Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Qwah-hawg. Not Coh-hawg!

I love The Family Guy, but people, please. It's "Quaw-hawg", not "Coh-hawg".
End of story.

I'm roasting a chicken.
I'm still unemployed.

It's one week till Christmas.

Any questions?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Slush-induced Tantrum

I came undone this afternoon; for those of you who don't know me well, it's something I do cada vez en cuando.

My day had ominous beginnings. This morning, bright and early, I awoke to the mellifluous sprinkly sounds of freezing rain. Seems like we're experiencing the beginnings of a precipitous winter season here in Rhode Island. I'm sick of it already.

I took my chicken out of the fridge to salt it in preparation for roasting it tonight, for the Dinnerman's return from a lovely weekend in New Jersey. It stunk to high heaven; clearly it was spoiled, even though the sticker had tomorrow's date on it.
Ok, thought I, I have the whole day with nothing pressing to do, so I will exchange my rotten chicken!
It appeared to be raining at that point, not sleeting or snowing. No problem!

Emerging from my warm, dry condo, I took note that the parking lot had not been plowed. It was 1pm. Remind me again - where do our condo fees go?

I backed the car out of its spot, then cleaned it off while it heated up, per the usual routine.
I got back in, threw it in reverse, and...uh oh!

No go. I was spinning my wheels.

Long story short, I found a shovel and spent the better part of an hour throwing a fullblown tantrum in the parking lot - while shoveling heavy slush, cursing the day I was born, and cursing New England weather and the northeast in general.
I do believe I provided entertainment for all the people who live in my building as they were coming and going effortlessly in their SUVs. They had the pleasure of watching a crazy nutcase with snot running down her face hack away at the ice, bitching, moaning, hyperventilating, screaming and throwing things.

I did get the car back into its spot, but I abandoned my chicken-exchange mission. I retreated into my humble abode, not to emerge for the rest of the day.

Then I baked a cake and drank a Manhattan.
Then the Dinnerman walked through the door.

I feel better now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Al Forno in the Storm

The Dinnerman is away this weekend, which means at least one thing: fish for Steph. Lots of fish.

Last night we considered trudging up the street for sushi. But that didn't seem right - sushi in a snowstorm? And who wants to walk that far? Two years ago we were intrepid, but you know, that was then. The folly of youth...

As we walked out into the white stillness, we smelled our answer to the question of dinner: Al Forno.
Of course!

Dashing through the snow, we found the parking lot empty. They were open, though, and who do you think was populating the marble bar and cozy tables? All the people from our building. People who don't have to drive to eat a grilled pizza or have a cocktail in front of the roaring fire. The lucky ones.

We bellied up to the bar and made merry with our fellow condo owners. We talked about the big things, the little things, the storm traffic, the holidays. We laughed. We cried. We shared dirty jokes. We cringed when a woman came in to pick up her rigatoni-and-pizza-to-go and made the world end because Al Forno doesn't stock plastic utensils. (She even asked the bartender to have the chef cut up her rigatoni...scary! Honey, that'll be the day. We did have a good laugh about it after she left...but by that time, though, we were all laughing at everything.)

One antipasto and one spicy grilled pizza later (oh, and don't forget the Maker's Manhattans!), we high-stepped home through the snow. Then we curled up on the couch with Saturday Night Live's Christmas Special. What a way to end a storm!

Al Forno
577 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 273-9760

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Steph's Gravy

Steph's Ragu
Originally uploaded by whatstepheats

Finally, a picture. Just wanted to give the gift of a visual to all (3, maybe) of my loyal readers.

(Why do so many of you like Scott toilet paper? It's like tracing paper! And Charmin? My God, that stuff is just too damn fluffy!)

Vote!!! Voice your opinion about the tp!

My Toes on a Puerto Rico Beach, and Fear of Hunger

Here's a pic to help get your mind off the snow. I've been listening to the news for the last hour, and it's really funny to hear how the reporters attempt to work everyone up into a frenzy.

"Drivers are at an absolute standstill on area highways; it's like a scene from a movie!" (this was said no fewer than 5 times)

"The state was well-prepared for this storm, the problem is that everyone left work at noon. They should have stayed home, or staggered the times that they left."

"Cars are running out of gas they've been stuck in traffic for so long!"

They have one good point though, that drivers tend to clog up intersections in their hastiness to get through red lights. They rush to get through and then get "stuck" in the middle of the intersection, blocking the traffic that has the current green light from getting through, and creating a vicious cycle. But why harp on this during a snowstorm? It happens every day around here...drivers are remedial in our fair state. We need major reform - a much more difficult and recurrent driver's test, for one thing.

I also made the mistake of watching the news last night before the Dinnerman and I had a wonderful evening with a friend at The University Club (very exclusive and beautiful in an old Benefit Street/East Side house, very fawning staff, very waspy guests, very ordinary food, very delicious Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon).

This resulted in some frenzied grocery shopping this morning, you know, just in case we get snowed in and just so we don't starve!!!

After postponing my afternoon plans, I passed time making a delicious sausage and lentil soup with cabbage, because I've been on a cabbage kick lately.

Around 4, I cleaned off the car and drove around the block. That took a half hour, because of all the traffic trying to get on 195.

Now I am sitting on the floor sipping a screwdriver, listening to the damn news as ambient noise. Noise is really what it is.

Anyway, I have been thinking lately about how hunger is related to fear. I read an entry on April's blog where she explicitly noted this connection, and for me it's definitely true.

Here's a link to her blog: http://www.mprize.org/blogs

Here's the relevant excerpt:
"At the base of it, hunger is about fear. Fear that you'll never eat again, never have your needs met. But if you know you'll be okay, no matter what, the fear goes away."

Maybe it's especially true for women, who have a tendency to nest, and for people who lived through The Depression. The Dinnerman noted long ago my tendency to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I think I get this from my grandmother, who lived through the Depression, and who has had much happen in her life to set her world on end, to instill fear.
As a child, I didn't understand why she was so afraid, seemingly of anything and everything. She worried about us kids swimming in the pool, worried that she may never again see the people she loved (she would never say "goodbye" - it was always "so long"). She worried about not having enough food and about running out of gas. She used to worry about not getting to appointments on time, and worry when she didn't get her electric bill by the usual time of the month.
I then learned a bit about her life - how she was widowed at 23 when her husband was shot down in a plane in the war, pregnant with her 2 year old daugher in the hospital with pneumonia. She lost the baby.
Then, after remarrying (my grandfather) and having several more children, she lost a baby girl to crib death.
She lost her father in his fifties. She lost her mother.
She was widowed a second time.

My grandmother was afraid because she was well acquainted with losing people she loved. Because she was well acquainted with having to survive without what she needed.

My dad described it well, years before I could even comprehend what he meant, "She's very scared, and she's very strong."

Yes, grandma, you are very strong. I love you, and I miss you. And I understand you now, if just a little bit.

For now I am safe, I am warm, I am dry, and I have plenty to eat and drink. Most importantly, I am a well-loved woman. And that is more than enough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Best Laid Plans of Boneless Breasts

We had grand plans to grill chicken, asparagus, and hot peppers tonight, but alas, it rained.

Emerging from spinning with my favorite instructor (surprise!) to the opening of the skies, we knew it was not to be.
The letdown was assuaged with vodka tonics (and vodka Clear Splashes) and the marinated mass of victuals went into the oven.
It's never a night of cooking in our place until the smoke alarm pierces the air. It just did. Actually it's a good timer, and I am somewhat to blame. I have this compelling urge to broil all the time.

Time to eat!

On another note, Dr. Dinnerman and I are just loving Family Guy. I can't believe I never got into this show until the last couple of months! It's spot-on with the whole Rhode Island craziness thing. We've been laughing outloud. That's never a bad thing.

I may not know how to make my links look pretty, but I'm damn proud that I figured out how to upload photos to my Flickr account. It's slow going, but it's happening. Good things take time.

Check out my pics! They look better on a screen than in the viewfinder, I must say.

I put some up from our trip to Italy in June, and other random ones...I got a million in my camera still. More to come.

Continued apologies for the ugly linkages.

Pensive Stinky

Pensive Stinky
Originally uploaded by whatstepheats
Introducing Stinky the Cat, the sweetest Ragdoll known to man! Stinky is not my cat, she belongs to my good friend. I am a cat person currently living without a cat due to the Dinnerman's allergies ("The cat wheal was bigger than the histamine control, Steph!!!").

Thank goodness Stinky resides a mere 2 floors up.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Blogger with the Same Name!

I must alert all my loyal readers (do I have any readers at all?) to another Rhode Island blogger who shares my name. Stephanie Does (http://stephaniedoes.com/). She talks about food. In and around Providence.

And she's a lot more to the point than I am.

How exciting is that? Little Rhody is on the map!

(Sorry about the messy linkages lately, but I am apparently retarded and cannot make "neat links" happen. You know, when it rains...
This. Is. My. Cry. For. Help!!!)

Fantastic Phonatic

Inspired by The Amateur Gourmet's recent post, My First Pho, http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2007/12/my_phirst_pho.html), I thought that the Dinnerman should be afforded a similar opportunity.
What better scenario for a steaming bowl of aromatic goodness than a chilly New England Saturday afternoon? Actually, it felt downright balmy here yesterday in relation to our recent deep freeze. The sun was shining, the snow was melting...if it weren't for a little wind I'd have thought we were in the tropics.
So, we donned our hooded "Nanook of the North" coats and set off on foot up to the bustle College Hill. Our destination? Phonatic (http://www.takeouttonight.com/menus/rhode%20island/providence/02906/Phonatic%20Restaurant_4014541699/Lunch-Dinner/index.html)on Angell Street. The Dinnerman, ever the skeptic, kept asking me if I knew where I was going and if I was sure he would like it. Would it fill him up? How could it fill him up if it only cost $7.50? In his usual way he doubted me. But in my usual way I stood my ground, and we were both better for it.

I'd heard mixed reviews about this Vietnamese restaurant, but aside from the absence of vodka to pour into the sparkling limeade, the Dinnerman and I declared it a fault-free and inexpensive outing - we'll be back, soon.

We started with a small order of the beef wrapped in pepper leaves - 5 skewered cyliders of marinated chopped beef wrapped in the leaves of the aromatic pepper leaf (piper sarmentosum (http://www.asiafood.org/glossary_1.cfm?alpha=C&wordid=3252&startno=1&endno=25), which the Vietnamese call "bo la lot" and is related to the betel leaf), served atop shredded lettuce and scallions with a vinegary sauce. I thought this was delicious - it had a very fresh flavor, reminiscent of citrus and cilantro. Missing, however, were the advertised rice paper wrappers for rolling.

Onto the main event: we each set off in the pursuit of pho totality (photality?) with the Pho Phonatic. This was a giant bowl of beef noodle soup filled with thinly sliced rare beef eye round (cooked by the heat of the broth), well-done brisket, flank, tendon, tripe, and beef meatballs. The broth was so rich and delicious; it had been simmering for a very long time. Also floating in the broth were a mound of rice noodles, slivers of white onions, and chopped scallions. Served alongside was a plate of fresh bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos, lime wedges, and basil. You stir up the entire mess, watching the raw or rare eye round cook, squirt in some Sriracha hot sauce, sprinkle with bean sprouts, jalapenos and basil, and squirt in the lime juice. Now you are ready to eat!
I tried to inform the Dinnerman of what I know to be proper pho technique: chopsticks in dominant hand (right for us), spoon in the other hand (that would be left), lift noodle with chopsticks, deposit into spoon, slurp. I also spoon broth into my mouth with my right hand, and pick meat up with chopsticks with my right hand. But at the end of the day, you do whatever you can to get the pho into your mouth. You proceed in your own phashion to make the pho your own.
And yes, it's always good to slurp.

I brought home half of my "solids". All the Dinnerman was left with was broth. But what broth it was! This morning, after a night in the fridge, it was jiggling. That's some serious stock, people. A lot of collagen was infused. Exquisite.

There is so much more to the menu that we want to sample...but how can a person go to Phonatic and not order pho?

165 Angell Street
Providence, RI 02906
(401) 454-1699

Can someone please help me! How do I post links without the entire address having to show up in the text? I thought I knew how to do it, but it hasn't been working for me...help!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Dinnerman!

Today Dr. Dinnerman turns 41.

In honor of his birthday, I will explain the origin of his blog moniker:
Years ago, a local hospital had a "yuk truk" that pulled up outside the Emergency Department around 2 or 3 am every morning. Upon its arrival you would hear over the loudspeaker, "Paging Dr. Dinnerman, Dr. Dinnerman, please report to emergency."

The name seemed to suit him. It stuck.

And yes, I called him that before I started this blog.

As a bonus, I will explain the origin of my blog title:
The Dinnerman and I were out to eat with his mom, sister, brother in law, niece and nephew.
In response to the Dinnerman's complaints of getting too fat, his mom replied, "Why don't you eat what Steph eats!"
At the time, I ate lots of fish and vegetables. I still do, but not until after I've had my bacon, sausage, and steak.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Dinnerman. May you live a long, happy, and prosperous life. Here's to 41 more years together!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

EneMan Sits Atop Our Tree of Dysfunction

Two nights ago, I put up the Christmas tree that's been lying dormant in one or more of the Dinnerman's closets for almost 4 years. It was given to him by another woman from a "transitional" period, before he had the pleasure of my company. All things considered, I think I got over it in record time! And she's a nice girl...
Assembling the other-woman-tree was a much bigger pain in the ass than anticipated, but I do love to dive headlong into anything resembling a big production. Now I think it looks nice. I love the lights.

I broke out all the ornaments, then realized that we had no star, no angel for the top.

What we had was EneMan. EneMan crowns our Holiday Tree of Dysfunction.

'Tis the Season for Superglue in My Cracks

Cracks in my fingers, that is. Fingers.
In the winter my extremities dry out, then crack and bleed. That hurts. I fill said cracks with Superglue. They feel better.
End of story.
Goodbye and goodnight. You've been great, folks; I'll be here all week!

Compensatory Raves

Stuff I'm Loving:

1) Blogger. I am blogging at the gym, and the internet throws you off after a certain amount of time. During my last very negative and self-pitying post, I got dumped. But Blogger saved my post as a draft!
Thanks Blogger. It's the small things.

2) My gym. It's nice that my gym has internet access for members. I can hole up in this comfortable little room and blog when I am trying to avoid working out. Davol Fitness & Spa is the best gym. I had never felt comfortable in a gym until I joined this one. And it's a hop, skip and a jump from home. I can walk here. (Er, when it's not 15 degrees, that is)

3) Dr. Dinnerman. This should really be number 1. The Dinnerman is the best man I have ever known. He is so generous, funny, smart, witty, happy, kind, sensitive, caring, loving, and real. He gets me. He knows me, and still loves me in all my imperfect glory. For that I am eternally grateful. I am unspeakable happy and thankful that he has made his way into my life.

4) Our home, health, and minds. I live in a beautiful place. I live with the love of my life. We are both smart, healthy, capable people.

5) The web. I love the internet. I don't know what I would do without it.

6) My family. Even though there is some space between us right now, I love them all, miss them all, and they are always on my mind.

7) Fellow bloggers. You guys know who you are. There are so many smart, funny, articulate, interesting people out there. I could (and sometimes do) read all day.

8) Providence's restaurants. We've got some great food here, people. There's no denying it. I wonder if I'd survive in a place where the only "Italian" was the Olive Garden. But then, I can cook Italian food. That I know. How could I possibly live without Indian, Thai, Japanese, or Korean restaurants?

9) My ipod. Which I left at home tonight. Which has caused me to spend an hour bloging instead of on the elliptical. And now it's time to go home.
I hear the Dinnerman calling!

Random Rants

1) People here in Rhode Island are becoming progressively worse in their driving abilities day by day.

2) It's very cold this week. I can't get warm. I drink tea all day and wear layers and layers of clothing, and slather lotion on my hands and feet. I take a lot of high quality fish oil. But I remain cold, and my skin is still dry and cracking. Also, my hair gets really limp and stringy when it's dry out. My hair gets really curly when it's humid. My hair gets most curly when I am in Mexico. Curly is better. Mexico is calling.

3) I wrote a long and eloquent cover letter in response to a rather attractive job posting on craigslist this morning, and emailed the Dinnerman with the link to show him the great! job! I! applied for!
Lo and behold, the job posting had been taken down already, and I doubt it had been filled that quickly. Hmmm...was it put up by mistake?

4) The hallways of my building continue to be filled with cigar smoke. I actually called both the club owner and the Department of Health, because I just can't leave anything alone. The club owner said he had installed all these really expensive smoke eaters/air cleaners, and that he'd "look into it" when I mentioned that the hallway still stunk. He then told me he'd buy me a drink the next time I come down. He was nicer than I expected he'd be, but I just got the impression that he's just giving me lip service, you know? That nothing will change.
The Department of Health said that they didn't think there were any permits for cigar bars in the state. This may be true. However, the person I spoke with didn't seem to understand me when I told her that he has the permit to sell cigars and that establishments that sell cigars can have smoking on their premisis in this state. She did say she would talk to their lawyers and get back to me on this.
I am tired of expending so much energy on this! I keep telling myself that I will stop it, but I live there. I can't escape the continuous reminder. And then I get angry and indignant. Then I realize that this is Rhode Island, and things don't change here. People look the other way. There is very little effective infrastructure in place. No one knows anything; everyone gives you the runaround.
It would definitely help if I got out more, if I had a job. Which brings me to...

5) I send my resume out to dozens of job postings each week, and lately I have been getting no responses. I had several interviews in October, which resulted in a couple of situations where it was between me and another candidate (...) but since then, nothing. I know it's the holiday season, but I can't help wonder what is wrong with me. I never thought it would be this hard. Frustrating.

6) The Dinnerman's birthday is tomorrow, and I feel bad that I can't get him what I want to get him. If I had income, I'd order him a suckling pig and roast it in the oven. Or I'd take him to dinner. Or maybe I'd sign him up for the bacon of the month club. Or I'd buy him a watch. I know it's not about the material things, but just being unable to have the option is frustrating. And humbling.

7) I woke up with a sinus headache that hasn't left me all day. Of course I think it's because of the smoke in the halls.

8) In order to purchase pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) in this country, one must endure being treated like a criminal junkie. Retarded.

9) Equally retarded are the people at the neighborhood Rite Aid. I'd like to thank my cashier for her stellar customer service skills, which consisted of: staring into space and talking to other people while scanning my merchandise, making the whole process take twice as long as it should have; and handing me my receipt but not my change. When I mentioned this oversight, she proceeded to dig around in her own pocket for my change rather than open the register again. WTF?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Inclusion Criteria for Steph's Takeout Roster

Picture this: You are hungry. The thought of cooking, or even assembling something paralyzes your brain. Suddenly, you have a revelation light up your conscious mind. You can order some takeout!

You place your order, speaking articulately and with all the charm you can muster. You pick up your food, exchange pleasantries with the man behind the curtain...you even leave a generous 10% tip.

You get home. Your stomach growls in anticipation of greatness. You kick off your shoes, pour yourself a glass of your favorite libation. Then you open your bag.

Uh oh! Contents have shifted. Kung pao chicken has capsized! It's now glued to your container of white rice. Chicken teriyaki skewers have punctured their flimsy foil bag, and stab you in the hand when you try to intervene. And where's the hot mustard? They always forget the hot mustard...

Uh oh! You open your pizza box. The cheese is glued to the inside box top. And what's with the...green peppers? You ordered mushrooms and pepperoni. Where are the hot wings? Why is there a diet Coke in here? You hate diet Coke!

Uh oh! Where are the anchovies on your Caesar salad? There's butter, but how about the bread? Your onion rings have burned a hole through their styrofoam container and congealed into a soggy clump. And what are all these sticky ketchup packets for?

You believed that these things don't happen to those as successful, educated, and powerful as youself. But you, dear reader, just got screwed with the takeout.

It happens to the best of us. We all get those Valu-Pak coupons in the mail. We read the local paper's reviews. Even the yellow pages has a restaurant menu section these days. It's difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff - you just don't know what's what. But you know you gotta eat. So you take a chance.
There are ways to minimize the amount of trial and error involved. For one thing, it can't hurt to ask around! Talk to people who like to eat. Sometimes becoming a regular "taker outer" at a place helps you to get better treatment more consistently. Sometimes sitting down for a meal at a place helps - you get more "face time" with the staff. Sometimes tipping helps; sometimes speaking slowly and clearly helps, sometimes becoming friendly with the owner helps. Sometimes nothing helps.

Here's something that can't hurt - a list of what's important to a good takeout experience. I'll put it out there. Maybe it will start a revolution in a paper bag.

Inclusion Criteria for Steph's Takeout Rotation

1) Containers should neither leak nor disintigrate
In general, styrofoam and paper will not hold up to saucy and/or hot foods. Chinese takeout containers are paper, but seem to be coated with something so for the most part those are ok, with a couple of caveats: they must remain upright, closed, and not overfilled. Oh, and please, don't bend those metal handles. They never unbend well.
By far the best containers are plastic (I'm ready for the onslaught from the environmental police) with a good snap-into-place lid. There are the rectangular ones that are great for Chinese and Thai food, larger square ones that suit entrees and salads well, and those clear pint and quart soup containers that also hold saucy Indian dishes well.
Those round aluminum containers with the crimp-top arrangement are ok, provided the Chinese paper rules are followed*.

So, quick recap:
-Chinese paper, plastic with snappy lids, round aluminum with crimpy lids = ok.
-All manner of paper and/or styrofoam for hot and/or saucy dishes = not ok.

2) Orders should be accurate at least 95% of the time
Perfection is elusive. I know this. Even I make mistakes some of the time. So I feel that my 95% accuracy rule is very generous. Missing items, incorrect items, surprise additions, inappropriate condiments...these all create unnecessary angst for the taker outer. The whole point of getting takeout in the first place is to minimize said angst. 'Nuff said on this one.

3) Bags should be of appropriate size, packed efficiently, and have handles
People who say that size doesn't matter? They're wrong. The appropriately sized bag allows ample room for containers to remain upright without unwanted shifting. A talented packing person should have good common sense and not be spatially impaired. A big, heavy container does not balance well on top of delicate salad dressings. It's not Jenga, people. This is takeout we're talking about.
Handles make life easier. Plain and simple.

4) The bill should match the order
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and goes hand in hand with number 2. Don't charge me for things I didn't order. If you are going to charge me for something I didn't order, I'd much prefer it actually be physically present in my bag than not.

5) Cashier/bartender should be reasonably pleasant, or at least civil
I know this is Rhode Island, so this may be asking a bit much. Just try not to sneer at me if I show up in my gym clothes, ok? Especially if I tip you well. Just sayin'.

Whew! Glad I got that out of my system. I now proceed to give you...

Steph's Takeout Restaurant Roster

1) Parkside (http://www.parksideprovidence.com/parkside_home.html)
Parkside is great on all counts, for takeout and dining in. I love it so, and owe it a proper nod in a future post of its own. Relevant point: it's great for takeout. In addition to fulfilling all the essential criteria, they always have interesting specials and will read them to you nicely over the phone. They are probably the most consistent of all area takeout places I know - a class act.

Parkside Rotisserie & Bar
76 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 331-0003

2) Shanghai
Shanghai does a great job, though I've never actually been to the restaurant. They deliver, and they're fast. The only issues I've had are that they rarely make anything spicy enough (even if I say, "Extra, extra, extra, extra, extra spicy - 10 star spicy - not American spicy") and they sometimes forget the hot mustard.

272 Thayer Street
Providence, RI 02906
(401) 331-0077

3) Taste of India
I love this place for the food, but also for the warm and friendly proprietors. They always remember my name, and even my order. Plus, I get what I ask for. Kadai chicken, no cream, extra spicy means the same thing to them as it does to me.
How can you beat that?

Taste of India
230 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 421-4355

4) Sakura
Good, fresh sushi, really fast. The staff is a little brusque, but always nice to me (must be my innate charm). Nothing fancy, just good, fresh, fast sushi. Compared to Haruki East, it's a veritable bargain.

231 Wickenden Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 331-6861

Those are the big 4 for us. We order pizza on occasion (less frequently than I would if I lived with a man who actually liked pizza and viewed it as something other than college/drunk food, but I digress) and when we do, it's usually Pizza Pie-er and sometimes Fellini's, and they both meet the inclusion criteria.

So, readers, what are your favorite places for takeout? What are your takeout peeves?

*they must remain upright, closed, and not overfilled

Monday, December 3, 2007

Magic Shell Rocks My World - Hard

Watching Elaine squirt Hershey's syrup into Jerry's carton of Breyer's on tonight's Seinfeld episode, I was reminded of my love for the sugary, hydrogenated oil-laden, wet-to-hard epiphany in a bottle that is Magic Shell. This love began sometime in the mid-8os, and many a bottle was emptied at my hand before I read the ingredient list. (Damn the electric fence! Damn the electric fence!)

Magic Shell, why can't you make all that hocus pocus happen without the trans fats? Couldn't you fudge the results of whatever analysis you perform, to save our collective conscience from knowing the truth?

FDA, why can't we just eat shit and not know what's in it?

Now, now...that's not really what I want. I've ranted and railed long and loud against trans fats, eons before it was fashionable. But oh boy do I miss Magic Shell.

Public Service Announcement
If ever I lose function of my gray matter (at least the part which cares about trans fats), I beg of you: feed me some mint chocolate chip Häagen-Dazs with a bottle of Magic Shell. French Vanilla will be equally of value to my taste buds. And how did I achieve that fancy umlat? Cut and paste, baby...cut and paste.

I'll end this lovely post with a funny ice cream memory (I'll squeeze it in before the Dinnerman arrives with our Indian food).
Upon arriving home from school when I was perhaps 14 years of age, I opened the freezer in the hopes of finding some ice cream. Hooray! I grabbed the big carton of Neopolitan, which felt a little light, but whatever. That didn't make it past the back of my eager mind.
Proceeding blindly to scoop myself a bowl, I was already gone. Mmmmm...colloidal clumps of joy. Come to mama.
All the more disappointing then was my discovery of nothing but a thin layer of the goods coating the bottom of the container. Even more appalling was one of our kitchen spoons, frozen solid into the remains of the day. Thanks, sis!

That image will forever be indelibly etched into my mind. Another childhood memory. My shrink will find it priceless.

A to Z (with TMI)

ABCs of Me

Accent: I can turn on the "Rho Dylanduh" in me when I pahk the cah and eat my chowdah, but mostly I choose to suppress all evidence of having lived here for 34+ years from my speech. I consider it a small triumph whenever I hear someone tell me, "You don't sound like you're from here." I do, however, adore the Bostonian twang undercurrent in the Dinnerman's voice. I love it, I love it, I love it. I also hate when it's imitated badly - watch The Departed. The only two actors in that film with respectable accents are Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. Really. Trust me on this one.

Booze: Maker's Mark Manhattan. On the rocks.

Chore I Hate: Scrubbing bathtubs, showers, and toilets. All else is covered easily by my OCD.

Dog or Cat: Historically cats. But I've never had a dog, and I do believe I'd love one since I crave attention and unconditional love.

Essential Electronics: My laptop, my ipod (with the iHome speaker - if you don't have one, do look into getting one. It's changed our lives).
The TV/DVD player, primarily so I can watch my 50-disc spindle of figure skating - all Gordeeva & Grinkov, all the time. (With a little Sasha Cohen sprinkled on top).

Favorite Cologne: Hanae Mori. I have the lotion and shower gel only, as DD has allergic tendencies when confronted with certain olfactory challenges.

Gold or Silver: Platinum!

Hometown: Born in Surburbia, RI, and moved to Providence for college. Have not yet left.

Insomnia: Yes. I fall asleep fine, but wake approximately every 2 hours from 1 am on. I am not a blythe personality.

Job Title: Resident Asshole.

Kids: None that I know of, to date.

Living arrangements: Living in blissful sin with Doctor Dinnerman. It's just the two of us with the occasional appearance of Steve McQueen, the mouse spotted atop my Scrabble board one day by DD. I've yet to have a face-to-face encounter with said mouse. Not that I have a problem with mice or anything...

Most admirable traits: Sensitivity, intuition, acute perception, a sense of humor. Acceptance. Some cooking ability, and the all important appreciation of things that taste good.

Number of sexual partners: Not sure how to answer this one! It's more complicated than you'll ever know. Buy my book.
(Ok...since meeting DD, just one.)

Overnight hospital stays: One. I managed to fall down the stairs in my own home while the Coldmasters guy was here servicing our AC, thus requiring surgery to place 4 stainless steel screws and a plate in my left femur. This, having never before broken even a finger. I stayed one night in the hospital. I pulled out my own IV (the morphine drip wasn't doing anything for me), was cleared by PT, and went home.
Though that hospital stay was brief, I clearly underestimated how long it would take to feel like myself again - just about a year, with the help of spinning classes. Egads!
Let's just say I am much more careful with stairs these days. When you're a natural born clutz, you have to try extra hard.

Phobias: I am afraid of heights. Like, weak in the knees - vasovagal afraid. It's taken me a long time to fully come to terms with that. Which is not to say I avoid heights. I did the parasailing thing in Cozumel, I have no trouble with airplanes (I love them!), I went up to the cupola in St. Peter's Basilica, I stayed in a high floor at the Luxor, and I went up to the top of the Stratosphere...but it makes me viscerally and palpably uncomfortable. Just sayin'.

Other than that, I fear nothing. Except maybe fear itself.

(Oh, in 1986 I was afraid I would contract AIDS. How? Dunno. I was 13. I didn't even speak to many people, nevermind sleep with them. But, you know, this is America - spreading fear is part of the collective mindset here.)

(Oh, also, when I was around 10 years old I saw a commercial on TV about colorectal cancer, and was convinced I had it, even though I had no idea at all what it was.)

Quote: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not so sure about the universe." Albert Einstein

Religion: No, thank you! (Was raised half-assed quasi-Catholic, then the parents "found the Lord" with the whole handkerchief-waving, speaking-in-tongues congregation of crazy bust-outs, then they got divorced. Hmmmm...religion? Nah. I'll pass.)

Siblings: One younger sister with the same parents. Three (way younger) half-sisters with the same father. Long story. Someday I'll fill you in.

Time(s) I wake up: 1 am, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am, 6 am, 6:45 am...sometimes 11:30 pm too...

Unusual talent or skill: I find things. Drop a contact, lose a screw from your glasses, lose your wallet, drop your cell phone in freezing, wet January slush at 2 am, drop a pill on the floor or the couch, I'm your girl. I will find whatever it is you've lost, as long as it's tangible.

Vegetable I love: Never met a vegetable I didn't love. Favorites? Mushrooms, for sure. And broccoli.

Worst habit: Where do I begin with this one? Compulsive tidyness. Potty-mouth. Self-pity? Bossiness?

X-rays: Right femur, left femur, chest, right foor, spine, teeth...probably there are others.

Yummy foods I make: Roasted chicken or pork roast with roasted potatoes, carrots, and garlic; salt-crusted whole red snapper; red gravy with sausage, meatballs, and pork over pasta; grilled chicken or steak with hot peppers and salad...I've got a lot more up my sleeve!

Zodiac sign: I grew up thinking I was Pisces, but the sun was actually in Aries at the moment of my birth (since it was so late in the day in Eastern Standard Time on the last day of Pisces...talk about identity crisis!).
Thus, I am fire, but I am watery too. Waterfire. That's it, I'm Waterfire.

So now you know me a little bit.

Thanks to Dorcasina for the inspiration for this one (her Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sunday, December 2, 2007

First Dusting of Snow, First Blast of Cold

It's cold here in Providence. Muy frio. Bitterly cold, and it snowed a little today for the first time all season, unless you count that two-minute dusting one morning last month - November 20th, to be exact.

The Volvo is dealing with it's first snow exposure very well, I must say. We've discovered that it has a cute little snowflake symbol that appears next to the temperature reading when the temp falls anywhere between 36 degrees F down to 25 or thereabouts. Kind of arbitrary, not coinciding with anyone's cutoff of what freezing really is, but what can you do. We've decided it'a charming nonetheless.

The Dinnerman and I are not so enamored with snow or cold nearly as much as we are with that little snowflake symbol, though. Not so much. I love the Holiday Season; I mostly love the lights. I've come to understand that about myself.

Here comes my usual Sunday night plaint - gotta go, my Chinese is here.
The Dinnerman's hungry.