Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Tearful Candidate

(Wrote this a while back. Never posted it. So here goes!)

A big deal is being made over Hillary Clinton's tearful reply to a New Hampshire questioner. Real tears? A staged cry? You decide.

Here's a thought. She's freakin' tired. Did you see how tired the candidates looked during their speeches after the Iowa primaries? Campaigning and presidenting have a way of aging a person, reeeeeal fast.

Take George H. W. Bush, for instance. He looked right perky in 1989 when he first became el presidente:
But later, he started looking a little twitchy, gray, and stressed. Look how he can't get his headphones on right....
"Bloody freakin' headphones... ah, I'm too d*mn tired...."

And take Mr. Former Playboy Prez, Bill....

Eight years caught up to HIM real fast. 'Course, he wasn't just presidenting, he was multi-tasking. Ahem.

And we've all seen how the years have treated the man of the hour, Mr. George Dubble-yuh Bush.

Looks like he's done gone and lost his marbles!

Oh, sorry Mr. Prez. It's just that... well.. it's just that... I can't believe we elected YOU! TWICE! oh nevermind.

So Hillary? I hope yer willin' to lose that youthful, womanly glow, if'n you win.

I mean, what's a woman's #1 priority? Uh huh, that's right. Looking good.

And that is why I just might have to vote for Obama. Cuz grrlfriend, I've got your back.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Oh wait, that's Dirty Dancing...

A more apt title for this post might be "Nobody Puts Buddha in the Backseat."

Mom rescued me from my (continuing) dark mood yesterday. She read my gloomy blog post and gave me a ring first thing the next morning, asking if I'd like an afternoon out. I was dressed and waiting by the front door 3.75 seconds later.

But it was as if some cosmic misalignment had it out for me, because things just didn't go as planned. We tried to visit my grandpa in the nursing home, but due to an outbreak of stomach flu, they were closed to visitors.

We headed to the city. Our first stop was successful. Mom bought a vase for a friend who is recovering from surgery, and I bought a Buddha for my garden.

I laughed that poor Buddha shouldn't have to sit on the floor of the backseat like this. It seems.... disrespectful. But we didn't want the Buddha to flop around in the backseat, so we placed the Buddha on the floor for safe-keeping.

But when we tried to continue shopping, our luck ran out. We tried a cute little art gallery where Rob's cousin had recently shown his work. Closed. We tried an Irish store we'd never been to before. Closed. We tried another shop that carries quirky, vintage items. Closed.

We decided to give up and get a cup of coffee.

First coffee bar we found - closed. We drove across town to a second coffee bar - closed permanently. We drove to a new coffee bar close by - closed. We gave up on the coffee idea and headed for Cusco Jacks, another new gallery - closed.

At this point, my mother pulled over and said, "All right, that's it. Get Buddha off the floor. We've offended the Buddha."

New rule - Nobody Puts Buddha in the Backseat. But how about in a carseat?

Let's just say... the next coffee shop we tried was open for business.

We had lunch and three cups of tea and chatted for 3 hours straight.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Monkey Platters

In addition to a gobload of unschooling information, Sandra Dodd's website has information about Monkey Platters.

After seeing a zoo trainer give the monkeys a platter of snacks, they started calling it a monkey platter at home. A monkey platter is a plate full of finger foods, easy to munch on while playing video games, watching movies, or doing anything else where one becomes so engrossed he may forget to eat.

I loved the idea the minute I heard it. It is especially common for Brady to get lost in his computer work and forget to eat, then come careening into the kitchen hours later, about to have a meltdown if he doesn't get food into himself at that very moment.

Whenever the boys are deeply engrossed in an activity and I notice they haven't eaten, I grab whatever we have on hand and make up a platter, set it in front of them, and it disappears. This is a fine way to test out foods they normally wouldn't select - who wouldn't eat what's already prepared in front of them? It sure beats scrounging for ingredients and making something when you'd rather be gaming.

Chopped veggies and fruit, nuts, seeds, raisins, cubes of cheese. Bowls of hummus, salad dressing, peanut butter, or caramel for dipping. Crackers, sesame sticks, dried cereal, or chunked up granola bars.

Wait, did someone mention granola bars?

Hmmm, now that's a thought.... I think I'll make a monkey platter and set it in front of the boys and their friends.

It's always verrrrry interesting to see what gets eaten and what doesn't.

Redemption is mine!

(P.S. Apparently my new favorite word is gobload.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mid-Winter Blues

I woke up grouchy today. I don't know if it's the mid-winter slump or what, but I've been fighting off an especially intense bout of 'the blues.' I'm finding I need more sleep, healthier foods, and more physical movement to stave it off, but even then it dances at the edges. I've long danced a slow waltz with severe moodiness; it seems strange to say that depression is somehow attractive, and yet that's where I find myself, drawn in, over and over.

I put myself to bed early last night. I felt I was at the end of my rope, energetically-speaking, so I gave in to it and retired earlier than usual. My visiting brother was here, even, but I apologized and excused myself and burrowed under the covers and fell fast asleep.
However, as contrary as it sounds, after I finally give in to the need for some extra zzzzzs, the next morning I'm almost always a little off-kilter. I can never seem to make the transition back to the happy place without a little turbulence.

But I know this about myself, so I'm better able to navigate it these days. I recognize the snarky comments as they rise up in my throat and find ways to swallow them back down (usually). I recognize the ugly feelings about messy bedrooms and footprint-marked carpets and cat hair-covered sofas as they burst into my sleep-heavy head and find ways to coax them back down to a safer place.

Rob and the boys took off to chop firewood today and it is a welcome break. I knew I was going to fight off feelings of irrational anger and resentment, and it's better if I can find my center with a little room to breathe.

I made myself a cup of tea and surveyed the rooms around me. I'd gotten the kitchen to a reasonable state the night before, but there was laundry to fold, wood to haul inside, laundry to do, and a bathroom to wipe down. It's those types of undone tasks that, in times like this, make my fragile emotional state tip very easily from "I'm Feeling Blue" to "Why Doesn't Anyone Ever Pick Anything Up Around Here?"

But because I know this, I can help myself.

I hauled wood first knowing that, even though it never sounds like an enjoyable task, the fresh air, movement, and sunshine (if there is any - harrumph) always does me more good than expected. Then I folded the two laundry baskets because they'd been sitting there for two days, taunting me, cluttering up my space and tipping my emotional scale toward "poor me" every time I looked at them. When I went in to Jonathan's room to put away his clean clothes, I noticed there were dirty clothes on the floor. I picked those up. Then I picked up the books nearby. Next thing I knew, I'd picked up everything on the floor. And as I put away the clean towels, I did a quick wipe-down of the bathroom.

Ahhhh, I can breathe.

Time it took to complete these tasks? About 45 minutes. Amount of time I'd already spent getting pissy about these undone tasks? About 4 hours.

I'd now cleared away enough space for the voices of wisdom to be heard again. It makes absolutely no sense to spend hours getting angry and resentful that these tasks need to be done (and that no one else seems to think so - harrumph) when I could spend a quick 45 minutes to get them done. It makes absolutely no sense to get angry with my family for not reading my mind and instantly changing from what-they're-doing to what-I-think-they-should-be-doing when I can simply recognize that it's me who needs the house to be tidy right this very second.

When Rob and the boys returned with their first load of wood, I was in a much better place to receive them. They poured through the back door, spreading snow everywhere, and Rob rushed in complaining of severe heartburn and in need of ginger tea.

As I made him a cup of hot tea and swept up the chunks of snow, I breathed deeply.

I am back.

All is well again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Myth Busters - the Home Version

The van's temperature gauge registered a balmy 2 degrees this morning. And then I pulled out of the garage. Brady and I watched as the gauge fell.... 0 degrees... -2.... -4..... -8.... settling, finally, at -14 as we pulled into the carpool meet-up location. It is c-c-c-c-old today... colder than a mother-in-law's love, I tell you.

(Disclaimer - not MY mother-in-law, mind you)

AYE. I'd forgotten to put out the garbage the night before, when it would've made more sense at a sweltering 6 degrees, so I steeled myself against the cold and set to it. The cold burned my skin through the layers and I knew I'd quickly perish, a piscesgrrl popsicle, if I didn't get the recyclables poured faster. I worked so fast I was busier than a mosquito in a nudist colony.

Temperatures like this are fit for neither man nor beast, so Jonathan, the dog, the cat and I nestled in for a day of hibernation. On days like this, when even a woodburner stuffed to the gills doesn't cut it, I walk around in 3 layers with a scarf and a blanket wrapped toga-style.

"Ten more seconds and I'd have frozen to death," I told Jonathan. "I bet water would freeze in no time out there."

Hmmm.... water, below-zero temps, a
myth that needs busting...

"Hey Jonathan, it's said that hot water freezes faster than cold water. Wanna find out?"

((shoulder shrug)) "Sure."

And thus began our quest to disprove the theory that hot water freezes faster than cold.

Jonathan filled a jar with hot water.

And set it outside the back door.

Then he filled a jar with cold water.

And set that outside the back door too.

Then he set his stopwatch.

And we watched, checking on the water every 5 minutes or so. Until we realized it was going to take longer than we expected.

We found a candy thermometer in the land-of-no-return that is my junk drawer (no small feat, as you can see), and measured the water temps as they steadily fell.

Dum de dum.... Time for lunch.

Jonathan indulged in leftover carry-out pizza and a take-2 grilled cheese. I burned the first one, because I can't multi-task worth a damn was so engrossed in our experiment.

Then Jonathan recalled a story he heard in his museum class on Wednesday. His teacher had left a water bottle out overnight but it was tightly sealed so the water couldn't freeze. The next morning he unscrewed the top and when the air hit the water, it froze immediately, right before his eyes. "Let's try that too!" Jonathan exclaimed, and ransacked searched the kitchen cabinets for something that would seal. He chose Brady's soccer water-bottle.

Then we decided to try a reclosable plastic container. (Is reclosable a word? Hang on -

What if we use a big container?

Then we decided to play off the dynamics used in food preservation. During the canning process, air is driven from the jar and a vacuum is formed as the jar cools and seals the lids on tighter than a camel's backside in a sandstorm.


Here, Jonathan waits for the canning jar to seal by surfing the internet for tips on how to complete a diving catch on his Madden 06 GameCube game. His research paid off as he completed his first-ever diving catch not 10 minutes later. Then he completed about 6 more. I should know, I got to watch the replays about six dozen times. Maybe seven dozen.

The experimental containers, with the thermometer now on the ground, the surrounding air registering as colder than George Bush's feelings about children's health care.

In and out Jonathan went, both of us surprised at how slowly the water froze. Slower than molasses in January going up an icy hill, I'm tellin' ya. (I'm on a roll here.)

The results? After 55 minutes, the colder water had a layer of ice on top, and the warmer water didn't. At 1 hr, 17 minutes they both had layers of ice. At 1 hr, 42 minutes, the warm water jar had more ice. At 3 hours, both jars were frozen. As for the myth?
Hot water does freeze faster than cold, yo!

This was a fun experiment! More fun than arguing religion with a fundamentalist!

I'll stop now. Really.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Packer Game Preparation

As you all know by now, the Green Bay Packers lost their championship game on Sunday. Our house has been deathly quiet ever since. Rob is in mourning, draped in black from head to toe; and Jonathan just keeps saying, "I'm not ready to talk about it yet" followed by "This is the most depressed I've ever been." Brady just keeps shaking his head.

As for me? Well, other than some genuine, sympathetic "there there, honey" my life is pretty much unaffected.

Sunday morning, we all readied ourselves by thawing some brats (it's a Wisconsin thing, doncha know) and donning our Green Bay Packers garb.

Jonathan wore his favorite Green Bay Packers sweatshirt; his completed ensemble includes a game face.

Rob's ritual garb consisted of Packers hat, Packers t-shirt, Packers long-sleeved shirt over the t-shirt, Packers sweatshirt over the Packers long-sleeved shirt over the Packers t-shirt. Oh, and Packers sunglasses. Oh, and a pointer finger in serious need of a cheesehead foam finger.

It was discovered - too late - that Brady doesn't own any Packers garb. He donned a Wisconsin Badgers sweatshirt instead, and Rob infused his aura with a little extra Packers mania for good measure.

And me? Well... um... well, you see... it's not that I don't do Packers garb... but, well... it's just that....

I don't do Packers garb.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Aw Shucks

Thanks Zenmomma! What a nice surprise. Be sure to visit Zenmomma for some blogging goodness - you'll be hooked fer sure.

According to Project Mommy, by accepting this Excellent Blog Award, I have to award it to 10 or more people.

Sharin' the love - works for me!

In no particular order...

Jackie at Harvestin' Blarney in Irish Grove cuz she's my favorite lil sis (even though she called my homemade bagels chew toys). She rocks in all the right ways.

Stephanie at Happy and Free cuz she's deep and wise. And deep. And sweetness all through.

Denise at Mom in Madison cuz she's my new blogging and IRL friend. A lucky find!

Silvia at Po Moyemu--In My Opinion cuz we go way back. And we're gonna hang out together one of these days.

Colleen at The New Unschooler for bravery in sharing her journey.

Whimsigal at The Road Less Traveled for being so darn sweet.

peacegoddess at Patchouli and the Porch, my IRL grrrlfriend who's very kick-*ss

Sharon at New Explorations, who's been there through the rough spots. She's a soul sister.

Gemma at Gembob - one of my main grrls. I miss you.

Kelli at our joyful life - I don't know her (yet :) IRL, but I want to.

Diana at The Journey of Nani Moon - inspiration of the finest kind.

Mrs G at Derfwad Manor, my daily dose of humor and inspiration.

Kelly at she's in transition who's promised to marry me if things don't work out with Rob.

Hop on over and say hello to these fine folks. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Why I'm Not a Food Blogger - Part III

I had a 'Why I'm Not a Food Blogger Pt III' going a few weeks ago, about my foray into homemade bagel-making. I uploaded 32 pictures of the process and then mysteriously, I never finished it. I'm sure it wasn't because my friend Joan, owner of an actual bagel shop, casually said, "Oh reeeeally, it called for you to do it like that?" as her forehead muscles contorted unnaturally. And I'm sure it wasn't because after eating one, my sister mused, "Where'd these bagels come from? My g*d, they're dense little suckers."

My own family had liked them. (At least they said they did.) So I'm sure the comments from the others had absolutely nothing to do with my not finishing that post. Nothing at all.

I'd like to be a food blogger. I mean, I do like food. And I do like to blog. So what's the hold-up?

Well, for starters, there's still this:

But WAIT, Lookie There! Someone actually cleaned her kitchen! That's progress. I see great things in my food blogging future, don't you?

Today, it all started with a quest to make the perfect chewy granola bar. Brady eats them by the box-full, and while they're not exactly cheap, my bigger concern is they're probably not as healthy as they could be. At least not if one were to, say, eat three dozen every two days. Surely I can make a homemade version that's better? Surely.

Reason #1 I'm not a food blogger - The first recipe I tried was Raisin and Cardamom Granola Bars. Cardamom? I'm going to go with cardamom on my first attempt? That might sound all good and fine for those of us who start our day with a lovely chai, but for a pubescent 15 year old rocker? Cardamom was a cardaBOMB.

Reason #2 I'm not a food blogger - I changed the whole recipe and then wondered why we didn't really like it even though it got good reviews.

One of the funniest memories of my friend Elizabeth is when we went up to our lake home, just the two of us, for a grrrls' getaway. Elizabeth is all about health; she's also all about ease. So she cooks very spare, wholesome food. Steamed veggies, slow-roasted meats, and raw salads are her mainstays. Being from out east, she is befuddled by midwesterners' obsession with things like jello salad and cream-of-something casseroles.

So there we were, up north, when we got done with dinner and she said she had a surprise - she'd brought a dessert! Since she's not one to eat sugar - ever, at ALL - I should've worried. But she laughed as she presented, with a "Voila!" and a flourish, a jello dessert. Wow. Elizabeth made a jello dessert. (I decided this wasn't the right time to tell her that not all midwesterners like jello.)

We took a bite. Hmmm. We took another bite. Oh, dear, well... and then we started laughing. It had no flavor. It was totally bland, and not standard jello-ish at all. Well, it turns out she'd substituted every bloody ingredient for a healthier alternative. Plain, organic gelatin for the boxed jello. Maple syrup for the white sugar. Soy milk for the heavy cream. Rice flour for the good old all-purpose. We laughed until flavorless gelatin spewed from our noses, and then we laughed some more.

Moral of the story? If you're gonna make jello, make Jello.

So it shouldn't have come as a huge surprise today that I'd tweak a recipe and make it worse, not better.

Actually, I didn't think they were all that bad. The recipe called for 1-1/2 teaspoons of cardamom and I only used 1/2 tsp, thank the higherpowerwhogoesbymanynames... because they tasted like, well, like cardamom-double-cardamom-granola-bars-with-a-gobload-of-cardamom.

Reason #3 I shouldn't be a food blogger - On a scale of 1 to 10, Brady rated these "Don't ever put one of those in my lunch bag."

I was rather fond of the twelve few bars that didn't hold together, and which therefore needed to be slowly nibbled in small, bite-sized portions for the next 8 hours. Apparently, I can make peace with the cardamom-taste-explosion. Either that, or I have an eating disorder. Or... how 'bout... I'm not wasteful. Ya, that's it.

So I won't be teaching you how to make cardabomb granola bars.

I have been in a bit of a cooking boycott rut lately but I'm on a mission to do better. So today, I sat and pondered just how I might break through the stainless steel ceiling and achieve equal status in the culinary realm.

So let's make something for dinner, shall we? Question is - what shall we make?

I put on a kettle of rice. Rice goes with everything right? (Reason #4 I shouldn't be a food blogger - It helps to know what you're planning to cook before you start.)

I put on a cast-iron skillet with a splash of safflower oil. And I didn't know what I was going to put in it. (Reason #5)

Look at the pretty little starter plants I've got on my windowsill. Lah-di-dah... (Reason #6 - I'm sure something will come to me. Eventually.)

Here's the mama plant. Ain't she lovely? Dum-de-doo.... (Reason #7 - Or not.)

Alright, the cast iron skillet with a splash of safflower oil is starting to smoke, so let's put something in that baby, shall we? How 'bout broccoli? Broccoli sound good? There's a delightful charred, spicy broccoli recipe that I made not too long ago. (Does spicy charred broccoli sound good? I'll bet it had a different name - Reason #8) Do you think I can find the recipe? (Reason #9 - No.)

No matter - we'll wing it. (Reason #10 - sometimes bad things happen when I wing it.)

(When I opened the bag of broccoli, that cute little lime was hiding in the bag. Apparently, the green foods in my house like to stick together.) (You don't think I accidentally stole it, do you?) (I don't think I did.) (If I did, it was entirely unintentional.) (It's a rogue lime.)

I love this picture. I love how the water droplets are captured in mid-air. It almost makes me feel like a really bad photographer. Enlarge that photo, why don't you, and add a little excitement to your life. Then send your "Grrrl, Your Photos Rock" props to piscesgrrl@actuallytheyreallydon'

Reason #11 - You don't really need to be told to wash your broccoli, do you. I'm sorry. I'm treating you like you're a simpleton. And you're not.

And while I'm apologizing, the photo of my clean kitchen above was taken, like, 7 weeks ago (which is, coincidentally, about the last time it looked like that). I'm sorry I misled you.

Reason #12 I shouldn't be a food blogger - Food bloggers shouldn't tell lies.

Now - chop up your broccoli. You didn't need a photo of that either, did you. I'm sorry again. (It feels really good to say I'm sorry.) (It's like I'm absolving myself of all prior wrong-doings.)

Some folks go so far as to peel the broccoli stems so they can use them too. I don't. I either eat them without peeling, cuz I'm lazy like that (reason #13) or I just compost them. I have a long love-affair with my compost, did you know? I suppose folks don't really want to see my decomposing compost. Reason #14. (Is decomposing compost an oxymoron?)

Now, turn your stove burner up to medium-high, cuz we're gonna char.. wait, scorch... wait, singe. SINGE! That's it. (Is that it?) Listen, we're gonna burn the little broccoli, just a wee bit, just around the edges.

(And no, I never wash my teapot.)

Toss in one little nip of broccoli, and see if the oil spits. You want it nice and hot. Also, while I imagine you could use other cookware for this, cast-iron is best for this particular recipe. (Actually, I don't know that for a fact. But it makes me sound like I know what I'm doing, doesn't it?)

So when it's nice and spittin' hot, add the rest of the broccoli and don a potholder so big it could fit a midwestern Sasquatch. You don't wanna burn yourself do you? No, you don't.

I couldn't think of the word Bigfoot, so I walked into Brady's room and said, "Brady, my brilliant son?" Actually, I just said, "Brady?" And then I said, "What's the name of that creature? You know, the one that supposedly lives in the woods? He's big? And hairy? Oh, BIGFOOT!" and answered my own question. He rolled his eyes and reminded me to never, ever put one of my homemade cardamom-double-cardamom-granola-with-cardamom-mom-mom bars in his lunchbag. Ever.

(I think I know some readers a reader who's gonna be spittin' hot if I don't get to the darn point sometime today.)

And this is when this little thingie comes in real handy. What's this thingie called, does anyone know? Because I sure don't. I call it my cover-the-pan-so-the-oil-don't-spit-all-over thingie. (Reason #15)

Now add some salt. (Does my hand look scary to you? Like it needs a weekend retreat at the moisturizing spa? I thought so.) Just enough to enhance the broccoli's natural flavor. And toss it around a little. The broccoli, not the salt. Toss the broccoli, the salted broccoli, around a bit.

And add some pepper. I could've used the same photo for salt and pepper, because my shakers are identical, but I didn't because I've repented my lying ways since I started this post.

(I hereby solemnly swear, I vow to be faithful, to always tell the truth, so help me higherpowerwhogoesbymanynames, and to the republic for which it stands, and if I die before I wake, I hereby bequeath my spicy singed - no wait, I think I still like charred, now that I've had time to think about it - my spicy charred broccoli to my beloved husband, until death do us part. I do, Amen and Blessed Be, whatever you say bounces of you and sticks to me. Wait...)

I feel much better now. You?

Now toss the broccoli around a little more.

See how it's getting nice and charred/singed/burnt? You can't, you say? Because the photo's blurry, you say? (Reason #16 - I'm no better at photography than I am at cooking.) Ok, trust me on this. It's getting nice and charred/singed/burnt. Just a little. Around the edges. Keep tossing it.

We're on the home stretch now, folks, I promise. I pick some really difficult recipes, so you're just going to have to learn to keep up. (Not really. #17)

But now for the really excitin' part! Grab your bottle of crushed red pepper flakes. (I live in a cornfield. Believe me, this qualifies as excitin'.) Sprinkle in as much as you can handle. Here, we happen to aim for blows the top of my head off. But you may like something a little more mild, like makes my tongue burn until I cry or give me water or I will claw your eyes out or I think I'm having heart palpitations.

I just noticed the red hot peppers on that bottle look like red hot lips. See it? What has our world come to when even our crushed red pepper flakes are sexed up?!? Sinners, everywhere!

Look at that spicy, charred goodness!

Put it in a pretty serving bowl and set it aside.

Remember the rice pot? It looks nice and fluffy. (Hmm... I just may be a food blogger yet! A food blogger who specializes in 101 ways to cook plain white rice. 'Twill be Captivating.)

I can has surprise for you! All this time I had an Asian Chicken dish cooking in the oven! I was holding out on you, oh yes I was. Oh yes I was. Oh yes. I'm naughty like that. But that, good people, is a story for another time. Like a time later on, after my family has had time to taste it and rip my fragile ego to pieces if they don't like it.

And I like to serve a lil' sumthin' simple on the sides of my meals (read: I'm bloody tired of cooking, is that ok with you? aka Reason #18). This pear will be a nice soothing complement to the spicy, charred broccoli and heavily-marinated Asian chicken. Or at least that's what I hope my laziness translates into.

So I sliced up a perfectly ripe, organic pear and placed it on my new, pretty dish. Don't you think it's a pretty dish? I.Love.This.Dish. I wish I had a whole set. I found it and its twin at Goodwill, but that's all there were, just two little plates. Sniff.

Not bad for a non-food blogger like m'self, don't you think? And if Brady (and later his best friend) hadn't raked my cardamom-to-the-fifth-power-granola-bars recipe over the coals, as only hormonal boys can do, we could've had those for dessert.

But since Brady took his best friend Ben into the kitchen for the sole reason of mocking my first attempt at granola bars - ("Ben, try these. Ohmyg*d you have to see how bad they are. Isn't that spice awful? Mom, what IS that! And why is it in our house? Don't ever use it again!" as Ben took a bite and grimaced in agreement) - I guess we'll be dessert-less this time.

Creating a spicy, charred masterpiece is intense work, my friends, intense work. But I don't expect you to understand yet, young grasshoppers.

I must go rest my weary inner-Julia Child.

((dramatic faint))