Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shower Gifts, Tantrums, and Oh So Sweet Ribbony Revenge

I have to say, one of the greatest parts of having a transition in life...i.e. graduation, promotion,  baby, wedding (not particularly in that order) is the awesome loot that usually accompanies it.

Tuesday, our first wedding shower gift came in the mail and the label of Williams & Sonoma on the box was enough to make me nearly pee my pants with excitement.

Well, I take that back. Technically, this wasn't the first shower gift, the first arrived at my mother's house on Saturday. However, I was chased off whenever I got remotely close to the gift, like a dog lifting his leg on the Christmas tree. You see, I can't handle suspense, surprises, and spontaneity.

Someone once said, "Isn't delayed gratification the definition of maturity?" Clearly, I was dealing with something waaaaaaaay beyond my maturity level.

The Ensuing Argument *with minor embellishments* : 

Me to Jonathan: Now darling, the sooner we open this, the sooner we can graciously thank the giver for this lovely item. I can start the thank you card immediately.

Jonathan: Get away from that box! Don't make me come over there, I'm not buying your lame excuse. You're like a kid!!! You have to wait until the person is at the shower so you can open it in front of her.

Me: *pouts* but this person isn't even coming, that is why she sent it ahead. I should at least be able to get the card out.

Jonathan: No dice. Back away from the gift.

Me: It has MY name on it, it is addressed to ME, I should get to decide the fate of the box.

Jonathan: Don't make me call your mother. She will side with me on this one.

Me: You wouldn't dare. (he didn't have to, her ears must have been burning on her vacation because she called us just then.)

Me to Mom: Mommy dear, the most enormous package has arrived and I would be ever so pleased if I could open it. Of course, I only want to open it so I could write the thank you note directly as you raised me to attend to such matters in a expeditious manner.

Mom to Me: I don't think so. (I'm sure I heard finger snapping on the other end of the line.)

*Jonathan observes my pout*
Jonathan yells to Mother: I told her she couldn't open it!!!!

*Me practicing dexterity of middle finger in Jonathan's general direction*

Mother: I agree with Jonathan. You can't open it until the party.

Me: Blast. *hang up*

So on Tuesday when the UPS man throws this package outside the porch, I was at first taken aback. What was this. Then the Williams & Sonoma  label tipped me off that there was cooking-related, joy-inducing gadgets inside.Since no one was around to get on to me, I couldn't resist. I told myself the box (which is the size of a small dorm room fridge) was too big to lug down 3 flights of stairs, 90 miles to the shower on Saturday, just to drag it back across Houston and up the stairs again. Besides...the UPS guy so carelessly tossed it on the porch, the contents could have been broken and I would need to report any damage directly!!!

I opened the box slowly and carefully, savoring each layer of bubble wrap. Inside the jumbo box was a beautifully wrapped box, still quite large. The paper was thick and luxurious, with pineapples (the symbol of hospitality) all over it. I savored the texture of the paper, almost regretting having to end its short, beautiful life. I'm a sucker for lavishly packaged gifts. (I still seal letters with wax and ribbon). Speaking of ribbon, the box was wrapped in a 10ft, emerald satin ribbon. Oh!!!!!!!!!!! The decadence! I slowly pull to unwrap the bow, but not before hastily snapping this out of focus shot to text to Jonathan later:

Kitty stands in for perspective.

I open this box to two more boxes inside. (At this point I am beginning to think this might be a joke, like the Christmas my cousin wrapped up a refrigerator box with like ten, progressively smaller wrapped boxes inside of it... only to find the the last box had a small trinket inside like a political button). Nevertheless, I open the interior boxes to find a beautiful stoneware pie dish and cake stand. One Italian made, the other French. I snapped a respectable picture to send with the thank you note:

Notice me clutching the ever so lovely ribbon in my hands. (OH! and the clean kitchen behind me!)

However, I don't think this picture accurately portrayed the true essence of my joy at this moment. After a brief contemplation, I decided that my bleaders knew me well enough to guess how I really reacted when I opened the box. For those of you who are newbies...see below:

Cooking stuffs and ribbon...what more could a foodie ask for?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Cheesy Wordlessness

Baby Swiss, Cheddar, Johansburg Brie?, Fruit & Spinach. Just another day in paradise.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Social Networking? Are you a fan?

With the proliferation of fan pages on facebook about everything from "Drinking from a water hose" to "Sagging your pants", I thought it was a great time to add my own Facebook fan page. As with most fan pages, I am sure 96% of the "friends" will not actually be readers of the blog, but hey...I am always open to new ways to attract a larger readership. So without further ado, will you be my friend on Facebook?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Saying Good-bye to the Manor

As with everything good in life, a time comes when it all has to end. This time, it is the Manor's turn. Kail is looking to buy a house of his own and is making some cheaper living arrangements in the interim, Jon and I are getting married, Weefee...not sure where he is going just yet. It's a sad state of affairs really, we joked that we should by a quadplex, each couple living in it's own respective area, but merging regularly for misadventures. I guess techinically it would have to be a quintplex since we are all not coupled, but I digress. I will always have fond memories of the Manor, and of the friendships forged there...not to mention some of the incredible, and sometimes scary, food we made together and devoured. I hope I can get one more shot of us all together in front of the place one last time; however, if I cannot here is a little stumble down Manor Falls Drive with the people that made the manor "The Manor". I guess if you want to get all philosophical, it's not really the building that makes a place great, rather it's the people you share the space with that makes it so memorable. Sorry I am not clever enough to do a mashup video to "Dust in the Wind" or something like that. You will just have to scroll.

How Not to Get Yelled at at Whole Foods and Other Wordlessness

Watch out! A bit risque! Non-Whole Foods Shoppers, cover you eyes!

Tip One: Buy over-priced yet scrumptious food.
This meal was orgasmic. *nom nom nom*
Tip 2: Savor your merch in the dining area and act like you are texting
while you snap away at items you now legally own. Look over your
shoulder constantly out of fear of public shaming.

Being Chastised at Whole Foods: An Embarrassing way to Spend Your Saturday

Saturday morning I had a wedding dress fitting, after which I had to kill like 5 hours before a spa appointment. Well, I had no idea what to do because I thought the fitting would take much longer, and the spa would not budge on my appointment time. (Which I found out was due to the fact that it wasn't really a spa, but a house converted into a business, which consisted of exactly 1 parking spot.)

When driving around the rich people neighborhood of River Oaks and drooling over the houses I could probably never afford in my lifetime (not the McMansions, but the charming older homes resembling cottages from Lord of the Rings and are expensive by proxy), I decided a short trip to Whole foods was in order. Silly me though, usually I only buy meat, dairy, and other perishables at Whole Foods. There was no way I was going to buy that stuff today, because it would spoil between the walk from the entrance to the car in Saturday's heat. No way could it last til after the spa. So I contented myself with grazing on samples and getting a few not-so-perishables.

You know that feeling when you realize that you are about to witness a train wreck and there is really nothing you can do to stop it? This was the feeling I got as I strolled down the raw grains aisle. I am about 30 feet from a lovely display of all the shop's flowers, in particular an ill-conceived arrangement. The heavy sunflowers hung precariously over some very expense orchids. I noticed that the sunflowers slowly shifted to one end of their container and were starting to tilt. A light goes off in my head: Go race over there and stop that bucket from crashing! Alas, as I am doing the delicate dance between acting and bystander apathy, the sunflower bucket falls as if in slow motion, crashing into a shelf of other flowers, which in turn knocked over the entire floral display. Now I am doing the delicate dance of turning around and acting like I just didn't witness this, or going to try to help right the situation.  I chose to do nothing. This is not in my nature, but I did not want to be blamed for the avalanche of petals, and thus be held financially responsible for catastrophe. I have learned that when it comes to stores, they automatically assume the person trying to help is the one responsible for the accident. No way I was getting stuck with $1000 worth of organically grown exotics when I was minding my own business in bulk spices.

A gentlemen in my aisle, walks up to me and says, "Don't worry, I'm a witness and you didn't do it." I chuckled uneasily, telling him I meant to try to stop it, but I was just too late. "I'll tell them you didn't do it," he said. He went and got someone, as I was somewhat frozen in place. I can't tell you why. Like I said before, I didn't want to be associated with the debacle, but I was so close to the end of the aisle I had no place else to go. After some of the store authorities jumped in and started trying to salvage the situation, I made a break for it. Later down the next aisle, the man that alerted the crew to the incident jokingly chides me down the whole next aisle about why I had to knock down such a pretty display. So now, everyone browsing crackers thinks I'm the person who did it. I get some dirty looks. Fabulous.

I race off to my favorite area of the store, which is, of course, the cheese display. I think to myself, what a lovely idea for a blog post. Posts are always prettier with pictures, so I whip out my phone for a quick pic. Suddenly, a dude from the cheese counter very loudly exclaims: "YOU CAN'T TAKE PICTURES HERE!" I turned as bright as a lobster because everyone from fine wines, to chocolates is now starring at the bozo taking pictures of Gouda and Drunken Goat. I walk up to the counter and apologize and try to explain that the picture for a blog of little consequence, with a mere readership of perhaps...6 and a half. The CheeseDude says too bad, store policy says that I could be a Kroger-spy trying to copy Whole Foods' proprietary ideas, and all photographs have to be approved by the store's manager. Jeez-Louise! Like Kroger-spies are taking pictures with pink-glittery IPhones. (Kail brought out a point later that if Kroger really wanted to steal ideas from Whole Foods, they would just have to Whole Food's own website and see all the same stuff.) Google was kind enough to provide about 900 million pictures of Whole Foods' cheese display. Apparently, cheese spies are rampant. It's almost a pandemic...

Oh the Horror!

Cheesy-Idea Thievery!
This Just In: Cheese displays photos leaked to media! Whatever will we do!
The displays are only to be viewed by the millions of customers that visit one of our 273 stores the U.S. states; six in Canada; or five in the United Kingdom!

Of course, I'll probably get the pants sued off me by some litigator trying to make a name for himself. I will have it known right now that I did not snap these illicit photos, I merely stole them from some other mischievous, aberrant-minded delinquents that share the same love-affair with cheese as I do.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adware and Other Pissed off Rants

I was scrolling through some older posts when I started looking at some of the ads on my blog. Now, I know my kitchen has the occasional infestation (the most recent being ants), but nothing could have prepared me for seeing a giant cockroach crawling up the side of my blog post. No not a real one, though I can understand why you would think that. It was a giant sidebar ad for Terminex Exterminators. Who wants to read about food when a giant roach ad is crawling up the screen. Thanks an f-ing bunch Google.

All I can figure is that it is pulling key phases off my posts to generate "related" ads, and hoping for a click. It couldn't be an ad for culinary school, Julia Child's cookbook, or at the VERY least...something Julie Powell related. No no...exterminator. Do me a favor please, click only non-bug related ads. It probably doesn't matter in the least... no one reads this blog anyway.

Where did we go wrong with our food?

I was reading a news article today about "how the government doesn't want you to know about the chemicals in our food". The article states that there are over 62,000 chemicals that the food industry at large does not have to report to federal regulators. WTH?! Where did we go wrong?

I'm reminded of a certain foreign friend (no, not WeeFee) who once commented about how beautiful our food looked here in the US, but basically that is was tasteless, or worse...tasted like fertilizer. Sadness...

Now, I'm no hippie, but supporting chemical free, locally produced food seems like a logical idea. I love farmers markets simply for all the neato things you see, and all the rich smells and colors. I want to grow some of my own food to some extent, like wonder-woman/super-mom BFF Sam. However, living in a tiny apartment doesn't lend itself to gardening too well. And don't all you city dwellers talk to me about balcony just wont work here. For a veggie or fruit plant to produce, it needs full sun most of the day. My balcony is wedged between another building and faces north. No dice, not even for those wacky upside down tomato dillys.

 I was reading about organic gardening, and found that before the WWII, most people were getting/growing their foods in sustainable ways. However, the war created a great demand on food stuffs, and the introduction of chemicals and injected hormones became a common way to increase crops in a time when rations were uncertain. Since then, this continues to be the standard. Growing up, I didn't think anything of it. We didn't wash our fruit when we brought it home from the store. We ate the grapes right out of the bag. Some experts say grapes are some of the worst chemical holders. sigh.

Sorry for the rant, but as a country, we need to make a return to natural food. Call me a little narcissistic, but where ever the US leads, other countries will follow. Now don't get crazy and go on the raw tangent either. Let's not get too hasty. Just try to get as chemical free as possible. The only way this will happen is if people quit buying processed crap food. It's called the Power of the Pocket Book people. Think about it: Processed foods are so soft and tender because the processing component takes the work your jaw and stomach used to do. That is why these foods are less satiating. They just move right through your bloated, American gut because there is less work for your body to break down this "food". Because there is less to break down, it has to be injected with chemicals to keep it soft and fresh. Eww. Just Eww.

Another thing to consider: when you buy your food from local sources, you are buying American. I know that is REALLY important to some folks. That means one more American farmer has a job, is making a living supporting his family, and is not on the welfare rolls. That is probably the most important thing to remember.

It is scary how people have become so separated from what their food is and where it comes from. It honestly astonishes me. Sam teaches high school English. When she used to teach in a lower income school, her high school students couldn't tell her where hamburger meat came from. Their answer: The Poor People "Grocery" Store. They serious had no idea that that plastic pack of hormone-laden, meat product once belonged to a cow.

Kail's father, Mutt, owns cattle. Kail is no stranger to the slaughter house, the circle of life, or whatever you want to call it. Kail's father's ire still rises when he recalls an encounter with a pack of high school girls at a gas station a few years back:

He was taking a bull past its prime to the slaughter house and had to pull into a gas station to refuel.  A gaggle of silly girls got off a nearby school bus to get some snacks at the gas station. They came over to ooh and aww about how cute the bull was, and inquired to where it was being taken. When Mutt told him the slaughter house, they all started crying and calling him an animal killer, etc silly teenage girls are wont to do. Mutt notices one of the girls is eating a sandwich:
"What's in that sandwich?" he asks.
 "Roast beef," she snaps back in a sassy tone.
"What do you think roast beef is?" he prodded.
*blank stare*
"You're eating cow right now!"
*horrified, look on girls face* She runs back to the bus crying.

Parents, it's time for an intervention. Get your kids off the interweb, PlayStation, sexting, or whatever mischief they are getting into right now and ask them if they know where hamburger, or pork, or poultry comes from. Please post what they tell you. I'm dying to know...