Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I wonder what other deadly sins lurked…

I’d like to thank the disgusting couple who sat a bit off from me in the restaurant last night for the behavior that inspired this entry.

Dining out last night with a friend at a local Chinese buffet. As usual, I had designs on some sushi, the garlic green beans and the glazed mushrooms (oh, and yes, the ice cream that tastes a little like baby aspirin, and is so good with hot tea poured over it). My friend was specifically looking forward to her first lesson with crab legs, and I was prepared to coach. But, when she returned to the table with a plate of food minus the crab legs I was perplexed. I commented that knew there were crab legs on the line, because I had just seen a man walk by with a mountain of them on his plate. No, she replied, there were none.

At that moment I looked behind my friend at the table where the man with the mountain of crab legs was sitting, and noticed that his lady friend also had a mountain of crab legs on her plate. Now, in my book, two mountains of crab legs for those two people equaled no crab legs for anyone else. Which was sad, because I had begun looking forward to having some myself.

As we talked politics, religion, and anything else that we couldn’t normally talk about at our respective jobs, I kept getting distracted by the crab-leg-eating couple behind my friend. I noticed that the floor beneath, and the area around their table was gradually becoming more and more littered the more and more they ate. Bits of crabmeat clung to the edge of the table and their chair legs. Balled up napkins and crab shells were strewn about and out into the isle. When the lady friend raised her head to speak to the waiter, the soft lighting caught and reflected the buttery water running down her chin. And when she stood up to go back for more…crab legs...she had a huge wet stain on the front of her pants (no doubt from the fact that she was not eating upright in her chair and leaning into the table like a normal person, but was eating in a rather slumped position, back in her chair). My appetite was momentarily ruined, and it wasn’t until they left and the sad, sweet waiter was able to scrape up the mess that I was able to resume my eating.

How can anyone be so completely gluttonous and oblivious?

Consider yourself lucky that I did not have a camera…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goin' Dutch

Bought the much-needed cast iron Dutch oven yesterday. It was unseasoned. I’ve watched many a seasoning process in my life (most of those seasoning processes involved tossing the cast iron cooking piece into a brush fire), so I thought I’d give it a college try. I decided to season in the oven, which proved to be less dramatic than throwing my cookware into Dad’s burning barrel, but effective nonetheless. The process went a little something like this:
• Scrubbed cookware under blistering hot water with an abrasive scouring pad (this removed the protective wax coating that all new cast iron cookware sports).
• Coated with peanut oil. I happened to be out of lard at the moment (thank god), so I opted for peanut oil because I’ve witnessed its successful use before.
• Heated the pan (upside down, in case of dripping) for approximately one hour in an oven set at 450 degrees.
I will need to repeat this process a couple of times to make the seasoning bond stronger. The beauty of seasoning is that the oil fills the cavities of the cast iron, thereby creating a non-stick surface. I’m making chili in the pot right now, and there has been no sticking.
Listening to: Diana Krall
Reading: Anything about the Patriot Act.
Eating: As many pieces of sushi that I am able cram into my gut.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Test of My Limited Patience

First go at truffles. I’m mental from it. There was chocolate everywhere, in places that it shouldn’t’ve been.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Nephew is OCD, just like his mommy. He likes to line things up and put things in order.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Trucker Turns Seventy

My earliest recollection of spending time with you was at the beach in Florida. It’s not just an image, it’s a feeling. The feeling of running like the dickens down a wooden pier, feet slapping and then…being airborne, sailing out over the water. It didn’t matter that I had no idea how to swim. I didn’t need to. You were standing out in the water to catch me. And you would do this time and time again, no matter how boring it may have been to you, because you knew from my ear-piercing girly squeals that it was the greatest thing since ice cream for me. And I would test you by trying to jump before you were even out in the water, just to see if you’d be there. You always were.

Happy 70th birthday dad. You should’ve played baseball.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Super Fat Tuesday!

I Voted ! Now I'm looking forward to November.

I have just cracked open my well-worn copy of Jon Stewart's America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction and am looking for one of my favorite quotes. It is from a fictitious letter written by Don King as a closing to the 2004 elections. I share it here with you as a "Here's to November" toast:

Now, the debates have been debated, the orations orated, the ads negated; the mud flung, labels hung, accusations slung and the swing states swung. Tonight, in association with the Founding Fathers and Don King Production, we will bear splendiferous witness to a frenzied fracas of grandiloquemetudinous proportions as one of these two men earns himself the title of Commander-in-Chief and Leader of the Free World.

Damn, but I love this crazy country!

Now, what am I going to give up for Lent...not wine or meat...French cheese perhaps? Mmmm, brie...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often!

I wish. See you at the polls!

Reading: Sample Primary Ballot

The Selling Point

I have found myself missing a very special New York delicacy recently, the black and white cookie. Back in the late 90’s when I would visit Dewitt Place 4 in Ithaca, I would walk up the hill to the wonderful neighborhood bakery and pick one up, then head back down the hill, stopping at the corner shop to buy a Stewart's Orange Cream Soda (in those days I could drink sugar on top of eating sugar) and the day would be complete. All the strenuous walking about would cancel out the double dose of sugar that I consumed, so I never suffered for the decadence.

A couple of years later, when I moved to Ithaca and lived a little further out (again, downhill of everything, this time down Gun Hill, in the Fall Creek area with the fabulous Fall Creek House Theatre which was where I first saw the film Trainspotting and began using the word scatological on a regular basis), I would still walk to get my black and white cookie. I just had to walk farther, to The Commons, and Ithaca Bakery. The walk was often a cold one, and it was then that I began to drink either hot tea or black coffee with my black and white cookie. I’d sit in the bakery, trying to look out of the steamed-up windows at all the bundled-up people. When I was finished, I’d walk down The Commons, studded with planets from the Sagan Planet Walk, to my favorite bookstore Autumn Leaves (workplace of the most helpful, most non-deodorant-wearing bookseller in history, whose body odor was especially keen in the warm bookstore on a cold day…well, for that matter, on any day that he worked) to pick up a used book or two before making my trek back up the hill. Depending upon my route home, I would either go the long way, and walk by Wee Stinky (a little creek that ran through campus and was given its name for all the female students who used to urinate in its stream), or walk by an old cemetery that was the final resting place of some of the greats of Cornell University (I believe that Ezra was buried there). Sometimes I would go further out of my way to the cemetery up above our apartment, the one that was the final resting place of Carl Sagan himself (Dr. Sagan was a professor at Cornell). I was particularly fond of that cemetery because it had the best view in town. If you stood at the very top, you could look out upon Cayuga Lake and, depending upon what time of the year it was, dream of the memory of warm weather. I’m fairly certain that if one were to visit the cemetery in the evening, the view of the night sky would be breathtaking. I suppose that might have been a selling point for Carl.

Post Script: I did not take the picture above. It came from

Looks Like That Book’s Reading Him...

We have patrons who come in the library to take naps. They pretend that they are here to read, but then they never actually do read. Instead, they take a book back to one of our comfy chairs and promptly fall asleep. One of our new staff members took one look at one of our sleeping patrons and said, “Looks like that book’s reading him.” Indeed.