Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

It's taken me a while — 20 years, or more, in fact — to figure it out. But, I've done it. Me. I finally figured out how to boil the most luscious, delectable, easiest to work with, chiffon-yellowest of yolk, whitest of albumen, and delicious hard boiled egg.

Now this was no small feat, let me get that straight right now. My mother's career was our home. My mother washed and ironed our clothing, cooked all of our meals, did all of our landscaping, painted walls, rewired lamps, fixed holes knocked in walls, took care of the family finances, tiled and refinished floors, nursed us back to health, tutored us, sewed some of our clothes (then, mended them later), disciplined us, took us on cultural outings, did art projects with us, and many other necessary chores that kept a household as orderly as was possible with characters like my brother and I. By the time we left home, we knew how to do ... well ... nothing.

I used to think my mother, who preferred to be called "Mother" (so I called her "Mama"), never let us assist her with any of the chores because she liked taking care of us. Now I understand that my brother and I were really more of a hindrance to her completing tasks; she was very obsessive like that. My mother was the "hotdog" of housewives; she did EVERYTHING herself. Later, I believe she felt very guilty, as my brother and I came out of our family household absolute bumblers.

My brother and I are fast learners. We quickly gathered that if Mohammad (Mama) won't go to the mountain (our laundry), we'll take the mountain (of mending, stains, grocery lists, ironing, potential meal options that may be prepared and frozen in individual portions for reheating later) to Mohammad (again, played by Mama). This worked well for a while, until my brother and I each moved around six hours drive away. By then, the mountain (of the aforementioned) would not fit in the car.

So, we began to learn to do for ourselves. For me, the baby steps were the most painful parts of the process. I almost killed myself by unknowingly mixing bleach and ammonia cleaning products in an under-ventilated bathroom full of unaddressed mildew. I started a small grease fire in my kitchen by trying to pop oiled barley in a wok. I ironed the pleating right out of one of my nice kilts. I warped numerous cooking pots and pans by running them under cold water to cool them down to clean. There were, literally, years of: unbalanced and unsorted loads of wash; stains set so deep a Bissell would bust before getting anything out; furniture legs deeply gouged by the vacuum; stacks of chipped dishes; and bouts with food poisoning from waiting just a bit too long to eat a sandwich with mayo. I was a Home Ec wreck.

Don't get me wrong. My brother and I could call our mother at any time, day or night, and ask the most seemingly inane question about keeping house and she would patiently explain out the answers, step-by-step. I believe she loved these phone calls. She still does. She's very nurturing. As I said, my brother and I are fast learners. Both of us have become fairly accomplished at certain aspects of keeping a household.

I have become a fairly proficient and creative cook. I have a knack for creating flavor combinations which are simple and fairly inexpensive. I enjoy experimenting, especially with produce and herbs from my kitchen garden and those of my friends. I try to keep things interesting. So, rather irrationally, I was too embarrassed to ask my mother how SHE boiled an egg.

If you look in The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, Fanny Farmer's Cookbook, The All New Joy of Cooking, and Betty Crocker's Cookbook, you will see and read more than you could ever want to about how to practically, and methodically, boil an egg. What you will not learn in any of these bastions of strength in the common household culinary world is how to attain "The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg" that I've developed. I imagine that these little tricks we use in these recipes we devise are what we hand over to our children and their children and so on.

So, here it is, without further ado:

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

1 organic/free-range and/or home grown egg


Take egg out of fridge approximately 20 minutes before boiling. If the shell is too cold, it will crack when placed in the boiling water. Bring enough water to boil in a small pot so that your egg will be completely submerged. Do not put any salt in the water in effort to make it boil faster; salt will weaken the shell. When water has come to a rapid boil, gently place egg in water with a small ladle, 2 tbsp measuring cup, or soup spoon. Do not adjust temperature. Rapidly boil the egg for 10 minutes. Following, turn off burner and allow egg to sit in boiled water for an additional 6 minutes. Promptly drain and either place egg in fridge or place in strainer and run cold water over it to cool. VoilĂ ! She is, how you say, magnifique!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Barabara Makes Her Debut

Barbara Makes Her Debut

Every human skin here dusted with luminescent snow;
The staged ballroom so taut, tight
With white, as so many spathes of the calla lily.
If any being black, or brown, or red should make an appearance, Barb would be rabid.
She is completely ignorant to the fact those in her contrived court
Are manifestly destined to be
Terminally middle-class;
Equipped only to be carrying the trains
Of others predestined to land up
Right into the folds of purple robes fringed with ermine,
All her failing aspirations simply lead to attempts to surround herself
With Anglican ... royal ... courtly couples.

It seems I've been sitting here far too long for, ever
Have I sat as the contemplative audience, questioning the ways in which Barb will brush
Past the primary colors in life. Then,
I attempt to understand her need to be with those of flaxen hair,
Her seemingly artless reasoning; the logic of her forever
Having to see to it that the props in the theater of her life are painted
To her transparent standards.
Man, referred to by her only as Him,
Be he black, or brown, or red, is never seen as human,
Or even part of nature yet,
Somehow, in some way,
She sees Him as kindred.

Man is a being with his mind to the hone, then so sharpened
As to penetrate that part of her mind that seems to me so entirely small.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"You Mean, You Really Need To Know This?" 12-18-2009 Post Continued

"We will be going into the new 20 10 edition of getting to know your family and friends. Here is what you are supposed to do, and try not to be lame and spoil the fun.

Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person who sent it to you. Some of you may get this several times; that means you have lots of friends. The easiest way to do it is to hit 'forward' so you can change the answers or copy and paste. Have fun and be truthful!"


What is your occupation?

I've been thinking a lot about my jobless situation. I've applied everywhere, but Mickey Dees. Sadly, my primary occupation goes not much further than this here questionnaire.


What color are your socks right now?

sockless; skin tone; nude; naked; bereft of hosiery; fidget-foot; but bunny slippered (Does this count?)


What are you listening to right now?

air blowing in from the furnace, while my dogs sleep-whimper and sigh


What was the last thing that you ate?

a cold Bisquick biscuit and water (apparently, I'm trying to tap into my inner street urchin)


Can you drive a stick shift

Does the Pope wear a funny hat?


Last person you spoke to on the phone?

My dad, boringly enough ... and I did not so much as speak to him as I was spoken at; this is a typical state of affairs with him.


Do you like the person who sent this to you?

Absolutely, more than she knows. However, every chain mail coming down the 'pike hits her computer and is fired off into cyberspace carrying all the names and addresses of anyone and everyone who ever received, or is destined to receive, every email with promises of salvation in heaven, angels watching over you, boundless luck and wealth, puppies and kittens and rainbows and monkeys flying out of your archenemy's ass and...


How old are you today?

38-years 11-months 25-days (24-days 11-hours 4-minutes 26-seconds)


What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?

dog shows


What is your favorite drink?

water - worldwide, this seems to be everyone's favorite -- good, clean, precious drinking water -- I wanna be just ... like ... everyone.


Have you ever dyed your hair?



Favorite food?

corndogs, but I never eat 'em because they're gross


What is the last movie you watched?

"Good Dick" (I know what you are thinking and STOP IT. It was on The Movie Channel yesterday and here's a link:


Favorite day of the year?

Well, this year, it will be the day I get a job.


How do you vent anger?

I cook, stew, beat, batter, strain, chop, pummel, slice, and sometimes burn.


What was your favorite toy as a child?

my brother's shortwave radio - I used to sneak into his room and we'd listen to the Doctors, that would be Dr. Ruth and Dr. Demento.


What is your favorite season?

Sprummer - I'm a gardener. What can I say?


Cherries or Blueberries?

depends on the final product


Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?

No, I mean, not about THIS anyway.


Who is the most likely to respond?

I think of this email as having a social disease where the buck stops here.


Who is least likely to?

see #20


Living arrangements?

Well, I try to eat right, diet, and exercise some. I breathe regularly and sleep some. Still working on the regular source of income, though.


When was the last time you cried?

Cried what? Uncle? Go, Bucky? Foul? Wolf? The sky is falling? What? What do you want from me?


What is on the floor of your closet?

cheap carpet and hangers, along with the skeletons, of course


Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to?

I want to keep my friends, thank you, so I send this to no one.


What did you do last night

Do I need an alibi? If not, the Sunday Crosswords from the Chicago Times Tribune.


What are you most afraid of?

These, strangely enough.


Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?

I believe sausages also come in these flavors, as well as chips, french fries, corn nuts, popcorn, foccaccia bread among other things.


Favorite breed of dog

Rat Terrier or Rat Terrors, as P and I call 'em


Favorite day of the week?



How many states have you lived in?

Depends on what 'state' you're talking about. If by 'state' you mean 'state of mind,' then innumerable. If you are talking U.S. of A., well then, that would be 3.


Diamonds or pearls?

Gems of wisdom or pearls of wisdom? Which one started as a lump of coal? Which one started as grains of sand? Pearls are quicker.


What is your favorite flower?

I have always been particularly fond of iris. I'll post pics, when my iris pop up in the Spring.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The Coffee Room is deserted, except for John and Walter. Walter stands with his back against the doorjamb. John is hunched over the countertop, by the coffeepots, pulling at his head.

“What’s the matter, John? You have a headache?”

“It started when I looked sideways. Like this, see? That was, I think, last week Tuesday. I thought it was uh bug. But it wasn’t. It was uh black spot … in my left eye. Uh spot … bouncing ‘round on the left corner of … well, of whatever thuh hell I was lookin’ at that wasn’t dark. Uh spot. I thought there was somethin’ in my goddamn eye. I’m not uh hypochondriac, so stop lookin’ at me like that. It was there. Crap! It is there. I checked my eye out in thuh men’s john. Couldn’t see anything in it, but hell if that spot ain’t still there.”

“Well, have you, uh, seen someone about that?”

“I don’t wanna go to the doctor.”

“I’m just saying, I mean, if your really worried about it you could …”

“That stupid spot’s like one of those white or red or whatever colored spots we use tuh have on thuh sing-a-longs. Remember?”

“Yeah, yeah I do.”

“It’d bounce from word tuh word?”

“Right, right.”

“But … it’s uh black hole, but solid. It bounces ‘round my kids while they try tuh ask all those … ya know … Why, Daddy? questions. I can’t even focus with this goddamn spot!”

“Maybe it’s allergies.”

“It strokes my wife’s breasts. It’s even pettin’ my dog. Shit!”

“I don’t know, John. What can I do to …”

“I’ve been tryin’ to look at everything from thuh right eye … thuh right side, see. I can’t! My left eye, thuh one with thuh shitty-ass spot keeps cuttin’ in. Even, get this, when I close my eye, or cover it up with my hand, like this, it’s still there. IT’S STILL THERE. I think it’s getting bigger, growing. It use tuh, kinda disappear if I put my head uh certain way. Like this. But now, it’s there ALL…”

“Hey man, everybody’s looking in here. The whole office can hear you.”

“I don’t care if they hear me. What this spot does, see, is it keeps addin’ periods in thuh middle of what I’m reading. It won’t even let me fuckin’ read. Matter uh fact, that’s when It’s REALLY THERE. Ya know why? Cause paper is white, and computer screens are blue, and newspapers are gray, and none of ’em are dark enough tuh hide it. Fuck! It won’t even lemmy fucking speak! It keeps interrupting. It’s putting a shitty black period in thuh middle of yur face, RIGHT NOW.”

“Hey now. Take it easy. Do you need to go home? I can probably drive you. You’re getting kind of hysterical, buddy.”

“I’m not gonna lie to ya. Yeah, I’m fucking scared shitfaced. I mean, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t wanna go to thuh doctor. He’s gonna tell me it’s all in my head. Or, that I need drugs or shots or surgery. Or, that I have, what's it called? Glaucoma. Or, uh detached eyeball part, or my view is wrong an needs to be fixed by takin’ my sick eyeball out an puttin’ in somebody else’s.”


“Or, that I have cancer of the eye. Or, caught cancer of the brain where I’m gonna die in six months or six weeks or six days of a brain tumor. Die!”



“Take it easy! Take it easy, John. I really, REALLY think you ought to see the doctor. I know that’s not what you want to hear.”

“Huh. Maybe I should just let it take over thuh whole godddamn thing? Everything. What are you shaking your head for? I’ll be okay. I’m just gonna get my coffee here and go back tuh thuh Henderson deal.”

“Look here, I’ll go over to H.R. for you and have them contact you about what you have for sick days, vacation, all that stuff. You need some time to figure out what this is, what you’re up against. Forget about the Henderson deal for now. I’ll talk to Roger about getting on the finances for that. The team can spare you for a couple of days while you find out what’s going on.”

“I know what’s going on. I’m gonna die.”


“No, really, Walt. This spot’s tryin’ to kill me. I oughta call it Sancho. Ya know who Sancho is, Walt? Sancho is the guy that screws yur wife and plays with yur kids, gettin’ ‘em to call him Daddy and walks yur dog, so all the neighbors can see. He does all this shit while yur in prison. Except this time, Sancho’s not even waitin’.”

“Why don’t you sit down a minute? ... William, please come in here a second, would you?”


“You keep a schedule of John’s appointments, don’t you?”


“Where is his regular doctor?”


“Where’s his office?”

“Oh, on Fortney, in that yellow-brick med building.”

“John, can I take you to the doctor now? Would you like me to go with you? Look at me, John! Do you want me to go with you?”

“I dunno … maybe … yeah … okay.”

“Good! Okay, let me wrap up a couple of things and we’ll go.”

“But, Sancho’s not goin'.”


“I said, SANCHO’S ... NOT ... GOING.”

“John, for godsake, you’re not making any sense!”

“He’s not coming.”

“William! Come back here, NOW, please.”


“Call an ambulance.”

“I don’t need any goddamn ambulance!”

“You’re sick, John.”

“I know. I KNOW. I told you I’m gonna die.”

The Coffee Room is deserted, except for John and Walter. Walter stands with his back against the doorjamb, holding John in and keeping the rest of the office out. John is hunched in the chair, pulling at his head, covering and uncovering his left eye with his hand. The office is humming with the anticipation of the action that is to come. It has broken the monotony of the business day. It has disrupted John’s life. It has made Walter scared for his friend’s sanity. It has kept William busy. It has roused the EMTs from their afternoon nap.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

If I Win Glass Nickel's "FREE PIZZA FOR A YEAR" Giveaway

Three locations of Glass Nickel Pizza are running an insanely cool promotion with the top prize of one free 14" specialty or four-topping pizza per week for an entire year. The scratch tickets for this were given to my husband and I the end of November to be returned any time in January, 2010.

The time is tonight, but this got me thinking. Not that it is probable, but what if we win that top prize worth $920? How would I show my gratitude? Since I am several years past the college freshman diet, how would I adjust to accommodate the regular increase in calories? What would give this single event, with a potential for a year's worth of events, meaning for me? Here is my list of "Free Glass Nickel Pizza Resolutions":

#1 - I will not eat any meat, but fish, the rest of the week.

#2 - I will find a way to have Glass Nickel pizza every week, even when I am out of town. (How this will be accomplished, I'm not sure, but I will find a way.)

#3 - I will blog about, tweet from, and post pictures of my friends, husband, and I enjoying the pizza, as well as any and all of whatever is going on at the time.

#4 - The tips will always reflect the full value of our meal and service received.

The chances are slim, but it sure doesn't hurt to be prepared.