Thursday, October 30, 2008

The kitchen can be a dirty place.

I was listening to a bit with Nigella Lawson on NPR's Morning Edition. Nigella talked through several Fall recipes that, apparently, make her feel like a kitten has curled up in her stomach for a nap or some such nonsense. I admit, I’m not a fan. Has anyone else noticed that it is impossible to replicate her dishes because she provides no concrete instruction? For instance, "Chop the chocolate with a mezzaluna...until you have rubbly shards." Also, her recipes are guaranteed to include ingredients that do not exist in this country. Once you have your rubbly shards, pile on 2 meringue nests from a packet and sweetened chestnut puree or spread, such as Clement Faugier. Right. I'll just pop down the corner shop and get some from the guv'nor.

NPR's Steve Inskeep ended the feature by saying that every man in the studio had been listening intently to Nigella throughout the piece. You could hear in Steve's husky voice that Nigella's closing remark about a creamy dessert - "And then, as my brother would say, I apply it to my face" - in her trademark sultry English accent, had achieved its desired effect. The female co-host, Renee Montagne, jumped in immediately to say that all the women in the studio had been listening intently, too, because women appreciate Nigella just as much as men. That's sweet, Renee, but completely inaccurate.

Nigella is supposed to seduce men with her little sex-kitten act. All of the women on Food Network are groomed to make kitchen porn. First, the uniform of a bright V-neck top and dark-colored pants to emphasize the cleavage and de-emphasize the posterior. If you can ever tear your eyes off of Nigella’s mouth, baby got back. Staying tuned throughout the flirtatious cooking sequence is rewarded by the most overtly sexual moment of every female-hosted cooking show: the money shot, when the host takes a huge bite of her delicious creation and her eyes roll back in her head. "Ohhhhhhh, it’s good, mmm, so rich and creamy. Ahhh, I can't get enough. OOOOh, it tastes even better right off my fingers. Oh, yes, Yes, YES, mmmm. Okay, I’ll see you next time on Licking Lucy’s Bowl!"

Have you ever seen a male host perform a money shot? I think not. If they taste the food at all, and usually they hand it to someone else to eat, it’s a quick, small bite and a terse, “That’s good.” And I’m not complaining, no sir. If I ever see Emeril or Mario Batali moaning in pleasure, smacking their buttery lips, I may have to gouge out my eyes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My stunning intellect is too powerful for his little mind.

Me: Remember what twelve looks like?
Paolo: One two. Hey, Mama, what is one two three?
Me: One hundred twenty-three
Paolo: Whoa! What about one two three four?
Me: One thousand two hundred and thirty-four.
Paolo: What about one two three four five six seven eight nine ten?
Me: Oh. Uh, hang on. This is hard to do in my head…placing the commas…okay. One billion, two hundred thirty-four million…no, wait. Twelve billion, three hundred forty-five million, six hundred seventy-eight thousand, nine hundred and ten.
Paolo: No, it’s not.
Me: Really? Let me think. Yes, it is.
Paolo: No, it's not.
Me: Then what is it?
Paolo: It's not what you said. What you said is crazy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Filling the tank for $30.00 never felt so bad.

Me: Did you see that gas dropped below $3.00 just in time for me to fill up? Pretty sweet.

Sam: I wish it would go up to $5.00 a gallon. Gas needs to be as expensive as it is in Europe so people will stop driving huge gas-guzzling cars.

Me: Well, yeah. I just meant…

Sam: And so cities will invest in pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly infrastructure and mass transit.

Me: Of course. It’s just a little Woo Hoooo, not even that big, more of a w’hoo.

Sam: Less urban sprawl! More infill!

Me: A wuh, at most.

Sam: Developing alternative energy sources has got to be a top priority, and it never will be as long as gas is considered affordable.

Me: Yes. All of that. I just thought for me, only me, it was kind of nice to pay a little less today. I drive a small car, you’re a bicycle commuter. We’re good people. Only now I feel like an asshole.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I must be green behind the ears, too.

I wasn't going to write any more about politics, but I’m just so disappointed and frustrated. Like Senator Obama, there are some things I just don’t understand. I don’t understand why we need character assassination to pick a president. Why can’t Americans just disagree on ideas, plans and policies? If you want to vote Republican, that’s fine with me, but have a valid reason. I won’t hate you for it. You may have different interests than mine. Vote Republican because you have a lot of money and don’t want to pay taxes on it. Vote Republican because you believe in small government and deregulation. Vote Republican because you don’t want your tax dollars to fund social programs.

Do not vote for McCain because he and his bulldog are telling you Obama is a Muslim and a terrorist. He is neither of those things, and you are a gullible fool if you don’t understand that. If you vote out of fear, if you vote out of hate, you are wasting your vote. In a democracy, your vote is your voice. What do you want to say?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The longest three minutes of her life

Someone I met at one of Paolo’s soccer games invited me to attend a meeting of an organization she’s involved with. Actually, it was the coach’s wife, who I had previously written off due to the alarming rise of her pants. Until she had the parents stand in two lines and form a tunnel for the kids to run through after the game, and they screamed with delight. What a fabulous idea! It was then I deduced that cinching ones pants high and tight forces more blood to the brain. So I accepted her invitation and went to the meeting. The next day I wrote to my friend, my FRIEND, Melissa, and mentioned the meeting, and this was her response:
So, what was it like? Did you think of glass eye balls all night while speaking in fragments because you're staring at the glass eye and you can't get out a coherent thought? You didn't do the JD Mind Wander, didn't you? No really, I am very proud of you. Look at you, all grown up and talking to strangers.
I am not a complete fool every time I step out in public, you know. I do have some people skills, and I can work a room without seeing glass eyes in every new face. Although, there was a woman in a dark blue suit with a flesh-colored camisole under the jacket. So flesh-colored, in fact, it was hard to tell where the scoop-necked shirt ended and her skin began. It was sort of mesmerizing, and as she talked on and on about stocks or traffic or something, my eyes kept drifting back down to her chest as if to solve the mystery.


This week’s theme on the home front is Communication. We have one child who has decided never to talk ever. Why use words when you can SCREAM? Luca is exhibiting either early genius or mild retardation; it could go either way. On one hand, he has bypassed the superfluity of language for a more direct cause-effect paradigm. One awful sound will get him anything he wants: attention, a drink, some food, a toy to play with, a door opened. On the other hand, maybe his skull is full of mud, and that sharp, piercing squeal is the best he can do. It really is the worst sound in the world. In all seriousness, it makes your blood run backwards. The way he chuckles post-scream while we peel ourselves off the ceiling makes me lean toward the “he’s doing this on purpose” explanation. Babies: they’re so hard to get a read on.

On the other end of the communication spectrum is our articulate Paolo, who talks so much he could do pull-ups with his tongue. Paolo is exploring written language, which is thrilling because it shuts him up occasionally. For several weeks now, Paolo has been writing and illustrating books. So far he has authored novellas featuring Sinbad, Superman, Transformers, and various other heroes and villains, and the theme is always the struggle between good and evil. He can’t actually read and write, but he thinks he can. He sounds out words and spells them the way they sound to him, usually without vowels. Hence, “bad guys are making evil plans” could become BAD GI R MK EVL PLS. Once he completes around 5-6 pages, he staples them together. If you think it’s hard to keep up with your kid’s artwork, imagine having to curate a library. It’s hard enough eliminating some finger-paintings. How do you throw out your kid’s books? That he MADE? Well, as the stacks on the table and the nightstand and the dresser prove, you can’t.