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I made bran muffins this weekend. I was really excited to do so. I even invited friends to come over and have bran muffins with me, which is borderline insane. They passed on the offer. At the grocery store checkout I looked at the items in front of me on the conveyer belt and felt shame. Bran, Honey-flavored Wheat Germ, raisins, applesauce. The excitement!
Then when I made the muffins, I forgot to add baking soda to make them rise. I took them out of the oven looking more or less the same way they’d looked going in.
“At least I didn’t waste any tasty ingredients,” I said to Brian over the phone. “I’m not going, ‘oh no! My expensive chocolate chips and my dried cranberries!’ I’m going, ‘oh, darn. My bran.’ ”
Although their consistency more closely resembles a giant rubber bathtub drain stopper than anything else, all things considered they’re kind of tasty. To me. I will eat them. All I wanted was something to eat in the mornings that would keep me from being hungry for hours, and that’s just what they do.
[Subtitle: Molly Might Need to be on Clozapine]
Sharp Cheddar: Is fun to have around but sometimes hits a little too close to the mark with her jokes. Zesty.
Mild Cheddar: Bland, but dependable. She’s who you’d call if you wanted someone to see 27 Dresses with; if you actually want to see 27 Dresses. I do not.
Monterey Jack: Is that guy you are always trying to set friends up with, but it never pans out. He’s too nice or something. Or he sweats a lot, and tells meandering stories. Either or. Somehow off.
Swiss: This guy’s got a nutty flair, and an exotic European edge. But there’s something you don’t trust. Sometimes you feel like you can see right through him.
Things They Should Have, Addendum:
Bullion Sport! For when you crave that meaty taste and need that extra boost of sodium. Available in Chicken and Beef flavors.
Maybe my list of Things They Should Have ought to become a list of ‘Things That Should Have a Sport! Version”.
Products I think they should make:
SportPeeps: For when you need that extra burst of energy and fat. With sugar sweatbands around their little peepy heads.
Caffienated Scotch: Because regular scotch makes you sleepy in the mornings, and regular coffee makes you sober.
That about covers it for now.
1) Forgetting that I’ve already added 32 oz of water to the pot, and adding another 32 oz of water to half as much grounds, resulting in weak dirt-sauce.
2) Setting up the (non-automatic) coffeemaker the night before but then noticing that the coffeepot is a little dirty. Washing said coffee pot and leaving on the rack to drain overnight, assuming that I will remember to place it back beneath the coffeemaker when I manually start the coffeemaker the next morning. Then forgetting to place it back under the coffeemaker when I turn it on, resulting in four feet of delicious coffee traveling down the countertop while I am getting ready for work.
3) Setting the timer on the (automatic) coffeemaker, then instantly forgetting what time it said, and pressing the button on it again to read the time, thus automatically UN-setting the timer on the automatic coffeemaker, resulting in waking up the next morning to a darkened, sleeping coffeemaker what never turned on.
4) Adding grounds to the (automatic) coffeemaker, then filling the coffeepot with 8 cups of water, and placing it on the coffeemaker, still full of water. The coffeemaker went on automatically in the morning, poured several burny-hot dribbles of water on the grounds below, and heated up the 8 cups of water, resulting in me staring at it for twenty seconds in the morning and trying to figure out whether I actually have a brain.
Breakfast: Hot Cinnamon rolls, provided by Brian. Coffee.
Mid-Morning Snack: Thing of yogurt.
Lunch: 1 large breadstick, provided by coworker as compensation for watering my plant with balsamic viniagrette dressing while I was away last week, because ‘things just got out of control’.
Afternoon Snack: Several chocolate covered cherries sent by a Supplier. Wedge of cheese and pieces of sausage, provided by same.
Dinner: Bruschetta purchased at Mike’s Restaurant in Davis Sq on way to Lydia’s. Also stale popcorn, chocolate shortbread cookies and two mugs of eggnog with whiskey.
Evening Snack: Glass of orange juice.
Last night I had Cream of Wheat (remember Cream of Wheat?!? I did, when I got to the grocery store and shopped while starving), and 1/4 of a pomegranate for dinner.
Oh, and a beer. So that I would also have something from the Hop food group. What? It’s a food group, if I remember correctly from that science class I took in college…or was that a party I went to in college? Either way.
Then Brian and I made the dog help put the laundry away. I would fold a towel, and put it on his back, and he would walk across the room to Brian, who would take the towel, put it away, pat Charlie and send him back to me.
I think I am almost ready to be a parent, guys. This is so exciting.
I think my roommate Laura may be right in thinking that Thanksgiving is the best all-around holiday. It’s not confined to any specific religion, and it’s not as stressful as holidays which require any kind of gift giving or country loving. I’ll admit I do know a few vegetarians who aren’t particularly enthusiastic about the whole deal, and it certainly leaves human/turkey relations at an annual low. But unless you’re in the first grade and are forced to make hand turkeys, or put on guilt-absolving pageants where you dress (with as much style and realism as construction paper affords) as Pilgrims and Native Americans who link arms and present each other with dried ears of corn, Thanksgiving has by this point been boiled down to its most basic and delicious element: Eating yourself into a Goddamn Food Coma and then Passing Out on the Couch. The day itself revolves around dinner; its preparation, presentation, and consummation. Traditional recipes are resurrected, winced at, and then dutifully followed, resulting in such all-time family favorites as yams covered in marshmallows, and green beans topped with crunchy onions. (I never said I came from a background of class, just innovation.)
You’re home for just long enough to get a taste of your family without having to settle into a spirit-crushing, role-reassuming routine with them. Hell, you may even enjoy a round or two of Scrabble with the relatives without anyone screaming, knocking the board over, or getting cut out of The Will. This is partly due to the fact that for perhaps ninety percent of the time you spend with your loved ones over Thanksgiving weekend, either everyone’s mouth is full, or a Cuisenart or some other kitchen appliance is working full blast, both of which prevent awkward questions like, “So, do you have a real job yet?” and “You still seeing that Bozo?” Tensions are also reduced by the fact that your visit lasts three or four days at the most before you get to leave again, with an extra bag full of leftovers and your coat pockets full of hot rolls if you’re lucky, or sneaky.
All right. I’ve got to mention that at the moment, I’m so full of food, I don’t really know what I’m saying. I don’t even know where I am. I do know that I’m going to try and keep writing, either until I reach my goal of 500 words, or my stomach bloats past the length of my outstretched arms and I can no longer reach the keyboard. Whichever comes first.
Having just moved to Honolulu the month before, I spent last Thanksgiving visiting a friend of mine at a hippie commune on Maui. We hung out on a black sand beach, hacked through the dense undergrowth with machetes, picked and ate fruit I’d never heard of right off the trees, and a local introduced himself to me while I was using an outdoor shower. It was a pretty hard Thanksgiving to top.
But fortunately, this Thanksgiving, I had cable. And when the blood from the rest of your entire body surges to your stomach, VH1’s Top Fifty Most Awesomely Bad Something-or-Others is a comforting evening companion. That and a reheated piece of pumpkin pie, maybe with a little ice cream on the side.
Dear Ms. Schoemann,
First of all, I would like to thank you for your patronage of Cooking Monthly, America’s leading resource for culinary information and advice. We truly appreciate your interest in our publication, and your obvious devotion to our goal of keeping the kitchen fun and lively.
As you well know, each issue of Cooking Monthly includes a feature known as “Kitchen Quick Tips”—ideas and suggestions for how to improve cooking methods and procedures, which are selected from reader submissions. The editing staff here at Cooking Monthly carefully reviews and considers each submission. That said, we would like to respectfully request that you cease sending us your “Quick Tips”. We appreciate your enthusiasm in this pursuit, but as of this month, none of your seventeen submissions have been remotely viable. A few have the potential to be deadly.
Your observation that ‘microwaving silverware and cutlery helps give your guests a warm and cozy impression during a cold winter meal’ made us wonder how you are still alive. We were surprised that you continued to send us tips after that.
Moreover, our staff can in no way endorse your suggestion to ‘pour breakfast cereal into a thermos and add the milk the night before. When you grab it in the morning, give it several firm shakes, and you’ve got a delicious breakfast beverage.’ Frankly, that idea made one of our editors ill.
While your discovery that a pint of Jack Daniels can be hidden in an oven mitt was certainly inventive, we failed to see how it was a useful cooking tip.
Furthermore, I would like to add that if any members of the Cooking Monthly staff ever attended a dinner party at which the table centerpiece was a roll of paper towels stood on end, wearing a baseball cap, we would leave immediately.
Granted, your ideas and suggestions did cause a stir among our writing staff, and did not go completely unappreciated, in a way. However, enough is enough. Please keep future tips to yourself—or, better yet, submit them to your local precinct. They would be well advised to keep an eye you.
Harold Blige, Senior Editor