Thursday, December 4, 2008

Earth Sciences

We decided to visit the rebuilt California Academy of Sciences early last week.

Clem and I had planned, by luck, an ideal dinner from Mark Bittman's cookbook: cranberry pot roast and two simple side dishes. We decided to put the roast in a 200 F oven and let it cook all day while we were out. Then we could come home to a dinner almost ready.

I rubbed the 3lb brisket in flour and sugar and browned it on all sides while Clementine juiced oranges and washed the cranberries.
Whenever I look at our cooking pictures I vow to get the kids to clean those fingernails before cooking. Oops, broke that vow again. At least 6 hours at 200F should take care of anything living under there.

Here it is ready to go into the oven.

We didn't count on school being out for Thanksgiving, so the traffic jam in Golden Gate Park was an unwelcome surprise. I dropped everyone off and went to look for parking.

As I walked back from my distant parking spot I could see families converging on the Academy of Sciences from every side, everyone walking in the same direction, with slightly doomed looks, to the building where hundreds waited in line as if summoned by an alien spacecraft. We had 4 adults and 9 kids in our group. We looked at each other and said forget it, let's go to the DeYoung.

After lunch we picked up audio tours for all the kids. Even Greta and her 4 year old cousin listened. The Maya Lin exhibit had an earth sciency feel to it with geographic shapes out of 2x4s and topographical shapes cut down in layers into open atlases.

There was a big white wall with plaster shapes molded into it.

Greta called me over and shouted (because she had headphones on): "Mom! It says that blank walls are usually a background for art."

We did go to the Academy of Sciences for a bit. In the lovely garden Greta and her cousin, with great enthusiasm, excavated a dinosaur bone aka pvc pipe while all the other kids took in the planetarium show.

We had a look at the sharks and rays and it was time to go home.

The pot roast was ready for us.

Clem toasted the chestnuts and chopped the mushrooms for the chestnut and mushroom pasta which was wow! so good. Such earthy ingredients, perfect for each other.

And so simple--mushrooms and chestnuts sauteed in garlic and olive oil and tossed with ziti and chopped parsley.

And finally, some glazed carrots. My nephew peeled all of them. So proud of himself.

My sister's family joined us for dinner. The pot roast was melt-in-your-mouth sour and sweet heaven.

It was so good I almost didn't notice that the kids had plain ziti with parmesan cheese.

And I didn't let it bring me back to earth.

1 comment:

AM said...

"Alien spacecraft"!?