Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cooking Code Words

Having only recently discovered the joys of watching all the terrific cooking shows on television, I had to figure out a way to quickly identify recipes that would not work for me. So I came up with a short list of warning ingredients. I call them code words. At the mention of any of these words I can quickly recognize that chances are good that I will never be preparing a specific recipe.

Capers: Ewww. Pity the poor, hungry soul who once became brave enough to pickle and eat this.... this ... whatever it is. And more pity to the person who figured out that it was the perfect compliment to smashed up goose liver.

Anchovies: Admittedly, I do not believe I have ever tried one. I have smelled them, however, and I am relatively certain that there will not be an attempt to use them in any recipe in my kitchen. Why use a little, dead, stinky fish when you could use, say, oh, some moldy play dough instead?

Rack of Ribs: Exactly whose ribs are we talking about here? Cow? Pig? Goat? Iguana? Hippo? Can’t imagine there is really a lot of good eatin’ in a rack of ribs.

Zest: Come on, people. If Mother Nature had intended for us to eat bitter scrapings of orange skin she wouldn’t have given us thumbs to help peel all that stuff off our oranges. Right? Notice it is also the name of a deodorant soap.

Pork Loin: Loin is a turn off word. I think the word loin is used in the Bible in connection with other words like “girdeth” and “thy”. Anyone in this house looking for loin will have to go somewhere else.

Mint: Mint is for chewing gum and mouthwash. I will use mint if I am making chewing gum or mouthwash.

Fresh Basil: I have yet to meet anyone in real life who has eaten fresh basil. It is a lovely green, however, so I may employ it after living proof that it can be tolerated. If you eat anchovies please do not send your fresh basil testimonial. You obviously cannot be trusted.

Clove(s) of Garlic: Have you all never smelled yourselves after you’ve eaten that stuff? Have you ever smelled anyone else after they have eaten that stuff? For the sake of the world, I beg you, nix any recipe requiring more than a benign sprinkle of garlic in it's weakest form.

Gorgonzola: Is that a carnival ride? I do occasionally enjoy some nice bleu cheese. Can’t you just call it bleu cheese?

Mussels: I think they could possibly be endangered here in the foothills of the Smokies. One might go to prison or be threatened with hefty fines for eating an endangered species. Plus they don’t actually look like food. They look like a cross between Pinocchio’s shoes and The Little Mermaid’s bra.

Pine nuts: Not totally sure what these are, but it seems to me that we should leave them to the squirrels. Maybe then the squirrels will stay out of our bird feeders. Sounds like a decent enough trade to me.

Leg of Lamb: Correct me if I am wrong here, but don’t lambs need their legs? I have to wonder how they might caper about the meadows without their legs ...? Hey, I have an idea! Why don’t we let them keep their legs and let them get all wooly, shave them, and make ourselves some socks?!

Sherry: I went to high school with her. She was weird.

This list will expand as my cooking channel viewing progresses. I do hope that my comments and observations will also help you.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Well,that's what you look like."

Down the hallway, in the living room, on walls, under glass, live my childhood and that of my siblings. Horrible gap toothed grins, home hair cuts, and scraped noses and chins tell the sad and humiliating story. I block it out for most of the year but at some point, we all must go home and there they are. A chronological exhibit of bad fashion, big hair and periwinkle eye shadow, thirteen years of abuse of the most heinous kind, the school picture. On display are bell bottomed polyester pant suits, yellow hush puppy sweaters, yoked jeans, school band uniforms, curly bobs, electric blue mascara, turned-up collars, t-shirts over oxfords, pin stripes and Member's Only jackets. Why? Why? I ask myself. Because parents only see the best in their children? Because no matter how ridiculously high your bangs are or how much blusher you've caked on your cheeks, they are proud? A sign of the unconditional love of a parent for their child. I smile. "Mom, why do you still keep all these horrid pictures up after all these years?" Mom just looks around, "Well," She says "I'm sorry, but that's what you looked like."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm not proud of it but there it is...

I have a confession to make. I read romance novels. There I said it. Before now, I have been forced by societal prejudices to hide this flaw in my character, however the new me is at peace with herself. Dimpled thighs, purse fetish, romance novels, that's who I am. None the less, I don't openly acknowledge my reading habits. I like to read in bed at night, tucked away from prying eyes. In public, I have a lovely grape colored paperback cover up- it's like a bathrobe for your book. It was sent to me by a good friend, and fellow fallen woman (we'll call her Lou Anne) to dress my novels in. From a distance I could be reading War and Peace or the manual to my camcorder, no one knows. My new favorite format is ebook. I can store hundreds of heaving bosom novels on my palm pilot and read away in movie theatres, on airplanes, even at boring dinner events. I keep a copy of The Kite Runner on my palm pilot turned to page 72 so that I can flip to it when people feel the need to read over my shoulder (how very rude,) I've never read The Kite Runner (well except page 72) but I hear it's a good book and I'll get to it when they stop publishing romance novels . There are many reasons why I choose romance to read in my "off" time. One, the all important happy ending. It's a forgone conclusion in romance novels that the hero and heroine will fall in love, live to a ripe old age, have many children (all of whom behave admirably and marry well) and die in each others arms. Two, I home school my children and I must offset Genghis Khan and the Mongol horde and long division with something. Three, I never have to wait my turn. No one else in my family is ever reading a Julie Garwood when I want it. Four, it makes my husband, who has never missed an episode of Stargate and named one of our children after a Star Trek the Next Generation actress, feel very superior. He asks for so little, I let him have that. And last, and most important, have you looked at some of those covers? Not the ones with half dressed Earls and blushing maids with petticoats askew, but the ones with bulging muscles and naked male chests?

Now, I used to be a romance snob, only historical novels were good enough for me. Contemporary, blech, how very common. Paranormal, palease, that was for those who couldn't commit.I mean, is it romance or sci-fi? And as we all know, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that someone might get thrown back to 1200 A.D. Scotland and find the man of her dreams whereas shape shifters, ghosts and vampires are just plain silly. Oh, how wrong I was. Did you know that highlanders sometimes get catapulted into the future and are possessed by demons and all they need, bless their hearts, is the love of a good woman to turn their lives around and save the world to boot? And my new secret joy? J.R. Ward's the Black Dagger Brotherhood, contemporary, paranormal, and great covers. I've got the next installment on pre-order. I've even been known to pick up a series romance because of the man chest on the cover. Okay, maybe I wouldn't "pick it up" but I've ordered more than a few from Amazon I tell you. My mother would probably deny it to her grave but she also reads romance novels. Maybe it runs in the genes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ten Signs You've Been in the Outback Too Long

1) You own more than three green Woolies shopping bags and you've used them at one time or another as a picnic basket, carry-on luggage and/or a purse.

2) You know what a snag is and you'll eat it in a pinch.

3) You've taken a Kangaroo and Damper cooking class.

4) You know someone who knows someone who saw their FIRST alien here.

5) You now drive on the left even when your the only person on the road.

6) You've gone shopping in your bedroom slippers and not been bothered.

7) You've had to wait for a camel to vacate the roadway.

8) You've recently been on holiday, put your rubbish in a bin, or had to ask for extra serviettes.

9) You've forgotten what Velveeta tastes like.

10) You've had more than one packet of ranch dressing confiscated by Australian Customs.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Was a Disco Ball Diva.......

This past weekend marked the beginning of the 'Ball Crawl' season in the southern hemisphere. For the next several months there will be a half dozen such events that may, and in some instances must, be attended. For me this means that not only will I be forced to eat banquet food, keep an even tan and do way more hair maintenance than I'm comfortable with but that I also must wedge myself into formal wear. Now, possibly due to the excessive use of biscuits (the cookie kind), scones (the biscuit kind) and iced coffee that is very refreshing and comes in 2 litre bottles, I seem to have outgrown, a wee bit, my very favorite black dress. Six weeks ago marked the beginning of panic mode. I took up kick boxing, jogging and green tea. I detoxed, low carb'd and weight watched. I purchased steel belted neck to knees 'slimming' underclothes. Once a week my daughter would follow me into the bedroom and try to look encouraging while she zipped me into my sparkly black dress. First to the waistline, then to the middle of my back, and finally all the way up. Aaahhh, I'd done it. Fit like a glove. And had I been able to breath I would have looked stunning. In the end I wore my silver dress, the one that makes me look like a disco ball (some of you may remember it.) Now I've gotta go because I have kick boxing tonight and my instructor, the former Ms. Tinyweight Boxing Champion of Europe (that might not be her exact title) saw me putting extra butter on my toast at coffee on Tuesday and is probably at this moment calculating how many push-ups it'll take to make me regret it. When I can lift my arms again I'm going to kick my husbands butt for letting me outgrow that sparkly black dress.....

If I die would someone please scatter my ashes through the heather in my Scotland??? I don't mind waiting until 2012...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homophone Replacement Therapy

Homophone Replacement Therapy

I can cannot count the many times I have caught myself committing typo by using the wrong homophone. I am ashamed. All my language arts teachers that are no longer walking among us must be clapping erasers in their graves wondering how I have wandered so far from the grammar way and ended up here ... in apparent homophone confusion. Can they ever forgive me? To help explain the situation, I have come up with this:

Unfortunately, due to recent brain cell overload compounded by the electronic age, my writing skills have fallen victim to a bout of Thinking Faster Than I Can Type Syndrome. As a direct result, I have come down with a condition resulting in a breakdown in homophone balance. Hopefully after a few weeks under the care of a competent dictionary I will be far enough along in Homophone Replacement Therapy for my fingers to differentiate between their and there and they’re, your and you’re, won and one, no and know, etc. Meanwhile, should self-editing miss some of my frequent misspells due fingers-brain homophone confusion, please try to overlook them or kindly prompt me to fix the problem. Thank you.