Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ice Cream

Yesterday, I had an enormous chocolate ice cream cone. I'm still thinking about it. I got it at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. My kids each had one, too. Elliot, my son, wore most of his. Helen, my daughter, couldn't finish hers. We swapped and she finished mine, which I'd almost finished. I took a few licks of hers and threw the rest away. It was one of the hardest things I've done in a long time, which says something either about how good the ice cream is or how lucky I've been of late. In any case, if you're in New York, this ice cream shop is just a water taxi away from the South Street Seaport. Go try some. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Last Word on The Skinny

Today, I gave a 10 minute talk about The Skinny at a fund raiser for the RI Holocaust Education and Resource Center. My mom chaired the event, and there were two other speakers, Sophie Freud and Mary Jane Begin. Curt Columbus, artistic director of Providence's Trinity Repertory Company MCd. The luncheon was lovely. The mood was festive. Curt Columbus was thoughtful and kind of wonderful, Both Prof. Freud and Ms. Begin spoke about their work in ways that were both moving and inspiring. Freud spoke about her experiences during World War 2 and quoted from a letter from a woman she'd became close to in Casablanca, a woman who later died at Auschwitz. Mary Jane Begin told the story about how her story of the childhood friendship of the characters from the Wind in the Willows came to be. Her tale included birth, death, divorce and love.

Then there was me.

Don't get me wrong, I think everyone enjoyed my remarks. I got a few good laughs. But I was definitely the confection. I did urge everyone in the room not to confuse dress size with life satisfaction. Re-reading The Skinny last night, I was struck by how Melissa and I really focused on how eating does not have a moral valence. We are not good if we eat salad or bad if we have ice cream. We just are what we are and we should try to enjoy our meals. I tried to get that across in what I said today. I also said, "If you want the cookie, have the cookie." Which felt especially appropriate since I'd just had a big bowl of ice cream but had skipped the salmon.

Truthfully, I was a little nervous because I'm used to talking about The Skinny with Melissa, and she wasn't there. And many, many people I know and love were there, and it's hard to talk about a "food lifestyle" book to a room full of people who fed you as a child. And with Sigmund Freud's granddaughter sitting there, no less! But it was fun. When all was said and done, it was a lot of fun and I was really glad to have been able to be there. And, hats of to my mom, because it was a downright terrific afternoon. I may not ever urge a group of people to eat more fruits and vegetables again, but it was a perfect last hurrah.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Big Meal

Last night, David and I went to a Chinese Banquet cooked by my dear friend and former boss, Kian. The meal was sumptuous. A plate of cold appetizers included drunken chicken, preserved egg, shrimp in some kind of mustardy sauce. There was fried chicken (with the head, Melissa was there and loved that), conch cooked I don't know how, an amazing, almost fluffy (in a good way) mushroom soup with papaya, mustard greens with crab. All delicious. Then, there was the pork. Red cooked pork with steamed buns. It's Kian's specialty and when it arrived, everyone took a long deep breath and just gazed at it in loving admiration. We all knew, just by the look of it, that it would be fabulous, and it was. If I could've picked up the serving platter and licked it, I would have. Manners prevented me, but just barely.

The one problem I had with the banquet, honestly, was that it was a banquet. I mean, there were 10 courses. 10. They were wonderful, but no matter how moderate I was with my portions, and I was moderate (except with the pork), I couldn't help but get full. Really full. I did manage not to get unbutton-my-pants full, but, then again, I was wearing a dress. Which is to say, today I thought I'd only want to eat fruit, but I woke up starving, so I had a half of a bagel. And now, I'm unbutton-my-pants full. Still and all, it was worth it. To share in a spectacular meal generously and gorgeously prepared by a friend is an experience in life not to be missed. Thank you, Kian!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting It Done

I'm trying to get something done by Labor Day. It's a piece of work and I hate to be coy, but I'm not going to say what it is because if I do, it will disappear. I know that and you know that and you know and I know that by "that" I mean the logic of the falling sky, because that's the logic I'm living under. So I'm not going to say what the piece of work is, I'm only going to say that getting it done by Labor Day means I'm on a very aggressive work schedule. Am I the only one who's noticed that Labor Day is very early this year? It's actually on September first. Usually, I think only the Jewish High Holidays can be early or late and never on time, but I believe Labor Day was pretty late last year, maybe the eighth or something. For the record, I think Labor Day should fall on the third or fourth of the month. That would be on time. That would make me much less panicky about saying, "I want to be done by Labor Day." The panic set in this weekend, by the way. Before that, it just all seemed far away, but this week, everything starts. I have to go to Providence overnight for a book event where I'm going to talk about The Skinny and on Saturday we leave for vacation -- we'll be away for two weeks -- and then we'll come back and we'll blink a few times in the shiny hot August New York City air and then it will be September first. Please. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Friday Headline

So, I'm leaving my apartment this morning and I see on the front page of the New York Sun, a strange little conservative paper beating a drum furiously in this blue city, a headline above that amazing picture of Obama in front of 200,000 people in Germany. The headline read: McCain Camp Hopes for a Backlash.

What? So the McCain camp hopes that Americans will look at a picture of ferr-reners cheering for a American presidential nominee and say, "F-&%^@#$!-You!" And then vote for McCain because foreigners don't really care about him? And Americans don't either?

It's funny, because even though it's the summer, I feel like if Hillary Clinton were the presumptive nominee, we'd have more of a presidential race. She'd have galvanized the anti-Clinton forces once again and the two of them -- McCain and Clinton -- would be fighting for the tiny sliver of swing voters over 50 who would decide the race. As it is, Obama represents a sea-change, as Andrew Sullivan pointed out in The Atlantic almost a year ago, he's the first post-Vietnam candidate and representative of a whole new generation in politics. He's galvanizing. But, the problem is, with all this Obama-love the world over, he could get presumptuous and make a big mistake.

If he does, we're all in trouble, because I don't know about you, but I don't want the Straight Talk Express pulling up to the White House. I'll take cheering Europeans over loathing ones any and every day of the week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update: Cookie

I made the cookies. They are, without a doubt, gorgeous. Truly. Right out of the oven, they tasted pretty yummy, but just slightly dry. To me. My husband would say that's crazy. I baked a second batch this morning. My cousin C. told me they weren't even close to dry (I made sure to shorten the bake time). Still, 24 hours after I baked the first batch, the cookie I had tonight with my tea was definitely dry. I know these are meant to be eaten fresh, but just a day later, I feel like the cookie should have been better. All this to say, I probably won't make them again. But you never know. And I'm glad I made them once.

Note: I just asked my kids if they preferred these cookies or "the other ones" (those would be the cookies from the recipe posted below). In unison, they said, "the other ones." "You should make more of those," Helen told me. And so, I will!

Note 2: Full disclosure. I just baked the final bit of batter. This time, I got the baking time right and ate the cookies warm, as directed. I may have to make them again, but next time, I'm going to see about freezing the batter. Because if I can't freeze it, or the cookies, successfully, there's just too much of it. But I'm still annoyed by the article.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Field Trip

Remember going on field trips when you were a kid? Remember how the bus was always too hot and the trip there was full of anxious anticipation and then the being there was great and you wondered why you were even anxious and then the trip home was really long and you, like, fell off the bus in an exhausted stupor? And remember how no matter what there was always one poor kid, sometimes two, who threw up? Well, today, I went with my kids' camp on a field trip to the Bronx Zoo, and I can tell you, almost nothing about field trips has changed.

FYI, this experience has made it impossible for me to blog about Michelle Obama, but let me say this about her: She's amazing. And I bet if she were on this field trip, she would have stepped off the bus looking completely assembled.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie

A few weeks ago, I read the Muriel Spark novel A Far Cry from Kensington. As with other Spark novels I've read, I was impressed, engaged and left wanting just a little bit more. Then I read a few of her short stories in All the Stories of Muriel Spark and because I'm very sentimental and sensitive, I couldn't keep up. She is an unflinching writer, and the first story in the collection is amazing, but the two following were a little brutal with not enough pay off for me. So I put the stories down. Then I picked up The Prime and I was amazed. It's concise, unflinching (as always), perfectly crafted, cruel and generous and heartbreaking and sympathetic all at once. Now I've got to get the movie.

As for those cookies, I'm planning on mixing up some batter tonight or tomorrow night and popping it in the fridge. Hopefully, in 36 hours, it will be cool enough to bake.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Mole

I was casting around this morning for something blog-worthy. Would I blog about the weird should-I-worry-or-what situation the New York Times presented this morning? First I read the long news analysis of the cooling passions in the Middle East. Then I read Benny Morris' op-ed about the inevitability of an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities in the next seven to nine months. Morris says it's to prevent a regional nuclear war, but the new analysis says the saber rattling is just old hat. So, now what? Do I wring my hands worrying about the attack or wave them in glee that diplomacy might be winning the long wars?

Then I thought well maybe I'd write something about what Barak Obama had to say to Glamour editor Cyndi Levine about the attacks on his amazing wife Michelle Obama. But guess what? He doesn't like them! You know what? Me, either!

Finally, on, I followed the link to the LA Times to read the full story about Sarah Jessica Parker's recent mole removal. If you don't know, or can't remember, Sarah Jessica had a big mole on her chin.

Now, I have two big moles on my face, one above my left eyebrow and one under my left cheekbone near the edge of my face. I have a third sort of big mole on my right chin, but the two on the left side of my face are really quite large. My kids call them my "buttons." I've always had them. Last year I had them checked out (for weird cancer) and once again I was told they're basically too big to be fully removed. Dermatologists offer this information without me even asking for it. Like, I must be there to have the things taken off, right? Wrong. I just don't want them to, like, morph into cancer and kill me. Honestly, after suffering from Sarah Jessica overload what with the Sex and The City promotion and what not, I feel kind of badly for her. At 43, to get rid of a mole to make yourself look better to, like, Maxim (which named her the unsexiest woman of the year last year) seems kind of sad. Not to be condescending, but it's got to be kind of painful to live that way. Maxim's idea of sexy isn't everything, or anything, really, just like a big honking mole is no big deal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not Another Word

I'm so tired of seeing stories about the New Yorker Cover! Thank goodness a nother season of Project Runway started last night, even if it seemed a little stale, what with the show about to move and Nina no longer at Elle, it was still good to see the gang.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Cover

I wasn't sure whether I'd weigh in on The New Yorker cover controversy, because on the one hand, the cover is a misfire, on the other hand, it's a magazine cover. It matters because it's The New Yorker and it doesn't matter because it's The New Yorker. People will square off along party lines and have responses like:
1) How could they! (Please blanket in moral outrage)
2) What were they thinking? (Please shake head in disbelief)
3) Ha ha ha.

I haven't read all that much about it, bu one thing I did read was a consideration of the success and failure of print satire by Phillip Kennicott in The Washington Post.

I liked the kicker:
"Which is to say that even as we pride ourselves on our media sophistication, as debunkers and decoders of the visual, we fret about the power of the printed image to circulate beyond the comforting control of television's continuous interpretation and contextualization. In the age of YouTube -- where for the most part we can still laugh at each other and ourselves -- we are increasingly becoming print-humor iconoclasts, terrified that someone might be worshiping images in the wrong way."

So, we embrace the fleeting power of visual satire, but fear the ongoing confrontation of print. After all every time you yourself look at something printed, you might think about what you see a little differently. I know my thoughts have shifted many times over the course of these few days of blown up talk about the cover. But, one thing that hasn't changed in my thinking is my sense that the decision to run this cover was made with smugness. Unconscious though it may be, those guys (and maybe a woman or two) sitting way up in their air conditioned offices of Conde Nast on 42nd street are used to being the smartest guys in the room. It's an itsy bitsy tiny half step over the line from smart to smug, from biting to entitled, and, unfortunately, those guys up there didn't just take that tiny step, they did a long jump right over the line and high-fived when they landed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies: The recipe

OK. So here's the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I most often make. I believe it was published in 2003. I usually cut the brown sugar a little and add a little more salt, and I always bake with kosher salt. For absolutely best results use bittersweet chocolate, and it's true, when you chop it yourself, the uneven globs are extremely satisfying. Finally, I don't make them so big, and, yes, I often eat them warm. Let me know what you think! (And I'll post about the Times recipe.....I'm going to have to try it. Note Orangette's post, and thanks to Sue at A Life Divided for pointing it out.)

Carolyn’s Chocolate Chip Cookie
Martha Stewart, July (2003)

2 cups + 2Tbsp all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semisweet choc chips
1 cup toasted walnuts

1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Turn off heat and add both sugars, whisk until combined. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, let cool to room temperature.
2. Whisk yolk, egg yolk and vanilla into butter mixture. Fold in reserved flour ingredients until just combined. Fold in chips and nuts. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 325. Using 2 large spoons, place golf ball size mounds of dough 3 inches aart on baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown and tops no longer look wet, 12 -14 min. Cool on baking sheet about 5 min, transfer to wire rack, let cool completely.

A Few Seconds of Panic

Last night my husband and I went to a reading by our friend Stefan Fatsis, who wrote Word Freak about competitive Scrabble and whose latest book, A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-foot-8, 170 pound, 43-year-old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL, has just come out.

Stefan is funny and charming and competitive and realistic. When asked what he learned about himself on his "journey" into the world of professional sports (he became a kicker for the Denver Broncos) he balked a little and then said something like, "I learned what I could do if I really put my mind to it, and I learned what I couldn't do. And that sucked but there it is."

Now, this morning, I was about to tumble into a fit of despair because my friend N.'s downstairs neighbor has done something that deep down I wish I could do but I know I could never do. I don't mean to be coy, but I also don't feel like going into the details. All this to say, this morning, I need to focus on the thing I can do, and do well at that, and acknowledge that it sucks that I can't do the other thing, but there it is.

We've all got our thing, and I've got to do mine. Not hers. Even though hers is cool. And she's really pretty. But what can you do? I've got to do my thing, and I've got to read Stefan's book. You should, too. Even if you don't like football.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Too Hot and Bothered

Just this morning I was thinking that I was getting a little too screed-y in my blogging. You know, too cranky, too annoyed, too much. "Maybe it's the heat," I thought, "Or maybe it's the New York Times." Should I just stop reading the non-news parts of the paper? Then I saw on Jezebel that the world's oldest blogger, Olive Riley, died at 108. I read a little bit from her last posts here, and I've decided I'm going to work at being a little more cheerful. Ms. Riley's voice reminded me of that of a woman featured in a documentary I saw on PBS last year about aging in America. The woman in the documentary was 98 or 99 and living in a nursing home. She read US News and World Reports avidly (with the help of a magnifying glass) and took daily walks and when she was asked how much longer she wanted to live she looked at the interviewer and smiled almost apologetically and said something along the lines of, "I still like to feel the wind. I still like to wake up and see the sun." I think of that woman often. I don't know about living until 99, or 108, but I think it'd be good to simply feel the sun and be glad, even when it's blazing hot.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Exile in Gaiaville

According to this breathless New York Times Sunday Magazine article, there are "nearly" 20,000 farms in "the Northeast alone" run by women. Overall, there are "80 percent more women who are farmers than there were 20 years ago." What do these numbers mean? How many women farmers were there 20 years ago? And what does it mean to be a woman farmer? Does it mean you're the sole proprietor of a field that produces things that people eat or does it mean that you have seven cows and make butter by hand that's sold to three of the most exclusive restaurants in the country?

Because that's what the flame-haired, wind swept Diane St. Clair does. She makes butter and you can only get it restaurants in New York City (Per Se) and California (French Laundry), and Boston (No.9 Park -- is that one $250/head, too?). So, the thing I don't get is how does butter that's made in Vermont and shipped to New York City, Boston and California forge "bonds between field and table" that don't include Fed Ex? Don't we all know about the Fed Ex bond?

It's not that I'm against the women featured here -- the winemaker, the forager, the two women and their fancy chickens in Connecticut. I'm against the smug suggestion that their artisanal work has anything to do with growing food in a way that's meaningful outside of its preciousness and exclusivity.

Save for one woman who farms with her husband and has a daughter and sells her stuff at the Farmer's Market, the women featured here make food for the rich and the upper middle class at birthday dinners. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I love a good birthday dinner. I just don't want my birthday dinner salad confused with anything more than what it is. A special treat. And even then, I don't care all that much about the gender of the farmer or the cook.

I could get even more worked up about all of this. I could look up some statistics on the number of women running "farms" in the developing world and what they can teach us about sustainability and cultivating the things we love to eat. The only problem is I read Frank Rich before I started writing this, and now I'm just worried that a few bad (and bald) men are going to get us all blown to bits, no matter how many women work to feed their families, our egos, or the diners at Per Se.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Last year, or maybe the year before, Judith Warner wrote a blog post complaining that graduating from an elite college was the highlight of her career. (I guess writing a book featured on the front cover of the Sunday Times Book review and then blogging for the newspaper of record are sloppy seconds and thirds respectively) If that wasn't bad enough, Judith Warner has given me more reasons to grind my teeth.

Back in 2004, she bought a Land Rover. I don't remember 2004 all that clearly, since that's the year I had my kids, but I believe global warming was pretty much public back then.

I think Toyota was already making the Prius.

But even way back in 2004 when gas was like $1.98/gallon, I don't think you could justify buying a 6,000+ pound vehicle that gets 11 miles to the gallon just because it made you feel rugged and your friends had one and you got a tax break to boot. The money/government pivot was nice (read: "It's all Bush's fault!), but not really relevant in a globally warmed village. You know?

I know she's trying to be funny. I know she's making fun of herself. But still. Seriously. Judith, it's just not that funny.

What's for Dinner?

Last night I went out for dinner with some friends. It was great. Great conversation, great fun, great everything. The only thing was I couldn't figure out what to have for dinner. The problem was two-fold, or three-fold, depending on how you count.

First, there was the "What do I want?" question. I was hungry, and ready to splurge, but nothing on the menu appealed to me. Part 1 of this problem was the menu seemed heavy for the summer. It was probably lighter than I thought, but fried chicken livers and July don't usually go together for me. The other reason I couldn't decide what I wanted was because deep down, all I wanted was a huge green salad lightly dressed with excellent olive oil, lemon, and sea salt and a humungous chocolate bar. Maybe some ice cream for a protein. Really. That was it. And they didn't have that. At least not for dinner.

So, not knowing what I want - that's a problem. The other problem was none of us could figure out what we should have. Like, is halibut OK to eat? The halibut was Pacific halibut, is that the same as Alaskan Halibut? And if it was, was it OK? I ended up ordering Atlantic Stone Bass. Is that ok? The waiter said it was "a big fish" and all I could think was, "But how fatty? Is it chock-full of mercury? And is it completely overfished?" Can you order fish without contributing to the fish crisis? And if you only eat out a few times a year, is one order of fish that bad? Since any order contributes to the general sense of popularity of certain dishes, maybe any fish order contributes to over-fishing?

Then there were the food miles to consider. I don't think that's the term, food miles, I know, but I had a lot of red wine last night, so it'll have to do and I'll trust you all know what I mean. After listening to the fish conversation, one friend, N., who now eats a primarily vegetarian diet because meat production requires so much grain that it's become a big factor in the food crisis, decided she'd have the Long Island raised, grass-fed strip steak. It was the most expensive item on the menu, but it came from within 300 miles (maybe even 100), was ethically raised, and she wanted it to boot.

In the end, N. loved her steak. Me? Honestly, I usually don't order fish because I find most restaurants over cook it. My fish wasn't over cooked, but, because I'd made a fuss about over cooking, it was slightly under cooked for its thickness and the texture was not so appealing. The pureed sauce, though, was terrific (I don't know what was in it, lots of cilantro, I think), so I ate it all up and ignored the fish's texture. It was good, but not all that satisfying. Still, if only they'd had some Brooklyn-made dark chocolate sprinkled with Atlantic sea salt, then all of my dinner problems would've been solved.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies? Not so much.

I take my chocolate chip cookies very seriously. Too seriously, perhaps, judging by my response to this article in today's New York Times promising the perfect cookie. There is so much wrong with this article, I hardly know where to begin. So, I'll begin with the recipe.

1) The Flour: This recipe calls for part cake flour and part bread flour. I read that and I was like, "What the $@%$^!%!!??!!" That's a direct quote. Nowhere in the lengthy article does the writer, David Leite, give even a hint that he's going to change up the standard All-Purpose Flour for this combo. I don't know about you, but I don't have cake and bread flour in my pantry, and if I'm going to go out and buy some, I want to know why those two together are going to give me a better cookie. Usually flour types are designated in a recipe because of their protein/gluten content--is the combination of the two really so different from all purpose?

1a) The Fridge: On a related point, Leite makes a big deal of how cookie dough should cool in the fridge for 36 hours. Twelve hours is good, he say, but 36 is ideal. City Bakery's Maury Rubin gives him this secret and the author of CookWise, Shirley Corriher, practically purrs in admiration of Rubin and his 36-hour tip. I'm glad she thinks Mr. Rubin is such a cool cat, I once did, too. But what I want to know is if time in the fridge is important because it allows the dry ingredients to absorb the liquid, does the kind of flour that's doing the absorbing matter? I know this is anal, but if we're talking about the perfect cookie, I'm going to get anal.

2) The Size: Leite and Rubin explain that size does matter in a cookie. If a cookie is big, it will allow a lovely progression of texture. Ms. Corriher again practically keels over for Rubin's suggestion. But I don't need to know that she wanted to include it in the revision of her book. I need to know what the $#%@^!$ I'm going to do with 18 golf ball sized cookies when they come out of my oven! I don't know about you, but I don't have a warming oven in my kitchen, and if I did, I wouldn't want to keep it going for a week until I finished the cookies. Usually, I freeze the bulk of my (normal-sized) cookies because I find that after two days in an air-tight container, they get stale. I can pull out a frozen (freshly-baked) cookie, let it defrost (or not) and it'll still tastes great. I'm assuming I could do the same with these fancy pants multi-flour cookies, because really, what else would I do with them other than pass them out on the street?

3) What Can Go Wrong: This was actually my first tip that the article was flawed. Leite writes:
"So few ingredients, so many possibilities for disaster. What other explanation can there be for the wan versions and unfortunate misinterpretations that have popped up everywhere — eggless and sugarless renditions; cookies studded with carob, tofu and marijuana; whole-wheat alternatives; and the terribly misguided bacon-topped variety."

I don't know about you, but I've experienced many disasters with my cookies, not ONE of them had ANYTHING to do with carob, tofu, marijuana or bacon. (OK, maybe one had to do with marijuana, but I was 16 at the time, and the marijuana had no contact with the actual cookie dough.) Seriously, I read that paragraph and thought, "Does this guy even bake?" Which brings me to my conclusion.

4) The Writer Doesn't Bake: At least not for any reason other than to show off. He doesn't bake so his kids will have a nice treat that isn't chock full of preservatives. He doesn't bake so his spouse will look at him with googly eyes full of gratitude for the scrumptious morsels of cookie just provided, righting all wrongs that might emerge from the frayed nerves of parents of preschoolers. He doesn't bake so he doesn't realize that when you're at home, the wonder of a chocolate chip cookie is that while a lot can go wrong, you can whip up a batch pretty easily, bake them off pretty quickly, and enjoy them right off a plate or out of the freezer, no warming oven necessary.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kids at a Wedding

So, this post on Jezebel about whether or not kids should be allowed at a wedding was kind of funny. Guess what? Some people say yes, some people say no. What a surprise!

Some weddings are sophisticated cocktail events where a child in diapers would be as welcome as, you know, a child in diapers, and others are come as you are pot-luck afternoon picnics where the more messy mouths to feed the merrier.

The people throwing the shin dig (and let's hope that's the bride and groom) get to decide on the tone and the guest list.

Some guests are put off when "No Kids" is right on the invitation (granted, the baldness of the statement is rude), and some brides and grooms are put off when people just assume their children are invited, even if only adult names were on the invitation (granted, the baldness of the assumption is rude). In the end, everyone won't be happy - how could they be? it's a wedding! But hopefully, everyone can still have some fun.

How's that for a meaningful post on a hot July day when Obama is tacking right and hoping on one notices?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Night, Random Thoughts

It's late, I'm tired, but since I probably won't have a chance to post anything tomorrow, here are a few thoughts:
1) My hair looks like Joan of Arc's, and not in a good way.
2) I have to be at a meeting tomorrow morning and I have to look nice but not too dressy for it, and I don't really have anything to wear. I've ordered a skirt and top and the outfit would be appropriate, especially with my cute new red shoes, but it hasn't arrived.
3) I read the July 4th post on BitchPhD about Obama and late term abortion and it really bothered me. Not because Obama has reservations about late term abortion but because BitchPhD seems to think anyone who does must disrespect women and isn't it awful she has to vote for him. I don't know, to me that attitude seems reductive and annoying. Can't someone have qualms about unlimited access to late term abortions (an exceedingly rare procedure anyway) and still respect women? I actually wrote a long post about this, but I think it might be quite muddled and I've said all I have to say on this. For now.
4) Did I mention my hair?
5) I just googled my best friend from high school with whom I haven't spoken in 10 years. I do this periodically. I was hoping for a picture, but I didn't find one. I did find some posts on a foodie web site, though, and that made me feel, maybe weird, but kind of good. I called her about a year ago and she didn't call back. This (combined with a few other things) made me worry about her, and seeing these posts made me think maybe things were better for her. I hope they are. Googling people you used to know is very, very weird.
6) My husband made an excellent salad for dinner into which he put everything but the kitchen sink and now we have very little food left in the house except for, and this is important, one unopened box of 365 brand Peanut Butter Pows. Shazam!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cooking in Heat

When I look at food magazines this time of year, what with their near porn pics of pies (keep the crust cold!) and cobblers never mind roasted peach salads, all I can think is: "Do these people all have central air conditioning? Are they all shopping locally and cooling thoroughly?" Because, seriously, how else could you keep the pie crust cold if you don't have some kind of cold air blasting mechanism in your kitchen.

Needless to say, I don't make a lot of pies.

It's not that we're without some window units. We've got them (not that I like them so much). But even if we did live in a hermetically sealed perfectly cooled kitchen zone, I don't think I'd be baking all that much. This time of year, it's almost impossible at the end of the day to do much more than throw stuff in a bowl and hope for the best. Some nights even that seems over-whleming, because it requires, like, planning and shopping for what will go into the salad bowl.

Once I read in Gourmet that come summer one editor relied on store bought roast chickens, charcuterie, and sliced vegetables. Now that's some inspired summer cooking. Right?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Is Project Runway worth digging in the trash?

OK. So I love Project Runway as much as the next person. Really, I do. But if Harvey Weinstein wants to pimp it out and throw the evidence of said pimping into the trash, is it really worth digging it out? Apparently, some poor guy at the Village Voice did just that. And some suckers like me read about it, and now I'm telling you about it. Because even though I'm not a reporter, if I were, I wouldn't be digging in actual trash to figure out just how much money Mr. Weinstein is making on my favorite TV show. Corporate muckracking it's not. OK?

Broken Statues

I saw this headline about the broken fifteenth century statue at the Met and I thought, "Was it a kid with an umbrella?" Because last week I took my kids to the Met and my son really wanted to brandish his umbrella while going through the Greco Roman rooms, and I was like, "No way is my kid going to be the kid who smashes a 4th cent BCE libation cup!" It was pretty stressful. But stressful in a whole other way than coming up with an explanation for my kids about why the superheroes' costumes in the very silly and child-inappropriate Superheroes exhibit were so scary (to scare the bad guys). Good thing they didn't ask about the nipples.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cute Kills

When it comes to shoes, a very wise friend once told me, point blank, that "Cute Kills." I was just 20 at the time, and it still took me years to assimilate this information. (Years and the discovery that my feet were actually a 1/2 size bigger than I thought.) Now, my daughter is falling into the same cute-shoe trap. A mere 3-1/2, she is all about the shoe, regardless of the fit. It was only under duress that she admitted that her black Mary Janes no longer fit. When I told her she couldn't wear her yellow plastic dress-up mules outside, she stomped over to my husband and announced, "She just doesn't understand me!" And this morning, she insisted on wearing her water shoes from last summer and categorically rejected the notion of buying a replacement pair that might fit better. "I want to stomp, Mommy! Help me stomp better!" It didn't help matters that she'd worn those very same shoes, apparently without a problem, yesterday with our babysitter, who actually is some kind of divine creature and makes things like eating meals seem completely natural and not a bother in the least.

All this to say that in life, there are some lessons we each must learn on our own. As a parent, I can try to guide my daughter, but I can't stop her from falling into the cute shoe trap. No, she'll have to figure that one out all by herself.