Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Fine Cooking Problem


It was blue... an eye catching blue and the title in slick vivid green. I bent back the pages for a peek, they were slick too and boasting of bright, beautiful, glorious food flanked by neatly printed recipes. Back on the cover it screamed APPETIZERS on its "oh so perfect" face, I hastily slap a copy of Fine Cooking on the conveyor. "We will see about those 104 quick and easy recipes" I mutter to myself and continue through the checking process.

My husband got to it first, he recognized the contents immediately "hey, this looks like your cookbook", he laughs.The glossy pictures did look just like mine, so did the titles for each section, the recipes and tips. But it's not my book, my appetizer cookbook isn't finished yet.

Fine Cooking couldn't steal my cookbook, but it's incredible how close some of the ideas in the "Special Entertaining Issue" mirrored my own. No,  I'm not the inventor of the quesadilla or bruschetta, or any other appetizer staple and I know that "baby red potatoes" and "beer cheddar dip" are not original dishes. There were differences too, my "brie in pastry" is with dried cranberries instead of cherries and I used sage in my "rustic tart" instead of rosemary. This doesn't make me feel better.

"Any ideas?" I say to myself. Myself is not in the mood.
"Does my cookbook project just seem...I don't know... pointless?"
Myself ( in the fetal position) is mad I picked this week to start a diet.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Of Puppet's & Cheese


Saturday it was not just raining, it was pouring buckets. I poutingly looked at the patio where I had planned to photograph cheese spreads and decided it wasn't gonna happen. My day was doomed not just by rain but the "wake up with plans, and your teenager takes care of that" kinda day. His needs included school supplies, tuna sandwiches, new socks and a puppet theater.

Why yes, I did just say a puppet theater. My son informs me he (meaning we) need to make one for his part of a group project due on Monday. Not to worry, "Wonder Mom" skills kick in. Before he could say "you rock mom," red paint and duct tape have transformed cardboard boxes into a functional yet portable piece, complete with sequin curtain.

As if to thank me for being "Wonder Mom" the rain stopped and the sun actually came out. I sprung into gear. Cheese and garnishes flying I furiously started an indoor version of my spread shots with what "ify" light was coming through the window.
My family now recruited, were scurrying with me,"get the extension," I bark, "I need a ladder, where's the olives." I start panicking "were losing the light, get the basil and hurry!"
My son ( in a Scottish accent) says, "but, mom were giving it all we got!" (okay I exaggerated a bit) But still lots of drama nonetheless.

In the end I had totally destroyed the kitchen, not just a little, I mean total annihilation. Even though we were starved, no one could touch the test dishes until I had proofed all 89 pictures. Garnish too big, cheese too cheese looking, spreader with "made in china" written on the blade. Richard and I picked over every detail on every photo then decided to retake another 40 ish to be sure.

Next day, Sunday, I wake to blue skies, perfect weather, and my son realizing the puppet theater isn't due Monday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

French Fries & Fabric Softener


I'm working on perfecting french fries for the cookbook. Richard thinks I'm just working on fries so I can eat them, but he must be wrong! Okay I have been eating them, even the bad ones. Should I waste perfectly edible food just because my cloths don't fit?

This brings me to an obvious problem. I'm ballooning up testing appetizers which limits my wardrobe choices which is why I'm standing at the drier. See, I'm too frugal or proud to by more "husky" sized cloths especially when I'm convinced I'm gonna be back to my ideal weight soon. So, while waiting for the only pair of jeans that still fit to emerge, I'm day dreaming about a magic way to make it happen. Alas, there is no "magic diet" and I'm out of fabric softener.

I go to the gym, because fat people are supposed to. My work out friends are tired of hearing about my french fry adventures over whines of being overweight. When I think they are interested in my choice of potatoes and double fry technique, they actually resent me talking fries on the thigh master. Humm.. how rude of me, I guess I'll blog about it so I can annoy a new audience.

Today when I came out of the gym and saw a giant Dreyer's Ice Cream truck. I instantly fantasize that the truck breaks down in front of my house and the poor driver needs help emptying his vehicle. I jump in,  eat all the ice cream, and despite a nasty brain freeze, I save the day.