THE MAGICAL CROCKPOT OF HALEDON

I WAS INSPIRED BY NORA EPHRON’S ESSAY in her wonderful collection Crazy Salad about a beloved New York restaurant whose famous spaghetti sauce was ruined during their move to a bigger, better, (read, uptown) venue. As I recall (and I’m going back decades, so my upload could use a defrag) the irony was that the very sauce that made them famous was no longer special, secret or even very good because when they moved they didn’t bring the giant pot of sauce with them, in effect killing the Golden Gravy that laid the…. magic restaurant? (wow, I sure did stretch that metaphor to the breaking point!)

The sauce was special because the chef, the sous chefs and probably the servers, too, would toss bits and pieces into the pot throughout the evening, as they cleaned plates and counters: a chunk of filet mignon, a half a potato, leftover chopped onions, a rind of fat from a pork chop*, leftover herbs, so that the pot was filled with a magical, deeply-layered and utterly irreplaceable foundation that was now gone, and consequently, so was the dinner crowd that adored that sauce.

MY ANCIENT CROCK POT is my version of the big sauce pot, and I started out with a lovely, thick, lamb stew, using only the bones because lamb is a very pricey meat, and with a tomato base and my fresh herbs and lots and lots of garlic — because not only am an ardent fan of “the stinking rose,” but I believe as the ancients did: that it has prophylactic properties that can keep one healthy, though some critics suggest that’s because the stench that emits from a garlic-lover’s garlic hole forces others to stand at a far enough distance that even a sneaky Covid 19 bug would have to catch a second flight to find a nice host to infect — it served and satisfied for almost a week, at which point I poured a cup of Israeli couscous in and crossed my fingers that I didn’t need to boil it first and no, I didn’t have to, it cooked just fine, and I added a package of frozen cooked mussels, not only enjoying the flavors, but also the contrast of Israeli pasta and traif: non-kosher food forbidden to Orthodox Jews, which includes all crustaceans, which is one of the rules that repels me from embracing that particular orthodoxy: if god didn’t want me to eat shrimps, he wouldn’t have made them so delicious. AND mussels, which are available fully cooked and frozen, so I can throw them in the crock pot, along with a partially cooked sweet potato, because experience shows that unlike pasta, potatoes do need a little cooking before they get thrown into the pot.

‘LONG ISLAND POTATOES ARE HERE!” I had never seen anyone promote a specific potato venue before, and of all places “Lon Guyland?” My curiosity propelled me to grab a bag and bring it home and I popped one in the microwave (after repeatedly stabbing it with a fork, of course). Now, I’m not much of a baked potato person; for me they had always been a sour cream and chive delivery system. But that was before I experienced the creamy goodness of the LIP. These are special, and once I tried one, I just can’t go back to Idaho!

OKAY, IT LOOKS LIKE BARF. But it’s DELICIOUS!

My crockpot comes out of the fridge in the morning, gets plugged in and turned on, and once it’s nice and hot, so to speak, the knob goes to keep warm, and throughout the day I can nosh, nibble, scoop out some spoonsful and then replenish. Kasha! I threw a cupful of kasha in there a few days ago! Yum! A drop of hot sauce? Why not? Pluck a few basil leaves and a stem of oregano — which may or may not last on my windowsill throughout the season — and place them on top so the aroma seeps deep… mmmmm… when the mix is particularly tasty (it always is) I’ll grab a container and freeze it for the days and nights when this particular magical culinary enterprise has run its course and my ancient crock pot sits empty, in the pantry, waiting for me…

*I am reminded of my forever favorite book, Charlotte’s Web, and the fascination that gripped me — even as a child so young the book had to be read to me — when Templeton the rat explored Wilber’s trough, and then much later the fairgrounds. The way I began to list the items: a bit of this, a rind from that, was probably inadvertently styled from White’s brilliant prose. I would hope he would be flattered rather than offended.


It started snowing.

Therefore, I need a recipe for peanut butter coconut oatmeal raisin cookies. Gramma?

No answer… oh yeah, she died a long time ago.

Bueller?undefined

Btw, turns out this guy, Ben Stein? Not only a speech writer for this guy > undefined (If you’re a Boomer you know his name, and if not, what the fuck are you doing here?) but also a Creationist. Apparently he made a documentary about the silly school system that allows Evolution to be taught as the singular theory of our beginnings, not side by side with the bible’s story about Jesus riding dinosaurs. I’m not linking to that because he’s an idiot and proof that the number of brain cells one was born with does not always correlate to intelligence, or common sense, at least not when religious faith intercepts, which it apparently did with Ben.


COVID POEM #1

STILL (Upon Awakening) Magic will not save us. Still when you dream  you’re in Vegas  with your ex doesn’t that mean  life’s a gamble? Still as long as birds sing outside your window upon awakening and your eBay search for framed cat prints still arrives in your inbox and your alarm still gently reminds you … Read More

It started snowing.

On the first snow day of our “new normal”, baking cookies is not optional. It’s the only thing to do in this house, which is why I’m searching for the premiere oatmeal cookie recipe.





and then suddenly, you get a break from the relentless:

Audition & Submission Instructions
Must be a size 12-16 to be considered for this shoot. Submit ASAP. Include close-ups (head and shoulder), waist-up, and full-body pictures, along with your regular portfolio and contact info (cell number and email). The client is only looking for older female models for this production.

Do not submit if you are under the age of 48 years old.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is steve-harvey.png
Like a unicorn, Specifically requesting a woman OVER 48 for a photo shoot is so rare that we’ll never see it again.

But, come to think of it… 48? WTF?
What if the PERFECT WOMAN is 47 and 11 months old?
Seriously. This shit is wacky.
And speaking of wacky shit:

STAY HEALTHY EVERYBODY. WASH, DON’T TOUCH, DISTANCE, YADDA YADDA.

This is a great opportunity to practice kindness and community thoughtfulness.
Change the way we live and think of each other, and treat each other with respect.
Can you imagine?
I can.
Hope you can, too.
undefined








ACCORDING TO HER, IF YOU’RE OVER 53, THERE’S THE PASTURE

Boomer Judy checks the casting notices daily. Blood pressure medication is required.

“Brand Ambassadors: 22-53
Seeking brand ambassadors for a high-energy indoor sporting event that benefits rare cancer research.”

WAIT. WHAT?

“there will be no sitting positions this year. All staff must be okay with standing the entire time.”

OOOOOOOH, of course! THAT explains the seemingly random age cap on this one.
Usually, the rude and ridiculous age limit is a round number, and I’ve been recently BOOMERJUDY-ING (yes, it’s a verb, a gerund, for you grammar freaks) the usual nonsense of limiting the age of perfectly capable AND EXPERIENCED actors at 50, or if the gatekeepers are in a more expansive mood — or possibly speeding down a highway checking out the MPH — 55. Yesterday I railed against a post that decided no one over the age of 40 could possibly be qualified to act in their non-union, non/unprofessional project. But what’s with the 53? Does something suddenly happen to the human body on the 54th birthday that I don’t know about? And most importantly, did it happen to me? Without my knowledge, let alone consent?

Look, I’m not suggesting that the inexorable (but arguably somewhat correctable) pull of gravity doesn’t pick up speed right around that time, but geez, that’s a bit specific, isn’t it?

Don’t worry kids, you’ll have use of your pins til
the day of your 54th birthday

Back to the weird ad: the event they want to staff with the “53 and under” crowd is for a “high-energy indoor sporting event,” so the AA (ageist a-hole) might suggest that’s why they picked that number (still random, ffs!) but this is for STAFF, not participants.

Okay. They then explain (probably as a way of justifying their ageism) that whomever they hire will have to stand throughout the event. Ergo, anyone born before March, 1965 does not have the ability to remain vertical throughout the entire course of this “high energy sporting event”

Look here: the event is actually going to “benefit rare cancer research!”
Elementary, Emma Watson! The rare cancer hits on the 54th birthday in the knees, preventing cronies from standing! NO! Because according to Ms. Welsh (I buried the name here, tee hee) no one over the age of 53 need apply, so that means it’s not a rare cancer. BUT, since it’s a charity, I’m going to ask some of my close friends if they’d like to help at the event, you know, the way celebs like to do.

[5 MINUTES LATER] GUESS WHAT? THEY ALL SAID, “YES!” MY WHOLE SQUAD said they’re delighted to help out at this exciting high energy sporting event benefiting rare cancer research, because they are charitable, philanthropic and they all have gorgeous new designer duds they’re dying to twirl around in! It’s a win-win! And hang on, Shellie, I saved the BEST for last! GUESS WHO has agreed to be a SUPER SPECIAL GUEST? Okay, wait. I’m over excited. First, here are all my besties that are super excited to show up at your super exciting event:

ROLL CALL: Lizzie! SJP! Vivi! & Lil Tea!

My TEAM! We’re called FOX FORCE FIVE cuz we FIERCE!

OH, NO! SHELLIE! We were just about to order our stretch Hummer Limo (cuz if you’re gonna do it, you might as well tear a bigger hole in the ozone, amirite?) and then FOX FORCE FOUR (that’s what they call themselves when I’m flying around fighting ageism) saw that your arbitrary age cap excludes them! They all have the horrible misfortune of no longer being 53, in fact, in a weird coincidence, they’re ALL 54!

And, OH, NO, AGAIN! My super secret special surprise guest who was all ready to show up and bring her ball and chain with her (cuz he stans her just like we do) can’t come either, because she happens to be three years past your arbitrary age limit! Darn it! And the “ironic” part (in the Alanis sense of the word) is that my girl can STAND! On both her feet! For a very, very long time! Despite being so critically past your cap.

Too bad, so sad. But I’m sure you’ll attract a staff of highly professional, attractive and of course most important YOUNG people to work your event. Especially at your (sadly) adequate pay rate of $18 an hour. May you have all the luck with this event you deserve, Shellie, and please consider from now on not putting a limit on the age and instead using a plus sign after the lowest age like this: 18+. It’s that simple! And it’s SMART, GODDAMMIT, not just because Boomers are constantly discriminated against, making it close to impossible to find work when we need it most, but also so you don’t have to suffer the Wrath of Boomer Judy!

Now I have to go call my other bestie and tell her that you won’t let her work your event because she’s too old. How sad she’ll be. But that’s okay. She’s got other stuff to do.

Michelle really wanted to be there





COVID POEM #1

          STILL
    (Upon Awakening)

Magic will not save us.

Still
when you dream 
you’re in Vegas 
with your ex
doesn’t that mean 
life’s a gamble?

Still
as long as birds sing
outside your window
upon awakening

and your eBay search
for framed cat prints
still arrives in your inbox

and your alarm still
gently reminds you (of
something you may have forgotten)

doesn’t that mean
your best work
is yet to be done?

Hoard all you want.

What is essential is
still
out there.
in here