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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Spread This

Finger(s) lickin' good.

Look, I love California. It’s a pretty groovy state, and if you can afford to live here, few places can match the consistent majesty of its coastline. I’ve explained to Russell that our retirement will be little more than stretching out on its beaches, sifting through the pages of a good book. But some of the frivolous crap its citizens can pull, and the resulting judgments its courts can award, make my brain hemorrhage.

I’ll spare you the arduous task of clicking the above link—since nobody will anyway—and simply explain the cause of today’s aneurysm: Last week, a mother in San Diego (where I live) was awarded three million dollars in her class action lawsuit against Ferrero, over the false advertising they used to promote their hazelnut spread, Nutella. Before I delve into further details, first read a transcript from one of their commercials:

“As a mom, I’m a great believer in Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread that I use to get my kids to eat healthy foods. I spread a little on all kinds of healthy things, like multigrain toast. Every jar has wholesome, quality ingredients, like hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of delicious cocoa. And Nutella has no artificial colors or preservatives. It’s quick, it’s easy, and at breakfast I can use all the help I can get.”

Oh... you mean it's on the BACK of the jar.

Did you catch the three million dollar complaint in there? By saying Nutella pairs well with healthier grains, we, the American moronic, should expect the spread itself to be healthy. Right? Of course it’s not healthy—in fact, it is the nutritional equivalent of a puréed Snickers bar. How do I know this? BECAUSE I READ THE FREAKING LABEL! It’s not hidden, it’s not hidden in plain sight, it’s just in plain sight; public knowledge attainable by anyone that puts on their reading eyes. If the mom that launched this class action lawsuit were so concerned for the dietary sanctity of her kids, why is she letting television convince her of anything? In what world does she live where advertising sells itself exactly as it is?

Hey, I’m all for justice, as well as the little guy sticking it to the man. If Ferrero had outright lied, I’d be upset. If it were revealed that Nutella contained 30% crushed mice,  I’d be mad (although 29% is fine). And if it came out that the secret, addictive ingredient was baby blood, I’d be furious. Short of that, however, there is just a point where the odd man out doesn’t get to have their day in court; there is just a point where we have to keep the world’s line moving.

I don’t write this from a high ground, moral or other. I feed Nutella to my trio, knowing full well what sinisterly delicious goodness awaits them… but that’s because I’m a bad mom. I certainly don’t expect to get paid for it, and to say that the judge should’ve thrown the book at this woman sounds figurative. He should’ve literally thrown a book at her. About nutrition. Then she could have the benefit of wisdom beyond petty commercialism. She wouldn’t need to install any special drivers—books are compatible with the brains inside her skull.

Crepes With (Unhealthy) Nutella & Berries

Fruit makes it good for you.

  • 1 batch crepes (find recipe here)
  • Nutella
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • whipped cream

Prepare crepes as directed. Spread a little (or a lot—your choice, fellow crap moms) of Nutella in the center of each crepe. Fold crepes into quarters. Top with sliced strawberries and raspberries—you decide how many. Top with whipped cream. Delicious, albeit not the most nutritionally sound thing you can eat. 

I swear I’m in the wrong business. The shortcut to being a millionaire isn’t about being the best at anything. It’s apparently about being just bat-shit crazy enough to throw a legal hissy fit whenever the minutia of your personal happiness goes unacknowledged. So… guess what, California? Ever since your proposed foie gras ban, my parties just aren’t fancy enough anymore. If you wanna know who to make the check out to, just call me “Cash.”

TWTG says, “I’m not gonna waste truffle oil on the fucking kids, though!”

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(Engrish) Of The Week

Because Russell is something of a Nipponophile, and because I love discovering obscure hole-in-the-walls, our weekends are spent drifting through the back alleys of commerce, hoping to find Eastern treasure sold to us by adorable catgirls. Recently, we unearthed these:

 

Here’s where I’m supposed to make fun of people with accents, because my Japanese is obviously so much better than their English. I’d prove it to you, but I’d just come off as a bucking asshore.

Pretty/Painful

This doesn't just happen.

When I brush the tangles from my daughter’s hair, she often cries about the chunks of scalp matted between the bristles. Following my sinister laugh, the next three words are always the same, “beauty is pain.” Search below this paragraph and see examples of what I mean. That krugerrand-size blister on my heel? From running off the fat I can’t afford to Lap-Band. That permanent indent between my shoulder and neck? From three decades of over-the-shoulder holders carrying eight pounds (I’ve weighed) of boulders. I’ve been peeled chemically, waxed Brazilianly and have considered getting improved surgically.

And guess what, stupid men? I don’t do it for you. Contrary to how your ego strokes… itself(?), women don’t suffer because we love you. We do it because we hate each other. Hold a conch shell between a pair of women working at the same job, and you’ll hear the soft ocean sounds of two passive-aggressive bitches locked in a silent competition of jealousy and one-upmanship. Whether you’re my best friend, my faux friend or just some twat, the cutest shoes in the room better be on my blistery hooves. Hey, I really like that haircut, but I liked it a lot more when I had it first a year ago. No, sorry, real Coach bags aren’t stitched like that on the inside—your boyfriend doesn’t love you. And so on.

...no gain.

I’ve mentioned my bijou friend, Autumn, on the blog before and I adore her. She’s one of the few mature adults I’ve met, cute as a basket full of kittens and just as sweet. She has immaculate taste in fashion and fine dining—two things that make her perfect when I want to hit the town and play classy trouble. But none of that stops me from pretending I’m stepping all over her tiny, mangled body while I run laps. Who the hell said she could have a smaller frame than me? The Queen of Everything did not put her royal seal on such nonsense!

Le sigh.

Was perkiness worth it? Duh.

Guys, don’t pretend you’re any better. When it comes to the solidity of your calves, the frosting of your tips or the anatomy of an authentic Rolex (remember: its second hand doesn’t tick, stupid, it sweeps), you are every bit the gluttons for superficial punishment women are. The difference is, unless you’re a metrosexual priss like my ex, you really are doing it in service of the opposite sex. We all come factory-installed with one universal truth: women are better looking than men. If this were inaccurate, the female form wouldn’t have been the central theme of art, music and porn since time immemorial. You must never forget that you are men, and as men you must dream; and when you dream, you dream of boobies.

Lovely Potato Salad

Pretty without the pain.

  • 9-10 russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts (about 20)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt & pepper

The trick here is to boil the potatoes whole, with the skin still on. Allow them to cool and then peel. Slice potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and gently stir to incorporate. I used my mini food processor to chop the artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and shallots, but they can be done by hand. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

To further my woman-as-art argument, here are some of the songs I can think of that are named after women: Iris, Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, Hey Jude, Irene, Alison (Evlis Costello), Allison (Pixies), Billie Jean, Sweet Jane, Maggie May, Baby Jane, Beth, Suzanne, Christine, Jenny From The Block, Polly, Lola, Roxanne, My Sharona, Lyla, Helena, Laura, Angie, Oh Sherrie, Oh Shelia, etc. (I really could keep going). And what do men get? Ben. Ben sung by a then-black Michael Jackson about a homicidal rat. There’s also Daniel, but that’s Elton John—so one man singing about another. Jessie’s Girl certainly isn’t about Jessie. See where I’m going with this, fellas? To quote Daphne and Celeste, “U-G-L-Y, you ain’t go no alibi—you ugly!”

TWTG says, “I have to blow my nose, or I’m gonna do it on your shirt.”

Amoral Fiber

Russell made me post it, mom! Kill him, not me.

Even if you’re a sometimes reader of my blog, you’ve probably noticed I’m not super moral. Not to say I lack morality (my philosophy is simple: do no harm; be happy), it’s just not my measuring stick for humanity. Why? It’s so subjective and unreliable that even hive-minded endeavors aren’t exempt from dissent. For example, I’m a Baptist, but that’s one of over thirty thousand denominations of Christianity. Good luck finding two Christians that can agree on pizza toppings for their youth group’s fundraiser, let alone find a synonymous interpretation of the Bible. Far too many people use morality as a shortcut to only determine what isn’t moral (and, by extension, what isn’t exactly like the scapegoater). For them, it has no higher purpose than to facilitate anger. What a sad way to live.

Because I’m not morally driven, Russell teases me about being a bad conservative. As I said in my last entry, my liberalism ended with college. When I started making babies, money quickly became relevant, and the conservativelaissez-faire approach to business better suited that agenda. (How does the saying go? If you’re not a rebel by twenty, you’ve got no heart. If you haven’t turned establishment by thirty, you’ve got no brains. Something like that.) At the same time, I’m all for gay marriage. Never mind my personal feelings on the subject—the discrimination against it is purely moral-centric, and it’s just not the government’s place to legislate that kind of taste. Where did the simpler conservatives of the 80s go? Reagan was our homeboy, the rich got richer and life was good. Who do we have three decades later? Jesus. A way cooler main character, to be sure, but wrong for the part. I mean, long hair, sandals, Jewish and advocates tolerance? The Lamb of God is hyper-liberal.

I say worry less about morality, and more about ethics. Ethics are a blanket measure of character, and mostly inarguable: work harder than the person next to you and move ahead of them faster. Is it that everyone became so impotent at their life and career they had nowhere to hide but behind these sanctimonious shell games? Here’s a parable to tie my points together: Imagine your child needed surgery, and it’s life or death. Now imagine that just before the specialist went in to operate, a nurse pulled you aside and said, “you know, he cheats on his wife.” Your response would be something akin to, “great, now shut-up and let that man save my kid.” This is the attitude our country needs to cop if it ever hopes to find its way from this sea of gray areas.

If the counterargument is that I’m pointing fingers at those that point fingers… well, you’ll just have to figure that shit out for yourself.

Righteous Ribs

Mountain o' meat.

Adapted from Alton Brown’s “Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?”

  • 2 slabs baby back pork ribs
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onions
  • 1/2 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Preheat oven to 250˚.  Mix dry ingredients together to create a spice rub. Rub both sides of ribs with all of the spice rub and allow to absorb for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better). Mix the wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, honey and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Place ribs in a large roasting pan and cover with braising liquid. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and braise in oven for 2 1/2 hours. Pour braising liquid into saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Brush ribs with glaze and place under broiler for a few minutes until the glaze starts to caramelize. Cut ribs into 2 rib portions, place in a large bowl and toss with remaining braising liquid. 

Because he’s just about the smartest man I’ve ever met, I asked Russell what morality was to him. He thought about it a moment and said, “anything you do is okay as long as you’re really pissed off when you do it.” That made me giggle until I realized what my personal philosopher meant: We’re never more self-righteous than while at our angriest, and can’t look at our bad behavior objectively because we’re too busy making a point. In other words, if you want to validate something, irrespective of truth, fairness or even reality, just let yourself get Bible Belt angry—your stupid temper will take care of the rest. Do no harm; be happy.

TWTG says, “Soy fucks with your hormones.”

Kony Baloney

Cal State San Marcos is exactly one mile from my house, making it very simple to measure my weekend runs. Yesterday, as I made Russell join me on a four mile walk, we noticed the campus was covered in Kony 2012 posters. Being the monster I am, the first thing out of my mouth was, “we’re still supposed to care about that, huh?” Now. Look. The situation in Uganda fills me with regret for our species, and my heart goes out to anyone that has suffered from the appalling actions of Joseph Kony. Having said that, until psychic powers work as more than a plot device for fiction, we can’t (literally) hate him to death.

Protest is the lip service of palpable solutions, and the palpable solution this mass murdering shithead deserves is unlikely to come to fruition. Why? Because, historically, we tend to assassinate figureheads that advocate peace, love and understanding: Gandhi, Lincoln, Kennedy, Jesus, etc.. But genocidal madmen? As long as they keep it within their property lines, governments are oddly fine with them. Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Zedong, etc. all played on their own porches, and each got to die of natural causes well into their 70s and 80s. What fools these mortals be.

If this reads as indifference, it’s not. I did my bleeding-heart liberal years in college. I was once young, inspired and driven by whale-saving goodness. I planted trees, promoted green living (before it was trendy), counseled rape victims and voted for Clinton twice. It’s easy to be idealistic when you’re young, given that ideals are simply the hard work you’ve yet to do. Twenty years of real life later? I don’t feel I was wrong for trying—and not just because my heart was in the right place. I didn’t grow up so much as wise up. The more you learn about this big world of ours, the more you realize how little of it can be helped. In the name of progress, we’ve designed it to be unchangeable.

Let me shoot you in the face with an old (paraphrased) adage: A man was walking on the beach one day when he came upon thousands of starfish that had washed up on the shore. In the distance, he could see a little girl throwing them back into the sea. “Sweet little girl,” he said, “there are simply too many starfish for you to save. You can’t even begin to make a difference.” The little girl stared at him and threw another starfish into the water. “Well, I made a difference to that one.” There are two things we can take away from this. One, what is a child doing unsupervised on a beach with a creeper that calls her “sweet little girl?” Two, despite anything written in the above paragraphs, caring is never futile and no difference is too small to make.

However, if you think papering city streets will undo a cause-of-the-week like Joseph Kony, guess again. While I applaud the viral education that has been spread about this injustice, until we’re prepared to fight it with sanctions and/or combat, the most those posters will do is waste the trees I planted back in college. And, hey, if I’m wrong, I get to have the satisfaction of being pleasantly surprised.

The Salad of Tolerance

  • 1 bag baby spring mix salad
  • 2 cups cubed chicken
  • 1 D’anjou pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta

The Dressing of Compassion

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp poppy seed
  • 2 tbsp salad oil

Place salad ingredients in a large bowl. If you cook with your heart, you will make it look pretty before making tossing it with the dressing and making a mess of it. For the dressing combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in salad oil until emulsified. Toss with salad and serve.

Not that it’s up to me, but I don’t want to read any hate mail pertaining to this issue. Because, believe me, I get it. I get everyone’s passion, and am in no way suggesting that such fervor is misplaced. I’ve merely outlined why I’m not as enthusiastic about it as the masses would have me be. If that reasoning isn’t good enough for you, please write everything you wish to say in a spellchecked e-mail, then hit Control-Alt-Delete (or Command-Option-Escape for Mac users). I’ll be over here, fighting for my fois gras like a total hypocrite.

TWTG says, “So… do you just whack them in the head and knife them?”

…Of The Week

Because I’m a harlot for ratings, because my hit count resets every Monday and because you needed one more obnoxious thing to pop up on your Facebook, I’m going to maximize my Sunday numbers by launching a new feature called “…Of The Week.” What is it? Whatever stupid, gimmicky thing I want it to be. For example, this week is “Top 5 Bizarro Search Engine Terms Of The Week.” This is a quintet of the random-ass things people are looking for that Google thought my site was a good candidate to provide:

“Forced to eat crap because white trash coworker will not try new food”

“Lady’s chubby bum”

“Nice Vietnamese boobs”

“Disgusting white trash with guns photo”

“Cumin’ while rape”

That last one isn’t a typo. Well, it is, but I’ve transcribed it exactly as it came to me (no pun intended). Either someone doesn’t know how two Ms create a short U sound, or they like a little spice to go with their sexual shenanigans.

TWTG says, “I need a booger rag.”

From Some Flounder

One of my bigger fears when I first planted my flag in the digital world (“In the name of Her Royal Highness, I declare this land ‘Kimopolis!'”) was hate mail, but my concerns were a double-edged sword. On one hand, I knew I was going to broach controversial topics, and have never had any reservations about teasing the people I don’t like until they curl into a laughable shame ball. On the other, anonymity plus keyboard equals total jackass—those looking for a fight will always find one, irrespective of things like common sense, logic and math. But, for all my vegan vulgarisms and foie gras fanaticism, I’ve emerged (mostly) unscathed. I blame the boobs.

The worst so far was a rather nasty comment from a former… well, I won’t say boyfriend, as we went on all of two dates. He had taken our conversations for more than they were worth, and tried to call me a liar and a whore for making him misunderstand our dynamic. (As it’s clearly within my power to decide that for him.) This seems to be a recurring problem in my life. Granted, I’m an intrinsic flirt and try to approach life playfully, but men really are dumb about this. So much so that Russell has suggested starting his own blog titled Men Who Try to Shtup My Girlfriend. It would be like “To Catch a Predator,” but instead of pedophiles, it would feature men—complete with intimate profiles—who’ve mistaken my kindness for interest, and have crossed the line of good character by not respecting the relationship I’m in. I blame the boobs.

Beyond that, I’ve encountered but a handful of unpleasantries. A lady on LinkedIn called me out because my blog wasn’t the lighthearted puffery she expected. (Obviously, this was before Wednesday’s fart debacle.) I did a bit of snooping, and discovered she was considerably older and Methodist—so it’s not like she matters. Also on LinkedIn, a little comment war has been spurred by my fois gras rant, fought between faithful readers and people with no discernible sense of humor. I’m not going to address it; I choose to stay out of silliness like that. Why? Reread the above picture. Finally, I’m in a very polite e-mail argument with someone bent on teaching me the evils of white foods (sugar, flour, milk, etc.), as though this uncultured rube of a honey badger is willing to learn anything in the face of sacrificing delicious flavor.

I’m mentioning all of this because I have space to fill. (Also, so everyone understands I’ll use my blog to destroy you if you ever annoy me.) That it fills so little space means I’m doing my job: creating a place of love. Love of food. Love of me. Love of those that love me—until they take it too far, in which case, see Russell’s proposed blog.

Quinoa Spaghetti Pie

Serves Erica Rumsey

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (yield of 1 cup uncooked)
  • 15 oz tub of ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (if you buy the links, you will need to squeeze the meat out of the casing to brown)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (I use Russell’s double secret sauce and no he will not let me share the recipe)
  • 8 oz mozzarella, sliced

Preheat oven to 350˚. Press the cooked quinoa into 2 pie pans to form a crust. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, egg, parmesan and Italian Seasoning. Carefully spread half of the mixture into each pie pan. Brown Italian sausage and drain. Divide the sausage evenly over the top of the ricotta. Top each pie with 1 cup marinara and half of the sliced mozzerella. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and just starting to bubble.

Today’s recipe is the epitome of the love I hope my blog will spread. It’s the first dish ever requested from the Order Up page, asked for by my old coworker and dear friend, Erica. She wanted something that included quinoa, but didn’t taste like straight birdseed. After watching Russell devour almost all of what I created, I’m pretty sure I nailed it. (And because I promised cross-promotion for anyone that challenged me, here is a link to her fundraising team, Mom’s Angels, for her charity, Walk MS.) So, there you ago: Ask of me your deepest culinary queries, and I shall deliver. Even though you are my humble servants, I remain your marvelous food bitch. That is, until you send me a nasty e-mail, and I find out where you live.

TWTG says, “Most people are either writers or food or perverts.”