Pie in your face

I am not a crook, a communist, or a crackpot. I am not a poet, a hero, or a star. I am just a girl who’s hosting Thanksgiving and this year, my guests are in for a surprise. Turkey didn’t make it on my A list … it’s so been there, done that. Therefore, ¬†I’m bucking tradition and turning my guests on to lobster pot pies and more decadent yums. Why not?

Besides the obvious, “Because I can,” I feel an urge to change my predictable and tragic life. I fear that if I sit down to the same old¬†delicious,¬†gravy, potato, stuffing, and etc, Turkey dinner, I will burst into a fit of tears. I need a change. I believe that change starts with a fantasy. So, I’ll¬†summarize¬†my idea of the perfect Sans-Turkey Day.

Last year's more traditional setting will be getting a much needed rest.

Thanksgiving would include someone to massage my back, feed me grapes, rub my feet and buy me presents, This servant of gratitude would  leave a bag full of money under my pillow. At sunset, I would go horse back riding through my vineyard with all my loved ones. We would drink champagne, and I would loose 15 lbs. I would be wearing a Stella McCartney dress, Prada riding boots and a Hermes scarf.

Dinner would be served in my meadow. Wildlife creatures would captivate us with their delightful curiosity.  I would have several (faux) fur blankets set up for a picnic near my babbling brook. We would eat by candlelight from giant candelabrum and lanterns that swung from my lovely Willow tree. Snoop Dog would début his new CD live and would pass around a giant joint. When we were all really high, a giant Scooby Doo balloon would soar above us and extend a ladder, so that we could all climb up and ride around New York and wave at everyone watching the Thanksgiving parade. We would toss silver dollars at spectators and several people would go to the hospital from getting clanked on the head.

The Menu: (Drinks include, hot spiced Whiskey cider, Champagne cocktail, sparking water)

Starter:

Pate and toast points

Oysters on the half-shell

Main:

Apple slices with herbed brie (warm)

Pears wrapped in prosciutto (warm)

Gorgonzola polenta with candied bacon (hot)

Lobster pot pie (sexy)

Truffled tater-tots (hell yeahs!)

Arugula,¬†fennel,¬†pomegranate, shaved parmesan salad (eat it, or you won’t get dessert!)

Dessert:

Double Decker Cake with Pies

Layer one, chocolate cake, with pumpkin pie inside, Layer two, Vanilla cake with apple pie inside. Frosted with butternut vanilla.

Reality:

The menu is concrete, but the setting will be in Berwyn, at my humble estate. I do have some Scooby snacks, ¬†so who knows, we may wind up in my fantasy! I plan to wrap my dinning room table in craft paper and have glasses full of crayons, so guests can draw, It’ll¬†be a Big Kids Table, I also plan to use bittersweet generously with my decor because, frankly, this has been a¬†bittersweet¬†year. Time to switch gears and have some fun!

Confession of a cheese slut

I was raised with the motto: “We’ll be fine as long as we have each other and our snacks“. Yes, I have high cholesterol, but that won’t stop me from making my life more¬†delicious! I’m going to blame this all on my DNA. I simply can’t stop my cheese and cracker cravings because my body requires them to stay alive. To think, there are people who HATE CHEESE. These folks probably eat boring, nutritious things like apples. I can’t change my addiction. Frankly, it’s an illness.

Gather around in a circle, pour a glass of wine and I’ll confess. I’ve spoiled my appetite … skipped dinner and grazed on a triple cream wedge of brie. It’s true that I’ve left cheese unrefrigerated overnight and decided it would be just fine to eat the next day. I’ve overdosed on free cheese samples at the grocery store.

Big surprise, I’ve ¬†dropped cheese on the dirty kitchen floor and¬†honored¬†the five second rule. I’ve loved cheese that’s beneath me…like a tub of Merkts. And yes, I feel dirty, but it feels good to finally come clean.

I’ll blame my Grandpa because he influenced my snack habit. He probably should have served time for contributing to the¬†delinquency¬†of a minor. As a kid, I spent a lot of Friday nights at my ¬†grandparents house. My parents were busy smoking pot and making¬†macram√©¬†curtains¬†(I’M KIDDING MOM AND DAD, “PIPE” DOWN). Anyhow, I have very fond memories of my slumber parties. First off, Gramps and I would boogie on over to McDonald’s where we would order food, “to travel.”

“SHHH, don’t tell Grandma,” he would say as he pulled an extra bag of ¬†fries from the bag to snack on during the two block drive home. I thought this was super cool. What kid doesn’t want to live on french fries?

Later, we would watch old westerns or Lassie or The Carol Burnett Show. My Grandparents lived in a cozy house in Glynn Ellyn, Il. The TV room had a built-in bed with cedar drawers that were filled with hand knit blankets. I would build myself a fort in this bed and Grandpa would sit next to me smoking cigars and drinking beer. A TV tray was in front of his lap. He drank beer out of a short glass and would fill a shot glass up with beer, topped by a sprinkle of salt. That was my little cocktail. We would eat cheese from Wisconsin and later, he would make a frozen pizza. Talk about perfect! I never wanted to grow up.

In life, we associate things with positive or negative experience. I will never drink gin because it just took one gin-hangover to realize that’s not my cocktail. I can’t even smell gin without feeling¬†dizzy. Cheese will always feel and taste like love, a little vacation, and just yummy.

The proper way to eat √Čpoisses at a party:

Here are some of my favorites…try looking at TJ’s or WF:

Saint André

√Čpoisses

Manchego

Morbier

Dill Harvarti

Burrata

Sharp Cheddar

Merkts, Beer Cheese

Sweet Meat vs Butter

I first heard about Paula Deen years ago through my mother. I’ll¬†paraphrase¬†this now¬†archived tip from Mrs. B,”You need to check out The Paula Deen show. Last week, I watched an episode where she stuffed a beer can up a chicken’s butt. I called Julie and was like, turn on the Food Network!

I was mildly grossed out, but¬†intrigued. Was it dirty or¬†delicious to shove a beer can up a bird’s rear end?¬†¬†To think that I had never had “Beer Can Chicken”, and now it’s one of my all time¬†favorite¬†meals. The more I watched, the more I started to rate butter right up there with bacon and ¬†wine. Why hadn’t I thought about putting a stick of butter and shoving a beer can into all my meals?¬†Genius!

Bring it!

No Reservations host Bourdain told TV Guide Magazine: ‚ÄúThe worst, most dangerous person to America is clearly Paula Deen.‚ÄĚ And he added: ‚ÄúShe revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she‚Äôs proud of the fact that her food is fucking bad for you […] plus, her food sucks.‚ÄĚ

I felt sympathy for¬†Deen¬†when Anthony Bourdain¬†practically shoved a can of¬†PBR up her lady pooper. Hey,¬†Tony!¬†she’s no spring chicken, and¬†Paula’s¬†at an age where the gals in her book club all cook with Campbell’s soup, and lard. Just be nice!

Said Deen: ‚ÄúI have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable.‚ÄĚ

Deen slammed Bourdain as an elitist. ‚ÄúYou know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúMy friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills. ‚Ķ It wasn‚Äôt that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.‚ÄĚ

Via Twitter, Bourdain¬†countered¬†that Deen is ‚Äúhardly the worst person in America, just the most destructive influence on Food Network.”

I'm ready...greased, even!

This little foodie fight made me think they could use a mediator.

I’m so over this crap with the troops asking out celebrities. Boring!

Americans are angry and over sappy stuff.

What I want to see is an ugly brawl where the chefs get scarred for life.

I propose that Deen and Bourdain bring their cooking skills to my Berwyn¬†bungalow (Berwyn has a well deserved reputation for fisticuffs and pugilistic excellence) where I will allow them to cook for me. I will be an unbiased judge and even wear a blindfold like a Pepsi or Coke test. If my kitchen is too small, I’ll fire up the grill and we can take it outside.