Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Like I always say: nothing says Halloween like happy dancing candy corn.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Friday is my night to relax in front of the TV in my pajamas. Lately, I’ve been watching Project Runway episodes that I DVR on Thursdays. I love me some Project Runway. Models of the Runway, not so much - but it’s like a half-hour of bonus Project Runway footage. So I watch.

The problem with Models of the Runway is that even though they are all stuck in a house together, there is generally very little conflict. The girls are all a lot nicer than I expected a bunch of hungry models to be. I get cranky if I get low on ice cream, let alone if I was subsisting on yogurt and carrot sticks like they do.

If I was living in a house with a group of gals, I’d be organizing big, family-style dinners. I’d be the one saying “Who wants to roll a bunch of meatballs? I’ll make a sauce. Somebody get the garlic bread ready to go into the oven.” Next thing you know, we’d be Plus Size Models of the Runway. Which, I assure you, is the only reason I’ve never been asked to model for Project Runway.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Blast From The Past

According to Something From The Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, those strange recipes you see in vintage magazines for things like half a doughnut with jam and cottage cheese were brainchildren of the packaged food industry's test kitchens. Most American homemakers weren't buying, but apparently my family was the exception. My grandmother's pot roast recipe included packaged onion soup mix and ketchup; her kale soup required beef bouillon cubes. I'm pretty sure those aren't the same recipes her mother brought from the Azores in the early part of the 20th century. Gram adapted them to modern times. She was hip that way.

Also hip, I guess, was her Jell-O salad. It was a star player at every holiday meal of my childhood. My required "no thank you helping" sat on my plate in a scary pink-and-purple lump. I found it cloyingly sweet - and I was a kid who could eat Twinkies until my eyes bubbled. I was suspicious of the slippery fruits lurking in its murky depths.

Years later, Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls summed up my childhood feelings: "I hate Jell-O Salad. If God had meant peaches to be suspended in midair, he'd have filled them with helium."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Bit of Heaven On Earth

Highly recommended: Starbucks’ Red Velvet Cupcake. Seriously, these should be kept on hand in ambulances because one bite will renew your will to live no matter what has happened to you. Yes, even if your hair stylist gives you Bangs of Doom. Again.

A Semi-Homemade Casserole

This is what I cooked for dinner with my niece Katie -who is a vegetarian -and my great-niece Elizabeth. It’s based on a recipe I got from Dixie Peach, but I substituted black beans for the ground beef in her recipe and added taco seasoning to give the beans a little zip. It was a rousing success. Also, as you can see, the zucchini is happy because it was not overcooked. (Are you listening, Toads On The Whatsit?)

Rosemary Chicken??

This is what I had for dinner at another fancy-schmancy event at a restaurant that shall remain anonymous, but its name rhymes with Toads on the Whatsit. Sort of. As you can see, this is not the best meal I ever had. I can’t decide if this falls into the category of Crimes Against Herbs or Crimes Against Chicken. I can’t blame the rosemary for not bringing any flavor to the party, and the poor chicken breast never had a chance.

Steamship Round

This is my first foray into Culinary “Art.” I drew it about a month ago, and I’ve grow so much as an artist since then. I was trying to explain to my friend, via email, what a Steamship Round of Beef is. I think it’s disgusting, personally, and I call it “Cow Butt Suspended From The Ceiling” – which I admit is not as pithy and catchy as “Steamship Round,” but it has the advantage of being more descriptive.

I’d been to a fancy-schmancy dinner that had a Steamship Round carving station at the end of the buffet line. I could not get across the sheer cave-man quality of a cow’s hindquarters dangling on a chain and being carved in front of people who were practically knocking each other over to get to it. I don’t know why my friend has never seen a Steamship Round before. I understand that he’s from the midwest where the customs and foodways are probably different, but still. He was in the Navy – and a submarine is a ship, right?

So I drew him a picture, and holy cow, it turns out that some of those old sayings are true – a picture really is worth a thousand words.