November 2007

Fried Chicken & Collard Greens

The plan was for my usual roast chicken (which, by the way, you should only salt until it has a light coating: those who said it was too salty took my recipe too literally!) but then, as I was standing there in the grocery store, I spotted collard greens.

“My, my,” I said to myself in a Southern accent. “It’s been a long time since we here attempted fried chicken.” (You may remember that was a disaster). “And I done never cooked collard greens before. Why, I see a mighty fine supper in my future.”

What’s your favorite cold weather food?

Tonight I made my standard tomato sauce (see book, Chapter One) except with some tweaks: I skipped the carrot, skipped the thyme. And since it’s getting cold out, I started out with bacon and made a kind of Amatriciana. Bacon in tomato sauce is the kind of thing you can only really enjoy as the weather gets cooler and so it’s time to ask you, lovely readers: what’s your favorite cold weather food? My list also includes: chili, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, any kind of stew (particularly with lamb), soup (of course), and/or anything braised.

Bagelworks, Boca Raton

Comfort of comforts–the white fluorescent lights, the angry senior citizens shoving in line–is there a taste more sweet than the taste of a Bagelworks bagel, shmeared with lox spread and whitefish salad, topped with sliced tomato and onion and washed down with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice? Welcome to Bagelworks in Boca Raton, the locus of my happiest eating from ages 11 to 18: from middle school through high school, with several visits between college and now. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I asked mom to take me here before going to my dad the dentist for a cleaning. The past flooded into the present as I entered that sacred space: a space that knew me as a gawky teenager, a first time driver, a failed candidate for student council president. There among my people–New York Jews transplanted to Florida–I eat the way I was meant to eat: with my hands, unafraid of bad breath, wiping cream cheese off my lips with a napkin and eyeing the waitress to refill my water. When I’m at Bagelworks, I’m at home

Single Occupancy Restaurant Bathroom Pet Peeves #1 & #2


#1: You are in a single-occupancy bathroom and you lock the door. You begin to do your business and someone comes along and jiggles the handle. This someone–we’ll use the name Hank–doesn’t stop there. Even though Hank can tell that the door is locked, he must persist. He jiggles harder, he shakes the door, he knocks. This leads us to a very clear conclusion: Hank is an asshole. Hank, if the door is locked someone is in there. It’s that simple. There’s no conspiracy to deprive you of a toilet and a sink; if you wait just a few more seconds it’ll all be yours. But no, you’ve gotta jiggle, you’ve gotta shake, you’ve gotta knock. I hate you, Hank! You’ve disrupted what should’ve been a very calming experience. Now I’m stressed out, I have to call out: “There’s someone in here!” When I leave, I give you a dirty look but you don’t care, Hank. Life marches on for you but for me, I’ll never pee calmly again.

#2: Ladies, this one you won’t relate to. Men: we go into the single occupancy bathroom to pee and the toilet seat is down. (Cue 80s comic: “Ladies, why can’t our men learn to keep the toilet seat down!”) Well it’s down because of you, ladies. So we use our foot to lift it up and it immediately slams back down. We try to lift it again and the same thing happens. Now we have a choice: attempt to pee with the seat down, risking a splattered seat or–worse–hold the seat up with our finger while we pee. This happened to me tonight. I opted for option 2, which totally grossed me out: I used the tip of my left-hand pointer finger, so if you shake my hand soon make sure to shake the right. But note to restaurant managers: if you have a single occupancy bathroom with a toilet seat that doesn’t stay up, please fix it. Nothing is less appetizing than trying to eat your food with a hand that just touched a toilet seat.

Thank you. I feel better now.

P.S. It occurs to me now I could’ve used a piece of toilet paper to hold the seat up. That makes me stupid: you can call me Stupid McDirtyhands.

P.P.S. After reading your comments, I’m shocked that you think I didn’t wash my hands aftrwards. Of course I washed my hands. What do you think I am, a Stupid McDirtyhands?

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up


Are you sick of Thanksgiving yet? You should be! For the past few weeks, every website, every magazine, every food guru has been espousing the merits of dressing vs. stuffing, cajoling you to make your own cranberry sauce and badgering you to brine your turkey. Now that the big day is over, Thanksgiving Talk is as welcome as deconstructing the sex you just had: “I liked it when you put your right hand on my left shoulder.” Not fun. So, for the sake of knowing when to quit, I’m going to keep my Thanksgiving wrap-up short.

Live Thanksgiving Broadcast #2

[Note: After posting this, I figure you may want some explanation as to who everyone is: are you ready? First you’ll see my mom and dad, then you’ll see the Johnson family–that’s my brother’s girlfriend Tali’s family–her father, Craig, her sister Mia and poking around there my grandmother (my mom’s mom); in the next room you’ll see my Aunt Ellen who is my mom’s brother Mark’s wife, then Gila, Tali’s mom, then Matt, my cousin (Mark & Ellen’s son), Craig, my better half (who has the same full name as Tali’s dad!), then my grandfather and my uncle Mark who, if you paid attention, you’ll remember is my mom’s brother. Phew!]

{Note 2: In the video I say, “The turkey carving video I posted” but I didn’t post that: A.G. Intern Kathryn did that. Thanks Kathryn!]

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