Thursday, December 9, 2010

The One With My Orthodontist

Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably saw last night a minor questioning of self when I ran into my childhood orthodontist at the library checkout line.

I'm sitting there, minding my own business, probably reading blogs or checking my e-mail or something, and a woman walks up and hands me a book and her card. I scanned her card, not looking at the name (because I rarely do, except in cases where the name catches my attention, such as the family with the last name Buttz or someone with a crazy first name like Kjamashonda, pronounced "Jane").

The book she was checking out was "Eats Shoots & Leaves" by Lynne Truss. It's a book about punctuation and the proper use of it.

(If you haven't heard it, the title comes from this joke where a panda walks into a bar, sits down, has a couple beers, and then orders dinner. His dinner comes, he eats it, and it's a fairly routine visit. Then he stands up, takes out a pistol, and fires three shots into the air. The manager comes running out and says, "What the hell are you doing?" The panda looks at him and says, "I'm a panda. Look it up." The manager goes to the computer in the back and looks up "panda." The entry says, "Panda - a black and white bearlike mammal found mostly in China. Eats shoots and leaves.")
So ANYWAY, I told the lady that it's a really good book, and one I own. She kind of looks at me and says, "Are you Sarah?"

Since I wear my nametag hanging out of my pants pocket, she wouldn't have been able to see it, so she must have actually known me. I said, "Yes?" (as if I weren't certain) and she says, "Do you recognize me?"

(Sidenote: I HATE when people ask me that! Clearly, I do not recognize you, because if I DID, then I would say something like, "HEY! Person I recognize! I haven't seen you forever!")

I tell her I do not, and then she tells me, "Your orthodontist?" and I'm all, "OMG! Hi!"

I'm wondering how often, as an orthodontist, when you run into former patients, they smile really widely to show you that their teeth still look as good as they did last time they saw you.

I may have done that.

She then asked me how my parents are. Not feeling the need to go into the fact that they've gotten divorced since last time I was there, I just said they were fine. (They are.) Then she asked about my sister, who was also a patient of hers (Thinking back on it, she probably KNEW my parents had gotten divorced, since my sister was a patient there, too, and it would have been after that.) I told her she was fine, in college, etc.

And she was all, "You majored in English, right? Remind me where you went to school." I did, but was all, "WTF?" that she knew about the English thing. (Again, probably because my sister was a patient when I was in school, I think.)

Anyway, it was CRAZY that she remembered me, considering I was a patient of hers for approximately a year. I had the braces for 10 months, and then I had a retainer that probably got checked a time or two. But approximately a year.

THEN I started worrying. 12 was my most awkward and hideous year. I was Not Cute when I was 12. I went to her when I was 12. WHY DID SHE RECOGNIZE ME?

(Side note: I put "awkward teenager" into Google Images to find a good illustration here, and about 80% of the pictures that popped up were Michael Cera. Michael, FIND A NEW CHARACTER TO PLAY!)

That's actually the end of the story. There's not real big wrap-up or conclusion. Just me, thinking I grew into my giant ears and awkwardly big teeth only to be immediately recognized by the orthodontist that saw me at my most unfortunate-looking.

I'll end with a question: I have two packages to send out to people I've never met in real life, but who I have met online, and they are going to involve baked yummies. What I wanted to do was have a "giveaway" here (because, you know, I've ALWAYS wanted to do that, but I don't have people giving me things to give away), giving away a third package. But then I wondered, would people want things that someone they'd never met had made?

Granted, if you eat at restaurants and whatever, you don't know who's making your food. But I think you know what I mean.

My question is this: If I offered that kind of thing, would anyone enter? Or would I just have people I know entering, leaving me feeling sad and destitute? I'll tell you, I'm a very clean baker, and I don't lick the utensils (at least I don't when I'm making things for other people. If it's just me and D? I'm ALL OVER IT!)

Let me know, so I can get this show on the road.

Or, if I just get people I know telling me they'd enter, then I'll just make it for someone I know. Either way.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The One With 5 Things I Do Not Understand

1. Why anyone gives two flips what Kathy Griffin says. (Maybe I should change this to "Why Kathy Griffin is famous in the first place.")

2. Why, the day after Elizabeth Edwards dies, on Yahoo!'s "Trending Now" sidebar, "Cancer treatment" is currently number 7, but "Ashlee Simpson" is number 1. Apparently, Ashlee is either A) "urging her sister, Jessica, to start a family" or B) "planning to have another baby to get some attention."

This woman (who I, actually, personally, didn't have a hugely high opinion of, but it always sucks a big one when someone can't beat cancer) who is known for being a successful lawyer, a successful advocate, a not-so-successful politician's wife, and the writer of two widely read books, dies after a long, grueling battle with cancer, and the number one trending topic on this site is the Simpson sisters and their respective uteruses. (Uterri?)

3. Why shows like "Wonderfalls" are yanked after one season, but shows like "Two and a Half Men," which has its moments but is generally sophomoric humor, soldier on.

4. Why people think I believe them when they tell me either that they're going to pay their fines next time they're in the library, or how they're 100% certain they returned that book that's been missing since 2006.

5. Why Christmas is almost here, and I have no money to buy anyone anything. (This one, I may actually be able to answer. It's got something to do with working only one part-time job. A job I love, by the way, but still only a part-time one.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The One With a French Friday: Cocktail Nuts

I'll go ahead and make it known that every joke, pun, and bad innuendo that could possibly be made about "nuts" has already been made, either by D or by myself, so anything I say within this entry that could possibly have "That's what she said!" after it, consider it already there.

When I made the last update I made, I commented about how I needed to get back into the swing of French Fridays with Dorie. After I finished that entry, I was going about my merry way when I thought, "Um, Sarah? TODAY is Friday." So I went through the list of Things to be Made and pulled out the easiest one: Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts.

Here are the ingredients:

Sugar, salt, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, egg white, and nuts. Dorie suggests using perhaps a mix of nuts, but seeing as to how I'm very particular about which ones I'll eat, I went with a combination of peanuts (because who doesn't love peanuts?) (besides those people who are allergic to them) and walnuts, which I had in the freezer, waiting for just such an occasion.

First, you mix together the dry ingredients.

Then you beat the egg white and mix it with the nuts.

Then you add the spice mix. . .

And mix all THAT together.

I should mention here that I was having a tough time with some of these pictures, because I wanted an over-the-bowl shot, but while I'm already tall, I'm not QUITE tall enough to pull that off. It was at this point D built me a little step stool out of two 12-packs of Diet Coke and a large wooden cutting board.


I have to admit here that I didn't follow Dorie's directions exactly. She was all talking about how you needed to take each nut piece out of the bowl individually, "let the excess egg white drip back into the bowl," and separate everything "as best you can."

I saw no excess egg white. Everything seemed to be pretty well mixed, and I didn't have the patience of take each individual one out of the bowl and place it on the pan.

So I just kind of dumped everything onto the cookie sheet and spread it out.

Into the oven they went.

When I pulled them out of the oven, I saw why Dorie had indicated that they needed to be separated. What I had was kind of like a peanut brittle textured creation.

But you know what?

I kind of preferred it that way.


I feel like you could break it into chunks and sell it as some kind of holiday gift basket item.

So, so good.

Chalk up another FFwD win for Sarah!

The One Where I Have a French Friday Disaster

Sorry I've been ignoring you. I kind of feel like one of those parents who go on business trips all the time and then bring back lots of little trinkets and sometimes food to make up for the fact that they just Were Not There.

Unfortunately, I do not have anything with which to bribe you and to apologize for the fact that I've been a lax parent blogger, but I can update you on things that have been going on.

I attempted to make my FFwD recipe for my mom's side of the family's Thanksgiving, which is held the Sunday before Real Thanksgiving.

I've had a few recipe disasters in my day, but none like this one.

I had everything ready. My greased casserole dish held sliced potatoes (all sliced with my new-to-me Cuisinart, which, I'm convinced, could chop ANYTHING), fresh-ish herbs, garlic-infused cream, and a couple of other things. It was lovely.

I did what Dorie told me to do, and that is to put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put the casserole dish on top of that, just in case anything spilled. If something spilled, you don't want it going into the bottom of your oven.


The thing about parchment paper is, NOTHING sticks to it. When I made my parents a moose cake for their anniversary, and I tried to tape parchment paper to an outline of moose antlers so I could use melted chocolate to fashion the antlers, the tape wouldn't even stick to it.

Keep this in mind.

So I'm in a hurry when I'm putting this thing in the oven. I'm in a hurry because we have to leave in 45 minutes, and this stuff needs to bake for an hour. 15 minutes won't make THAT much of a difference, was my rationale.

For whatever reason, I chose to pick up this parchment paper-lined cookie sheet containing my potato thing with one hand. Now, when you pick up a rectangular pan with one hand, it's going to tilt a little to the other side where you (for whatever reason) have no hand. This happened. What also happened, thanks to the parchment paper, was that as I went to put the thing in the oven, the entire dish slid off the sheet and exploded at the bottom of my oven.

The dish didn't explode (thanks, Pyrex!) but everything in it did. It was a fountain of potato, cheese, and garlic-infused cream. So I cursed, grabbed the glass dish out of the bottom of the oven, turned off the oven and then did what any good chef would do.

I freaked out and cried.

D was in the kitchen when all of this was going on, so when I started freaking out, saying, "What do I do? I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!", he was all, "Just leave. I'll take care of it." I tried for another second to figure out how to fix it, and he was all, "Sarah. Leave."

So I did. I went into the bedroom and cried some more. And then I thought, "I should take pictures of what's going on so I can write about it!" But then I thought that taking pictures while D was fixing my epic, epic error might be considered bad form. So I did not.

Needless to say, this dish did not go to Thanksgiving with us. An apple cake did, though.

This was not the end of the potatoes, though.

D somehow saved a lot of the ingredients in my erstwhile potato dish. They sat in the fridge for a while, and then, the other day, I decided to give it another go.

Rather than carefully infusing the new cream with garlic, I whisked it with onion powder. The recipe said to fill the cream to the edge, and if there wasn't enough, to add milk. I did just that. Then into the oven it went.

This is what happened:

. . .um?

I should note that there were some other potatoes in the dish (it didn't bake as empty as it looks), but I'd taken them out to try them, before discovering the sea of cream in which these things were swimming.

Maybe it's because the potatoes sat in the fridge for a while. Maybe it was the milk. Maybe it was the cream. I don't really know. What I do know is that this dish ended up being an epic fail.

I didn't do the last week of November's FFwD (I forgot, plus we were out of town), but hopefully, I'll catch up soon. I also have other things to write about, but I've been overwhelmed with my new Web site project, I've just kind of shut down, bloggily. I'll get it all figured out one of these days.

And, just so you don't think I'm a total failure, I'll show you my blueberry-cranberry pie I invented:

A little on the sweet side, but D said it was "the best berry pie [he'd] ever had." And he's got Southern grandmas, so I think that's saying something.

If you wonder -- My new blog/Web site venture is going to be baking-centric, so while I'll still be talking about non-baking food here, when the spirit moves me, my baking stuff will be moved to its own site shortly. I'll be sure to post the address for that for those who are interested.