Wednesday, January 18, 2006


After School Cooking

Since I'm still a lady of leisure, I've had lots of time to knit and watch Project Runway, which is brilliant and strange and filled with delights like dramatic pleating controversies. While not gripped by runway drama, I finished a pair of socks.

These are in Plymouth Yarns' Sockotta, a cotton/wool/poly blend that is surprisingly stretchable and comfortable to work with. It does some interesting striping at the straight parts and then a more confetti mix for the heel shaping.

The stripes are kind of tiger-y. Rawr.

Okay, as promised, it's After-School Cooking!

I don't really get the cover. Are they brother and sister? Because the arm over shoulder move (plus the "OK" sign) would never happen without someone getting a beat-down. They must be robots. I can see the girl's electrical wires!

The visuals that accompany the recipes are pretty sweet. Here is a trompe d'oeil "boy climbing baked potato" photograph.

This was before photoshop, people. Some poor intern probably had to X-acto that ladder out and paste it over the potato. But it was worth it. Oh, it was worth it.

The book is fond of the big, big closeup. Not of food, but of people.

I sort of think they had a lot of space to fill. Some of the menus suggest what to serve as a beverage, and helpfully include steps like: "Five minutes before meal: Pour milk into glasses." So I think they were stretching it a bit. Above, this girl looks pretty happy about her graham cracker-pudding-cherry pie filling dessert. Can't say I blame her. That looks like a classic upper Midwest elementary school lunch food. Mmm. Tastes like 4th grade!

This book is a little bit of trickery. Most of the recipes are things like "Juice and Ice Beverage" or "Frozen Waffle Plus Peanut Butter Treat." But then there's a whole section at the end that is just flat out dinner time stuff. Like "Chicken Bundles."

That requires wrapping chicken breasts around a cheesy filling and baking it. Any recipe that requires raw meat should not really count as "after school cooking."

Then at the end I discovered the following picture:

I don't know if he's dropping the noodle in or pulling it out. Let's get a close-up.

Poor girl looks like a bass on a fishing line. A happy bass, though. A pretty happy fisherman, too. Yikes. This family is . . . not right. But they look like they're having fun, so I'll give them the OK sign.

Time for Project Runway. Auf wiedersehen!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006



Now I live in Connecticut. Things are going pretty good. Cats are fine. I am within walking distance of 19 Italian restaurants. We have cable TV, which I've never had before, because I was born into a home of suffering, with only 5 channels, and now I have like, 70 channels! I have the Golf Channel! Why? No reason, just because! More importantly, I spent over an hour watching a show called "50 Cutest Child Stars All Grown Up!" (not on the Golf Channel, I might add). How will I ever make it to work? There's so much to learn.

I smell like packing tape and gin, and I have newspaper ink on my hands from the 8,000 kitchen items I wrapped in various sections of the Sunday New York Times. I grow occasionally weepy when I think of the wonderful WONDERFUL friends we left behind in North Carolina, who probably curse our names as they think of the huge tumbleweeds of cat hair they vacuumed and the kitchen grime they scrubbed and all the zillions of things they did to help us get on our way. Everytime I can't find something? I look in my purse and find, for example, the wingnuts for the kitchen table. 5 remote controls. Hand lotion. Everything I need, they put in my purse! My purse weighs 24 pounds, but still! Everything I needed to get set up here, they thought of it. Also, not one single thing, not a single glass or plate or anything was broken, thanks to Brad's incredible Uhaul packing skillz. Oh, except for the lamp that I broke when I clumsily pulled it off the moving truck. Ha ha! Mr. Cupcakes loves it when I help!

When I'm not crying, picking bits of tape off my person, or learning about Jonathan Lipnicki, I am exploring our new town. Yesterday I bought a very special book from the library. They sell discarded and donated books to raise money, and it is shocking that this book has been thoughtlessly cast off from the M'town Public Library! It is called After-School Cooking and it is jam-packed with excellent ideas for all you latchkey kids out there. Once I find my camera (in the purse, no doubt, probably under a peppermill and the latest New Yorker) I will take pictures of the tweens who jazz up their after school eating with saxaphones and peanut butter.

Until then, I'll leave you with a refreshing beverage idea. Say you've been running up and down the field with your buds from the East Hudson Youth Soccer League, and dude, you're parched. Have you considered mixing 6 ounces of tomato juice with a quarter cup of lemonade? Moreover, why don't you throw it in a saucepan and bring it to a boil and chug that bad boy down? That's what I, and After-School Cooking, call a Tomato Tune-Up!

Mmm. So much to learn.

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