Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Is There Really a Lid for Every Pot?

          There is a strange phenomenon going on in every household across America, maybe throughout the world. And none of us question it, we just live with it.
          It’s the Mystery of the Tupperware Lids. That may not sound like the next riveting Stephen King novel, but believe me: It’s taking over the universe.
          We all have a stash of these plastic containers.  And maybe they’re made by Rubbermaid or Ziploc or some other company, but the problem remains: Our lids and bottoms do not match up.  At least not perfectly.  We either have too many lids or too many bottoms, many of which have no mate.
          How is this possible?  We buy them in matching sets, the math is perfect.  And then, within days, our world is in disarray.
          Imagine if this happened with your shoes.  Suddenly no two shoes go together—you have a Nike shoe, a dress shoe, and a slipper.  But no mates.  You’d call the police, right? And report shoe theft or something.
          What if one of your bedsheets was suddenly gone?  Or half your shirts?  Sure, we all joke about the lost sock in the laundry, but that’s one sock. Not one of every pair.
          Does plastic decompose faster than we’ve all been taught, and does it literally evaporate into the air? Is there a vast network of tiny elves who worship plastic, and who sneak into our homes (through the vents?) and then make off with various lids? Did someone melt them in the dishwasher, or try to bake them in the oven?

          It makes you want to install a tiny chain from the lid to its bottom, the way banks protect their ball point pens.  Or just use ceramic bowls and plastic wrap forever more.  Or disposable Chinese-style take-out boxes.  Meanwhile, I don’t recommend calling the police.  They’d have time for nothing else.

         Stay home and guard your plastic containers—curl up with a good book and keep one eye out for thieves.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

We Should Have a Nancy Johnson Day

          Last week I blogged about the ice cream man, and since we’re still in a heat wave today I’m blogging about the ultimate Ice Cream Woman, Nancy Johnson.
          No one knows exactly what she looked like, so I’m going with Marlene Dietrich.  Hey, who’s to say she didn’t look like this?
          What we do know is that she was a Philadelphia housewife, born in 1795, and that she invented the hand-cranked ice cream churn and that, in turn, made history.

          Before this ingenious invention, ice cream was made laboriously at home, with lumpy results. And usually only by servants of the ruling class.  But now, thanks to Nancy, quality ice cream could be produced and sold to the masses.  Even today, electric mixers resemble the one she invented, using cylinders, a paddle, a lid, and a crank.
           Flash frozen—I mean flash forward—to today, and we find out that Americans each eat more than 22 pounds of it a year. The most popular flavors, in order, are: Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookie Dough/Cookies & Cream, Butter Pecan/Swiss Almond, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Strawberry.
          Just in the U.S., sales average about $14 billion a year, and $77 billion worldwide. 
          Unfortunately Nancy couldn’t afford to manufacture her own invention, and sold it for just $200.
          I think the very least we can do is give Nancy her own day.
And nothing beats reading a good book while enjoying an ice cream cone.  You can order my books here.  The cone you’ll have to scoop yourself. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Ice Cream Man Cometh

          When I say “Ice Cream Man” you picture the guys driving the musical trucks around, right?  And little kids running out of their homes to catch him and buy some ice cream? 

          Well, I picture that as well, but I also think how cool it would be to have a giant mannequin made entirely of ice cream.  Surely there’s a festival somewhere, where they do this.
          In Los Angeles this summer, there was a pop-up Ice Cream Museum (tickets sold faster than hotcakes topped with ice cream), and one of my friends described her visit as a religious experience.
          But back to the ice cream man.  It occurs to me that these brave, hardy souls who traverse suburbia selling popsicles and ice cream sandwiches are to be admired for something else as well: They can tolerate the same tune, played loudly on tinny speakers, for hours upon hours as they make their rounds. In my neighborhood it’s “The Entertainer,” which was actually written by Scott Joplin in 1902.  If people in Rocklin ever attend a Ragtime Revue, every one of their mouths will water when that tune begins.  We’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dog.
          And every time the ice cream man goes by, I think of him with admiration for being able to tolerate repetition, the likes of which would drive anyone else into a screaming fit.  So today I pay tribute not only to the guy who brings cool, refreshing treats to the sweaty masses in this heat wave we’re having, but to the guy who can maintain his sanity when all others would be losing theirs.
Stay inside where it’s cool and enjoy a frosty treat while you read one of my books.  I don’t even mind if you drip ice cream on the pages.