Monthly Archives: January 2008


I like to think that I have a pretty discerning palate. It’s in training, yes, but I can by this point appreciate the finer things in life: foie gras, caviar, truffles… When I cook I always do so from scratch – no bottled marinades or microwave meals that came out of the box, thank you. On occasion I have been known to even make the bread needed to make French toast. So why, I wonder, is it that when I travel – be it a four-hour road trip to a nearby city or par avion across the big blue ocean – I turn into a disgusting pig? No, seriously. I see a Wendy’s, McDonald’s, or Burger King and my brain short-circuits. Especially, at breakfast…I can almost smell the hash browns and the Egg McMuffin with sausage and cheese.

Alas, I am afflicted with acid reflux, otherwise known as The Disease from Hell, and even two tater tots from BK will make what should be a happy meal into a very uncomfortable experience. For the next few hours after consumption of the grease-laden goodies, I will grip my sides, rock back and forth in my chair, and groan, the sounds very similar to the croaking of a toad.

I’m writing just as I ready to go on a few days’ vacation. I am telling myself that I will pop my daily Prilosec, eat a sensible breakfast at home, and walk straight past the airport food court tomorrow morning. May the force be with me!


I made vanilla ice cream with brownie bits in it this weekend. I am ashamed to admit that I was talking on the phone while making the crème anglaise base for the ice cream, and as a result, it curdled a bit. A lot, actually. There were enough scrambled eggs at the bottom to make a McMuffin, and while I was tempted to toss the whole thing out, I also had a fresh batch of brownies waiting to be enveloped by creamy ice cream, so I tossed out the lumps and carried on. It turned out really well, despite the earlier trouble. Looks good, no?

There are several varieties of ice cream: standard or Philadelphia-style, which is your basic milk and/or cream plus sugar plus flavorings; French, which is what I made this weekend – it’s basically a fluid egg-based custard that you can eat as desssert with cake, fruit, etc., or pop in the ice cream maker; gelato, the Italian confection with is a richer, more dense version of the previous examples; and the ever-expanding froyos, Tasti Delites, and Pinkberrys of the world, whose compositions I can’t actually claim to know a thing about. All of these desserts are prepared by pouring the flavored liquid into a machine that churns it in a cold bowl until the mix freezes, and voilà! Icecreamgelatofroyoetcetcetc.

Usually this process takes about half an hour, which is fine, but in today’s instant-gratification culture, who has time to wait 30 minutes? Wouldn’t it be magical if there were a potion that could turn your chocolate milk into chocolate ice cream in under five minutes? Science? Fiction? Infomercial? FACT, my friends. All you need is liquid nitrogen! I won’t disclose how or where I came by it, but I will say that it was super cool – no pun intended. Milk + sugar + vanilla + liquid nitrogen = lots of billowing clouds and ice cream in three minutes flat. Eat your heart out, Bill Nye.





Finally, I went to the hand surgeon. All week I’d been having night-(and day!)-mares about my hand. What if I needed surgery? What if I was doomed to have a dysfunctional opposable thumb for life? Would my human-ness be altered or compromised if that happened? I mean, opposable thumbs are one of our species’ chief characteristics.
Thankfully, though, I am A-OK, literally and figuratively (according to Wikipedia, “A-OK” is “both a saying and a hand-gesture done by connecting the thumb and forefinger into a circle” and I can do that now that my bandage and splint are gone).

I sat for a really long time in the waiting room. Why do doctors ask you to come in 15 minutes before your appointment if you won’t be taken care of at least 30 minutes after your scheduled time? Does it really take that long to fill out an insurance form? I hate waiting rooms. This one’s thermostat was cranked up to 150˚F. I was like a Hot Pocket inside my sweater. Yuck. And if that wasn’t enough, the lady sitting next to me was chewing gum – ruminating and popping. My mother, bless her soul, didn’t allow me to chew gum and every day I thank her for it. It is just awful to see people’s jaws working like bovines’.

When, at last, I got to see the doctor, I was rewarded for my sufferings: The stitches were removed and The Wound is going to finish healing, bandage-free, in the next few days. Luckily, there is no tendon or nerve damage, so if ever I should find myself on the side of the road in need of a ride, I will have two healthy appendages with which to signal.

The cut is not as clean as my title proclaims, however. The skin isn’t completely healed over and is in fact a bit open. I was a bit perturbed about it, but not so much now because I have other things to worry about. Here are some pictures. I hope you don’t think that I should go back to worrying.

Ta-ta for now.





bandageI am embarrassed to admit that I had a major of a breakdown last night. I knew that come morning I’d have to remove my bandages and clean The Wound and I was really, really, really not looking forward to it. I sobbed hysterically and got really carried away with my self-pity party. The dreaded moment arrived and was not as bad as I’d built it up to be, so my apologies to my mister who had to suffer through my hysterics. As you can see below I had a little emergency room all set up in my bathroom – and don’t you think I did an excellent job of bandaging my hand?


I had a little accident yesterday. While coring a cauliflower, it slipped and the knife I was holding slashed open the webbed part between my thumb and the rest of my hand. It all happened very quickly, and I was only able to see what had happened for a very brief moment. It was almost like a camera, blinking its shutter open only to capture one essential and fleeting moment. That quick look revealed more than enough, however, because the image is firmly rooted in my mind’s eye – a piece of raw, bloody steak peeking out from underneath my skin. It was quite shocking; I shrieked and then everything started to go dark. My blood pressure dropped and I nearle fainted. Normally I seek cheap thrills in the form of horror movies and medical programs, but I suppose perception changes when you are the bloody victim.

My mister answered my distress call and I had him wrap my hand in paper towel and duct tape and off we went to the emergency room. It took two hours for a doctor to see me…ample time for the bandage a nurse had wrapped around me to dry and crust itself onto my cut. I was still queasy and dizzy, in addition to freaking out about possible nerve and/or tendon damage, so you can imagine how much I was dreading peeling off the bandage and looking at The Wound once again. But I did it, and hard though I tried to keep myself together, I yelped and nearly tossed my cookies again. It was so…meaty.

I went home high as a kite on Percocet with seven stitches and a splint to keep my thumb from moving. I went to bed with visions of the stitches bursting open revealing once again The Wound.

No pictures, unfortunately. Even in my distraught state I considered taking the camera along, but it just didn’t happen. I’m supposed to remove the bandage tomorrow – God help me: it is, of course, glued to the blood that seeped out through the crochet job I have on there – and if I don’t faint I’ll try to document the proceeding. Hopefully there will be no meat.


The holidays have come and gone, and for that matter, so has the year. I finally undressed my Christmas tree. It’s limp limbs are far beyond dehydrated – they’re as crisp and dry as Melba toast.

I was on hiatus from the blog for a while – surely you understand how crazy it gets during the holidays – but I can make up with a recap:

Thanksgiving was truly a feast of family and food: rib roast, stuffed chicken, gnocchi, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, bread rolls, spiced nuts, gougeres, poached pears, almond lace cookies, chocolate pecan pie, pineapple pie, apple tart, and a partridge in a pear tree. The table that supported the buffet groaned as much as our stomachs after dinner. Here’s a taste…





pecan2Oh, and yes, how could I forget. There was An Accident. When it was time for dessert I went to unmold my carefully assembled tarte aux pommes. Since it was a false-bottom tart ring I insisted on doing it myself. I lifted the tart up and the bottom betrayed me. Or maybe it was the butter in the crust. Regardless, bottom or butter, I gently pushed up the tart only to have it slide and then fly right off the mold, above the table, past the edge, and down the side, to its final, catastrophic resting place: the hard, cold floor. Face down. I crawled under the table to see if a rescue was possible, but it was beyond rescue. So sad.



tart3Christmas was I regret to inform you, disappointing. I tried my darnedest to get into the spirit, with carols and twinkle lights, but to no avail. It was just the mister and me and we wound up dining with friends. The stuffed chickens made an encore, along with a chocolate sandwich cookies and a croquembouche, but even a mountain of éclairs couldn’t make up for the fact that we were away from family.
croqueSanta did pull through, though, which was a huge comfort. I am now the proud owner of a 2-quart ice cream maker. I’ve already made double-chocolate hazelnut, and there will be lots more to come… Cream cheese and guava…Key lime pie…pineapple caramel swirl… bananas Foster… chocolate and peppermint marshmallow… If he brings me a deep-fat fryer next year my arsenal will be complete!