Worst Food Moment. Ever.

5 06 2011

As part of a Pity Party event, we were asked to write about our worst food moment. The event I’ve selected might not actually be the worst of the worst, but how does one judge that anyway? Twelve year old me might argue that sneezing and having a piece of spaghetti come out my nose was traumatizing enough for a lifetime.  Twenty five year old me might point out the gourmet meal on a Valentine’s Day that was so rife with the beginning of the end of the relationship that it was just as heavy on my tongue as the butternut squash ravioli appetizer.

Instead, let’s talk about last year.  In July 2010 I made my experimental move from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Hayden, Rural-Ville, Alabama.  I am so far from the life I grew up with that it feels like a million miles some days.  The first few months were rough, to say the least.  The emotional fall-out from only seeing my parents and sister on Skype was far greater than I could have anticipated.  I’m the fearless adventurer and world traveler.  I can wash my socks in a hotel sink if I have to.  My pragmatic nature knew that this move would be trying, but the benefits of starting a life with the man I love would far outweigh my separation anxiety; my family was only going to be a “convenient” 7 hour plane ride away.  Too bad I forgot to tell that to my emotional nerve centers.

So, there I was, living the ideal of well matched romantic love and running around like a madwoman with my tear-ducts on a hair-trigger.  I wanted my Mommy.  I decided that the only way to cure what ailed me was to make her Baking Powder Biscuits.  These biscuits are a magical cure-all.  Nothing can be wrong in the world for as long as the basket of delicious flaky hot morsels in front of you lasts.  (Albeit they don’t last long.)  These are the biscuits everyone asks for, and they all take seconds.  I have been known to fill the pockets of my house coat with these same little pieces of wonder, but that is another story.

I knew my homesickness could easily be resolved once I had the recipe.  After phoning Mom to get it I should have been concerned when it included directions like: “four heaping teaspoons of baking powder, more or less, I eyeball it” and then the milk “about a cup, adjust it to use as much as it needs”.  But I was on a mission.  I could have been in the Blues Brothers movie.  I could already taste the mouth-watering goodness of the finished product as I mixed the dough.

I like to think that my skills with both pastry and written directions are quite good.  I was more than a little traumatized when my buttery blankets of biscuit love came out more like horrible hockey pucks of hate.  It was the physical embodiment of the emotional reality of leaving home for good.  Both literally and figuratively hard to swallow.  Just like the giant lump of homesickness, these biscuits were impossible to wash down.

The next three attempts at those biscuits were all failures of other varying degrees of insult to my culinary abilities and emotional well-being.  What I have learned since that devastating night is that climate can make a difference in cooking, so can using a flour made entirely of winter wheat.  I have learned that failure in cooking just means you learn to try something different the next time.  As for the rest?  The homesickness has lessened, my family has been down to visit, and when I finally get my green card in about 3 weeks I’ll be able to go back for a vacation with them.  I was unsure whether I wanted to make another attempt at them, but writing this post motivated me.  As of yesterday night, I have been in Baking Powder Biscuit heaven.  Finally, success.

Biscuits = awesome, pictures late at night = fail


Sweet Christmas Finds

30 11 2010

For those with moms or wee-ones in their lives this Christmas, this page is a must see!

Cool Mom Tech

when we were young?

23 08 2010

Does anyone else remember the Tupperware party?  Or more specifically, does anyone else remember laying on your stomach under a chair and watching your older female family members and their friends having Tupperware parties when you were 5?

I remember these parties.  I remember the miniature mixing bowl with lid key chains that were part of the gifts to people who attended the party.  I remember the lady who came over to host the party, and how she wore too much perfume.

Mostly, though, it’s the Tupperware itself.  Part of the institution of my childhood.  How you could open any cupboard in my grandmother’s kitchen and find something made by Tupperware.  Then the sense of community years later when we all laughed at the joke about “Dead Sea Tupperware” in Disney’s Aladdin.

I have never been invited to a Tupperware party.  My mother hasn’t hosted one since I was 6.  I’d almost forgotten about Tupperware because I haven’t seen anything new in years, and all I ever bought for myself was the cheap Glad stuff that you don’t cry about when people forget to bring it back.

Today I organized our cupboards.  I discovered that we have a little Tupperware.  Though apparently less than we used to have because of people not bringing it back.  I’ve instituted a strict policy for any future events where there are leftovers handed out.  We’re only giving out the Glad stuff.

This is because of one dish, which led me on a journey to the Tupperware website.  I want to own a lot of Tupperware now.  I strongly believe that it’s in the ovaries, or my uterus, or my genetic code to want Tupperware.  But there are two obstacles to my dream.

1) I’m afraid to.  Because of the dish.

The dish in question is a microwave steam bowl set, the hard plastic kind.  The kind that used to work so well it was almost magical.  Until someone put the lid on to a hot stove eye.  Now it’s the kind of dish that has a nice swirly pattern melted in to the top.  Part of the lid has caved in and cracked.  The dish is useless as a steamer, no more mystically perfect vegetables.  The bottom of the dish has also, clearly, been too close to the heat on a couple of other occasions judging by the warped bubbles on its side.  I’m fairly certain none of this is covered by warranty because I’m going to hazard to guess that testing out hot the stove is doesn’t fall under the parameters of “normal use”.

Which brings us to the second obstacle.

2) Chris doesn’t have enough spare parts.

After spending 45 minutes drooling about the containers and storage sets that would make my life complete I spent another 20 minutes trying to sort out which organs Chris doesn’t really need so that I can sell them on the black market so I can afford some Tupperware.  Even to replace the sad shell of a formerly glorious dish would cost about $120.  I won’t bother trying to figure out how much of the equity on our house I could sink in to buying everything else.

Ultimately this has led me to the following conclusion: Glad might not be Tupperware, but I can buy it in at least 4 different colours, a multitude of sizes, and best of all: I’m never going to cry about it.

It’s not so bad if it’s not all at once…

20 08 2010

I spent more time than I should have this morning agonizing over whether to sell off another piece of my humanity and sign up for Twitter.  (Agonizing implies more thought went in to the decision though, it was more like staring blankly at the screen and the “create” button until I realized there wasn’t really any reason not to push it).

What I’m really feeling now though is the guilt of the letter-writer over opening myself to another form of electronic media.  I like writing letters.  I like getting letters in the mail, and no, bills do not count.  I like the texture of really high quality paper.  I have a fountain pen collection.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging…  I think I’m having social-networking buyers remorse.

Do I really want to tell everyone what I’m doing in real-time?

Yep.  Rather fits with the whole princess thing and the fact that I never grew out of that 3-year-old-child-frantically-waving-arms assertion of “look at me!!”.

Wear the hat…

19 08 2010

I have a hat from Cracker Barrel.  (Previously mentioned as being the devil’s own restaurant with food that is designed to fill up my already jiggly fat cells.)  This hat is in celebration of the Auburn Tigers.  Who’s other mascot is the War Eagle.

I’m supposed to cheer for them, though, personal allegiances aside, I think I’d cheer for them anyway simply based on the sheer stupefying number of terrible drivers on the I-65 who have decorative Alabama Roll Tide licence plate holders.  Anyone that bad at merging is not someone I want to be cheering with.

College football…. College football?… Yep.  Most of the people cheering didn’t go to the college or university they cheer for.  Boggles the mind.

Let’s not talk about hockey.

Something I miss right now

14 05 2010


Sometimes it’s the little things that suddenly occur to you.  I haven’t seen a full night sky in a month and a half now.

There is nothing better than laying out on a blanket on the lawn, with the one you love, a cup of hot coffee, and watching the stars.


Cranky-pants City Girl

14 05 2010

It is both sunny and lovely outside.  I have been in the sun today.  I have driven around in it.  I nearly blinded myself turning a corner because the lovely sunshine happened to catch my ring just so and it flashed right in my eye and then I had to drive around with that annoying little blue circle in your field of vision thing.  I feel sheepish about my bling, but apparently it’s how things are done in the south.  My suggestion that we return it and, say, buy a car instead was met with vehement opposition.  Since I can’t beat him at this game I’ve taken to secretly prancing about the house imagining that I’m Marylin Monroe and singing “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”.  Guess it’s not so secret now.  As a complete aside, I love all those old musical movies.  *sigh*

In this sunshiny happy day weather I have had yet another illustration of why I’m not always laid back about city life.  I don’t think you can grow up surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people and retain much feeling of privacy beyond that pervasive anonymity that comes with the stranger-ness culture of big cities.  Do you know your neighbours?  Arguably, most people who live in the city do not, and if by chance you do know them, it is as passing acquaintances, not much more.  We are all relatively speaking, strangers (maybe even in a strange land).

My gripe is that the crazy bat landlady (she really is a little dotty… and very curmudgeon-y) sent over a landscaper to hack down the “noxious” blackberry bushes at the far back of the yard.  I’m not sure who they bother, being that we live on a back road kind of street and there’s an unoccupied house on one side between us and the condos down the street, and on the other side there’s an auto-body shop.  Maybe cars don’t like blackberries.  At any rate the bushes had to go.  Sadly, she hired an overcharging incompetent ass to do the job for her.  First he attempted to bond with me over how the neighbourhood is crummy… until he realized I live here.  Then he proceeded to tell me that there was no way for him to preserve the vines that grow over the back fence and afford us a modicum of isolation from the alley like street behind the house.  He’d had to cut them down because the blackberry bushes had to go.  I’m reasonably sure, being that we’ve managed to do the job ourselves in previous years with a minimum of effort, that what he actually meant to say was “it would have taken me an extra five minutes that I didn’t feel like spending in order to save the vines”.  Insert several bullshit excuses after his original statement and I simply turn and walk away to go inside before saying something I would not regret but may have to pay for later.

Why the attachment to these little vines… They aren’t flowering, they aren’t ruffled leaf ivy… I think it’s just the idea that rather than have every looky-loo moron stare in to the yard I could actually be outside with a slight degree of privacy.  I love the convenience of living in a city, but I’m tired of 75% of the idiots who live in it with me.  I mean the kind of people that have to slow down to look at accidents that aren’t obstructing the flow of traffic in their lane at all, and thereby become obstructions themselves.  The kind of people who don’t know how to merge on to a freeway at speed.  The kind of people who seem to firmly believe that it is their God-given duty to ensure that they enforce their opinions and beliefs and prissy organization on everyone else.  I’m tired of the way my city seems to enjoy using taxpayer dollars to legislate mindless busywork.  Maybe this is all just a bitter rant against people with upper middle class pretensions who aren’t capable of 5 minutes of logical thought let alone displaying any degree of common sense.

My plan to solve this: moving from a city of about 60 thousand people to one with about 600 people.  Say hello to four acres outside a small town still within convenient driving distance of a big city.  “Hello four acres… How do I love thee? I can not even count all the ways…”