Dark Days 17 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes before a Night of Theater (along with other arts news from the household)

March 14, 2010

They were at the bottom of the nearly empty box of sweet potatoes.  I found enough for two servings of roasted sweet potato chunks along with a couple of (local – assumed organic) onions.  That with a hydroponic local greens salad and local cheddar-blue cheese – for both the salad and the potatoes (blue cheese and sweet potatoes is a great combination) and we called it dinner. [Non-dark days components included salad dressings used by two family members, and olive oil.]  We topped it off with chocolate ice cream from the local, ethical dairy (one must assume that the chocolate itself did not come from Central Illinois either).

The special thing about this meal was that I made it.  As anyone who has read these dark days posts knows my husband does the cooking in our family.  But he came down with a nasty cold yesterday so I was up to bat and down to the wire for Dark Days.  It wasn’t glamorous or expansive, but it was edible and got us out of the house in time to see a play. 

We introduced the kids to serious theater with a community theater production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. It was an excellent performance; we all enjoyed it, even if the subtleties of the plot went over the 10 year old’s head.  A friend of my husband’s had a lead part – and did a marvelous job.  Actually, the whole cast was remarkably strong, no obvious, distracting weak links that you sometimes encounter in amateur works. 

Next weekend we’ll see Hello Dolly at the high school.  High school performances are increasingly fun for me to see because as my children get older and as we’ve lived in town longer we know more and more of the cast members.  Next year my son will be in high school (yikes!) – maybe he’ll even be in the play (a small school so all comers are usually cast).

While I’m talking about arts and family, my son was involved in music contest yesterday.  I’m not sure how prevalent this is, but here, students in junior high and high school (different days) have a day where they perform for and are critiqued by judges expert in their form of music making.  My son was judged on piano (Strauss’s A Walk in the Vienna Woods), trombone (Clay’s Friends), and a double duet with 3 other boys (The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of  Music). Junior High boys, as a rule, are not known for their stage presence, and you put four of them together and they would rather stare at the floor, hands in their pockets, and slowly inch backwards.  During a practice session the whole group moved back a foot as they sang.  During the judging they made a real effort to look forward and while there was some feet shuffling, they pretty much stayed put.  Now if they all had known all the words….  It was sweet though.  As for piano and trombone – my son is really a very good musician.  He has played piano since he was 8 and trombone since he was 11 (he’s 14 now).  He plays challenging material and does a great job.  He is among the top 3 musicians in his class I’d say.  He may never do anything with it professionally, but he’ll now always have it in his repertoire of skills.

His younger sister is taking piano and doing fine with it.  She’ll start another instrument this Spring, probably flute (it’s what she has been saying she wants to play for several years now, so I suspect she’ll stick with it).  She was involved in a summer theater program last year (played the scarecrow in a one act version of The Wiz) so I’m sure we’ll be seeing her on the high school stage in another 5 years.

If carrots are good for your eyes and fish is brain food, I wonder what food is good for artistic endeavors.  I hope for my kids’ sakes it is hydroponically grown greens and local dairy.


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