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Monday, October 31, 2011

a flibbertigibbet, a will-o-the-wisp, a clown

Rex and Groceries have started crossing the road, so it's only a matter of time before they're squished. This makes me sad in advance. I hated them so much when I was bottle-feeding them and wiping their bottoms with paper towels to get them to poop, and encouraging them to eat solids by sticking my fingers in the canned cat food. There was very little about cat ownership that I enjoyed at that time. Plus Skiver was dying. It was a mess all around.

But now I love Rex and Groceries. They are terrific cats. Yes, I would prefer it if they hadn't ever pooped in the house--this is mainly Groceries--but they are soft and friendly. I think they made Skiver's death a lot easier for us. Even Emmett likes them. Emmett has been decidedly cool toward animals ever since he was bitten, unprovoked, by our niece's horrible purse dog--a poodle, of course--when he was a toddler. He didn't even like Skiver at first. He used to come wake us up in the middle of the night and say, "THE CAT IS IN MY BED," and we'd have to go make Skiver get out. But he gradually softened, and now he slings Rex over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and takes him downstairs with him at bedtime, and lets Rex sit on his lap and lick his ears. It warms my heart to see the child who used to shun all animals curl up in a chair with a cat and a book.

Plus they are so useful. They caught a mouse just on Saturday. I wish they wouldn't cross the road, but trying to keep a cat in your own yard is like trying to hold a moonbeam in your hand or something.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

bye, bye li'l sebastian . . . you're five thousand candles in the wind

TRUMPET FANFARE!

Well, friends and neighbors, according to the pencils which I numbered from one to fifteen, and from which John selected while his eyes were closed, commenter number 6, also known as All8, has won the very fun, handy, useful, dare I say life changing "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" cookbook. Congratulations, All8! If I know you at all, this book is very well suited for you, methinks. I believe I still have your mailing address from a couple of years ago when I sent you some soap? Or something? Oh, remember when you gave me some jam? Everybody, All8 is probably the best jam maker of all time. Sour cherry . . . spiced peach . . . it is her superpower.

I'm sad the contest is over, though. "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" giveaway contest, we hardly knew ye. Sniff! I wish I could give a copy to all of you. If Tipsy's publisher would just send me a whole box of them I could be like Father Christmas and give them to all you worthy souls. I can see why Oprah got the way she did--giving stuff away, even something small like a cookbook, is very intoxicating. Imagine the high she got from giving those cars! Same with Bob Barker. I bet that's what kept him so Dick Clarkishly preserved for so long--the giver's high.

Thanks for participating, everyone. It was fun to read what everyone likes or doesn't like to make. I've only bought buttermilk a couple of times. Sometimes I culture my own, but mostly I just use milk with lemon juice in it. I would like to do a comparison of pancakes made with store-bought buttermilk, milk and vinegar/lemon juice, homemade buttermilk made with culture, and powdered buttermilk.

Why can't I give away a hundred books?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I was a teenage monster

John has a joke he sometimes tells that goes something like this: One day Noah's son Shem came up to him and said, "Dad--there's a pair of snakes that hasn't multiplied at all! It's still just the two of them." "Okay," said Noah. "I'll go have a talk with them." A few days later Shem was checking on the animals again, and he noticed those same two snakes, only this time they had tons and tons of little baby snakes, slithering all over this piece of wooden furniture with four legs and a flat top. Shem ran up to Noah and said, "What's going on? Why weren't those snakes multiplying, and why are there so many of them now?" Noah said, "Well, they were adders. So I built them a log table."

BA HA HA HA HA!

That is a math joke that I don't even understand. I probably didn't even tell it right.

A post that Tori has up about the salted caramel trend (that is good and righteous, but unfortunately about to become a victim of its own success) reminded me how much I hate cupcakes, and how ready I am for them to be over, and how there are people who don't realize that the trend has spent itself who are still starting cupcake businesses, and although cupcake shops may continue to make money for a while, especially in places like Utah where we're a good 1-5 years behind on food trends, the cupcake thing has peaked and is going into its twilight years. Cupcakeries better start some smart diversification and line extension. Pies are the next wave, and I'm not sure what's coming after that. Let me think about it for a while. Welcome the pie, is what I say. I'd love to see a pie shop that makes an edible pie. Heck, I'd like to start one--note to Huffs: let's have that be a sister business of our set-menu restaurant.

As Tori implies in her post heading, it's the same thing with bacon. I don't think bacon will see as vituperative a backlash as I foresee for cupcakes, because it is such a worthy foodstuff, but we all need to settle down about bacon. Sometimes there isn't enough fat on the bacon, and those times make me irritated. Tipsy has a great bit about bacon in her book--I'll go find it so I don't butcher it in the retelling.

Here we go:

At some point in the last few years, bacon became everyone's naughty best friend. Even vegetarians love bacon. Dieters love bacon! There's a bacon-of-the-month club and I went to a trendy restaurant where cake was served topped with candied bacon. It was insanely delicious and also insane. People wear T-shirts silkscreened with strips of bacon and get tattoos of pigs on their biceps. Bacon, bacon, bacon, enough with the bacon. I feel about bacon the way I do about Tina Fey. Sometimes I get sick of the adulation and want to dislike bacon. Except, of course, I can't. It's bacon.

--Jennifer Reese, from "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter"

This is truth. Do you see why you need her book?

Anyway, like I was saying. Shut up, cupcakes. You are stupid and always have been because you wreck the 2:1 frosting to cake ratio. Shut up, cake balls and pops. You are moist and delicious, but you are a trophy wife.

I have it! The next trend should be old-fashioned doughnuts. Not raised doughnuts, cake doughnuts.

What food trends do you want to go away? What food trends do you love or want to see? Am I off-base about the cupcakes and cake balls/pops? Do you like fatty or meaty bacon?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

who wants a present? a really cool present?

My friend and yours, Jennifer Reese--known on my sidebar as the Tipsy Baker--has written a superb cookbook. I have read it from cover to cover, and although I am waiting to do a complete review until I've cooked something in every category, this is what I can tell you: I was reading it aloud to my family on the way to John's parents' house for dinner on Sunday, and they were enthralled. If I stopped to swallow or read a recipe they exclaimed, "Keep reading!" That's because she is a great writer, and the personal anecdotes are charming and engaging. It's a lovely book, and although my recipe testing is not finished, I know you're safe with at least the Vadouvan Mac N' Cheese, Isabel's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Everyday Bread, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Pudding, Cocoa, Vanilla Extract, Ricotta and Lard.

The premise of the book is that there are some things it's worth it to make yourself--a lot of things--but there are things that others do as well or better, and you don't need to waste your time on that stuff. I was illuminated and validated. It's a wonderful book. I want you to have it. And it turns out I have an extra copy!

If you would like to win your very own free, brand new, pristine copy of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, here's what you need to do: in the comments, tell us something about food. Something you love to make, something you hate to make, something you thought you had to buy but found out you don't, something you thought you could make but found out you'd rather buy, an interesting or little-known fact about some food . . . anything about food.

The contest will go until Saturday, October 29th at midnight, at which point I will randomly select a winner, and mail you your very own copy of this cookbook that, regardless of the high esteem in which I hold Tipsy herself, is now one of my Kitchen Standard Works.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

how often have you been there? often enough to know

I have a guest post up at Feminist Mormon Housewives today that you can read if you've got a hankering.

Monday, October 24, 2011

deutschland, deutschland, uber alles

Last night I was drinking from the bathroom faucet after brushing my teeth, and I noticed the barest whisper of chilly water, which means winter faucet drinking season is almost here! It's my favorite faucet drinking season of all. Our bathroom is on the north side of the house, where there is a tangle of Pyracantha and dogwood that spans the house from front to back, so it is perpetually in the shade. Therefore, the bathroom faucet water is always the coldest water in the house, and therefore the best-tasting. But in winter it becomes ambrosial.

I drink from the faucet because I find cups in the bathroom to be needless furbelows. Frankly, I like the taste of water straight from the tap, and I'll go to my grave drinking it that way, unless I have a stroke and can't walk anymore, and the nursing home workers won't hold me up next to the sink because they are too busy stealing my identity. I feel like that last sentence has too many commas. I'm suspicious of commas. They are sneaky and always trying to use their powers for evil.

John's sister is moving, and a woman in the ward she's moving into wanted her to bring a calf, like a live Jersey calf, with her--you know, she's already driving across the country, so why would it be a big deal to bring some total stranger lady a cow? And that right there is why I could never be a real hippie. There is a large subset of the hippie population for whom the concept of personal property does not exist. For them, all resources are community resources, which is a fine idea, but not terribly respectful in practice. That's why the United Order doesn't work--there's always some jerk who holds back the cream from the communally-owned milk cow, or uses the community's corn to make mash liquor and doesn't share, or drops her kids off on your street and assumes that somebody will take care of them while she goes shopping for the rest of the day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

this again

This is a good post, but I disagree with him that hamburgers are hamburgers and fried chicken is fried chicken. A grass-fed hamburger on a Lee's bun is not like a Big Mac. Oven-fried Appenzell chicken is not like KFC. Yes, there is too much snobbery and classism in food politics. But it's not snobby or classist to say that the nutritional content of the homemade burger or fried chicken meat is better. I believe this. But in addition to that, I believe that the food choices we make have ethical and moral as well as dietary implications. When I fry an Appenzell chicken at home, I know what that chicken's life was like, and what's in the breading--flour, salt, pepper and paprika. When I grill a Bingham beef hamburger, I know that the cow ate grass and silage, not grain and antibiotics. This doesn't matter to everyone, but it matters to me. I saw a comment on some article I read the other day that said the government should subsidize healthy food, not junk food. I think just not subsidizing the junk food would be a good start. It might help us balance better.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

what I thought about "the illustrated man"

This was a re-read for me, by my boyfriend Ray Bradbury, only it feels cheap to call him that, because he's so much more than my boyfriend. He is probably my most cherished writer. If you follow my tweets you may have seen my upset last week when I thought I had lost my signed copy of "Something Wicked This Way Comes." It was a bad day until my mom said she had borrowed it.

"The Illustrated Man" is a great collection, most of the stories strong, with recurring themes about censorship, human nature, the role of technology in our lives, how to gain self-worth, how to parent, love, forgiveness . . . I don't know if there is any important life lesson you can't learn from reading Ray Bradbury. What a treasure. I love him.

what I thought about "haunted"

I can't recommend this book. It's a collection of short stories, many of them stomach churning. There are a couple that I didn't get, and maybe it's because I'm not smart enough, but deep down inside me I think it's because they weren't written as well as the others--there were holes in the narrative. There are some very compelling themes, and meat for discussion, but it's in really rough territory in places. Really rough. Like, smut kind of rough.

ever see a man say goodbye to a shoe?

I'm just looking at dogs on the internet again. I don't want one, but I sort of want one. I would like a beagle again, only this time one that doesn't run into the road, and will chew on somebody's face if I need it to.

I watched Buck this morning--instant play on the much-maligned Netflix! It is inspiring. It's why I started looking at dogs again. He says the same kinds of things that Cesar Millan says, that animals manifest the problems of their owners, and that the way you learn to treat animals translates to how you treat people, etcetera. I have found that to be true with goats--they are training wheels for children. Animals, at least the animals I know, respond the same way children do. But the nice thing about animals is that when you make mistakes, if you fix them the animal is rehabilitated fairly quickly, compared to a child. I learned that from Finola. So you can practice proper parenting--staying calm, being firm and encouraging--on animals, and it's easier to repeat it with your children, who will be much slower to respond. Maddeningly slower. But the animals will give you hope and strength to carry on! You should probably have a dog or a horse or a goat.

The kids and I went out for breakfast at noon today. We are shiftless idlers! But we did fold some clothes and do some superficial vacuuming beforehand. Now they are at Crystal Hot Springs soaking up the trace minerals, luckies. Then tomorrow we're finally going to finish our patio extension and put a real gate in the goat pen that they don't sneak out of, and on Friday I'm going to learn how to do a cat eye for real. Fall break is the best!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Who loves cults? Brandon Flowers, that's who. He loves babies, too.

iridescent socks with the same color shirt and a tight pair of chinos

At the beginning of this school year I sat myself down and did some thinking. I thought back to school years past, specifically the lunch-making portion of school years past, with mornings full of complaints about the same lunch over and over again. Homemade peanut butter and homemade jam on homemade wheat bread, with a piece of fruit. The end. And I decided that I could not take another year of that. So I made some changes.

I buy sandwich bread now. I was making five loaves of bread a week, and I always felt really stingy and rationed them, because I didn't want to have another day in the week that I had to bake bread. I still make bread for eating at home, but for sandwiches I started buying Dave's Killer Bread and Harper's Homemade right as I found out that good ingredient lists were no longer adequate, but that the bread had to be made with soaked grains. Oh well, I guess we'll all die.

I buy lunch meat. Emmett and Ike still like peanut butter and jelly, but Grant likes meat, and I'm not equal yet to the task of cooking my own meat for five days of sandwiches.

I buy sliced cheese. Yes, it's more expensive. Maybe a lot more, but I don't know for sure because I don't care.

I buy juice packets. I usually don't approve of juice, but if it keeps my kids from gazing forlornly at their classmates drinking pink milk, it's a fair trade.

I send treats. Sometimes it's a cookie, sometimes it's candy. Right now we have a huge bag of mini candy bars--the little square ones--and I send one in their lunch box every day. Yeah, kids eat too much candy. But again--if it helps my kids feel less put-upon, I'm okay with it.

I bought some good sealing containers to send sliced fruits or vegetables in.

I bought lunch boxes--Grant and Ike both got metal, Emmett got a soft zippy one with a hard plastic insert. Insulated bags are a giant headache. I was sick and tired of their lunches getting smashed, and the seams filling up with rotten fruit.

The whole purpose of making lunches is to help my kids learn to love and want healthy food, but you have to be really careful. If you are too austere your children will probably just rebel and eat candy bars and pop for lunch as soon as they get to junior high. I'm sure you all know the family in your town with the really strict, earthy parents who won't let their kids watch TV or eat junk food, and what do their kids do whenever they go to someone else's house? Watch TV and eat crap. Forbidden fruit is so sweet.

I had to compromise, both for my own sanity and my children's long-term ability to govern themselves. The lunches are not as healthy as I would like, but they beat the heck out of school lunch, and the kids don't complain anymore. They'll probably still eat candy and pop and plastic from McDonald's when they are teenagers, but I'm hoping the siren song won't be quite so powerful.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

what I thought about "the chosen"

What a beautiful book. I saw it on the library shelf and thought, "All right, I guess." I'd heard of it, of course, but had no idea what it was about. I thought I might hate it. But I don't. I don't even want to say anything about it, because I want you to experience the same joy of discovery I did. Please read it.

oh, darlin', I was blind to let you go

When I was in high school, the summer between my junior and senior years of high school I went with my AP Spanish class to Mexico for three weeks. We saw Mexico City, Teotihuacan and Acapulco, and spent two weeks with host families in Toluca, while we were attending a school in the city and studying for the AP Spanish test. The first morning with my host family they served lukewarm shelf-stable milk and cantaloupe, my most hated fruit at the time. But I looked at it and knew that to refuse it would be horribly offensive, so I took a deep breath and muscled it down. Now I love cantaloupe. They also served me sopa de calabaza, and some soup made with a pig's backbone. I loved those. I've successfully replicated the sopa de calabaza, which was basically zucchini bisque, but the pig's backbone eludes me. I ate white shelf-stable cheese, chicharrones, cerebros and orejas and a bunch of other pastries I can't remember the names of. I went to a quinceanera where my friends Aimee and Jaime got drunk on the classic combination of rum and Coke. Mexico is where I learned that enchiladas in Utah, at least twenty years ago, are completely unrelated to enchiladas in Mexico. It's why I openly laughed at my roommate in college who said her mom makes enchiladas "the real way, like Mexicans--with cream of chicken soup and no sauce."

One day when I was driving home from school with my host sister Laura and her mom, we stopped at a little store where they had slabs of fudgy-looking stuff in all different colors. Laura's mom bought some for us, and that was my first taste of penuche candy. I obsessed about it and brought about five bricks of it home from Mexico with me. I have sought it in countless Latino markets all these years since, and have finally found real chicharrones, but not penuche. Well, like an idiot, I signed up to bring penuche to a Relief Society activity we're having tonight. We're learning about Latin America, so I thought, "hey, appropriate!" Why did I sign up to bring a candy I can't make or buy? Not sure. But I scoured the internet and made a failed batch that is caramel, broke my hand mixer, then tried a different recipe, and it is perfect. It's just like I remember. I almost wept at the exactness of the texture and flavor, which is nerdy of me, but I couldn't help it. It had been so long, and it brought back such wonderful memories of Mexico.

I used this recipe, and followed it almost exactly. I did have to beat it a little longer than four minutes.

Now that I can get chicharrones, tamales and chiles rellenos that taste like I remember, and make my own penuche with comparative ease, is there anything missing from my life? Yes, but not much.

san francisco trip, day four

We got up and got ready and went to the airport and came home.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

san francisco trip, day three

Remember back in the olden days, when the internet was all fresh and new, and online socializing was in its infancy? There was no Facebook, no Myspace (remember that?). We were just figuring out that we could use the internet not only to ignore email queries from our parents who were wondering what malfeasance we were perpetrating at college (exploring the steam tunnels under USU's campus), but also to communicate with perfect strangers of unknown character with whom we shared interests, like TV or Magic: The Gathering. This behavior was initially frowned upon, because of the chance that someone might go all Single White Female on you, but has progressed to the point where people are rarely murdered by their online acquaintances, and in fact often prefer them to their real life friends, because their real life friends keep asking them for rides.

Thank goodness for the internet, because I have met some truly lovely people. For example, Tipsy.

On Saturday I met Tipsy for the first time. We've been friends ever since I went googling for Sumida's first name and found her blog. I think she is smart and funny and creative and warm, and I admire the daylights out of her. She's great.

She picked me up in front of the hotel, and we began our all-day conversation and eating/shopping trip. It was delightful. We ate dim sum, which included an egg tart that rivals any custard I've eaten, and Vietnamese yogurt, which is sweet and delicious and my new favorite thing. We saw some more crazy grocery and housewares stores, and those little bamboo steamer baskets are going to be my financial ruin--they are so cute! Can you imagine having a big stack of mini steamer baskets, all filled with little personal-size pies? I can't stand it! We saw the Golden Gate Bridge, and Lombard Street, and the beach, and all sorts of beautiful houses. San Francisco is just a really cool place.

I feel weird telling you about Tipsy's house and family and goats and chickens, because it seems all name-droppy, like, "Uh, I'm super famous, just like MY FRIEND the PUBLISHED AUTHOR, WHOSE HOUSE I HAVE BEEN TO and WHOSE FAMILY I MET," so I'll just say they're all lovely, and her goats really liked my boots, because they have good taste.

It was a fun day, because I got to do all three of my favorite things (talk, eat, shop). I hope to someday repay her kindness, and show her around my own stomping grounds, including the pond, the cemetery, and the pasture up the hill where Aggie used to poop.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

san francisco trip, day two

The main reason John and I go on vacation is to eat, so we put careful thought into our meals. For breakfast we ate at Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery (I like saying "crepery" and making it sound like "crappery," because I am a twelve-year-old boy inside). We got Crepes Suzette and Crab Cake Florentine. John hated the crab cake, because his was gross and old-tasting. But the eggs and hollandaise and crepes were all great. We recommend it. I'd love to show you pictures of it, but unfortunately we never downloaded the pictures, and John left the camera on the Caltrain, so . . . no evidence of Honey Honey, or Yuet Lee, where we ate lunch, or anything else in Chinatown, or Little Delhi where we bought naan that has ruined us for all other naan.

We walked past Union Square, which was very boring to me, and looked in Neiman Marcus a little bit. I got an idea that my bishop the bootmaker could make for me an orange purse for fifty or a hundred bucks instead of $1800.

San Francisco's Chinatown is far more impressive, at least to me, than New York's. It's squishier and that makes it seem more vibrant to me. There were all manner of exotic fruits and vegetables and flopping fish and frog legs and roasted ducks hanging in the window, plus gaudy, extravagant chandeliers, and hilarious shopkeepers who will tell you with a straight face that they just started carrying the teal color dresses--which are called "cheongsams," no idea how to pronounce--only for a month now! They are ruthless negotiators. It was great fun.

We met a man on the street who recommended Yuet Lee to us, because it was good food and we were dressed appropriately for it (he looked disparagingly at our attire while saying this). We got roast duck with noodles and sweet and sour pork. The duck noodle soup was not quite as delicious as the one I ate at Great NY Noodletown, but it was still good. Duck skin is hard to beat. The pork was good, too, and while we were there the staff all stopped working and sat down to lunch together, and one of the guys had a really deep, gravelly voice like Oscar the Grouch with emphysema, and he got into what looked like a mild to moderately heated argument with a customer. That was fun, too.

We walked back to our hotel, stopping along the way in a skeevy part of town where Little Delhi is. We waited a million years for our naan, and on the way back to the hotel a homeless man asked us for some food, and John gave him the rest of the naan. We're big old humanitarians. John almost missed the bus that was taking him to the conference. I had a nap in the hotel room, then watched Anderson Cooper try to figure out why the crazy religious nut was being mean to the less-crazy religious nut, then I went to a beautiful mall where I bought fancy chocolates and ogled shoes for a long time.

When John got back we ate some okay pizza and wonderful frozen yogurt at Blondie's. There was a man leaving as we got there who was shouting, "BLONDIE'S IS DEAD! YOU'RE DEAD TO ME!" They laughed at him because he was on drugs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

san francisco trip, day one

Thursday was filled with running and almost-lateness and anxiety sweat. Let us not speak of it, other than to say that traveling with John is powerfully frustrating and stressful until you get to a place on your itinerary where there are no hard stops. If we were on Amazing Race together it would be the death of our marriage.

We dropped our things off at the hotel, which was like a Victorian Motel 6, with shared bathrooms and cupboard-sized rooms (I didn't mind it and would stay there again, and hence spend more money on food and clothes, as long as there are no bedbugs, knock on wood). Then we took a cab down to the pier and boarded our ferry to Alcatraz. It was Fleet Week, so on our trip there and back we watched the Blue Angels perform death-defying stunts in their jets, and John nearly had a joy seizure. We wandered around and admired the accommodations on Alcatraz, listening to the audio tour. We had to keep skipping ahead because we were trying to make the ferry back to San Francisco so we wouldn't miss our dinner reservation, which bummed me out. Some of Thursday's stress can be blamed on me, since I put Alcatraz and Chez Panisse in the same day, with not a lot of time to spare.

John is thinking, "What a great view!"

I am learning what happens when people get sick of spaghetti (hint: riots).

I wish I had been able to spend four hours at Alcatraz, it was so fascinating. I would go there again tomorrow if I could. Very interesting.

Against all odds we made our reservation, and our perfect dinner began.
I don't look like I was just fretting in the cab, plucking at John's sleeve and begging him to call the restaurant and hold our reservation, do I?

Everyone from the hostess to the servers to the kitchen staff was friendly and gracious, and the hostess took us on a tour through the kitchen, and showed us their meat locker. The kitchen is incredibly calm, with nobody swearing or throwing things, or even sweating perceptibly. Everyone was working quietly and efficiently at their stations, but they smiled and happily answered questions and talked about their dishes. I was overwhelmed by it all, to be honest. It was one of those experiences where after the fact you think, "Oh, I should have said that!" But it is too late now, and they'll never know how impressed I was. Not that they will suffer. The way I have described it so far is thusly: I have had dishes as good as those I ate at Chez Panisse, but never better, and never an entire, impeccable, flawless meal. The pictures were taken with our primitive camera and do not do the food justice, but I have no interest in lugging around one of those albatross cameras.
Figs and house-made prosciutto.

Onion tartlet.

Halibut.

Lamb with ratatouille and onion rings.

We forgot to take a picture of the granita with peach sherbet and peach slices. Oops, accident. And I will say that the peach was not as good as a Brigham City peach, but since I had been eating Angelus peaches the day before, and Canadian Harmony peaches the week before that, it was a competition they had no hope of winning. They can't help it that California peaches are inferior.
Everything was perfectly cooked, seasoned, sauced and garnished. I really can't describe it properly. There was very little conversation at our table, because John and I were just making food noises most of the night. The people at the tables near us were all eating like, "This ain't no thing," and I guess it's nice for them that they've eaten there and at similar caliber restaurants enough times that they're unaffected, but I feel sad and irritated that they take such gorgeous food--food into which such careful thought and preparation has been put, food that many people are not lucky enough to eat--for granted. I guess I have an immature palate.

Then we went to Andronico's, and I was envious of the variety of cheeses and bought some sheep's milk yogurt.

Friday, October 7, 2011

scoob and I can just keep the party going here

I don't have time for a full recap of our perfect meal, but here is a shot of me in front of the fire where they grilled the lamb. You may be able to tell from my expression that I'm a little bit excited about everything.
And here is the outfit I wore, which was just right. I think the zebra would have been great for the weekend, but I would have felt overdressed in it last night.
I don't know how people could ever be blase about that food, but places like Chez Panisse help you to understand why California people act like they do. You know what I'm talking about. You guys, I bought sheep's milk yogurt last night, which was right next to the bottles and bottles of raw milk available for just anybody to buy at the grocery store. How could they not feel superior to the rest of us?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

maybe there were a few less patients than I said

I have a fun exercise for you guys today. I'm trying to decide what to wear to Chez Panisse tomorrow night, and obviously, as if I even need to tell you, I hate everything I own. But I will shoulder my first-world burden and soldier on. Here are three outfits, each with two shoe choices.1. Yellow/navy skirt, white/navy shirt, double wrap belt made by my cool bishop, brown Mary Janes or oxblood boots

2. Navy knit dress, brown striped cardigan, Mary Janes or boots

3. zebra dress, black shirt, stilletos or boots

Which of them do you think? Any of them? None of them? Should I tell you which is my favorite, or will that pollute the data pool? I think the second choice is kind of a dud, but it does look decent on. The platform Mary Janes are very elongating and slimming.

Help me, internet friends and acquaintances! You can answer in the comments, the sidebar poll, or both.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

the bridges were burned now it's your turn to cry

This is my spice drawer. The labels are handwritten because I'm not anal-retentive (about that), and they are alphabetized, otherwise it would be MADNESS! In the comments Eric brought up a very good point--you can buy a tiny bottle of whatever herb/spice for around five dollars, or you can buy a pound of it for about a dollar more. You see the wisdom in my jars.

It has made me wish for more drawers, however. Unfortunately there is a cabinet directly beneath this drawer where I keep my flour and sugar and cocoa powder, so I can't extend the spice drawer. I still keep the lesser-used ones in a spice carousel in the cupboard above this drawer. This is irritating to me. I like uniformity of organization schemes.

Here is a picture of some tomatoes from our garden. For perspective there is a wide-mouth jar. Here is a picture of the co-op spraying our field with poison. I felt super great about it, obviously, because it felt like letting Monsanto get to second base. But currently I don't know of another (practical, appropriate for agritainers) way to get rid of the alfalfa so we can put the field in oats for two years.

Monday, October 3, 2011

product may stay: ben & jerry's late night snack

When I was in college I used to buy Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy ice cream on the rare occasions when I was feeling particularly flush with cash. Evidently they discontinued that flavor, while clunkers like Cheesecake Brownie linger on. Who wants sour chocolate? Now I buy Ben & Jerry's even more rarely. I don't like how they try to act all virtuous and high-end, which I think is a little disingenuous, to be honest. Because if you take a quick look at the ingredient list, it's just as full of fillers and crap as, say, Dreyer's/Edy's. That's what inclusions, fair trade or not, will do for you. Their inventive flavors are the only thing that legitimizes their ridiculous prices. And that is what brings us here today.

Have you eaten the Late Night Snack? Have you partaken?

I bought some today. I tasted it. It is fantastic. It is a perfect marriage of salty, rich and sweet. It is a wonderful flavor with terrible power. Do with this information what you think best.