[Insert Life Here]

Simple Beef barley soup
February 13, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: random

Per a request on twitter, here’s the recipe my mom and I rely on for all our winter warmth needs:

Mom’s Beef Barley Soup

1/2lb hamburger

1 can tomato soup

1 can beef broth

1 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup chopped onion

1tsp minced garlic

1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (we prefer Birdseye, because it doesn’t have icky lima beans), and/or whatever leftover veggies you have lying around

1. In a large-ish soup pot, brown hamburger with onion and garlic. Drain fat if necessary.

2. Mix tomato soup together with beef broth. Pour into soup pot with beef mixture. Add 7 cups water.

3. Bring soup to a boil, then add barley. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

4. Add vegetables. Cook for 15 more minutes or until veggies are cooked through.

Note: This recipe will need to be salted to individual taste before you eat it; we’ve never quite worked out the right amount to add during cooking.

With apologies to Weird Al
April 26, 2009, 7:37 pm
Filed under: random

To the tune of “It’s Christmas at Ground Zero”

It’s Christmas at ground zero
There’s sickness in the air
The sleigh bells are ringing and the carolers are singing
While the swine flu warnings blare

It’s Christmas at ground zero
The vaccines aren’t enough
The internet just let us know
That we are really fucked

Everywhere the coughing kids are dropping
It’s the end of all humanity
No more time for last-minute shopping
It’s time to face your final destiny

It’s Christmas at ground zero
There’s panic in the crowd
We can cough and sneeze while we trim the tree
Underneath the virus clouds

You might hear some reindeer on your rooftop
Or Jack Frost on your windowsill
But if someone’s climbing down your chimney
You better load your gun and shoot to kill

It’s Christmas at ground zero
And if the health alert level’s okay
I’ll go out with you and see all the new
corpses on New Year’s Day

It’s Christmas at ground zero
Just seconds left to go
I’ll hide and cower in my Yuletide bower
Underneath the mistletoe

It’s Christmas at ground zero
Now the quarantine’s on its way

What a crazy fluke, we’re gonna get the flu
On this jolly holiday

What a crazy fluke, we’re gonna get the flu
On this jolly holiday!

Small thoughts on Freddie Mercury and how to discuss teh ghey with a child
January 29, 2009, 10:53 pm
Filed under: random

So I’m sitting watching a biography of Freddie Mercury, frontman of the band Queen, on tv. I love me some Queen music, so I stayed up late for this. Of course one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about Queen and Freddie is his death from AIDS. I was ten when he died – a little too young to really be into any particular music, but old enough to be aware that there was a band called Queen and my mom owned a tape of their music.

But I distinctly remember discussing his death and its aftermath with my Mom around that time. I even remember where we were at the time – outside a strip mall across the street from an indoor mini-golf course. It stuck in my mind because what she told me was just struck me as so…outlandish.

There was a high school, you see, whose graduating class wanted to play “We are the Champions” (written by Freddie and performed by Queen) at their high school graduation, as a tribute to themselves and the dead rockstar. It seemed appropriate. I mean, any graduating senior has that “yes, I have conquered!” feeling, and the song works for that. But the school wouldn’t let the class use the song.

I didn’t understand the logic behind that. Here’s roughly how the conversation went:

“Why?” I remember asking Mom.
“Hmm,” she said thoughtfully, probably trying to formulate the best way to present this information to a ten-year-old, “he died recently, you know that?”
“Well, he died of a disease called AIDS. And a lot of people think that people who have AIDS are…bad. So the high school thought that it wasn’t proper to play music by someone who had AIDS.”
“But why? How he died has nothing to do with the song!”
“The school thought that using the song would imply that they…approved of the person who wrote it. And they don’t want people to think that they approve of the kind of life Freddie had.”
“What kind of life?”
“Well he, um…he dated men.”
I thought about this. “Instead of women? Huh.” Some more thought. “Is that why they wore dresses in that one picture I saw?”
Mom nodded.
I thought some more. “I still don’t understand why that means they can’t play his music. It’s a really good song!”
Mom smiled slightly. “You’re right, it is. And the school’s decision doesn’t make sense to me, either.”
“Oh, good.” I felt better knowing that it wasn’t just something I, in particular, didn’t get. “Can we go to McDonalds?”

That was it. Casual. As far as I remember, that was the first I’d heard of “gay” and the first I’d heard of someone being discriminated against because of it. And it was just so…SILLY.

Looking back, I think my mom did it just right. She just presented the facts. No need to go intodetail about teh ghey. No need to try to justify her own opinion on whether the school was right or wrong.  Just a presentation of “this is what he was like, and the school thought that tainted everything he did,” and she let her kid reach her own, ten-year-old, egalitarian conclusion. The school was dumb. The music was cool. End of story, and what’s all this fuss about gay men?

Thanks, Mom.

O hai internetz!
January 26, 2009, 11:07 am
Filed under: random

I should really try to write in this blog on a semi-regular basis. If only so when I look back on it in the future, I’ll have an idea of wtf I spent all my time doing. So anyway, random bits and pieces of life updates:

I am moving! Finally found an apartment (to rent, not buy) in White Plains, center of what life Westchester has. It is in a swanky building with a concierge and everything, and not only will I have counter space, but I will have a dishwasher! And a washer and dryer! It will be heaven! Unfortunately, heaven is not ready for moving into for another month – the week of Feb 21st-ish. I will take pictures then. Also unfortunately, the apartment is a studio and I will not be able to have wild parties or Thanksgivings (or a dog) there.

My contract got renewed for another year – yay having a job for the moment! Still waiting for them to decide I’m so unavoidably awesome that they must hire me as a real employee, though.

There, those are the big updates. Now I must make an effort to write daily (or so) with all the little stuff. I think it’s harder to get around to in these days of Twitter/Facebook/etc, where anything that happens to me is probably micro-blogged before I would get around to redundantly macro-blogging it.

Thanksgiving, not so much
November 25, 2008, 10:05 am
Filed under: random

So, Thanksgiving in my family has historically been thirty people crammed into my parents’ kitchen, with a turkey deep-frying outside (surrounded by men drinking beer and mostly only pretending to be supervising the hot oil), another turkey baking in the oven, and five or six women all rushing madly about the kitchen preparing everything else. My Uncle Tony is the Vice President In Charge Of Football-Watching In The Other Room; my cousin Joey is the Vice President In Charge Of Actually Frying The Turkey; my Aunt Marilyn is the Vice President In Charge Of Making Lots Of Gravy By Whatever Means Necessary; my Dad is Vice President In Charge Of Napping. And so forth. It’s a lovely study in organized chaos, and everyone has their place.

In short, Thanksgiving is about people. Thanksgiving is about cramming everyone you know and love (or maybe not-so-much love) into one room, and cooking for them, and opening a bottle of wine or twenty, and talking. Well, more yelling than talking, maybe – thirty people do produce a lot of background noise.

This year, it’s going to be nothing like that. My parents and the rest of my dad’s family are engaged in a death feud with each other, which leaves this year’s Thanksgiving as just the four of us, a friend of my sister’s, and my sister’s puppy (who I begged and pleaded to have come). Not even the friends of my parents who’ve come in the past are coming. Just…us.

And I hate it. It’s not going to be Thanksgiving. It’s going to be a very depressing regular dinner that happens to involve (non-fried, damnit) turkey.

I don’t have any idea whether this feud will ever resolve itself. Right now, it seems unlikely. And so I find myself thinking that I don’t want to do another Thanksgiving like this one is going to be. If my family can’t provide a real Thanksgiving, maybe I need to start thinking of making my own. Next year, I hope to be in my own place, with my own (real) kitchen. I could host a crowded Thanksgiving. I could…um…maybe figure out how to cook a turkey? Sort of?

Maybe I could invite my cousins and we could have a Our-Parents-Are-Dicks-But-We-Still-Love-Each-Other Thanksgiving. Maybe some of my friends would come.

But on the other hand, everyone I know, friends and cousins alike, seems to go to their parents’ or in-laws’ for Thanksgiving. No one’s going to abandon that just because poor Karen wants to have her own Thanksgiving rather than get stuck with her depressing, small family. So maybe I’m screwed, after all.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. But maybe it’s time to…give up on it. Just accept that it won’t ever be a real holiday again, or at least until I’m married and forming my own family.

God, what a depressing thought.

Can has omnivore?
August 28, 2008, 4:03 pm
Filed under: random

From the delightful Mrs. Xiris:

Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
(I bolded and crossed out things I’ve tried and will never eat again, EVER!)

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (ouch!)
27. Dulce de leche (made my own, even!)
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat – I think I did, kind of inadvertently, at an Indian restaurant
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I clearly have a ways to go on this list! Have to start in on the southern Asian food, I think.

Thoughts of the Random Kind
April 6, 2008, 11:05 am
Filed under: random
  • The Saw Mill Parkway: Pretty; no streetlamps most of the way. Avoid driving at night.
  • Bears: there was one in my parents’ backyard last night. We had just gotten back from dinner and were out on the deck folding up the deck furniture (to make room for the new pretty teak furniture they bought) when I started to quote my mom a Jeopardy question. Mid-question, i happened to look past her head, and about ten feet from the deck, chilling out over a bag of our neighbor’s garbage, was a very scrawny-looking brown bear having dinner. So my Jeopardy question went, “Category: Appliances. Used in phrases to indicate extreme inclusion JESUS CHRIST MOM LOOK!” The bear seemed totally disinterested in the yappy hairless things hanging out nearby. So we stood on the deck and watched him have dinner for like half an hour. Unfortunately, camera phones suck and I got no good pics.
  • Salmonella: Shoprite’s “automated recall line” just called my parents house to tell them that the bag of puffed rice I bought a few weeks ago is infected with Salmonella. Good thing I only ate a few handfuls…
  • Work: is good.


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