2. I asked the Deke if she'd like to have the Sweet Potato Cauliflower soup I made on Saturday for dinner and she answered with a qualified "yes". Her request? Please make the soup more peppery and the Deke told me she prefers pieces of food in soups and this soup was currently totally pureed. I smiled. I thought, no problem. I can fulfill this request. The peppery part was easy. I added red pepper flakes. Now the soup is sweet and peppery, one of my favorite combinations. Meanwhile, I roasted a chopped yam and some chopped red potato. I sprinkled the pieces lightly with cinnamon before I put them in the oven. Once roasted, I folded them into the newly peppered soup. Presto! In my mind, I wagered that I had remade the soup just the way the Deke requested and I won the bet. The Deke liked it a lot. (Note: If I'd had cauliflower on hand, I would have roasted some cinnamoned pieces and added them.)
3. After dinner, I was reading about techniques in different cookbooks I have checked out from the library and the Deke asked me if we had any brown ale. I responded that we have that bomber of Evolution's Southern Pecan Pie Imperial Brown Ale, and asked her if she'd like to try it. We split the bottle and this sweet, maple-y, brown sugary pecan pie of a beer, weighing in at 10% A.B.V., turned our evening around, lifting it out of the doldrums of a chilly January evening, and suddenly the Deke and I had a great party going, The beer warmed our bones and inspired some great conversation about our always uncertain future.