route and arrived in New Orleans about the same time the family got home. But it left ten hours earlier. This is why train travel will never be popular. The train really ought to be faster than driving.
It is, however, incomparably more relaxing. Mary Ann will be in a bad mood for the next day or two as a result of the stress of that absurdly long drive. Every time she does it, she swears she'll never do it again. I've resolved the same thing, but I've kept to the resolution.
While waiting for their grand re-entry, I spent the day finishing up the job of rebuilding my published recipe collection in the new website architecture. Whew! Glad that's done. Now on to the 1900 diary entries. But that's less urgent and easier.
As I look at what else is on my plate in 2011, I see the Lost Restaurants of New Orleans book I'm writing with Peggy Scott Laborde. We've each received our advance checks for that book, which will come out in time for the holidays at the other end of the year. I think it will be a huge hit. But I have to finish writing it by March.
When my darlings arrived at eight, they were too pooped to go out for dinner. They called for "garlicky pasta," our name for pasta bordelaise. It's near the top of the list of Fitzmorris family comfort dishes. It's an easy enough dish: a third of a cup of olive oil sizzling some chopped garlic, parsley, and crushed red pepper until fragrant. Whisk in a quarter cup of the water from the pasta pot. Drain the pasta and toss it in the pan with the sauce. Grate a pile of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it. Easy enough. The only complaint I heard was that the pound of pasta wasn't quite enough for four people. But they were too tired to give me a really hard time.
What a way to end a vacation! The pain of getting to and from a vacation destination too often exceeds the pleasure derived therefrom. Once again, I'm glad I didn't go.