Take, for example, my neighbour who has yet to mow his lawn. The day I saw him jump his fence and start swearing and yelling his head off at someone, I thanked my lucky stars that he doesn't live in my house and made a mental note to avoid him.
At the picnic there was another uncomfortable experience with a different neighbour. I was chatting with the neighbour when the former owner of his house came up to us. Former owner asked how the house was doing. Neighbour said, "It's one big project -- I've been working non-stop." I thought that it was a bit insensitive to say to former owner, who is in his 80s and lived in that home for over 40 years. But, I let it go. Then neighbour continued: "You didn't do any work on that house. I call it 'the dump'." Awkward!
After a couple more insults from neighbour, former owner just walked away from the conversation. R and I stood there a bit dumbfounded. Finally, I said meekly, "I don't think he liked when you called the place, "the dump." Neighbour said he didn't care and he was really angry about the condition of the house.
Personally, I think it's natural to have animosity with the former owner of the house. It's almost inevitable that you're going to feel like something wasn't revealed to you. Not to mention that it's probably the biggest investment of your life. So the stakes are high. But, there's really nothing to be gained by talking to the previous owner that way and it comes off as cruel when the previous owner is so old he can hardly stand. The former owner moved into a retirement residence because he couldn't maintain the home. It was a difficult move for him to leave the home he raised his kids in. I still see him and his wife, every once in a while, circle the block to check the place out.
On a more positive note, the dish I made for the picnic was really good! But that should come as no surprise since all Ina Garten recipes are delicious.
Blueberry Crumble Cake
For the streusel:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.
For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.