La La How The Life Goes On

Archive for November 2013

I hope you all had a delightful Thanksgiving 2013. For my fellow Juifs, I trust your Thanksgivukkah was also epic and legendary. I have a few thoughts to share as we say goodbye to this holiday that I love so much.

First, many thanks to Sweet D and Papa Z for the EXCELLENT food, folks and fun. (With major props also to the ducks who gave their lives and dignity in service of “Beer Can Duck” tastiness. I did not eat them because Bambina gets upset if I eat any mama creature’s babies, but I heard they were delicious).

Next. The BabyDaddy and I agreed yesterday that we will never host Thanksgiving unless forced at gunpoint. We recognize that hosting your own Thanksgiving is a rite of passage, the sign that you are a grownup who can now feed and entertain your own parents and various relatives. We get it. Passing of the torch yadda yadda.

Still, No Thank You.

We will come to your house. We will be excellent guests. We will set and clear the table. We will wash dishes. We will bring food. Hell, we will even PAY for the entire spread! Seriously. But please do not think you are coming to our house for Thanksgiving. It’s a slog of a job we just don’t want. Cooking for 20+ people? Hells to the NO. Because people are nice, people are lovely. 20+ people who individually think your stuffing should be less salty, and why isn’t the game on? and why aren’t we eating sooner? and oh this is the wrong kind of beer, and zzzzzz the people who come to your house to fall asleep as you sweat like a fat kid over a hot stove. Just…NO. I’ll set your table. I’ll even clean your damn bathrooms in prep for the onslaught of house guests. But I really just don’t want you to come to MY house for Thanksgiving.

So, if you–like us–want to be Thanksgiving guests in perpetuity, let’s take a quickie quiz to see if we deserve the honor.

Q: Did you arrive at the host’s home WITH A HOSTESS GIFT?
A: Yes you did. Because you are not an ass. Because you are over the age of 18 and therefore able to drive, vote and pick up a lousy box of Russell Stover candies at the CVS. Because the very idea of arriving at a person’s home empty-handed would be akin to arriving without wearing pants. Because they would both be rude things to do. So I know you didn’t do that.
Congrats! You get to come back next year.

Q: Did you offer to help clear the table and wash the dishes? Even half-heartedly, knowing that the hostess wants you all up in her kitchen about as much as you want to eat brillo?
A: Yes you did. Because you are not an ass. Because maybe the hostess would appreciate a little assistance getting the glasses off the table or reaching a high shelf or just having some company to chat while s/he works. At the very least, the hostess will appreciate that you simply thought to ask. So I know you did that.
Congrats! You get to come back next year.

Q: Did you make an effort to be social? To be a good guest?
A: Yes you did. Because you are not an ass. Because your responsibilities (clearly listed in the Universal Host/Guest Contract) as a guest require you to a)have a good time, and b)be seen to be having a good time. If the host is busy cooking and serving and refilling glasses, then your job is to be mixing with people, talking about how great the nibbles are, chatting with the person no one else is chatting with (because sometimes perpetual guests can be shy and need a little help). Helping to keep the mood festive. Yeah, I know these are people you know already for the most part. Most of them are family. I don’t care. You have a job: to keep the party poppin’. So I know you did that.
Congrats! You get to come back next year.

Just don’t come to my house. 🙂

I previously posted about Mr. Jamie Oliver’s ludicrous claim that his magazine could make me a better cook. I promised weekly updates on my recipe efforts.

Well. Let’s make that monthly. I’ve got two kids and a full life and I can’t be spending my free time making cucumbers in almond cream sauce just for kicks. If these were recipes I could cook up for the kids then it might be possible, but please trust when I say that no one in Casa de Jones is touching almond cream sauce with a ten foot telescoping fork.

So Attempt #1 was Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs. Again, the kids won’t eat it since they are effectively vegetarian ever since a family of wild turkeys took up residence in our neighborhood. So this was for the Dada and myself.

Okay, first of all, it wanted thighs and onions “cut into thick rings” in a baking dish. Listen, maybe you can stand there for 10 minutes getting circles out of an onion, but that is a knife injury waiting to happen in my case. So I just kind of chopped them however they turned out. Onion rings my ass.

Meanwhile I was to mix the honey, soy, lime, sweet chilli sauce, etc. Um…what is sweet chilli sauce? With two L’s. I googled it. I didn’t have any. I think. It’s a British version of a Thai sauce, apparently. So I called the Dada in a panic and we threw something together. Vinegar and whatnot. Poured it all over the chicken and onion rings piecesparts. Put it all in the oven at Gas Mark 4.

The recipe said if the sauce was still runny after the 30 minutes I should put the tray “over the hob” and cook it some more. The sauce was still runny. So I called my Scottish mother to ask her what a hob is so I could put my chicken thighs over it. It’s the gas burners, apparently. From the days of cooking at a fireplace. So, over the hob it went. Somewhat more sticky it got. But not really.

Then we ate it. And it was unbelievably very okay. Not awesome. Not horrible. Just kind of fine. I would recommend slicing the thighs up half way through the cooking so that more of the chicken actually touched the sweet and spicy sauce. As it was, once you bit through the outer part of the chicken, the rest was just…plain chicken. Feh. I’d also recommend actually having British Thai Chilli Sauce on hand. And definitely be sure you have a hob.

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