Archive for November, 2011

Oy, The Tomatoes.


Not to be outdone, Cathy (World Domination Cathy, not Salt Shaker Kathy) sent this photo of a tomato from her very garden. This one clearly is sporting a mohawk and a bit of a mullet. Anyone can see that! I wonder why she planted it that way, but I guess that’s her secret. This one should be used in advertising, I think. Maybe a promo for tomato juice or something:

And if that weren’t enough, she sent this little stare-down photo, too.

It’s raining tomatoes!

Got some good ones? Send us a pic! But remember… we already have a one-armed tomato.

Well, mohawks make me think of “Glee,” so I’ll close for now and go watch it.

Maybe they’ll sing some tomato songs.

Holy cow …


… Look at the ass on that tomato!

That little joke pops into my brain every time I see a picture of a donkey or a tomato. Years ago when I was a teenager (before electricity) my friend Sue’s dad carried around a little card in his wallet, which he once shared with us. There was a picture of a cow with holes punched in it, and next to that, a large tomato on which stood a donkey. “Holy cow,” Tony said, “look at the ass on that tomato.”

I thought it was high hilarity because I was kind of a dumb kid, and also because I didn’t realize “tomato” might also refer to a woman, which of course changed the entire joke, and made me wonder what was wrong with Tony. But that’s another story for another day.

Another thing that made me think of it was a photo, sent to me by my friend Rick, upon seeing my tomato teapot and salt and pepper shakers. He grew these during his years as a farmer in Maine, and aren’t they wonderful? He saw the correlation and so do I, and I hope you will, too. I mentioned that even though one of the tomatoes looked like a rubber ducky and the other only had one arm, I still loved them and hoped he would send them immediately, though I guess since the photo is dated 1984, they may no longer exist. (“1984: The Big Brother Tomatoes.”) Rick says that is obviously not an arm but a nose, but of course that is incorrect. Anyway, a timely photo, and I wonder what you see?

Speaking of tomatoes and cows, here’s a sort-of recipe for prize winning chili. I know this because I make it all the time, and a few weeks ago I won a prize for it, which I can prove by this photo, in which they made me wear this stupid hat:

I’m not going to list the measurements… part of the fun of chili (and the laziness of the writer) is that you can add and subtract to your own tastes, and the stuff will still be wonderful.

Start with a chuck roast, about 3 pounds. If you think hamburger belongs in chili, you’re on the wrong page, so to speak. Cut the roast up into small chunks, about a half inch by half inch. In a heavy stew pot or dutch oven, brown the beef in some olive oil. Add some onions and chopped garlic. When the beef is browned, add a can or two of tomatoes. (Holy cow! Look at… I’m sorry. I can’t help that automatic connection.)

Cook this concoction for a long long long long time, until the beef is sort of tender. Hours. Perhaps days.

Then, add the other ingredients, like finely chopped celery and carrots, diced green and red peppers, more onions, red and/or kidney beans, and spices that you like. I use cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and sometimes even an envelope of chili spices that you find in the grocery store, 3 for 99 cents. I add the spices near the end of the cooking so that they don’t cook out. I may be forgetting some ingredient, but it’s nothing “secret,” and you can put whatever you like in your chili.

I always make it at least one day ahead of time, because I think it tastes better when it’s been refrigerated overnight, and the ingredients have time to marinate, or infuse, or whatever that word is. Serve it with grated cheese, sour cream, a few green onions, and some really good bread or rolls on the side.

If you’re taking it somewhere, transfer it to a crock pot and heat it up when you get there. Don’t cook the whole thing in the crock pot, because crock pot food isn’t so good, and that would change the whole beautiful texture of this stuff.

Honestly, it’s great. Would I have this apron if it didn’t mean something?

No, sir.

I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

“Steer.” Get it?

Of Blogs and Barley.


I read a lot of blogs. If I have a lot of time on my hands, I usually look for random blogs to see who’s saying what. I especially like blogs about food, hospice work, or the lives of people my age, especially women. As someone who’s generally curious about other people’s lives (there’s another word for that, but I can’t think of it at the moment) I like to see how people my age are doing, how they’re living, and I like to compare my life with theirs. I almost always like mine better, which makes me feel smug.

I am continually amazed at the beauty of some blogs or the fantastic photos and videos people know how to post. I apologize to my dear readers for having/being none of those. I don’t like blogs about little kids (I know you people love theirs, but I find entire blogs about them boring) and I don’t like blogs where people swear a lot. It makes me think they aren’t very bright, or they remind me of those stand-up comics who are just sort of funny, but get a lot of laughs on the shock value of the oft-placed F word. It doesn’t work for me.

A lot of blogs simply end. Nobody says “I’m quitting this blog,” or “thanks for reading, but I’m done writing,” or even a hint that the writer, knowing he or she has snared you into their adventures, is going to leave you high and dry. 2009 seemed to be a good year for for stopping blogging with no explanation. Yet it is now 2011 and the blogs sit there, abandoned and unexplained.

I tell you, people, when the World Domination handbook is finished, it is going to be contain the caveat that if you start a blog and don’t update it at least every other month, it will be shut down. End of story. Be forewarned.

Hospice blogs often lead to personal blogs about people who are fighting serious illness, and very often those people die. You begin reading at the last entry, which might announce funeral arrangements, or else “Sorry to say that Helen died early this morning,” and then you start reading the entries backwards to read about how very sick Helen was, and then you go back to when Helen was just diagnosed, and then you go beyond that where Helen was enjoying life and her new husband or home or kids, and then you feel awful. Helen’s dead. Here’s her life, written out for those who are interested, and now she’s gone. Geez!

Reading those blogs makes me think of how precious our lives are, and how very grateful I am for my reasonably good health.

Speaking of health, here’s a healthy recipe that also tastes good. Not like those ones that fool you with tofu or 1% milk or artificial sweeteners that never taste a thing like sugar. Everything in here is good for you. It’s simple, it’s tasty, and I hope you appreciate how I managed to turn blog talk into a good recipe, because i worked a long time on the title, which came to me while I was in the bathtub.

And one more thing: I have made this recipe a lot. I take it to potluck lunches, like the one at work today. So I’m just saying: If you and I are invited to the same occasion where we’re asked to bring food, don’t bring this barley salad, because probably will, and due to my anal retentive nature, I’ll probably get there before you.

Barley Salad

3/4 cup uncooked barley

1 can of whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 of a green pepper, diced

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup Italian salad dressing

Cook the barley as directed on the package. (It takes about an hour to cook it.) Drain (if necessary) and cool. In a large bowl, combine the cold barley and all other ingredients. Mix and refrigerate.

I found this recipe online but I can’t remember where. And what is barley, exactly? I’ve probably bought 2 boxes of it in my entire life. I need to look it up. Oh, if only there were some building that housed reference books, where we could go and look things up. Or better yet, some electronic resource where we could type in a word and somehow, the explanation would magically appear. That would be better than the building, because you could look up important information without having to dress up to go out. You could read new stuff while you were dressed as shabbily as I am right now.

Well, enjoy your salad. And write a blog! I want to hear everything.