Monthly Archives: August 2016

It’s A Good Thing I Can Laugh At Myself

I’m a lot of things, but “cool” isn’t one of them. The only times that word has been used to describe me it was in a sarcastic way or in a ‘it’s cool that you are okay with being such a dork’ way. And I’m fine with that. Just managing to not embarrass myself on a daily basis is enough pressure. This here is a story to make you feel just a tad cooler yourself, just because there are people like me out there lowering the bar.

When we were in Morocco back in 2012 I ate numerous versions of lamb and prune tagine. My favorite was this one, sprinkled with fried Marcona almonds and served with twelve different Moroccan salads.

The real thing - lamb and prune tagine with Moroccan salads.

From time to time I get a craving for that spicy lamby goodness and cook up my own version of what we ate in Marrakech. A few weeks ago I was thinking of those flavors while planning a family get together. Tagines are nice for parties because they go into the oven before guests arrive, fill the house with a great smell and cook slowly until everyone is ready to eat. The meat in the picture is a lamb shank but I wanted something I could cut into chunks and trim the fat off of for the dish I was imagining so I ordered a boneless lamb shoulder roast from the butchers at my local market.

All the people who work at the meat counter of my grocery store are super nice and eager to please. The day I went in to pick up my roast I was helped by a woman who is especially friendly. Being the intermittently awkward person that I am, I always feel slightly intimidated by her tallness and outgoing nature. She came out with a beautiful roast and we talked about how nice it looked and what I was going to make with it. And then.

Then came my moment of humiliation. As a ‘congratulations on your awesome meat purchase’, she fist bumped me. Yes, fist bumped me.

Not such a big deal you say? Just wait.

You’ve got to understand, I was caught off guard. In my wildest dreams I never would have guessed that I, a forty year old white lady, would be fist bumped by another white lady, one even older than me. Maybe some of you regularly fist bump in a serious way, but I certainly don’t. In fact the only person I’ve ever fist bumped is my three year old. And for us it’s always a big production that ends in the waggling of fingers and an explosion. You know what I mean, right? Bump, waggle, blowing up noise. I think you know where this is going. I’m blushing right now just thinking about it.

This meat counter woman is very tall, and I’m very much not, and she was on the other side of the counter so I really had to reach to meet her outstretched fist. It was super weird to begin with but then what did I do? I exploded the fist bump. I did. I waggled my fingers and burst open my fist. Midway through the explosion I realized that this was not right. Had I owned it, exploded my fist in a grand fashion, I could have turned a very strange moment into a humorous one, but no. Instead I just didn’t make the blowing up noise and pretended I was doing something else with my hand, not that it could’ve been mistaken for anything else. Then I said a meek and red faced ‘thank you’ while I scurried off with my five pounds of lamb and melted into a puddle of shame.

I wish I could leave you with a recipe for the tagine because it was delicious, but I don’t have one. Maybe I will work on developing one for the winter, but I need to wait a while before I show myself at the meat counter again.



Noteworthy 8/1/16

So much to catch up on. This poor blog has been neglected not because I have lost interest but because of all the other things screaming louder for my attention. Have any of you noticed that during summer vacation the kids don’t go to school? Yeah. And this whole ‘building a house to sell and trying to make money at it’ thing we’ve got going on is a little intense. In a soul sucking sort of way.

But here I am, for the moment anyway, and I have many posts worth of things to share. Just to get some of the cute kid stuff out of the way I’m doing a Noteworthy post first.

  • I know parents say it all the time, but “It’s a good thing my kids make me laugh because otherwise I’d kill them,” might just be the truest truth out there. To make up for the strife they’ve been causing lately the kids have given me some real gems.

Me: “Felix, what do you think we should have for dinner?” Felix, without missing a beat: “Chicken fried butt cheek.” And yet I complain that no one ever helps me come up with ideas for dinner.

From the 12 year old who still dresses up to play Little House on the Prairie we get this evidence that no one is immune to the power of Hamilton: Me: “Lola, it’s time to set the table.” Lola: “In a minute, I need to have a rap battle with Pop first.”

Felix: “I have a joke!” Me: “Tell me.” Felix: “Why did the monster cross the road? Because he bumped into a bar and he asked the bartender, ‘Do you have a hammer?’ and the bartender said, ‘No.’ and he said ‘Do you have an engine tractor?’ and the bartender said, ‘No.'” He’s got a future as a stand up comedian, that one.

Felix: “I’m going to go into the closet and put on this watch so you won’t recognize me.” Then five minutes later I was just minding my own business and this strange kid with a watch on showed up out of nowhere and he’s been living with us ever since.

  • I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but this grouping of things Felix has slept with is just too good to not share:       IMG_2124  And yes, I’m totally serious about every single one of those things. Even the clogs. Even the frying pan. Even the dinosaur puzzle. And the skeleton, who has been hanging out with us a lot lately. His name is Charles Poopin.
  • I had something amazing happen to me; you’re not going to believe it. I was making BLTs for dinner and putting the bacon on a sheet pan to cook it. You know how this goes, it never quite fits on there right and you have overlapping pieces or pieces you have to cut or whatever. But look at this, just look.  IMG_2039 That is an entire package of bacon. It fit perfectly. If you can’t appreciate the magnificence of that then I don’t think we can be friends. And I know that the picture itself is crooked and that kind of ruins it, but just try to imagine what it felt like to look at that glorious sight in the moment. Like cool water in the desert, that’s what.
  • I can be a bit controlling when it comes to cooking. (No shit Ivy, really?!) I suck at having small kids work with me in the kitchen because I can’t handle the mess and the eating of batter and the ugliness of the finished product. It’s a major fault of mine. But I let Felix help me make Robert’s birthday cake and I was pretty proud of myself for the level of not giving a rat’s ass that I achieved. I decided we would just make a cake, not a pastry chef cake. It was sort of liberating to make a sheet cake and ice it right in the pan without needing to prove anything. I even let Fe pick out the mismatched candles and put them on wherever he wanted and it was perfectly fitting.  IMG_1963IMG_1970Next thing you know I’ll be making cake from a mix. And you know what? Probably no one would care. There is a lesson there, but I don’t think I’m ready to learn it quite yet.