Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My next assignment for Taste of the Bay magazine is on including children in weddings - either as participants or as guests.

What have you seen?
There are the little children in a first wedding - nieces & nephews
There are children of the bride &/or groom - all ages
Then there are guests' children.

Have you ever seen a unity candle with multiple candles for each kid?
What do you think of including children in the vows?
How do you manage fidgety little ones?
How do you make the party for them too?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm planning on making my own pie crusts this year, but I'm intimidated by rolling pins. Any advice?

Aside from pumpkin and apple, what pies should I make for Thanksgiving? What are your favorites?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When I was a little girl, I spent possibly half of my free time next door, playing with Lynne, my first friend. She's the friend who would twirl with me in our dress-ups as a storm approached. We practiced our make-up skills. We snuck her mom's cigarettes in our socks and rode our bikes to the woods and made ourselves sick. We would set up elaborate Barbie villages using the sleeves from record albums: Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Cher, the Carpenters. We made secret forts in the closet on under the stairs. When her awe-inspiring teenage sister wasn't home, we'd sneak in her room and listen to the Beatles White Album and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I was impressed with the photo and bracelet of a Vietnam POW that she had on her bulletin board. She had a poster that said, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

We played until dinner was ready. We would try to eat dinner at each others' houses. I remember peering into the square electric skillet on her turquoise formica counter to find the source of the delicious aroma. Onions browning around a dark meat that I was told was liver. My mother never cooked liver. Although it didn't sound good, the smell made me think differently. Mrs. Boyer invited me to stay and try it and I cautiously accepted. Earlier, Mr. Boyer had convinced me that their spaghetti was worms and I watched a single strand on my arm for a long time before I realized he was teasing.

The smell did not live up to the taste. I couldn't get passed the mushy quality of the meat. I really had wanted to like it, but I couldn't eat it.

It's hard to get passed those early impressions of food. I tried it once again when I was older and it was still mushy. I decided it was the onions that lured me in every time. So last night when I stopped over at my friend Peggy's, I was reluctant to accept the offer of the liver and onions her Iowan mom had cooked. But I'm a grown up now, right? Peggy likes it. I'm striving for more biodiversity in my diet and I know liver is really good for you, so I agreed to try a taste.

I was surprised. It was delicious. The texture is definitely different than steak, but it wasn't mushy. My adopted Iowan grandma told me that she pours boiling water over the raw liver to get the blood out before frying it up with the onions. Who knew?

Do you eat liver & onions? Do you cook it? What childhood food aversions have you overcome?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This past summer I accepted a wonderful invitation to relax in Pompano Florida with three amazing women. Linne, who I met when I was a 17-year old waitress at Bob's Big Boy, invited me to spend some time shopping and sunning with her two friends. We did find some great deals, drank a lot of wine, and enjoyed watching kite surfers in the late afternoon.

Mari, our hostess, has an aunt down there who recommended we go to this little Asian market in Miami to speak to the owner, an insightful herbalist. We had been discussing the adventure, referring to the man as a witch doctor. Supposedly he could ask you a few questions and recommend a course that would cure any ills.

We found the diminutive witch doctor in a turquoise plaza in a tiny store crammed to the ceiling with imported curiosities. There was a line: people holding their lab results, women seeking fertility enhancement, a few who swore to us that this guy was the best thing that ever happened to them.

We all got in line, even though I didn't have any major complaints. The first three of us all got similar detoxifying prescriptions: two weeks of orange roughy and organic green apples, $100 worth of his products, a continuing dairy and citrus free diet, and daily outdoor walking. "No Treadmills! Outside!"

Isabelle, however, had back problems to discuss. The Vietnamese witch doctor gave her the one prescription we all enjoyed: fill an empty bottle of wine with hot hot water and have someone roll it over your back.

Anxious to follow order, we went back to the condo and emptied a wine bottle or two.

Aaahhhh, did that feel great! I have since tried it on a few different people, including my kids. I rolled out the backs of 8 kids during our Outer Banks week. Last night when my 16 year old dancer was all stiffness and aches from her grueling practice schedule, she requested the hot wine treatment. Immediately, all three kids wanted in. When I went to tuck in my youngest, she had taken the bottle into bed with her and was cuddled around its warmth. "No sleeping with wine bottles, Honey."

So, even though I decided that I prefer my toxins to the witch doctor's herbals, he was spot on with the hot wine treatment.

I was afraid of the wine bottle shattering. So I filled it with hot tap water while I put the tea kettle on. Then I poured out about half of that and added the boiling water. I recommend using a wine bottle with a screw top for obvious reasons. Also, use one with sloping shoulders. The skinny end feels marvelous around the neck. Keep a t-shirt on as it is too hot for bare skin.

Let me know if you try it. You'll make friends fast.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I guess I knew I would ripple the surface when I hit "reply to all" on a recent e-mail that sarcastically oversimplifyied problems with "Mexican" illegal immigrants and unfairly blamed the problem on Obama. The e-mail came from an adult involved in one of my kids' organizations. Maybe I should have just deleted it like I usually do. But I could see the e-mail addresses of the people to whom it was sent and I didn't want them to think that I thought this was funny. I didn't want them to start sending me this crap too.

So I sent a brief, but clear reply-to-all, stating that I found the oversimplification offensive and that problems with immigration existed before Obama and would exist after Obama.

Man-o-man! Two fellow-recipients moderately backed me up, which I appreciated however anemic their support. I received a scathing e-mail from either the sender's wife or daughter saying, among other things, that I was wrong to have replied to all. Of course, I had to reply to that too, but just to her since she sent it just to me.

The sender apologized and removed me from his political tirade e-mail list, which I thanked him for. I also told him I was confident that the offense was unintentional. When I saw him again, he was friendly, although I can't say I felt that way from the looks his daughter and wife gave me. Let's just say I'm not expecting any dinner invitations, which is fine by me.

So do you get these kind of political or religious e-mails that are opposite your views? Do you just continue to delete? Have you ever replied to all? Do you think I was out of line? At what point do you feel you must respond?