Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kitchen Remodel, Week Four: Canopy & Cocktails

Drywall is boring. Glad as I am to see walls in the new kitchen, there is nothing exciting about drywall. And drywall was the only thing that happened in our new kitchen this week.

Outside, we saw the beginning of a long-awaited canopy over the back door. It still needs its trim and the little copper roof like on the roof of the adjacent bump out. 

But already I can imagine finally having a stoop to set down the groceries with the canopy to keep off the rain -- instead of the meager concrete steps exposed to Portland's unfriendly weather that we've lived with for five years.

The stoop will connect with a concrete terrace on top of the garage, so I've also been daydreaming about warm summer evenings with the grill going and neighbors over.  The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto has me ready to start those evenings observing the sacred cocktail hour, the "pause in the day's occupation" that "marks the lifeward turn."

DeVoto wrote history books, novels, a magazine column for Harper's and this delightful homage to the cocktail hour.  First published in 1948, my edition is a reprint from Tin House with an introduction by Daniel Handler.

Written in a style Handler describes as "deadpan fascism," The Hour extols the virtues of the only two drinks DeVoto accepts as cocktails -- a "slug of whiskey" and a dry gin martini.  DeVoto advocates two of either at 6:00 o'clock with a few friends in a quiet setting as a necessary segue between the labors of the day and dinner.

He makes a good case.  And his pillorying of anything that falls outside his defined cocktail rituals is still very funny, even with his Dorris Day-era views on women.  His diatribe against rum, grenadine, mixers, anything sweet, olives, and novelty bar ware is a masterpiece of curmudgeonly eloquence.


I read The Hour as one of my choices for the Foodies Read Challenge and as one of my non-fiction books for the TBR challenges I am doing this year.


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