Today exhausted me. A Thursday 5 p.m. deadline inexplicably became a Wednesday 2 p.m., and somehow, on what is supposed to be the deadest (inventive language like this is what I get paid the big bucks, folks) news week of the year, I was under an avalanche of it. Plus, there were other insults to injury: I had my first warm latte of the cooler season and spilled a good sum of it on my pink shirt, I stepped in a puddle and my surprisingly absorbent sandals remained damp and cold all day and I realized that flame-tinted leaf I’d seen this weekend and considered sort of a fluke, might not have been. Don’t get me wrong — I love fall — just not in August.
August, 2006 Archive
I have no doubt I’m opening a can of worms here, but I really don’t see the point of the classic foodie hobby, Rachael Ray Bashing. Sure, her voice is unnecessarily loud, and it makes you wonder why her supposedly caring producers wouldn’t tell her to cut back on all the yelling; of course, the (trademarked) EVOO is hideously annoying; and yeah, that FHM photo shoot was, at best, a cry for attention, but in the kitchen? The 30-minute meals? How did these become the enemy?
In the two years since I’ve rejoined the meat-eating world after a 15-year absence, I’ve re-immersed in, I’d like to think, a considerable range of flesh. There’s been more chicken than you can shake a drumstick at (sorry, couldn’t resist), turkey, pork, beef and even some new things at tablecloth-ed restaurants like duck and quail. But, I’ve sorely lacked in my embracing of les fruit de la mer and this constantly mocks me on my journey to become the kind of eater that embraces everything edible. (I heard Ruth Reichl say a few weeks ago that the only food she simply will not eat is honey. Just one thing! And it’s honey!)
My husband got down on one knee and asked me to marry him under the Eiffel Tower in December 2004. Or, rather, he proposed and I might have been too excited with plans for us to actually say yes, but he got the idea and we called our families with the good news. Engagement and the ensuing swoon is a great way to fall in love with Paris, and oh, that we did. In the year that followed, we spoke with near-obsession about French food, culture, wine, mood and approach to diet. For two Jewish kids from New Jersey suburbs, we are capable of a surprising amount of Francophilism.
The last time I made this chocolate caramel cheesecake, a lot of teddy bears had to die, but I swear, I had never set out for blood (crumb?). These things just happen.
Let me explain. The store was out of those Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers typically used to make crumb crusts and my husband coyly suggested I use Chocolate Teddy Grahams instead. (He has a soft spot for those chemistry sets of a baked good; I allow them into our apartment only for malicious purposes.) I had to admit that they’d be a decent substitute. Plus, we could have some fun while we were at it.
Sarah Brown once said she had a theory that for every single person on the planet, there’s a sentence that if it were said to them by the right person or at the right time with the right words, everything in their life would right itself from that point forward. (If I remember correctly, my sentence was “Wow, you don’t dance like a white girl at ALL.”)
If you have never made your own barbecue sauce before, I’m going to have to insist that you try to at least once. And while I’m loath to ensnare myself in the myriad layers of barbecue conviction across this land — from the don’t-come-near-my-sauce-with-those-tomatoes whole-hoggin’ in Carolina to the don’t-you-dare-come-near-my-mesquite with sauce in Texas (and then the small matter of me being from New Jersey where barbecue just meant cooking your hamburgers and hot dogs outdoors) — I might have to insist that you try this one because it’s sacrilegiously good.