Chefs Say the Darnedest Things | Stephanie Izard & Andrew Zimmerman

I love culinary professionals. My first full-time job was as a catering manager at a small, private college. Our chefs were absolutely fantastic, and I was and am proud to call them my friends. I’ve worked with several amazing chefs over the last decade or so, and I learned so much from them – lessons I’ll remember forever. Of course, even with incredibly talented chefs in my social network, it’s always exciting to speak to the chef or meet the chef of a fine dining establishment (especially when they’re TV famous and stuff…you know how starstruck I can get).

I recently had the pleasure of attending two food demonstrations by Chefs Stephanie Izard and Andrew Zimmerman of Top Chef and Iron Chef respectively. They were hilarious presenters and amazing chefs.

I recently returned (okay fine, “returned”) home from BlogHerFood, which was hosted in Chicago…so really I didn’t go anywhere. Hell, I didn’t even sleep in a hotel. I drove home every night. Well, the first night, I took the train home. Whatever.

At this delicious (actually delicious because SO. Much. Food.) conference, I had the pleasure of attending a couple special events with food demos from local and TV famous chefs.

On Thursday night, I was invited to a dinner hosted by Canadian Lentils to gear up for International Year of Pulses (a celebration of lentils, beans, chickpeas and peas) in 2016. Chef Stephanie Izard (Top Chef Season 4 Winner and Fan-Favorite, who also happens to be a Mom-approved favorite by the world’s toughest critic, my mom) hosted us at Little Goat, which I’ve visited for brunch once before. In the private party space above the chic diner/bar, we were welcomed with cocktails and apps in a demo kitchen space that opened out to a fabulous rooftop patio. We were privvy to a fantastic food demo from Chef herself as she discussed lentils, food prep and more. Of course, I was taking notes of a different kind. Chef Stephanie Izard prepares shrimp at a demo for Canadian Lentils

I’ve realized in my years of hearing people speak and listening in on other people’s conversations, that every now and then someone will say something in or out of context that is truly hilarious or hits home on the perfect spot. And so I wrote them down (slightly paraphrased, perhaps. Those cocktails were freeflowing, if I didn’t already mention that).

Stephanie Izard on doing the dishes

I was doing dishes, which I don’t do at home, but here I found it quite soothing…

I loved this little blurb. Because it made perfect sense to me. When things are stressful, sometimes doing something like washing the dishes can be incredibly calming. And I really love that she doesn’t do dishes at home. Neither do I, Steph. Neither do I.

Stephanie Izard on snacks

Give people snacks and it’ll make them quite happy.

Isn’t that what I’ve been saying forever? Brian found the way to my heart through snacks (which he always keeps in his backpack for me – although it’s likely a defense mechanism to protect him from my hangry…but I digress…). Chef Stephanie nailed it. Obviously, we’re best friends now.

I had the pleasure of meeting and slightly drunkenly fangirling Stephanie Izard.

I may have been drunk when I fangirled poor Stephanie.

Stephanie Izard on finishing your plate

If you’re good and you eat all your lentils…

I don’t even remember what she said after that because I was laughing. Everything at the even had lentils in it. And everything was freakin’ delicious. So yes. Yes, Stephanie Izard, I will eat all my lentils. In a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse. Om nom nom.

Stephanie Izard on overeating

We’re going to feed you til you drop.

Other than knowing I was in the right place, I really wanted to tell Chef that she didn’t even know what kind of promises she was making with that statement. I proceeded to eat, drink, and be merry thanks to my friends, Jeremy and Gillian (the world’s best bartender and server).

Jeremy the bartender and Gillian the server.

Honestly, it was a total win, and I stumbled full, drunk and happy to the train with my new found friends. I knew this food conference was the best decision ever.

The next day, exhausted and hungry, I arrived at the conference for Round 2. They started feeding me immediately upon my arrival and didn’t stop until I left Saturday night. It was heaven.

At lunch on Friday, I attended another foodie demonstration, hosted by Foodinsights.org and discussing the importance of protein from the food aspect to the fitness aspect. The demo was with Iron Chef winner and Chicago chef, Andrew Zimmerman.Iron Chef Andrew Zimmerman gives a food demonstration working with different proteins.

Andrew Zimmerman on risotto

Usually, you cram it full of cream and cheese and butter, which is like vegan kryptonite.

Chef had me laughing my ass off with this one, as he was discussing his very much non-vegan restaurant and how he handles vegan customers. He makes them risotto (but, like, a vegan version without all the good stuff).

Andrew Zimmerman on pork

Play with it; it’s fun-all squishy and meaty.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider squishy and meaty fun, but Zimmerman has a point. Sometimes it’s okay to play with your food. Like when I’m making meatloaf and I play with the raw egg for a little bit before mixing it into the ground meat. Everyone has their weird.

Andrew Zimmerman on the cuisine of their restaurants

My restaurant is globally informed contemporary American which is basically my answer for whatever. I. feel. like.

His bullshit level is through the roof with brilliance, and I absolutely love him for it. If I ever had a restaurant, I would totally get behind a “whatever I feel like making” stance.

Bravo, my new chef friends, bravo. Thank you so much for your fascinating demos, your hilarious words, and most importantly, you’re delicious food. Because if there’s any real way to my heart, it’s through food.

Blog friends, have you ever met a TV famous chef? What are some of your favorite culinary moments (Mastering the blue box mac and cheese totally counts)? Ever seen a food demonstration? Who is the funniest person you’ve heard speak?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Jalapeno Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks – Because Everyone Should Try Something Crazy at Least Once

Sometimes, Brian sends me an animated gif of some magic foodie creation he wishes me to make a reality.  Many times, I just laugh it off, and tell him he has two hands so he can make that shit himself (for the last time, BRIAN, I am not making a fucking turducken). But sometimes, like that one time I made an ice cream sandwich cake, I realize he’s discovered gold, and I should go help haul that shit home.

Other times, I look at the project potential and think, I like all those things. That gif is a magical creation sent to the Internet by God, himself. I will make that delicious feast. Such as what happened with Brian’s ice cream cake a few years ago. It’s also what happened when he sent me a gif featuring Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks. Of course, I wasn’t in the mood for the fiery red poops that go along with Flamin’ Hots (come on, you know that happens…) when I decided to surprise Brian with homemade mozz sticks. So I opted for the less flamin’, still kickin’ Cheddar Jalapeno Crunchy Cheetos. Second only to Puffs, these delicious beasts are amazing solo…and pretty damn delish when paired with more cheese.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos add just a hint of kick and added flavor to homemade mozzarella sticks

Cheetos mozzarella sticks ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed crunchy Cheetos (any flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 sticks of string cheese, cut in half
  • 1 small bowl of flour
  • frying oil

Prep and cooking process

Step 1: Set out your breading station. You’ll coat the sticks with flour first, then egg, and finally the Cheetos.

Set out your breading station. You'll coat the sticks with flour first, then egg, and finally the Cheetos.

Step 2: Begin by coating a stick with flour. Make sure to cover the entire cheese stick.

Begin by coating a stick with flour. Make sure to cover the entire cheese stick.

Step 3: Cover the floured stick with egg, ensuring you’ve completely coated the flour with egg.

Cover the floured stick with egg, ensuring you've completely coated the flour with egg.

Step 4: Quickly toss the egged cheese stick in the crushed Cheetos, making sure to cover every open space so the cheese doesn’t fall out (if it does, it’ll still taste pretty good though…let’s be honest here – you’ve seen my photo).

[There was no way in hell I was taking a photo after my fingers were all eggy and Cheeto-y.]

Step 5: Freeze for several hours. I made them in the morning, put them on a pan (Oh – and before you get started, make sure your pan will fit in your freezer. The pan fit in my freezer, but not Mom’s which is where we ultimately cooked these bad boys up-mostly so we didn’t eat 8 stick of cheese each), and froze them for about 8 hours.

Freeze cheese sticks for several hours.

Step 6: Heat a pan 1/3 or 1/2 filled with frying oil or start your deep fryer. We’re not super fancy, so we just opted for a pan with oil. Mama Bear has specialty frying oil, though, so bonus!
Cook the Cheetos Mozz Sticks in a deep pan filled 1/3 or 1/2 way with hot oil. Cook until the sticks are floating - and try to get them out before the cheese falls out.

Step 7: Cook until the sticks are floating – and try to get them out before the cheese falls out (something we failed to manage because we were fighting over who would get to take them out of the pan. Ultimately, I won that battle, just a minute or two too late).

Step 8: Place on wax paper to soak up the grease, because we learned the hard way the cheese will stick to paper towels.

Place on wax paper to soak up the grease, because we learned the hard way the cheese will stick to paper towels.

Overall review of Cheetos Mozzarella Sticks

After watching an animated gif about turning Cheetos into Mozzarella sticks, I was sold. And made my own batch.

Guys, let me tell you, this is not for the weak-hearted. It wasn’t easy, and I probably won’t do it again. After the fourth or fifth stick, the Cheetos all started gluing themselves to each other with the egg, while the egg refused to stick to the cheese stick and I had one hell of a time trying to get the Cheetos bread crumbs wrapped around the stick. Then, there was the whole, cooking to the right temperature and not sticking cheese to paper towels part of serving that shit…it was a little rough around the edges. But you know, if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go. It was still pretty tasty, although the over-powering frying oil seemed to overtake the delicious Cheetos flavor. If I were feeling up to the challenge again, I think I might try baking them.

What crazy recipes have you tried lately? Which ones do you want to try? Would you eat these tasty beasts?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Under Pressure

I’ve always been afraid of pressure cookers. Okay, I’ve been afraid of pressure cookers since I discovered their existence when Brian and I first moved into our apartment two years ago. He had one and tried to get me to use it. I laughed it off…in fear.

A few months later around St. Patrick’s Day, I used his mom’s, under the supervision of his mom and uncle to make a bacon roast thing (basically, bacon in hunk form). I made Brian deal with the pressure release.

About a month ago, we got this fancy pants Cuisinart electric pressure cooker. I was pretty excited about it, because it seemed much less scary than a traditional pressure cooker…but not as excited as Brian. Which is weird since he doesn’t cook anything besides frozen dinners, frozen pizza, cans of soup and grill food.

Except that the pressure cooker can create all his favorite things in half the time. So he went into this venture ready to tackle a new device. Me? I was planning on throwing stuff in the pot and hoping it turned out.

So we each gave it a go.

While I was sick a few weeks back, Brian prepared a tasty meal as I watched on with amusement…and my camera.

image

He made a pork roast with parsnips, tri-colored carrots, potatoes and onions, which he seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

image

As he was cooking, he showed me how to operate the machine (you know, since he had read up on it and read through the directions and such.)  It was surprisingly easier than I expected.
1. Select mode from low pressure, high pressure, brown, saute, simmer, and keep warm.
2. Add food. And water.
3. Close and seal lid (unless you’re browning – then you can keep it open)
4. Set the timer and press start.
5. Release pressure/steam (Brian did the quick release by turning the pressure knob dealie, and I did the slow release by not doing anything.)
6. Remove lid.

That’s seriously all.

So his pork (which he cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes) turned out pretty well, though I suspect we added too much water (we used a cup of water & opened it up to find a little more than 4 cups of liquid). The flavors were nice and it cooked wicked fast. To be honest, we probably over cooked it too, out of fear of under cooking. The browning feature was awesome as we browned it right in the pot without needing another pan.

So when it was my turn to try it out, I was ready. But not really at all. We still haven’t moved into the new house, but I thought I’d cook there one night with the pressure cooker.

I stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up the ingredients for pot roast and made sure I wouldn’t have to cut anything. I literally threw it all in the cooker (after browning the pot roast) and went on with my day. I cooked at low pressure for 30 minutes, and I think I over cooked this one. I guess I can’t fault Brian, huh? I also used less water and still ended up with about 3 cups of liquid, so there’s that.

image

Is it as easy to get right as I hoped it would be? Not really…BUT this is a girl who failed on slow cooker usage waaaay more (to the point of inedible). So, we’ll keep trying until we perect it, and once we have this system DOWN, I’ll be back with an update. Because the cook timing of this contraption is exactly what we need for home-cooked meals in our busy commuter schedules. Plus it’s WAY less scary than the other kind of pressure cooker.

Have you used a pressure cooker? Would you? Do you love roasts as much as my Irish boyfriend?

This is not a sponsored post. I was supplied with a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker in order to review it and give my honest opinion, but I was not financially compensated.

I did use affiliate links in this post, so if you make a purchase, I might get a bitty commission.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Turkey Chili

If you remember the story of Death Bug, you’ll remember how I almost died…and how Death Bug tried to poison my homemade chili. I take a lot of pride in my homemade chili, so I thought that I would share with you my secret recipe to greatness.

Brian loves it when I make “comfort foods.” He prefers roasts and stews and chilies to anything fancy and delicious that I can make. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super nice, I will make them for him. This week, I made my chili again. Thankfully, there were no Death Bugs hanging around post-frost to try and poison us.

My mom taught me how to make chili, and if I didn’t tell you this, she might get upset. My culinary talents come from both of my parents, and the amazing chefs that I’ve had the opportunities to work with. This one’s a Mom creation that I’ve made my own.

As you may remember, I am doing the Weight Watchers thing, chili is an excellent way to get in your daily dose of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) crazy amounts of veggies, based on preferences, and oodles of protein. This recipe is just 5 points per 1 cup. Although I usually add 1-3 points worth of cheese…and then another 3-5 points worth of tortilla chips to use in place of a spoon…but I digress.

Weight Watchers 5 Points Plus Turkey Chili

Simmering joyful goodness

Weight Watchers 5 Points Plus Turkey Chili

(I use Trader Joe’s for almost everything, but it’s super easy to sub these out for your own favorite or generic brand…it also usually depends on what is in my cabinets at the time)
 

The Ingredients

  • 1 can of Trader Joe’s Turkey Chili with Beans
  • 1 can of Trader Joe’s Black Beans
  • 1 can Bush’s Best Mild Chili Beans
  • 1 can of Sweet Corn (low sodium)
  • 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 lb Empire Kosher Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced jalapenos
  • 1 cup sliced or diced zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • Smoked Paprika to taste
  • Ground Cumin to taste
  • Onion Powder to taste
  • Garlic Powder to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (I use a 3-pepper grinder and white pepper powder)
  • Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce to taste

The Steps

  1. Brown turkey with the spices, salt, and pepper. I use the same pot that I’m going to cook the chili in to save dishes.
  2. Once the turkey is cooked, add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cover and simmer on LOW heat for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft.
  5. Serve with chopped raw onions, shredded cheese (I’ve used smoked gouda and Kerry Gold Dubliner-both are delicious), and Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt tortilla chips.

1 serving = 1 cup = 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus

Make it Vegetarian Chili for Lower Points Plus

  • Substitute an extra can of mild chili beans for the turkey chili with beans
  • Substitute 2 cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms for the ground turkey

Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite comfort food recipes, friends?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Brian Shares Saturday: Our future pet sloth, firetrucks, turducken on crack, and donkey cheese

If you remember from a few weeks ago, Brian has a strange obsession with getting a weird pet.

So Brian sent me the same picture 3 times. First he sent it to me a week ago with a, “photo for blog” message. Then, he sent it to me again a few days later, and asked, “Did I show this to you?”

He had, but I had been completely oblivious and forgot it even existed when I posted last Saturday’s blog post. I honestly didn’t even remember that he had sent it to me the first time, until I searched my gmail history. OK, to be perfectly honest, I probably hadn’t even clicked the link the first time he sent it.

sloth sitting in a school desk

To which I immediately responded, “OMG Can we get a sloth!?!”

Then Brian told me, “It seems so happy!” and I was so excited I thought I might pee, I could only say, “I know!” So Brian sent me these videos:

Then he told me, “If you see one of these around today, go ahead and grab it!”

So I immediately went hunting for a sloth. I searched outside of our apartment. I searched near the mall. I searched at the furniture store. I searched at my favorite sushi restaurant, and my future little guy (I’m debating whether to call him, Pip, Sherlock, or Ebenezer. What do you think?) was nowhere to be found. I was pretty sad.

A few days later, just when I had forgotten all about Sherlock Pip Ebenezer, Brian sent me the picture again! And I had been having a bad day, and all was better again…because I remembered my future pet sloth.

Then Brian sent this out in a mass e-mail to his firefighting friend. There are no words.

“Can your firetruck do that?” he asked… He never did get a response.

Brian and I have been talking about trying a turducken. After I looked up how long it takes to make a turducken…I figured, maybe next year.

Then Brian decided that he had a better idea, and sent me a link to this article about a turducken ridiculous. He asked, “Can we?” I thought to myself, Well, when by we, you meant me…and only me…except for the eating part, because you’re very good at the eating part. And sometimes the cleaning part…and with a monstrosity like that…I definitely going to need help with the cleaning part… My response? “no.” He said to me, “I’ll take that as a maybe.” I ignored him and went on with my day.

Lastly, Brian sent me a really poorly written article about cheese…to which he said, Clearly meant for you. I didn’t even read it; just the headline, “World’s Most Expensive Cheese.” It’s a good thing he backed his story by saying that before I read the article…

So I did go ahead and do a little work in finding a video about it for you. Donkey Cheese: $576/lb.

If you love the Chrissy and Brian of it all, and love Christmas to boot, don’t forget that you can get your very own Christmas card from us!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Death Bug AKA: How I Almost Died Last Night

So last night I had something terrifying happen. Not like Surrounded by Zombies and Stupid People Scary (a la Walking Dead), but Giant Bug is Going to Kill Me in My Sleep Scary.

Giant Bug Fell on Computer

I wished that I had had the foresight to take pictures of the bug while it was there…

This evening, I tried to kill a GIANT bug with a Kleenex Box. I thought that I got it, but it fell from the wall to Brian’s computer…so I tried to get it off…But then it disappeared. I found it on the floor, and thought…I will wait until Brian gets home to dispose of it.

I went back to making chili.

Homemade Chili

Turkey Vegetable Chili. 🙂

I came back 10 minutes later and it was gone. I thought to myself, Chrissy…that evil bug is going to hunt you down in your sleep.

No bug on the floor

So I looked around for it… and it was high up on the wall…

The bug on the wall

Apparently I did not so much as injure this evil beast and I was not going to risk my life to try killing it, again. But I was definitely going to keep an eye on it. About 20 minutes later, I noted that it was WAY high up in the stairwell wall…

High up On the WallAt this point, I was freaked out. This beast really was headed for my bed. I hope Brian gets home soon…

So I went back to the chili… and decided that I was going to take pictures of this bug… which is how I ended up with the empty stairwell wall (the first pic I took, of course).

And it was gone! I looked around, and just to my right…on the stairs was this evil bug staring at me.

Chrissy and the Death Bug

This is as realistic as last night’s photo shoot got…

So I got up close and personal and took a picture of my arch-nemesis of the evening…

Up Close with Death Bug

Death Bug.

Death Bug's Path to My Room

Luckily for Brian and I, Death Bug had a difficult time maneuvering through Dexter fur on this ledge dealie

So I hoped and hoped and hoped that Brian would come home and kill Death Bug sooner rather than later…

I went back to Twitter and Facebook and Blog…and continued to watch Death Bug attempt to climb the stair ledge. After 20 minutes of this, I went back to the kitchen to check on chili…I came back…and again, Death Bug was gone.

So I scrambled up to my room, careful not to get near Death Bug. Searching. Not in the bathroom. Not in my room.

I should have killed it when I had the chance… it’s probably better this way…if you can’t find him, you won’t kill him. You don’t need another insecticide on your hands, Christine.

Not in the hall. Not on the wall…

Oh Crap. What if Death Bug is under my bed already? I’m going to die. Death Bug is going to crawl up my nose and eat my brains like a zombie bug.

I continued my search for Death Bug throughout the house.

What if Death Bug wants to contaminate the chili!??!

And so I ran to the kitchen, and there was Death Bug…racing toward my chili. Well, I certainly couldn’t let Death Bug poison my chili… especially after last time–when I went to go buy pazcki on Pazcki Day and accidentally left the chili to burn in the 40 minutes it took me to buy Polish donuts…Burnt chili is not delicious. And it was a HUGE batch. Anyways…

Death Bug in the Kitchen

Going after my chili!

So, with Death Bug being on the floor, I took the opportunity to throw on some shoes and smash the little bugger to smithereens. So much for not killing it.

Update: That night, Brian got home late. Like 1 AM late. So it’s a good thing that I took matters into my own hands and killed death bug. Or. So. I. Thought.

At about 3 AM, Brian woke up and panicked majorly…He saw something hovering/crawling/flying above him. A huge bug. I sat up and reached for him, thinking he was sleeping…and he yelled, “No! Don’t move; it’s right there!”

Apparently, death bug was, in fact, trying to kill us in our sleep. And I had only killed one of an army of death bugs. The next morning? One right outside the garage. Death bug. Evil death bug.

What buggy experiences have you had lately? Anything tried to kill you in your sleep?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Make a Terrible Housewife

When I was 12, my mom was diagnosed with Hepatitis C after years of poor liver counts and ignorant doctors who told my mother (who rarely drank, and even more infrequently drank to excess) to drink less. Miraculously, she fit the prerequisites for an experimental drug study using Interferon and Ribavirin which, until very recently, was the main drug combination used to treat patients with Hepatitis C.

Unfortunately, Interferon and Ribavirin come with some nasty side effects. Essentially, Mom was sick 4-5 days out of any given week for six months. As the responsible oldest child in our household, it became my duty to ensure that the family was fed, the house wasn’t a disaster, the new pool (our consolation “prize” for having a sick mom) was taken care of, and Mom had whatever she needed.

I essentially took over being Mom for a while. I made sure everyone had a hot meal at dinner time, maintained a clean-ish house, catered to my mom’s illness, and tried to keep everyone’s spirits high. It wasn’t easy. I frequently yelled at my younger-by-10-months brother to put his stuff away, because I JUST cleaned that room, scolded my 50-year-old father for trekking mud into the kitchen or ordered my 70-year-old grandfather to stop eating because I was cooking dinner.

My grandfather used to tell me I'd make some man a great housewife. Boy was he wrong.

Of course, that grandfather of mine was a real spitfire. Whenever I was cooking, cleaning or lecturing him on something, he would look at me with a sparkle in his old man eyes and tell me, “You’re going to make some man a great housewife someday.” His comments burned in my mind with fire and brimstone, and I would return his sentiments with a dagger stare and a snide remark. Sometimes I’d tell him I was a lesbian, and other times I would tell him I’m never getting married. Nothing ever phased him. He used to tell me, “If you didn’t tease me, I’d worry that you didn’t love me.”

 

Future housewife in the making? I think not.

My grandfather was right about my teasing him but so very wrong about the kind of housewife I would become.

Even though we just got married, I’ve been playing house with Brian for years. In all reality, I make a terrible housewife. I can cook well, but that’s about as far as my housewife skills take me. I make a wicked mess whenever I create anything remotely delicious in the kitchen, and I genuinely hate cleaning. Maybe it’s because I did so much of it as a kid. When I cook, I hope Brian will pick up the slack and clean up after my culinary tornado sweeps through the kitchen. On the days I don’t cook…I still hope he’ll take charge and clean his own mess.

I’m awful at keeping up with laundry…unless the laundry has been skunked. If I get as far as putting the laundry into the machine, I’m lucky if I remember to switch it over. Then, the really difficult part is removing clean laundry from the dryer and folding or hanging it. That’s the worst! I regularly have enough shirts and pants to get me through several weeks without doing laundry, and before Brian, I used to buy new socks and underwear just so I didn’t have to do laundry. When I was out of clean underwear, I’d go commando, regardless of the season.

Vacuuming is my least favorite chore in the history of ever. There’s something about the heavy rolling machine pulling me with it as it moves. I don’t know why, but it makes me wiggy. As a kid, I would call myself a human vacuum and use my hands to push hair and dust around the floor in the hopes I could get away with not actually using the vacuum. I tried that once as an adult, and then I thanked God there was someone else who would vacuum for me. No one wants rug burn on their palms.

When I clean a room, it takes me hours, because I feel the need to go through every single drawer,  cabinet, and box in an effort to organize my life. I usually give up about halfway through with piles of the emptied drawers and closets getting shoved right back where they came from.

The last time I tried to clean the toilets, I got a raging deep cut, that didn’t heal properly and took weeks for me to recover. Yes, I cut myself cleaning the toilets.

Mopping with Mr. Clean Mop

There is nothing sexier than a man with a mop.

Luckily, Brian doesn’t mind sharing the laundry duties with me. As soon as he learns that girl laundry needs to be hung, we’ll be A-OK. We switch off laundry days and he holds me accountable for my end of the bargain, or we do the laundry together and he still holds me accountable. He vacuums because he saw how ineffective the human vacuum was, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to listen to me whine about my rug burns. I try to clean as many of my culinary messes as possible and have learned to limit the number of pans I use. Our bathrooms now have much less dangerous toilets, so we share that responsibility, as well. I make sure my bathroom is clean, and he’s in charge of his. If I cook, he usually cleans up. Sometimes, though, I don’t feel like cooking. So he’ll order and pick up food or make one of the three things he knows how to cook: soup, frozen pizza, or frozen dinners.

Dining Room floor clean with bona mop

I cleaned this whole room all by myself.

We make a pretty solid team, which is how it’s supposed to be. June Cleaver, eat your heart out. This girl’s ordering pizza tonight.

How are your housewife skills holding up? What chores are you responsible for?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Dear Julia Child,

I did not have the joy of knowing who or what you were until you were manifested in the visions of Julie Powell, courtesy of her blog turned book turned movie. I love the manifested version of you. I don’t actually know whether or not your love story was as beautiful as Julie Powell imagined it, but it doesn’t matter. Because I really enjoyed her movie about her Julia Child obsession.

Julie Powell is one of my heroes, and as you were one of hers, by proxy you become one of mine. I love to cook, so this is not such a far stretch. In fact, just last week, I assisted my roommate in a French feast for three, including endive in puff pastry, croque madames, a cheese platter, and a delightful salad. Of course, I mostly did the endive. Man, the French enjoy butter.

In honor of the Olympics, we cooked our way around the world. Julia Child style, we celebrated France with a feast coated in butter and surrounded by cheese.

Yes, the unseen part of that stick of butter is all in the food, along with at least another stick. And no, we didn’t die of clogged arteries. Yet.

I remember watching the Julie & Julia movie, and thinking to myself that you, Julia Child, led a pretty interesting life, and of course Stanley Tucci made me love you. So between Julie Powell’s writing and Stanley Tucci’s acting, Julia Child rocked my world.

So I looked you up. A writer and a food lover, I cannot help respect and appreciate you for what you were. An inspiration. OK, so maybe the food sanitation police weren’t down with your cleanliness. And maybe the fat content in your food wasn’t low. But you were funny. You were sassy. And you loved what you did.

That’s all one can hope for.

 

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