The Days of Spatula Licking are Almost Over

This week, I baked cookies because someone at work asked me to. I’m pretty easy. All you have to do is flatter me by telling me my cookies are the best you’ve ever had and I’ll bake for you too.

I also baked because one of my young co-workers lost his dad to a sudden heart attack a few weeks ago and the pain is still so raw for him that it breaks my heart. So, baking his favorite chocolate chip cookies couldn’t hurt.

Miss Milena

She had the whole thing licked clean before I could even take the picture.

As I was in the kitchen baking, my daughter was on the comfy, sage colored couch in the living room working on a paper for school. I was cleaning off the beater, wondering if she’d want to lick it like she used to when she was a kid. I hesitated, thinking she might not go for it, then offered it to her. She happily took it like she did when she was three. Continue reading

Women Always Find the Good in Each Other — Garlic helps

Theresa is the first wife of my ex-husband.

Theresa and Fran.JPG

Fran and Theresa the only two members of a very exclusive club.

She rocks.

But for years I didn’t realize that because I was married to my then husband, and his characterizations may not have been completely accurate because pesky emotion was involved.

I should have known better because the son she and my ex had together is absolutely wonderful. You don’t turn out that great if there isn’t someone molding you, and the master molder was Theresa. We only got Brandon a few weekends a month, so we were assistant molders. And I have to say, that my ex was a good dad to Brandon. He loved him completely, Brandon knew it, and that makes a big difference.

But now that my ex is my ex, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Theresa much better. It all started around the time I was getting divorced. I had the massive realization that there were going to be stories out there about me that might be one-sided, colored by emotion and, therefore possibly, not completely true.

I realized then, that for decades, I’d only been getting half the story about her and their relationship.  Much of it was factual, but much was colored by emotion, and we all know emotion is a lousy gauge for accuracy. Continue reading

Pasta Sundays

Uncle Richard at Christmas

Uncle Richard at Christmas, in my, “My Sauce is Better Than Yours Apron.”My daughter says his sauce really is better.

I was talking to my Uncle Richard over the weekend. He was telling me how he misses the days when his grandkids were little and he used to cook every Sunday.
His lucky daughter, son-in-law and their kids, along with my dad,  were invited over every Sunday to eat pasta. He’d make a different pasta every week, including rigatoni, linguini with clams, gnocci, lasagne, aglio olio and others, and they were all great. Now he just cooks for himself and my aunt because everyone’s either grown up, dead, or too busy, and he says it’s not the same. He misses the family. Continue reading

Coffee Cake Biscotti — Oh Yes!

I have bounced around the idea of starting a biscotti business for over a year. My family rolls their collective eyes when they hear this because I flit from one idea to another like a fruit fly. Continue reading

Love You, Not Your Decorations

I was talking to my sister-in-law, Patty, who is on crutches this holiday. Nothing makes a woman crazier than not being able to whirl around in a frenzy of Christmas preparation insanity,  so she was already apologizing for her house probably not being up to snuff.

I told her not to worry, I’m not coming to visit the decorations or the house. I’m coming to see my family.

As my mother so eloquently put it: “Wenna you’re dead a da house will steel a be dorty. Da hell witta da housework!”

Dear God, the woman was brilliant. Continue reading

What Illicit Sex and Pulled Pork Have in Common

Few things bring me the uncontrollable joy of a juicy pulled pork sandwich. (Should a single woman ever admit that?) I know pork isn’t health food, but if you don’t eat something decadent every once in a while, where’s the joy in living?

Juicy, tender pulled pork.

Juicy, tender pulled pork.

Especially if, like me, you eat salads, chicken, vegetables and tofu. Yes, you can make them taste great, but there’s something wicked and exciting about eating something a little trashy. It’s probably like having an affair. You know you shouldn’t, but the pull is undeniable.  That’s why I have to be toweled off when I get to cook and write about melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork. It’s like the one night stand of foods.

Clearly, I’m a shameless pork addict.  Continue reading

Alex is Getting Married? But She’s Only 12, Isn’t She?

Alex helping me bathe Milena in the sink.

Alex helping me bathe Milena in the sink.

Alex is getting married.  I find this hard to believe because, according to my calculations, she is still twelve and helping me bathe my daughter in the kitchen sink. I was never good at math. Continue reading

Step-kids and Lasagne Sundays

My kids were gone for a mini-family reunion at their dad’s house for the Fourth of July and I missed them, so I wanted to cook something wonderful when they returned. It was Sunday and my Italian soul longed for lasagne. It was just special enough that my devious plan, to get them (including my daughter’s boyfriend)  to stay for a meal, worked. Now that’s success. (See what my mother taught me? You bribe your kids with food.) Continue reading