Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Devil and the Angel

          You know the image of an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other?  Well, in my family this is taken quite literally. It is also when it would be nice to be deaf in one ear. 

          Within five minutes of each other, our daughter, Nicole texted me about Fed Up, a documentary on Netflix, that St. Bob and I just have to watch, about how sugar is a poison and how the food industry is killing our health.

And in the next breath I got a text from her brother, Brandon, telling me about a fabulous new chocolate cake recipe that originated in Brooklyn.
And so, dutiful mother that I am, I have already watched the documentary and must admit it is very compelling and makes me want to revamp my entire approach to eating.
But… I also read the recipe for that cake and am salivating, just thinking about it.  Here is a link to the recipe, along with a warning about how difficult it is to make. (Note that they tell you it should be eaten within 24 hours, as if a cake like this could last even two.)
  And so here I am, on the horns of a dilemma.  I’ve had dessert for breakfast, as well as for dessert, every day of my life.  But I also know this might be a teensy bit over the line.  So which way do I go, which path do I choose?  Which child becomes my mascot, my guide, my director? 
I think I’m going to have to compromise.  I will make some changes in my grocery shopping and eating.  But I will allow myself the occasional treat, remembering that it’s the day-to-day habits that control our health, not the special occasion splurges.  Or, as Brandon later texted, “Moderation in all cakes.”

Hey, a good way to diet AND splurge, is to get caught up in one of my novels.  That way you’re not eating, but you’re still enjoying a treat.  Find ‘em here and dig in!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Be Very Afraid

          It has come to my attention that there is a universal fear of garbage disposals.  Here we are, constantly in the kitchen (where it lives!) yet we cannot keep our pulses from racing just a tad more, every time we flip the switch to run it.
          Noisy, chomping, growling—it’s as if we have a Tyrannosaurus Rex chained under the counter, and if we don’t back away quick enough, he’ll swallow us whole.
          Why do we do this to ourselves? Why, after decades of living in the modern world, do we still feel a creeping nervousness whenever we put something down that ominous black hole?
          Mind you, there are people who will jump out of airplanes, surf in shark-infested waters, and walk down dark alleys, who still pull their hand back as quickly as they can, before turning on that scary beast.
          Maybe it’s because our mothers all told us not to stick our fingers down there or they’ll get cut off.  There’s a wild, chomping, noisy monster just inches away, ready to grab us and chew us to bits. And that advice rings in our heads still today.
           So, is it true?  Will we lose our hand if we get too close?  Well, I did some research.  It turns out that this device does not have the whirling blades a blender has—instead it uses impellers (lugs) and shredders that look like this:
          BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT IT DOES TO CHICKEN!!  Do you really think this device knows the difference between you and a drumstick?   Why take a chance?  The flywheel spins at nearly 2,000 rotations per minute.  That’s enough to mangle and bruise anybody, at the very least.
          You may have thought I was going to dispel a myth here, but I say err on the side of fear and panic.  No, there are not sharp knives down there.  But there’s stuff.  Whirling, metal stuff.   
So stay back, grab a sword or a sharp stick for a weapon—just in case—and then breathe a sigh of relief when you can finally turn off the switch.  You will live another day.

Wanna know what’s safe to put down a disposal, and if lemon rinds will really clean it?  Check out my YouTube Mom video!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Getting Your Goat

Here you go, trivia experts: What animal was first to be domesticated, is a great swimmer, climbs trees, doesn’t sleep (okay, just the wild ones don’t sleep), and has rectangular pupils?
          The goat!  I know, you think all they do is grow whiskers, eat tin cans, bleat loudly on TV commercials, and lower their heads to butt you one.  But it turns out these wily creatures have an amazing story.  And, after posting a blog about the sheep who showed up in my neighborhood last year to graze the meadows, I have to give equal time to this year’s grazers, a multi-color festival of grass chewers that I noticed now that Spring is here:
          Check it out, one of them is even polka-dot printed:
          Here’s another example of a polka dot goat:
          Which tells you these are very fashion-forward animals, and are probably totally aware that their Cashmere and Angora fetch a pretty penny when made into upscale garments.
          In fact, before coins came along, these relatives of cows and sheep were considered so valuable that they were traded for silver.  Obviously you would need a very large wallet, possibly one with wheels, to make such transactions.
          But get this: There are more than 600 million goats in the world, and about 300 varieties.  And did you know that people drink more goats’ milk than cows’ milk-- and you can digest it in just 20 minutes, versus taking all day for cows’ milk? 
          Despite the distinctive odor of the non-neutered males, they’re actually one of the cleanest animals and fussiest eaters.  They will climb trees for the best leaves,
and are actually credited with discovering coffee.  Yessir, goat herders noticed how perky goats were after nibbling coffee beans, and the rest is history.  But I am pretty sure Starbucks is not sending so much as one dollar in royalty payment to one goat.
Guess where the phrase, “get your goat” came from.  You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you.  It turns out goats make very calming companions, so people kept them with racehorses, to calm them.  Thus, if you steal the goat, you agitate the horse, and he won’t race well.  Today, when you get someone’s goat, it means you irritate them.  
Which, of course, makes me wonder:  Do you think Starbucks "gets the goat"of a goat?

Be a good kid and visit my website, where you can buy my books and watch hundreds of my YouTube Mom videos.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I Will Never Make These Recipes

          I am an organized type of person.  My favorite recipes—hundreds of them-- are in plastic page protectors in their appropriate binders:
          And I love to cook (you know I’ve won dozens of cook-offs), so I’m not afraid of attempting a complicated recipe on occasion, such as my lemon souffle:  
          But my prize-winning creations are all fairly simple, which is usually the only kind that can win a contest.  They may be creative, but they are all do-able, even by non-foodies:

So believe me when I say I sympathize with my friends who refuse to delve into the difficult.  Life is hard enough without making the daily act of eating into an Olympic event.
          I have therefore compiled a list of 15 reasons why you are totally justified refusing to make a recipe:
1-       It has more than five ingredients
2-      One of the ingredients says “available in Asian and specialty markets”
3-      It has the word “Diet” in the title
4-      One of the steps is “chill overnight”
5-      It calls for Star Anise, Ribbon Fruit, curry leaf, or minced Jalapenos
6-      It claims to be better than sex, and it won’t be
7-      You need a rasp, a mandolin, a stove top smoker, and a bamboo steamer basket to make it
8-      The last line is “Serve at once…”
9-      It says “serves 12” and you have three
10-    It involves more than two mixing bowls
11-     It starts with one cup of clotted cream
12-    It can stick to the sides of the baking dish
13-     It requires deep-frying oil, which will spatter your entire kitchen.
14-    It claims to be an excellent source of fiber.
15-     It says, “may curdle,” “may boil over,” or “may crack.”
          Let’s eat well, let’s enjoy life, but let’s not stress ourselves into a knot of worry just preparing daily fare.  Better yet, let’s eat out and let someone else do the cooking!

Be sure to read “Sisters in the Mix,” my comedy about a woman who has both OCD and a cooking show.  You can find it here.