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My first dinner of 2009 will go down in the books.

On the menu was roasted squab (one squab for every member), wild rice with soaked dried cherries, herb stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and an avocado and grapefruit salad. Everything was purchased at the my favorite grocery store in the world, the Berkeley Bowl.

At the helm of the oven dials was my sister Cindy, who busted out six flawless squabs draped in thick cut bacon from the deli. The squabs were from Modesto, California (and in case you are wondering, a “squab” is a pigeon). Rich and buttery in taste, eating one whole squab is an indulgent task. For people who love dark meat, this is heaven. Dark beers and red wine drive home the experience.

The fix-ins were all exactly what I had missed and craved for one long year living in Tokyo. The mashed potatoes were flavored generously with aromatic garlic and the gravy was smooth, flavorful and corduroy-brown in color. Homemade cranberry sauce with seasonal berries, and spiced with cinnamon sticks was worthy of being a dessert dish. My camera must have been titillated capturing such rich red tones.

Two kinds of stuffing were served. One was an addictive wild rice stuffing with dried cherries soaked in liqueur. This wild rice dish is what epitomizes the flavor of the wild, wild west – unashamed to use twigs and leaves for herb flavoring and combine the sweet and salty gifts of the earth. The second stuffing was a simple yet iconic traditional bread stuffing. Again, using the freshest ingredients, the sourdough bread on the bottom soaked up flavorful broth while the browned top layer satisfied the crispy-craver in me.

The salad took advantage of the fruits of the season – citrus. In particular, we picked out the Oro Blanco grapefruit – which is a yellowish, thick skinned, sweeter version of its relative, the ruby red grapefruit. Being in California, where avocados are plentiful and delicious all-year-round, the combination of avocados and Oro Blanco on a bed of spring mix, you could convince yourself that you were seeing all the shades of green in existence.

The whole spread was unforgettable, but the true gift of the meal when looking back two weeks later, was the company. For if I were to have this meal alone, it would have been a completely different experience. I can still taste the tang, smell the simmering, hear the laughter, and feel the warmth of the plates as they were passed around the table.

“At the helm of the oven dials was my sister Cindy, who busted out six flawless squabs draped in thick cut bacon from the deli.”



“The fix-ins were all exactly what I had missed and craved for one long year living in Tokyo.”




“My camera must have been titillated capturing such rich red tones.”




“The squabs were from Modesto, California (and in case you are wondering, a “squab” is a pigeon).”


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5 comments

  • waaaa- i love this post!!!! gorgeous photos and lovely prose. thanks for sharing the special occasion!

    kayoko on

  • Oh. My.

    Squab!!

    Squab can be done in a microwave-sized oven, right??
    Wanna come over and make like your sister? ;)

    Great photos! I am STARVING now. And I just had lunch two hours ago!

    emi on

  • Yeah, I wish we were able to hang out too.
    Can’t wait to go back to sunny California. I love it there.

    yoko on

  • Yoko! Cindy is quite the chef isn’t she? These pictures (as always) are beautiful… very cozy.

    Sorry I didn’t get to see you this time but I hear you maybe coming back soon yes? My Mom, Stacey and I had a lovely Christmas dinner with your Mom, Grandmami and Lakshman. Lakshman made lamb with homemade chutney and roasted veggies. YUM!

    tomotron on

  • this looks amazing!

    Ronnie on

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