Meanwhile in Florida…and sadly everywhere-elsewhere

So, I get a text from a good friend (and model) this morning sharing a screenshot from her phone of Facebook asking if she would like to tag herself in a photo some stranger posted. Creepy that facial recognition doesn’t even need to see your whole face, but that’s not even the only problem. (Go ahead, ask me how much I don’t miss Facebook.)

She opted not to be tagged, though it is her in the photo. I took the image when she was about 15 and it’s been popular in my portfolio. I’ve seend it used in lots of editorial and ads depicting disengaged, bored teenagers.

But look what the billboard is for! OMG! If she wasn’t an amazing woman (now 31) and didn’t have an incredible sense of self I’d be even more mortified for her than I am…as it is we’re both cracking up, about the usage, not the message. The message make us both wince. A reminder that it’s not enough to wish incest and sexual abuse weren’t even possibly a thing.

Zhug

It’s Zippy! It’ Zingy! It’s Zhug!

I just learned about this Yemeni treat a last week from a Dana Farber nutritionist and it’s my new, and perhaps permanent, favorite thing. This simple condiment has so far, transformed, or dare I say transcended, my white bean and kale quesadillas, avocado toast (twice,) a baked potato, and an egg sandwich. If you like a dash of spice in your meals this flavorful mix-in for will become your go-to secret ingredient for everything from eggs to soup.

The recipe is simple. If you do a Duck Duck search you’ll find lots of variations and can tailor a mixture to suit your tastes. For example, I swapped jalapeño for for serrano in the original recipe.

Stored in a tightly lidded jar it’s good for a month. A month! Ha! This won’t last two weeks!

Zhug

1/2 cup neutral oil (rapeseed, or olive)
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp turmeric
2-3 peppers seeded jalapeño or serrano
1 clove garlic
large bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, small stems okay
bunch flat parsley, roughly chopped, small stems okay

  • toast cumin and coriander in dry pan until fragrant – about a minute
  • Seed peppers. Discard seeds for less intense heat.
  • put all ingredients into a blender 
  • Blend till smooth

Long hair. A lot of long hair.

Meet Savannah

This is Savannah. Otherwise known as Princess. And she’s a little miffed right now over how much attention I’m paying to all the birds that I won’t let her stalk. She’s a, needy, vocal, ultra-neurotic indoor cat with outdoor privileges; she can go out when we do. She’s a surprisingly skilled mouser, and thankfully not a birder. It’s rare that she gives birds any attention and I am there to foil her efforts if she does.

It’s funny that I only notice her differently colored eyes (Heterochromia iridum) in photos. Maybe because in real life I’m too busy asking her to pleeeeease stop whining, or vacuuming up kilos of long white hair to pay attention to how gorgeous she is. “At least as pretty as a bluebird,” she tells me. Repeatedly.

Remove judgment

Ask Me How Much I Suck at This

Remove judgment

Especially self-judgment. I even judged this artwork—about not judging—to be unworthy of posting. That’s how bad I am at removing judgment. But see, I’m trying…

That Bad Memory Isn't Happening Right Now

That Bad Memory

That Bad Memory Isn't Happening Right Now

A good thing to remember. Even if you have to remember it again and again and again.

Birdly Wisdom

I don’t normally quote pop icons, but after watching Ru Paul’s Masterclass while on the treadmill, a couple of comments he made stuck with me. This was one. A sad one. I incorporated it into my Daily Doodle.

People over 50 watching their bird feeder

Damn Straight!

And it’s not restricted to their own feeder. Any feeder will do. Love this time of year!

Alice through the years

Some Bitchin’ Comfort Food

A lot of people have fond recollections of cooking with their grandmother. I have exactly one. It’s a random memory of her showing me the key places to tuck pats of butter on a roasting chicken or turkey to give the skin a perfectly caramel color and crunch. That was back when everybody eagerly ate the skin. Today it seems more like a wrapping paper that we discard. A tile of butter tucked between the body and each wing was her secret, then it was our secret. I still put butter there whenever I roast a whole bird even though we never eat the skin. It makes me smile—that little square of secreted fat—and lets me hear her cussing about that damn dog or my no-good son-of-a-bitch brother, both of whom she deeply loved.

A rare photo of grandma smiling

In her later years there was very little romantic about my grandmother or her cooking. She prepared bland budget-minded dishes for the purpose of staying alive. Flavor was secondary to economy and straight up sustenance. Flavor was relegated to butter, sugar and salt. As a kid growing up I was perfectly happy with that and the fact that a bowl of gravy and three slices of bread cut into strips was a meal.

Grandma’s personal culinary repertoire also included chicken fricassee (never a favorite), homemade spaghetti sauce (with sugar), mashed potatoes (heaped with butter and salt), pan-fried meatballs, and fried egg on white toast where the yolk (sunny side up, never over easy) always sat perfectly centered in the middle of the egg white and the toast. She was a master of egg on toast.

Halushki is another of the few dishes I remember grandma making though we never made it together. I don’t know where I got this recipe. Maybe I divined it from an old photo. When I make this dish, the smoke from one of her unfiltered Chesterfield kings seems to waft into my kitchen. She takes a drag, grumbling, “I got nothing,” and re-shuffles her worn, felt-edged deck of cards for another game of solitaire.

Cabbage was on sale this week in honor of all the Irish so I bought one but skipped the corned beef. I made this last night. It’s a peasant dish from the old country. It’s exquisitely unsophisticated, hits the flavor trifecta: butter, sugar and salt; and is fucking delicious just the way my goddamn grandmother made it. Here’s the recipe. You might like it, but never as much as I do.


Comfort food. Peasant food.

Halushki

Ingredients:

4 cups wide egg noodles
1⁄2 cup butter
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
6 cups cabbage, (about a half large head) thinly sliced
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
pepper

Directions:

  • Cook egg noodles according to package directions, strain, and set aside.
  • While noodles are cooking, melt butter in large, deep skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Add onion and sprinkle in brown sugar.
  • Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until softened and beginning to turn golden.
  • Add cabbage to pan, stir well to incorporate with onion. Sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 -15 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium, add cooked noodles, salt and pepper, and stir well until noodles are heated through.
  • Eat and remember.

Most women in a relationship with a guy can relate.

Hanging on the Fridge

Even my husband laughed when reading this. He knows.

M&Ms Melting

Sharing: Melting M&Ms

This video mesmerized me, not only for the artistry of their color coatings dissolving, but also the countless memories these little nuggets summon. Crinkly little brown bags shared with a friend while sitting on park benches considering weighty and perplexing topics. Plastic candy canes filled with the red and green gems tucked into my Christmas stockings.

They were for a long time my drug of choice, and watching this video makes me feel like I’ve dropped acid.