A power shortage in the middle of the coldest winter, February 2009. We lost power for 4 days. I thought I couldn't stand it, the kids were complaining (Gasp, no internet, no X box!!). It was probably the best experience we've had in a long time though I'm sure my kids wouldn't see it that way. We sat in front of our fireplace, all huddled together, the 4 of us and our dog and we talked. It wasn't just the usual dinner conversation: How was school? "Good" What did you do? "Nothing." It was the like the lack of power lessened the facade of being teenagers. It was cold, it was inconvenient; it was a gift.
Dear Food Network and Bravo:
Can I consider myself a foodie if I don’t like to cook? In fact, I pretty much hate it. But watching it on television? I’m an addict. I guess the fact that I obsess about food, look forward to it, think about it, crave, it entitles me to be a non-cooking foodie. I think that I may be inspired one day to try real cooking; but not right now. I can get by on cooking meals for my family but it’s the basic stuff. Pasta and home-made cheese sauce (Ok, almost home-made: I confess I use Kraft American slices, individually wrapped.)I also bake the best and the most delicious banana bread in the world (plain, with raisins, chocolate chips or both). I can do a roast and I’m definitely fine with sticking a chicken (with kosher salt and pepper) and a couple of squeezes of fresh lemon, in the oven. Baked potatoes? Anytime. My new favorite: a well-toasted english muffin with lite cream cheese and slices of tomato and a hint of salt and pepper. My beverage of choice with this? Need you ask? Yoo-Hoo, cold or room temperature.
I need to work for the FOOD NETWORK OR BRAVO FOOD) station. Anybody here have any connections? I’m very likable, love to eat (although I have to say I might gag if I had to eat some of the things that they make on the show, octopus and goat, I can barely do lamb). But, for a job working, preparing, serving, ANYTHING with food I would (have to) be flexible. Seriously? I am the most conscientious worker you ever have known. I’m neurotically early so if you wanted me there at 9am, guaranteed you would see my smiling face at 8:45am. Having grown up with a German mom and a Viennese dad, they taught us about punctuality. Being on time, in my family, is being LATE. When we get together we all are 10-15 minutes early; it’s in our neurotic, eager to please, Jewish blood.
So, Padma, Tom, Bob, Eric? Dick, Jane, Sally? Bobby, Bob, Paula Deen? I want to do something I love, other than writing. That thing, is food. I could be a tester, a taster, a candle stick maker, whatever you want. I need a job and Oprah always said “do what you love.” You don’t doubt Oprah, do you? That reminds me, dear Oprah, I need a hook-up, with the Food Network or Bravo, can you help?
Let’s just say that my husband and I should have stuck to our original plan to stay in tonight and eat scrambled eggs with toast. But no, I had to see a video of a new Ethiopian restaurant ten minutes away and want to go. I wanted to go as in now and immediately. Big mistake. First of all we go there and having read that they were open seven days a week, they weren’t. It’s Monday and yes, they were closed. We moved next door to a tiny Jamaican Jerk Chicken place which did say, on their front window, “We Are Open 7 Days A Week.” Guess what? They weren’t. The door was open and so we walked in only for the owner to tell us they were closed! “Oh, he said, just today, but we are open on Mondays.” That said, we walked out again, even hungrier than before.
Starving now, and not having enough to eat during the day I was not happy; my husband was not happy. We were hungry. We get cranky when we get hungry sometimes. It happens. Down the street is a very inexpensive Greek restaurant, ample supplies of food at the most inexpensive prices. We have been going there since it opened about five years ago. It is consistently good, cheap, portions are enormous and they serve the meals rapidly. My husband ordered the Lemon-Chicken soup (Avegolemono or something that sounds like that) with grape leaves stuffed with rice, sour cream sauce (Tzatziki which I thought was supposed to be made with yogurt, my bad) on the side. It says yogurt on the menu, they serve real sour cream. Can’t argue the taste.
I wanted to have something different so I ordered Lamb Souvlaki on pita bread. I eat sliced lamb about once a year and only in this form and never in front of my daughter, the vegetarian. I ate several bites and swooned, it was fresh, juicy, filled with lettuce and tomato…….and a dead bee. I swear, I picked this odd-looking thing out of the pita sandwich, thinking it was just part of a vegetable and looked straight into the dead bee’s head and body.
The owner saw what had happened, took the dead bee and asked if I wanted another sandwich. Honestly? I couldn’t face the thought of even looking at the same dish so I politely declined. I ate some of my husband’s salad and that was it for the night. Well, that is until I start snacking later….with my dog around 10:30 PM.
My husband looks over at me and says “why do these things always happen to you?” He did not say this with loving concern but a bemused, comical grin. “Just lucky I guess” I answered, heading for the doorway to LEAVE. It’s true though, things like this happen to me all the time, a bug, hair in my food, egg-shell in eggs (this is all making me gag).
After the first unsuccessful trip to the restaurant we should have just gone home. The scrambled eggs would have been shell-less, the toast would have been crisp and I would have put butter and honey on it. This is what happens when I get an idea in my head and change plans. I should just listen to the signs when they first appeared, stopped, stay put and settled into our uncomfortable kitchen chairs. We would have been happy with either scrambled eggs or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner. That would have been ideal. Will I learn? Probably not.
I just read a friend’s blog and while I have never met her in person, I worry about her. There is a definite bond for those of us who have some kind of chronic disease or illness. We feel for each other, and we really do care. I see myself sometimes in her writing, stressed out, anxious and at times depressed. I have been there, done that.
Luckily now (even though I still have the same illnesses) I have taken the time to listen to my inner self (when it works). Sometimes it’s better than listening to many other people. Who knows you better than you? Also, apparently the medical world is trying (and succeeding) in making women go crazy. Let’s blame them. In light of this, take the newest controversy which has been a staple in womens lives for years: (and encouraged by all doctors) calcium supplements.” You MUST take them”, my gynecologist says. “Definitely says my internist,” you HAVE to, it’s for good bone strength and preventing osteoporosis.” Oh, okay, absolutely. Now, just recently “we did a little research and the calcium supplements are now related to an increase in heart disease for women.” Huh? I don’t understand how on earth we are supposed to know what to do, what to take. No one is making it easy for us, especially doctors. Ask a number of doctors one question, take your pick of the answers they give you. Why does this always seem to happen to women and not men? How come they don’t get conflicting and controversial views half as much as we do?
It’s all personal choice. Remember the saying “everything in moderation?” (if not, my dad used to say it all the time). I think that’s mostly true. Denying yourself certain things, certain foods will make you (okay, definitely me) crave them more. So, if you want dessert, order dessert. You don’t have to eat the whole thing. Ask the waiter or waitress to give you half and put the rest in a container to take it home if you want. As my friend Bruce always said “no ask, no get.” It’s really as simple as that and a motto I live by. (Thanks, Brucie)
We all have our individual preferences and rituals. For example: I make a mean banana bread (if I do so say so myself). I know that if I add raisins to the banana bread I could probably, with enough time, eat the whole thing. However, if I put raisins and chocolate chips in (the family favorite) I don’t eat much at all. Why? I don’t really like the addition of chocolate when I love anything raisin-like. It’s all a matter of trying to think things through first and that, I admit, is harder than it sounds and it is an ongoing problem.
Let’s all try to worry less, walk a little more, take in a few minutes of sunshine and try to live life day by day. Not only “one step at a time” but one crawling, aching, stiff joints and baby step at a time. We’re all in this together.
Stupid, senseless song
surrendering simple sounds
solely sonnet sense.
Sun surrenders, sleepiness sends samples,
serenity, sunset, sweet, sweet sky.