Thursday, April 08, 2010

Spring Cleaning At The Dept., And Everything Must Go: Ninjas, Paula Deen, And Genes...Especially Those Genes

Here are some little Thought Nerfuls that have been nooking-and-crannying in my brain for awhile. Besides, it's time things got a bit Lighter here at the Dept.

]*[ Jared, shaking his head and chuckling at the memory, recently recounted this scene while reminiscing about his adventures with his buddy Isaac, currently serving in Iraq.
(scene opens at a neighborhood bar. young man in his twenties is at the bar; seated next to him is a young woman of the same age. they are obviously strangers.)
Young Woman: Yeah, so what do you do?
Isaac: Um, I go to school.
YW: Oh, really? What are you studying?
Isaac: (without missing a beat; completely cool, serious) Ninja Arts. At the community college.
YW: What? Wow. (takes a moment to study his face; is skeptical) Really? I never heard of that.
Isaac: Yeah, well, it's sorta like a phys. ed./psychology double major thing. It's pretty cool.
YW: Oh, wow. That is cool. Wow. Could you, like, show me something?
Isaac: Come on. Really? Here? (shakes head with totally disdainful look; walks away)
(end scene)

]*[ The Cleveland Plain Dealer has been doing a series about obesity in America. It recently published an article about celebrity chefs climbing on the bandwagon for healthier eating habits. I almost sprayed my coffee when I saw the name Paula Deen. Holy crap. This is the woman whose Holy Trinity is Butter, Mayonnaise, and Cream Cheese. Who invented a recipe called "Gooey Butter Cake." Who has a casserole called--and no, I am not making this up--"Piggy Pudding" which calls for a cup of maple syrup. I'm sorry, but unless her inclusion in this campaign is Court Ordered, I'm just not falling for it.

]*[ Had Easter buffet/groaning board/Embarrassment Of Food Overload with the Entire Extended Family on Sunday. Lovely...and Freudian in that we all blamed the patently ridiculous amount of food brought/provided on our upbringing by my mother. My sister bought a huge ham, hefted it at the store, and what was her first thought? "I will also make an Oceanic Vat of sloppy joes." I made enough Asian Slaw to bury that continent, and on and on and on and on it went with all of us relations making Titanic containers of food and transporting it all to Patti's house, then feeling waves of amusement, ridicule, and resignation. It is part of our Genetic Makeup. My mother did--and still does--the same thing. My brother Bob witnessed her, standing in front of the open freezer, doing unnecessarily complex mathematical calculations, just to decide how many chicken wings to cook and bring. When he quickly told her what he thought, she viciously challenged him:

Mom: How do you know that's how many?
Bob: Because I made one bag for my poker night for half as many people and it was more than enough.
Mom: But...
Bob: And shut the freezer. You're wasting energy.
Mom: Oh for heaven's sake. You don't even know how many wings are in here.
Bob: (reaches over and shuts freezer door while handing her a bag of wings) There are forty in here.
Mom: How do you know? It doesn't say on here.
Bob: I just know. Don't worry about it. I'll take care of the wings.
Mom: Boy oh boy. I wonder how I ever raised four kids if I never, ever do anything right.

(By the way, there were plenty of wings, but once this story was related to everyone by my brother--and my mom overheard--she made several of her grandchildren ask for more wings, pretending that they hadn't had enough. She can get ornery.)

]*[ Finally, one last story. My sons tease me endlessly about how long it takes me to "run into Walgreens" to get one or two items. They claim that I take hours, aimlessly wandering, lingering too long here and there, reading labels, calculating cost per ounce for the best deals, etc. They never want to take me or go with me. I claim that they are filthy liars. I might take a bit longer than they would like, but it is never hours. But this, too, might be genetic. My brother, who takes my mother shopping, says that she especially lingers overmuch at the greeting cards. "Dropping Mom off at the greeting card aisle is like dropping off a kid at the arcade," he said earnestly. "She can spend hours and hours in there. I can go do whatever shopping I have in whatever departments I need to, and when I'm done, no matter how long it took, that's where I'll find her. It's incredible."

I'm wrapping it up here. Dinnertime, and it's leftovers. For some reason, I always seem to have a lot of leftovers....


  1. Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis thing that I would guess is about as old as Ms. Deen or older. Of course, she presumably invented her version of the recipe, so maybe I am being picky. I think it's pretty gross, but my mother and brother adore it.

  2. My SIL made an asian cole slaw recipe from Paula Deen - it was REALLY good. Of course. Add enough full fat ingredients & anything is good. And the I suffer later (but that's TMI).

    I can spend a really long time in the greeting card aisle too. How do you know you've gotten the right one until you've read them all?

  3. Easter weekend was lamb overload at our house. We made a leg of lamb in the crock pot on Saturday (oh so good with mushrooms and rice pilaf) and then received a last-minute invitation to Easter dinner on Sunday, for more lamb (rare from the barbecue) and pork and vegetables and salad and mashed potatoes and pita and a lot of other stuff I can't even remember, plus wine. My daughter the carnivore was in heaven, and I felt like something of a gourmand by the end of the weekend. It was lovely.

  4. L@FF--I had bought a gorgeous leg of lamb before the Easter Family Dinner invitation was proffered. It may end up on the grill's rotisserie if another warm weekend comes along. You must have a huge crockpot if it fits the whole leg, unless you boned it.

    The Bug--I can't imagine an Asian slaw recipe being too high-fat (mine calls for only a half-cup of oil for a LOT of cabbage and brocco-slaw mix), but then again, mine isn't a Deen recipe. LOL. I hope you're feeling a little...erm...better! (Was gas involved...?? Never mind! Hee hee)

    Tiana--I wouldn't know; I just assumed she invented it because its ingredients are a cake mix, about a ton of butter, cream cheese, and a box of powdered sugar. Her name is on the recipe and the cookbook credits her, so that's what I went by. She also pretty much lays claim to having invented them at her restaurant. A St. Louis website has a variation that claims a 1930s origin as well, but with a piecrust type pastry "case"--and similar ingredients. Wow. Way more than I need(ed) to know, right? About something I will never, ever eat. Ick.

  5. Hope you enjoyed the leftovers! I just finished off mine on Wednesday. Now I have to detox until CupcakeCamp on Thursday. ; )

  6. I am a well-practiced heathen, so I wouldn't know this: Can somebody please tell me the relationship between Easter and ham? Chicken kind of makes sense if you get the whole Ishtar/Easter connection and factor in that where there are chickens, there will be eggs. Even lamb kinda makes sense, since Spring is lambing season and a few might understandably, never mind. But ham? Help me with this.

    Otherwise, I can attest personally to the superior wit and quickness of military minds. I've met the funniest folks in the world amongst active duty troops of all ranks. They must teach each other humor skills and refine their arts by being the toughest possible audience for their buddies. Isaac is beyond cool and the girl, of course, will never forget him. That's even better than picking her up for a one-nighter. Values, values.

  7. The Other Nance--Being a Recovering Catholic myself, I can't really attest to a Relationship btw Easter and Ham; I always serve a humongous ham at Christmas, so there you are! I just assumed that Ham = Holiday Dinner, regardless of what the holiday was, with the usual Thanksgiving Exception, of course, bowing to tradition. With regard to Isaac, this is just one of the many gems he has provided for Dinnertime Discussion at the Dept. His humor and other personality quirks are legend here. Right down to insisting upon visiting my son's dog who was hanging out at his house during a party one evening. Isaac doesn't care for dogs, but he kept going outside to "at least say hello. After all, the dog is at my house, and I'm the host and all." Incredible.

  8. I bet Isaac's Ninja Arts are really helpful as he serves in Iraq :)

    I think everyone always makes too much food. I just threw a shit load away...what a waste!

  9. We had ham for Easter, too. Coincidence? I think not.

  10. apathy lounge--welcome back!

    Nina--Oh, what a waste. Nothing you could freeze? I'm thinking of taking Ninja Arts purely for the exercise, both physical and mental. LOL.

  11. Nancy2:34 PM

    Hi Nance,

    I have probably met your Mom at the Greeting card section at our local Shop-Rite.

    I also spend a lot of time selecting cards because I always keep an assortment of Get Well cards on my mantle. Why? So if people pop in they will think I have been sick and not able to clean.....

  12. Nancy--I like that idea better than my old dodge of just sitting the vacuum cleaner out along with a can of Pledge on the coffee table. Makes it look like I'm always just about to clean. LOL.

  13. Oh Nance this post really brightened my are a riot! ROTFLMAO @ the Paula Deen story!!!! Also, I just spent "hours" in Walgreens the other know, I might have to blog about that experience this week.

    Leftovers used to be an issue in my house, but now my boys are 13 an 10...enough said.

  14. Damn it! Make that 13 "and" know I like to be grammatically correct on your blog!

  15. Oh crap! That bunny has me cracking up!!!

  16. Nina--Isn't it goofy? I can't figure out where its body is. Must be the photo lens distorting it a bit.

    Tera--I don't get fussy about obvious typos like that. I know you know your stuff, but it's always nice to know that you pay special attention to the niceties of written expression when you visit the Dept.! At any rate, stop by here any time you need cheering up. Remember, I have almost FIVE years of archives--there's bound to be something back in the stacks to make you chuckle!

  17. Oh, the stories my children will tell...

    "I went into A.C. Moore with my mom in eighth grade and when we emerged, I was old enough to get my license. It's true!"


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