Saturday, February 29, 2020


I normally try to eat as many meals out as possible. And, I must say that I pretty much have succeeded in this department. Case in point: I ate dinner out maybe 3 times this week so far and I’ve probably eaten lunch out at least 4. This is probably a pretty normal schedule. I have lots of friends, so seeing just one or several, whether for fine dining or just grabbing a bite to eat, works out for all of us. Especially since they probably hate cooking as much as I do. Although for me… it’s not so much cooking that I don’t like. It’s the cleaning up afterwards that I hate.

Which is why it was so unusual a few weeks back that within a 10 day period, I hosted 3 dinner parties here at home. The last time that happened within such a short time period must have been when I was around 38 years old, I’ll bet. Back then, I could easily have whipped up dinner for 10 within a mere 24 hour notice. Nowadays?? Oh man. I’d totally need a 14 day time table. What was so easy for me when I was young could easily become overwhelming for me now that I’m old. Hence the stretched out preparation timeline. Anyway…

The first dinner party I had those weeks ago was for 10 friends. My planning basically follows the same pattern: Figure out my guest list and then do the inviting, 2 weeks ahead of time. Figure out my menu 10 days ahead of time. Set the table 5 days ahead of time. Grocery shop 4 days ahead of time. And then do the early food prep a day ahead of time. All in the  hopes of being able to breeze through the day of the evening of dinner. After of course, first waking up the morning of the big day in a mild panic mode. Bear in mind however, given the 3 dinners in 10 days, things were a hell of alot tougher getting all lined up at my favored slower pace. Plus... the table decor and place settings totally became less and less remarkable by the last evening. Which only means: Sorry Third-Round Dinner Guests... you sort of got cheated out of major impressive tablescaping, but so be it. 

Now, I will admit that for the first dinner, I did have kitchen help which puts a whole new light on things, for when I hire help… I’m the happiest of campers! Not only does having help make a big difference in serving, but more importantly… THEY do the cleaning, not me. What a deal. It was when I was in my late 20s that a good friend of mine taught me: HIRE IS NOT A FOUR LETTER WORD. Talk about words of wisdom! Whether it be kitchen help, house help or personal help... bingo. I'm committed. 

The next two dinner parties were for a lesser amount of guests, but to be sure… not necessarily easier in the cooking department. Case in point, for the second dinner, I made baked salmon stuffed with fresh cooked spinach mixed first in cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Man. Talk about delicious. I probably served salad and some sort of roasted potatoes, too. Excellent meal, if I say so myself. In the meantime...

By the time of the third dinner deal?? I so went easy for THAT meal, alright. The first two I really wanted to make delicious and special. The last one however? I was just thrilled to be able to throw something on the table and say: HERE. EAT. Well… wait. Okay, maybe not that crude, but almost. THIS time around I was pretty much into the Effortless Route. As in: I called Publix, asked them to whip up about 16 fresh pieces of fried chicken tenders (outstanding, btw) bought some frozen corn, a huge can of baked beans and then finally, some coleslaw . Boom. 1, 2, 3… done. I may have gone big on dessert as in: hot fudge sundaes. Whatever it was though, it was plenty easy.

Luckily, all three parties were excellent. Also lucky was the fact the last set of guests never knew what I served the first two guests for they would, rightly so, feel way scammed. On the other hand, they too, loved their meal and as the saying goes: a belly full is a belly full.

So since then?? NO DINNERS GUESTS AT ALL. Whew. I’ve let either them or a restaurant cook for ME. And btw... tonight? COUSINS LOBSTER TRUCK! Am soooo psyched! For lobster IS by far, my most favorite food. This will be my second visit to this truck, which comes to town every so often and bingo. I'm right there in line with the hordes of others. Yay food!   

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


So I pretty much love getting gifts. And I especially love getting gifts from my kid. And I do have say… he’s normally pretty good at selecting them for me. Which is not a whole hell of a stretch given I am totally into letting him know exactly what I want. Case in point… he knows just what perfume I wear and just where to buy it. Boom. I get what I love.

But then… there are times he completely surprises me. Like when he first sent me… one of my favorites… a dozen Shari’s Chocolate Dipped Berries. I had never tasted them before he began sending them, but man. Once you taste them, you are in love for life. Sooo delicious. And one year, he even threw in a cheesecake with it and that too, was outstanding. I am a major sucker for gifts that are foods, btw. Even when I was teaching for 20 years, the alltime best holiday presents were that which was something delicious to munch on. Anyway…

I don’t remember how many years ago my son sent me my first gold dipped rose… one that lasts forever. It stood about a foot tall and it was totally beautiful. I was pretty surprised and I really loved it. And then, on different occasions thereafter, I kept receiving another to add to my collection. You can see all of them up there in the pict. And oh yeah… after I got the gold rose, I told my son that pretty much rounds up the collection for me since seriously… just how many can you have, anyway?  I guess some people collect up to a dozen or two, but for me, that’s way too many. I do have to say, btw that the gold one is by far my favorite color. I also love the fact that this year, he threw in not only the stand but also a packet of rose scented beads, too. Whatta kid, right?

In the meantime, I keep this in my family room and every time I look at it, I have to smile. It not only looks so pretty on the table, but too, what a great way to think of my thoughtful kid. Who, I might add, I get to see in the next couple of weeks. YIPPEE. YIPPEE. Btw... it's kind of amazing how these flowers are made and if you click on this link, you can see a brief video of how it’s done. CREATE THE ROSE

In any event, these pretty roses are also serving another purpose for me. Sitting down? They are totally keeping me from slitting my wrists over the Senate’s recent bullshit trial to convict and oust Trump. If EVER there was a person who needs to be kicked out of office, it’s our President! I could write an entire 50 entries on this topic alone, so don’t even get me started. I can not BElieve that he will be re-elected, hence, he could well be the last President I ever see before I kick the bucket. For those of you out there who outlive me, FIND ANOTHER COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY! Regardless…

The other purpose these stunning roses serve is to keep me happy during the winter, when my actual real rose bushes are waiting to bloom in spring. Which reminds me…. whereas I always said that autumn was by far my alltime favorite season… I changed my mind two years ago. It’s now WINTER! I can’t help it… the cold temps are completely doable plus, you get to see snow. Some years we get a decent amount but recently, it’s been easy come, easy go in the snowfall amount. And… get this… when first I moved to NC, I flipped out at the first snow flurry I’d see, afraid to even pull out of my driveway. Now however?? Don’t ask.

Last week, we had a beautiful snowfall but while it covered all the trees and ground, it never stuck to the streets. Bingo. I hopped in my car, picked up my girlfriend, went to vote, grabbed some lunch, stopped at Publix, ran over to visit another friend, dropped my girlfriend off at home and then went to get gas. I’M A DEFINITE PRO, NOW. Well, kinda. But once I see the streets begin to accumulate flakes, whammo. I stay put, for sure.

That said, all I know is… winter or no, I still have beautiful flowers to keep me smiling, all thanks to my kid. Of course if he sent me a couple of pounds of fatty hot pastrami with a loaf of real rye bread, I’d be in MAJOR HEAVEN. Hmmm… I think I’ll send him the link to New York's Katz’s Delicatessen tomorrow. Or wait… maybe I’ll just order it myself. My mouth is watering already.