6 AM Theater

I don’t know about you but when I first get up in the morning, the last thing I want is to get riled up over the news or – lately – the weather. What I want is to ease myself gently into the day. In nice weather, I do that out on the deck. In winter, I do it in front of the TV.

So at 6am, my best TV option for that gentle transition  is Father Knows Best. A few days ago, Cornel Wilde was the guest star and he came to the Anderson house to consult Father on urgent matters of car insurance. One thing led to another and Margaret invited him to share their dinner of pork chops. Cornel Wilde accepted and expressed hope that the pork chops would be baked with sour cream and onions the way his mother used to make. Margaret said that coincidentally, that is exactly what she was serving that night while Father stood by and looked like he’d rather get his hair cut by Fronk the gardener’s lawn mower than have anything to do with  pork chops baked with sour cream and onions.

Margaret appears with a silver tray full of  caviar canapes and then Cornel Wilde volunteers to babysit for Kathy so Father and Margaret can keep their date to play cards with another couple. Father refers to the caviar canapes as “this junk” as soon as Margaret is out of earshot and enlists Cornel Wilde in a chummy laugh about it because this is after all the patriarchy that we’re talking about.

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Don’t laugh, Margaret. They’re laughing at you.

Bud spilled the beans when he thoughtlessly stated that his mother was making him run to the store for sour cream and onions. Everybody had a good natured laugh when the truth came out but Margaret said she really thought she might like to try making them that way. Apparent, her plan was to use this recipe:

  • Step 1  - glob some sour cream and onions on top of pork chops
  • Step 2 – bake.

… which if it’s good enough for Margaret Anderson, it’s good enough for me. And so that’s what I did today but instead of using an oven I used a crock pot. And so the nice little thin pork chops coated in flour, fried in a pan and then squirted by a thick wedge of lemon immediately before serving that had been filling my dreams got hijacked by Cornel Wilde.  Or more likely by some Hollywood script writer who made it up out of whole cloth, if this is anything to go by:

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So the pork chops crocked with sour cream and onions were good but they were not the pan fried pork chops of my dreams. Frankly, I don’t know what Cornel Wilde sees in them.

Another dinner time observation from Father Knows Best: Do you realize that Father sits at the head of the table with all of the dinner plates stacked in front of him and surrounded by serving bowls? I saw him dish out a meat lump, a baked potato still in its jacket and exactly 2 spoons of peas onto a dinner plate and then pass it down the side of the table until all were served. He is a practiced Father so he was able to do this while keeping up some  light dinner table patter and simultaneously wondering what was bothering Bud. The thing I found so interesting was that Father used the same two serving utensils to take from first the meat lump dish and then the potato dish, then he would delicately lay them facing each other into the potato dish and pick up the dish of peas which had its own serving spoon sticking out of it. I was fascinated.

Really, when you sit alone in a dark room staring a the TV as you slowly sharpen up for the day, these things can make quite an impression on you.

2014

2013 was a year of surprise, change and challenge. I spent a lot of time reacting to things. I was the thing I hate most – a drifting leaf, an empty vessel, a person without a plan. This year is going to be different. I’m already taking a firmer grip on the details of my life and the first thing I will address is carrots.

I will no longer deal with carrots.

Recently, I found myself staring into a pot of cabbage soup and thinking how good it looked. All the pieces so uniformly cut, such a nice blend of color and texture. I was looking forward to eating it, everything excet the carrots which I always leave in the bottom f the soup bowl. It was then that I realized that I add carrots only because that is the way I was taught to do it, not because they taste good. That revelation was immediate followed by another even more shocking one: I don’t have to add carrots at all. In fact, I don’t have to deal with carrots anywhere at all.

This was mind-blowing. I didn’t even realize that I don’t care for carrots. What kind of person does that make me? Who doesn’t like carrots? I never eat the carrots from the soup,  I would not even consider cooked carrots as a side dish – peas and carrots are absolutely out of the question – and I never use a raw carrot as a conveyance for dip or a eat them plain as a snack. Who is fooling who with those little carrot logs being pushed as “baby carrots” when they are really sticks from regular carrots lathed down to a small size?

Truth be told, I have grated carrots on many occasions but I do it for the color not the taste or even the nutrition. (I actually don’t eat anything for the nutrition. Have you met me?) I like to add them to salads that I make for Sami but he is not onboard with that because “there’s nothing to bite into”. I also mix them 4-to-1 with shredded zucchini to make a nice little veggie egg pancake but again that’s for color.

In general, I would much rather have a radish.

And so 2014 is the advent of my freedom from carrots, a vegetable I didn’t even know that I didn’t like.

…………………………………

copperpennyAddendum: From Our Department of Childhood Trauma

All this carrot talk has brought up a ghastly memory that I have successfully kept submerged for many years. One of my favorite old aunties used to spoil every picnic, barbeque and cookout by showing up with a large glass baking dish filled with Copper Pennies. Good grief! Whoever thought this up?

This is very likely the thing that sparked my carrot aversion.

Not Enough What I Had For Lunch Blogging Around Here

Sweet potato chips and so-fresh-it’s-still-foamy gazpacho.

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It wasn’t that good. The sweet potato directions came from that well-known healthful eater, Martha Stewart.  She’s the Al Capone of recipes, that one. They had to lock her up for insider trading but everybody who ever got burned by of one of her untested recipes was just glad she got locked up period.

Next time, less oil and thicker slices.

Let’s Make A Mess On A Sunday Morning*

Major news bulletin: I got out of my own house yesterday and I might do it again today.

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Mess made. Mission accomplished. The fish that is barfing up a wet sponge is my favorite part of this picture.

But before I got up and went, I had the great idea to make a favorite soup of mine that is perfect for this cold weather – Mrs. Smith’s Zippy Red Beet Soup. Although I first came across this soup at Thanksgiving time, it’s perfect for cold weather.

Back in the day when food blogging wasn’t a thing yet and people weren’t so damn serious! about everything, I was a pioneer and internationally famous. Well, we were all something back in the day, weren’t’ we? Now I can barely string together coherent sentences and I have no original ideas left in me.** But I will say that I sincerely love with the intensity of a thousands suns each and every single one of the 6 readers I have left.

Beets are a  superfood, although not anybody’s idea of one of those respected superfoods, they’re more like a secret superfood or a  don’t want to be seen in public together superfood but I don’t know why. Red beets forever! At supper tonight, I’ll be mixing in a little sour cream making this soup turn the most delightful shade of hot pink. this is excitement in a bowl.

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Can you not actually SMELL the white vinegar wafting up from this glorious concoction?

*full title: Let’s Make A Mess On A Sunday Morning And Get Beet Stains All Over Our White iPhones

** That gives me a great idea and this one is probably not original either. For the upcoming week, I am going to pick blog posts from around the web that I find interesting write about the same thing. Why didn’t I think of this before? Why don’t they teach this in blogging school? I could have saved myself a lot of brain-squeezing to come up with interesting blog fodder if I had been doing this all long.

Ready. Set…

Work: V. busy week coming up and it’s short one day, too. That doesn’t forgive the work – it just means you have to make the other 4 days super productive.

Home: Someone will be traipsing about inside my house today measuring for new windows. I did not succeed in total decluttering of the unused /overused upstairs rooms. My strategy is to be at the office during this time so I don’t have to look the guy in the eye.

Health: Grateful that my husband knows how to make Cairo-style koshary by the tubful. Grateful that I can just Grab ‘N Go some for breakfast or lunch. Grateful that my breakfast plate is 2/3 vinegar vehicles. My husband is grateful that I’m using pickled onions instead of the precious stash of caramelized onions.

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This is New Jersey-style koshary as envisioned by a Lithuanian-American. Cairo-style is rice and lentils cooked together, topped with caramelized onions and chopped salad dressed with O&V, S&P and mint. Alexandria-style is all that plus chickpeas and a layer of elbow macaroni mixed with garlicy tomato sauce. Any Other-style is bullshit.

Don’t bother looking up the recipe for koshary. The internet is completely wrong about this. If you must look it up to make it yourself, all of the layering and ancillary toppings are I guess a matter of taste but  the real key is to cook the the rice and the lentils together. They cook for different amounts of time so you will have to train yourself to get it so that both are done exactly right – the rice won’t be undercooked and the lentils won’t be overcooked and all of the water is absorbed. You’ll probably need a sitto around to supervise, cluck her tongue and shake her head.

cooking good

Remember this?

Related: The most striking feature of the Melkite rite is its love of mystery.