Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I was holding off, because up until today, Edwards was my guy, and it took me until this past weeked to get utterly disgusted with the whole Clinton machine, but this evening after work I stopped by my local make your own t-shirt store and orded my Barack Obama t-shirt. Delicate pink, with his victorious visage in gold, please.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I bought new nailpolish the other day. In English, the color is just "plum," and I'm no Francophile, but I'm pretty sure that the the botttle translates that in French to "Christmas Pudding." Um, what? That is awesome. I think that sums up the majority of the reasons why the French are fantastic and English speakers lacking.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Soups I've made over the last several weeks, where I got the recipe, how much I have left and how good they were:

Minestrone - The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary Edition)

Super complex and delicious, especially considering how low-fat this recipe is. I love to make this recipe when I have a refridgerator full of random vegetables getting elderly, because everything tastes good simmered in chicken broth with beans and pasta and bacon. This soup is all eaten and gone.

Corn Chowder - The New Basics

Ross and Erin left this cookbook behind when they got married and moved to Hotlanta. I am physically incapable of not rescuing abandoned books, and cabbaging onto this one has yielded many more tangible benefits than that copy of stories about Buddhist women languishing on my bookshelf. This recipe was pretty good; it included bacon, red peppers and lots of onion with the corn and milk, but didn't really thicken properly. I have three small containers of this soup in the freezer.

Bean and Pasta Soup - The New Basics

Tomato based soup full of beans and orzo, I added chicken breast to this soup. This got very thick and on the second day I put almost a quart of broth in it to thin it out and make it more "soupy." I had a tupperware full of this soup from the freezer for lunch today, and it was even more delcious than I remembered. There are still two frozen containers of this waiting for future lunches.

Curried Sweet Potato Chowder - Better Homes and Gardens

Here's the thing, I love the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook; it contains the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever tried, excellent recipes for dips, a whole section on slow cooker recipes, undsoweiter. It is my second favorite cookbook after The Joy of Cooking because of its broad sweep
(TJOC is broader; it has instructions on how to skin and cook a squirrel!) and reliability; I've never made a bad recipe from this cookbook. But now the caveat, it took a couple interesting recipes for me to realize how "midwest" this cookbook is. For example, last spring when we had a Kentucky Derby party I prepared a rootbeer pulled pork selection for our guests, and for the rootbeer sauce, the recipe told me to use a cup of "chile sauce." Now, to me, the urban international food conusmer that I am, "chile sauce" means something like Siracha or Choloula, so I tried to prepare a serving sauce with an entire cup of that, and, not surprisingly, it was mouth scaldingly inedible. I had never before heard of this "chile sauce" that lives in a bottle next to the A-1 and isn't spicy at all. I had a similar experience when making this curried sweet potato chowder. I was expecting a soupy savory pot of something that tasted not exatly like the panang I can get from Thai Tom, but at least vaguely reminiscent. No. Not at all. This soup was tasty, but milky and sweet, not savory and substantial. Nevertheless, I ate it all, knowing that the tuppers frozen would probably never be defrosted for lack of enthusiasm.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday night on Masterpiece Theater they kicked off the public television opus known as "The Complete Jane Austen" with a production of Persuasion I had never seen before. Honestly, it wasn't a fantastic production; the 1995 version with Amanda Root as Anne Elliot is much truer to the text and a better representation of the novel, but I still loved it. I loved how they captured the tone and feeling of the book with a subtle, muted cinematography, I loved laying on my couch on a Sunday night knitting and watching some of my most beloved literary characters, and I loved the door opening wide open for me to talk about Jane Austen to everyone I know again.

And now, for the most magical thing I've seen all week: BOYFRIEND PARTY! It's not surprising that sassy Fitzwilliam and his wet t-shirt contest is leading the ranks, but it cracked me up that even Mr. Collins is deemed by some undefined subset of internet users as more desirable than George Wickham. Or maybe it's the bizarre 21st century "Hot or Not" qualitative judgement of the interactive page that baffles me. Either way, screw you, Hulk Hogan and American Gladiators, my Sunday nights just got way better.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I've gained many things personally from changing my habits and going to the gym almost every day, not the least of which are muscle tone, increased endurance and agility, many ridiculous choreographed step routines from my favorite aerobics class and the ability to undress and shower in a room full of strange women. This last one, however, has lead me to what I think is the most important lesson I've learned at the gym over the last 8 months; most tattoos are awful.

Since I was 14 years old, I've been dreaming of different ways to mark my body in ways that would express my true essence to the world. When I was 15, the very coolest thing I could possibly imagine was to have my name tattooed on my back in orange flame writing. Uh, yeah. Seriously. Lucky for me, I had the kind of sensible and non-permissive mother who wouldn't even let me get my belly button piecered, so the matter of permanent body art was a non-starter. Let me repeat, orange flame writing. Mom, thank you. So, when I came to my senses roughly six months later, I was quick to grasp that taste is an evolving and ever changing concept, and ink scarred into your epidermis is not. Forward from there, I would envision typewriters on my forearm, and hearts on my abdomen, and victorian pen drawings of animals and chandeliers, always knowing that it probably wouldn't happen, and that was probably for the best.

The last several months have taught me that even if your tattoo is something deeply personal and important and a song to your dead cat or something, it still probably looks dumb when you're toweling off in a locker room full of strangers.

As evidence, here is a list of the terrible tattoos I've seen on women at my gym:
1. Pooh Bear, the size of a silver dollar.
2. Countless, seriously, countless Asian symbols littering the flesh of lily-white girls who I am positive do not speak any Asian languages.
3. The ubiquitous "sweet-tribal-tramp-stamp." Except I didn't need to join the gym to see this one, because I've been to college.
4. A zebra head? Just the head? Really?
5. Truly unattractive flowers. I can understand why you might want a tattoo of a pretty flower, but why an ugly, unrealistic one?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Project Runway:
Ah, the requisite challenge wherein designers must make garments out of materials that should never be used for garments. I sort of wonder why the producers don’t abandon this genre of challenge, because the majority of designers just go the easy route making clothing out of whatever textile type materials they can scrounge. Last night was more of the same in this respect, with only Jillian using actual food products from the Hershey’s store. Christian seemed to be on board with the concept and spirit of the challenge by covering his dress with the brown inner wrappers of Reese’s, glistening with chocolate sweat. Everyone else tore apart pillows and larger pieces of Hershey’s branded merchandise to make dresses (Speaking of which, that store totally stressed me out with the insane, giant stuffed candy paraphernalia; who needs/wants that?! I will never ever go in that store).

In terms of favorite designers, six episodes in, I’m finally forming opinions and attachments (except for Ricky, I hated him and his stupid mesh hats from practically the first time I glimpsed him). Jillian wasn’t early favorite for me, but has been slowly winning me over. I thought I would get sick of smirky Christian with his silly hair, but so far I’m charmed by his sass. I’m glad creepy Steven finally left in the last episode, and I was bored by Elisa’s whole ‘I’m so free-spirited and unique’ thing. I can't decide if I really like Kit as a designer or if I just like her hair. I’m still livid that they kept awful Ricky over Chris a few episodes ago, but luckily that mistake was rectified by Jack’s untimely departure. I can tell that Rami is already a favorite to go all the way, but I’m not convinced his designs are really that interesting.

Okay, dicuss.