I am really excited about this vegetarian cookbook from Hilary. Emboldened, this afternoon, I bought materials for an exceptionally healthy Christmas dinner. I have red peppers and potatoes and garlic and ginger, pita and hummous and tofu and potatoes, sugarsnap peas in pods, tomato basil soup, and hot sauce. While I’m not entirely sure how they will combine, I am entertained by the sheer novelty of making things more elaborate than sandwiches. All this matter was acquired along the course of a long sweep from Wadham out to the end of the shops on Cowley Road, and then back by means of the large Sainsbury’s, near Nuffield.
Among my other books, the Hume guide leaves something to be desired, though the introduction to cryptography is informative – most notably for the use of good examples and analogies. Tonight, aside from a few culinary experiments, I should dedicate myself to finishing the issues of The Economist that piled up in my absence, as well as the books that demand completion before the next term begins. Also wise would be to write a few of the letters that I had been postponing until the anticipated leisure of the inter-term break was at hand.
My immediate family is traveling now, I think, towards North Carolina, where they will be spending the next little while visiting members of my extended family. Other members of that group are in Toronto, Bennington, Prague, and elsewhere. My friends are in England, across Canada and the United States, in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Ecuador, China, Ghana, and elsewhere. My best wishes extend to all of them.
Perhaps it is a bit hypocritical for me to attribute an importance to Christmas, when I do not subscribe to the faith to which it is attached. At the same time, Christmas has never really been a matter of faith in my family but rather, and at its best, a time to celebrate and reinforce our ties to one another. Only insofar as it is social – a collective enterprise – is life in this world pleasant and purposeful. My sincerest thanks extend to all those who have let me participate in their enterprises and understand their purposes, and with whom I have been able to share my own. May you all feel connected to one another, tonight.