Posted tagged ‘food’

Bone Sucking Pleasure

October 17, 2009


I just did something that I am horribly ashamed of.

It was selfish.

It was a bit degrading.

It was wonderful.

Last night – while the Princess was at a movie with friends and the Prince was enjoying a high school football game with friends – HRH and I spurged on take out from our favorite rib joint.  We split an order of barbecue sauced ribs and bread sticks.  He took one end and I took the other.  He took a couple from the middle and left me with two.  After some very careful, contemplative thought, I stuck them in a plastic bag with a leftover bread stick and HID them in the refrigerator.

It didn’t matter to me that Prince and Princess would both have LOVED them for a snack.  It didn’t matter that HRH would have loved them for a ‘late night get up to watch a little tv’ snack. 

What mattered is that they were stashed in the back of the fridge getting cold.

It’s 9:30 am.  HRH just left to take the Prince to his soccer reffing job.  The Princess is curled up in a blanket watching Saturday morning cartoons in the livingroom. 

I crept quietly out to the kitchen and dug way back behind the salad bowl and pulled out the plastic bag.  I brought it back to my bedroom, crawled back under the quilt and enjoyed every single solitary bone sucking second with my hidden treats.

It was cold.

It was messy.

It was saucy and spicy.

It was delicious.


I am a terrible mother.

I am a terrible wife.


School Lunches

October 11, 2009

When I was a little girl, packing a lunch to school every day was an accepted fact.  Everyone did it.  At least everyone who rode the bus to school.  We all had the same thing.  Sandwich…wrapped in wax paper or a foldover plastic sandwich bag.  Cookies.  Apples or some other kind of fruit.   And a carton of white milk from the milk wagon.  Day after day.  If your lunch box came with a matching thermos, there was soup in the winter.  Or an occasional chocolate milk mixed with syrup at home.  Good times.

Our only respite from this was a once a month ‘Hot Dog Day.’  your lunch was ordered days before with little yellow envelopes and the appropriate number of quarters.  Then you would get hots dogs and chips…..cooked, wrapped in paper napkins and counted out by a contingency of volunteer Moms in the school kitchen.  I can still drag up the smell of those steaming hot dogs delivered to each classroom in brown paper grocery bags.  MY Mom was the Hot Dog Chairman for a number of years when I was in grade school so we were privy to some of their ‘secrets.’   For instance, they would steam the buns before hand by putting them in a paper bag, wetting the bag down and slip it into the hot oven until it was dry again.   (But don’t try this in a gas oven.  I found out the hard way….)  Just for fun they instituted the rubber hot dog plan.  Each classroom’s bag contained one wrapped rubber hot dog.  If you got that one when they were passed out, you got your money back.  Or there was an occcasional ‘Cupcake Day’ you could purchase a cupcake (made and donated by those volunteer Moms) for a dessert.  And then there were rare days when you could purchase ice cream from a student safety patrol member who monitored the locked freezer in the hall. 

This was our elementary school version of ‘hot lunch.’  Once a month.

Now I am a Teacher in an elementary school.  I have seen the school hot lunch program in our district morph through many, many changes in the last 30 years.  Only one school where I worked cooked lunches on site.  Everyone else justed heated up foil wrapped containers that were filled at the high school kitchens the previous day.  Students had one choice or they packed a lunch from home.  Then came the packages that were silver or gold foil, meaning they had two choices to pick from.  Ordering and prepaying for lunches in the classroom was an horrendous odeal for teachers until your class got the system right.  Little ones might order something in the morning but want something different by the time lunch time rolled around. If they took it, the count was off for the rest of the kids.  Lunches were delivered to your classroom on a cart for a while and then we gravitated to the long table sin the multipurpose room.  .  

I took a walk through our school cafeteria the other day.  Now there are crates of low fat and whole milk in white, chocolate and strawberry flavors to choose from.  There are now three choices of lunches that vary from day to day.  In any given week kids might have chicken patty sandwiches, chicken nuggets or fish sticks…tacos, spaghetti or a stir fry with rice….breakfast for lunch….Chef Salad…….or a curious thing called a ‘Grab and Go’ (usually yogurt, graham crackers and cheese slices with fruit).  There is an occasionally frozen fruit juice treat and the week before Thanksgiving vacation there is a turkey/dressing/potato/corn lunch with pumpkin flavored cookies.  AND our cafeteria serves breakfast in the first few minutes of the school day.  Its usually fruit, cereal, pop tarts, bagels and graham crackers with fruit and milk.  Amazing.

We’ve come a long, long way since ‘Hot Dog Day.’


‘Our StaTe Fair is tHe Best StATe Fair…’

July 13, 2009

Okay….so it wasn’t the STATE fair.  I think I have only been to our state fair only twice in my life actually.  MY family always went to the Saginaw Fair.  My father spent most of his growing up years either living on a farm or working on a farm.  The fair to him always meant horses and cattle and tractor pulls and baked goods competitions.  With the STATE fair based in an urban area, ours was more automotive than agricultural.   But not the Saginaw Fair.  It was horse puckies….and baby chicks pecking grain as they rode a tiny ferris wheel…. tractor pulls……baby animals……baked goods competitions….free stuff… and carnival rides.  In fact, when I was growing up, the Saginaw Fair was the only place we were allowed to go on rides.  If we clambored to go to one of  carnivals set up in the bowling alley parking lot, my parents would always say ‘Here or the Saginaw Fair?’  Hmm……

     Yesterday we bowed to the ‘everyone else is going’ argument and took the kiddos to the local 4-H Fair.  And it was fun.  Really, really fun.  And costly.  But that was the carnival rides and games.  The free stuff was my favorite. 

     Right off the bat the Princess was ecstatic to see an elephant.  She has never seen a real elephant up close.  Imagine that. P1020740 One of the few experiences that has slipped me by since bringing her home from Russia.  Sheesh.  The Prince has even ridden an elephant!  Not possible that she has never even seen one, right?  But then I remembered that we were disappointed that the elephant exhibit was closed when we visited the big zoo.  She was right.  She has never seen one.  And she was delighted!

    I love animals.  I am a fool for finding one I like and just watching.  The first tent we entered was a petting zoo sort of thing.  Goats, cows, a tortoise, zebra, antelope, llamas, water buffalo and a hairy shetland cow of some sort.  They were all looking for hand outs of shaved carrot pieces you could purchase for $1.  I want a baby zebu for my very own.  Seriously. 

Oh….and a camel. 

   And then we visited the ‘Miracle of Birth’ barn.  This is where all the pregnant animals are housed in order for patrons of the fair to be able to give their kids an up close experience with birth.  Animal birth.  Eew.  (My kids got all that education by being addicted to  “Baby Story’ on the DiscoveP1020745ry Health channel a few summers back. Heh )   Since we were there so late in the week, all of the animals had put on their show.  We saw a calf that was named after a co-worker’s daughter when she celebrated her birthday at the fair.  (Happy Belated Birthday, Riley!  Bovine Riley sends greetings as well.)


 And then there were these little guys.  P1020742

Is there anything cuter than a baby goat?  Just three days old and they were hopping all over a small bale of straw and tunneling into their hay.  They just look so happy and their tails never stop wagging.  I really, really want a baby goat.  Seriously. 

     After I’d had my fill of the animal barns we headed for the midway.  We bought the ride all you can tickets for the kiddos because we thought it was a deal.  And it was.  For her. 

     Because I grew up with the ‘Here or the Saginaw Fair’ decision, the temporary carnivals have never held much appeal for me.  It’s true.  I am a ride snob.  With Grandparents who live in Florida, DisneyWorld has always been our carnival of choice.  The Prince had been there six times by the time he turned six. (We went for the day twice in one year.) Sadly, the Princess has only been once.  For her 7th birthday.   Costlier to go when you are paying for more people.   Last summer, the Prince experienced a large amusement park several hours away with his 8th grade class on the last day of middle school.  He came home a roller coaster fiend.  Yesterday we learned that he can’t handle anything that goes around.  Up and down is okay.  Backwards is testy.  Around?  No go.

       The Princess – on the other hand – can handle anything.  We should have known.  Up and down.  Backwards.  Around.  Fast.  Slow.  High or low.  Upside down.  You name it.  Anything at all.  Multiple times.  Good thing she ran into friends from school because there ain’t NO way that Mom or Dad were going with her.  No siree.  P1020749P1020756

     The Prince was more into the games.  And he was good.  He has a fair amount of stuffed animals littering his bedroom floor again.  Not many were playing the games.  Sadly they are up to $2 a try.  It seems like the hawkers would be having more fun if more people were playing.  Crazy.

     And everyone’s favorite….fair food.  Anything and everything deep fried and riddled with salt.  Lemonade. Snow Cones of every color.  Elephant Ears.  Candied Apples. Popcorn. Chicken on a stick.  French fries….that actually looked way healthier than the latest potato concoction…Butterfly Chips. 

      Imagine a dinner sized paper plate piled high with rippling cut (almost shaved) potato chips, deep fried and smothered with squirts of sour cream and nacho cheese and then sprinkled with Bacos.  And they were selling like crazy for $6.  We didn’t get one.  No siree.  We stuck with chicken strips and corn dogs and regular fries……and this. 


     Healthier because there are veggies inside…..right?  Broccoli and cauliflower and zuchini and mushrooms and onions…..and dill pickle strips.  Healthier… far as Fair Food goes.    Right? 


Reflections from a Foodie

April 21, 2009

Foodie  n. Slang  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.

I wouldn’t call me exactly a gourmet.  Absolutely not.  But I have a profound interest in  food.

I live  in a house with someone who could subsist on meat, potatoes and corn…..with a green bean casserole thrown in once in a while. Oh…and an occasional pizza.   The other of the male species is highly suspicious of anything green…and yellow and sometimes red.  His meal of choice usually comes from a box that you  add ground beef to.  He cannot abide the taste of tomato unless it’s in a sauce of some kind.  His sister on the other hand fancies herself to be a vegetarian.  I have no doubt that she will try that life style when she is older but right now, she loves her chicken too much and, on a rare occasion, a grilled steak.  She snacks on carrots and celery and cold sugar peas and can easily go through an entire bag of apples in one day.   She makes an entire meal out of a baked potato and a couple of tomatos.  Set a dish of unfamiliar veggies in front of her and she will most likely give it a try.   She is also a pasta lover.   I guess all of us are.  Take them off the beaten track….away from their ‘norm’ and you are likely to have a mutiny on your hands.  Or lots of grinding in the garbage disposal and many empty cereal boxes.

And their kind of food and  food preparation bores me lately. 

I can’t find anything that tickles my palate and makes me want more.  Unfortunately this malaise has not stopped me from eating.  I just keep trying to find….something. 

I guess I am just tired of the usual.  The casseroles, the meat loaves, sandwiches and soup, salads….everything lacks that ….pizzazz.  Barbecued chicken hit the spot the other night however.  I am looking forward to doing more of that again this summer.  I love grilling vegetables too.  But, more and more, I find myself longing for the food of  the two days I spent in New York City last fall.  Morandi.  Josephines.  Magnolia Bakery.  The quaint little market on the main drag with the very interesting sandwich combinations.  And to the meal my family shared at a ritzy restaurant in our town with a thoughtful gift certificate given to me at the end of the schoool year.  Everything from the salad (argula greens) to the shared dessert (chocolate volcano cake) was beautiful.  I remember holding everyone back as I marveled at the beauty of the presentation.  And then they destroyed it with forks and spoons.  In seconds.  Sigh.  It was something meant to be enjoyed…not inhaled.  But they argued that they HAD enjoyed it.  A lot.

I guess I have always been the kind of person who cares about how food…looks.  I can spend a good long time looking at something before I actually put a fork to it.  I love ‘presentation.’  When I prepare a meal I try to make sure it has a complimentary color palate as well as a taste palate.  I don’t like anything too green….or an over abundance of yellow.  Or white.   That was very clear to me in New York.  I have introduced my family to a lot of things they have never had before since NYC.  I have thrown spices into unexpected places.  I am finding that sometimes it’s best to operate on the ‘what they don’t know, won’t hurt them’  tactic however.  Like tonight. 

I spent the day making pasties.  Northern Michigan Pasties…with a few minor adjustments.  I picked up some things – potatos, rutabaga, carrots and parsnips – at the grocery store, grated them all together and wrapped them in  pastry with lots of smallish chunks of meat.   I have gravy for the guys to drown them in and plenty of veggies to keep the Princess happy.   In case they don’t like it.   We’ll see. 

As for me, the fun was in the making, I guess.  They look darn good.  I hope the taste is there.  The ‘pizazz.’   Its missing in my life right now.


Something new I learned…

March 15, 2009




     While going through her school planner, I learned that celery is a ‘minus’ calorie food.  The body burns more calories digesting it than the vegetable contains. 

Of course this means that you can’t stump the end in salt or stuff it with peanut butter and raisins or cream cheese or that vegetable spread that is basically cream cheese with spices and bits of dried vegetables.  And you can’t fill the center with a ribbon of Ranch dressing the way the Princess and I enjoy it the enjoy it most.   Sigh.