Monday, November 9, 2015

M.S.D.E. & Me

Like most things, I blame being a Taurus.  I absolutely am a Taurus, through and through.  From never having enough of a good thing to fighting tooth and nail for something seemingly insignificant to shrugging my shoulders and making a g&t during something seemingly earth-shattering, I am a Taurus.  Lots of people, Taurus and otherwise, fight change.  So while I can't credit avoiding change with being a Taurus, I can credit the success with which I avoid change. 
That is probably why I have always felt changes happen in me with the flip of a switch; because I've been too busy luxuriating on the sundeck to notice the groundswell in the sea.
For me, change seems to happen with the push of a button, and an implosion of glitter and so-so construction.  Sort of like a Las Vegas casino being demolished, but with less dignity. 
Years ago, I had one of those implosions.  It was a symphony of hormones, bad choices, triumphs, growth--basically, a broken heart. 


Part of starting my own business required a further licensure from the State Board of Cosmetology--that essentially means I've sworn to a notary I know acrylic nail powder is inedible and spreading Hepatitis is bad. 
In those days, I had quite a lot of trouble sleeping.  Diet pills, starvation, and the hormonal imbalance they create will do that to you.  The night before my test, it was around 1:30AM my phone rang.  It was, of course, my ex--or maybe not on that day, I don't remember--boyfriend.  He misssssed me, he lovvvvved me clearly, he was stoned.  He was the most agreeable man on the planet on the occasion that he would smoke pot.  Well, I was in no mood.  If you ever should need to broach a difficult subject with me, you'd better make sure I'm not hungry.  At this point, we'd had one too many of these dreamland conversations.  So I annihilated the poor guy.  I could hear the growl in my voice and knew it wasn't going to be pretty.  I pulled him right out of Strawberry Fields and into a Tennis Court Oath.  He was looking for casual and easy and I was looking for monogrammed towels. And I had decided we were going to hammer it out one way or another.  By 3:30AM, the tone of our conversation turned from contentious to resigned.  He hung up on me sometime around 4, and my phone died when he called back fifteen minutes later. Though this wouldn't end up being our actual breakup, it certainly felt like it to me. 
I took the stupid test and sat in the waiting room for the results.  There was a woman sitting a chair away from me who kept looking up at me from her magazine.  She had sculptured blonde hair, a lot of perfume, and was wearing a khaki colored blazer with expensive gold buttons.  She was elegant and kept smiling at me.  Happy for the distraction, I smiled at her and asked if she was waiting for the same thing I was.  She moved a seat over, ignored my question, grasped my arm with her coral nails and said honey, why don't you tell me what's wrong?  When I heard her speak, it was clear she was from Kentucky.  Kentuckians have the most wonderful accent.  It's almost as if it's extra inflated, with the bass turned up, and the sharp corners cut out.   A Kentucky accent is its own, wonderful sound.  I poured my soul out to this total stranger, and she literally held my hand the entire time.  She said some lovely things and gave me her business card.  She said call it if I ever need a job in hospitality.  I still have it.  Not so much for a chance of employment, but a postcard of a stranger's kindness.  
Amid all of this, I managed to forget my friend P was to be induced promptly at 9:30AM.  Now after noon and about an hour of chatting with my new Kentucky friend, I got a call from a friend about the baby.  I walked out to take the call and delight in the good news of the healthy baby.  When I came back in, my new friend was gone.  Another hour or so passed, and the results were brought out.  I was still scanning the room for her when I was walking out. She wasn't there. 
I don't remember that day as awful at all.  It felt awful; but looking back, it feels warm.
The following month was a bender of unbridled stupidity.  I pushed harder to be thinner, market weight, and slid right off the rails.  My friend K asked me if I could accompany her to work a bridal party in Cincinnati.  It was a large group--seven bridesmaids, three maids of honor, and a few odd and end members.  Being a Catholic wedding, hair had to be done early and quickly because the ceremony started at 11AM.  The way to do a bridal party is to do all the bridesmaids first, then the mother of the groom (surprisingly often the most difficult member of the bunch), then the mother of the bride, then the maid of honor, and lastly the bride.  You do not want the bride running around spastically with her hair already done.  I do updos quickly, so I had 5/7 bridesmaids done within about two hours.  When I asked K who I should style next, she smirked and said the maid of honor.  The maid of honor was pissed.  Pissed about the whole damn thing.  She had very curly hair with significant frizz.  She told me her hair was gorgeous just the way it is and I'd better not even think about using a curling iron.  I tried to explain that the heat would help the frizz and she turned around at me like I was screaming racial slurs.  Ooookay.  Listen, I take tremendous pride in my work.  But with my hands tied like this, she ended up looking like a wind-whipped Irish milkmaid.  She was livid.  She felt it wasn't soft enough. She started crying and screaming to her mother, who mouthed I'm--sor-ry to me while she was consoling her daughter.  K's sister, L, fixed the updo. She was now beaming and thrilled to look like a wind-whipped rabbi.  I thought if that's right, I'm glad to have been wrong
We packed our stuff and headed home.  K wanted to stop at an outlet mall.  I could bear no more of the fluorescent light and faux python bags, so I left K to wander on my own.  A window full of lime green pots caught my eye.  Because I wasn't eating much at this time, I wasn't cooking much either.  I studied the pots in the window, admired the gradient gloss, and decided to walk in.  As outlets always are, they were having the 'best sale of the year' that day.  A sales associate had her calculator out and kept trying to shave the price down by percentages to get me to buy one.  I considered just going deep into overdraft and buying a few.  Thankfully, my one shard of remaining sense won out and I didn't.  I left and said I promise I'll come back when I can
Standing in that store, feeling the grounding force of a 27 pound pot, admiring the substantial wooden spoons, something clicked.  Change. This was what I wanted.  Next door, there was a kitchen supply store with utensils, cutting boards, all types of accessories.  I wandered around there and found a marble rolling pin.  I loved its heft and thought it was much prettier and more practical than a wooden rolling pin.  Le Creusets were not in my budget, but a $9.95 rolling pin was. 
I love a marble rolling pin for its ability to keep the dough cold.  I keep mine
in the freezer during "pie season".
Forgive all the primitive BlackBerry photography in this post, please.
I came home and started baking.  I became obsessed with pies.  Specifically, pie crust.  Pies are wonderful to eat, but nowhere near as wonderful as they are to make.  They are a satisfying push of skill and concentration, yet easy and mindless.  I devoured every pie crust recipe I could find, and gleefully dreamed up combinations for filling.  Baking a pie can be accomplished quickly, or fill a day when you need it to. 
Apple-Raspberry, Key Lime, and Blueberry
My theory with pie crust is that one must make about 50 pies before he can make a pie predictably.  In the first 50, there will be all sorts of mistakes and problems--soggy crust, concrete crust, shrunken crust, runny filling, glue-y filling--and then, the problems will stop.  Suddenly, on pie 51, you know how to make pie.  Making a pie is different in every kitchen and at any time of year--even day.  Pies are in the moment.  I think that is why they are a cook's joy. 
Blackberry-Peach
By the time November rolled around, I was fat and relaxed.  I had been fat many times before, but I don't know I had ever felt so at ease.  And my pies were bankable works of art.  My best friend was finally home from undergrad and in her first year of law school.  She was stressed and nervous.   We decided we were going to devote ourselves to Thanksgiving that year.  We chatted and planned the whole month, beefed up our kitchen artillery, and on Monday before Thanksgiving, she arrived.  I had loosely mapped out a plan for us.  The first night, we worked until about 4AM.  We laughed uncontrollably and were enjoying her college specialty--Grundle Punch.  Grundle is a dangerous mix of bottom shelf gin, lemon-lime soda, and lots of citrus juice.  M is a haphazard cook, but a fabulous bartender. No one makes a drink like she does. 
We were trying to be like Ina and have our herbs inside.  We still had much to
learn about kitchen styling.  This looks rather unsettling.
I think in seven hours we accomplished what could have been done in 45 minutes.  We made our brines, pie crusts, and cranberry relish.  Grundle will slow you to New Orleans pace.  It was fabulous.  The next morning, I was up and chipper at 7AM.  She was on the couch moaning and groaning why the hell are you awake already?  I got to work on chopping vegetables and let her sleep.  By 10AM, my veggies were all chopped and she was still asleep.  I was deep in focus and she was hungover.  I got her up and reminded her she was hours behind schedule.  I let her sleep and went to get us coffees.  I ordered hers with three extra espresso shots. Well when I got home, she was still asleep and clearly needed a caring SAJ push of okay, now you need to get the fuck off the couch.  I parked her at the island while she drank her coffee and I chopped vegetables for her.  Once she had finished her coffee, she got set up with a cutting board and her knife and took over her preps.  My vegetables were all uniformly chopped and organized.  Hers looked like Helen Keller had chopped them in a hurricane.  The pieces ranged from minced to tree trunks of carrots to slivers of onion. It drove me insane.  When I am annoyed but trying to bite my tongue, I inhale and my eyes flare, and then smolder and refocus while I exhale.  It's one of those quirks I had no idea I had until it was pointed out to me. 

Pumpkin pie with spiced whipped cream, I'll post my whipped cream recipe.



We went on like this much of the day.  She needed a nap, a break for lunch, a tv break, a snack.  All while I kept working.  She would look over from the couch at me and roll her eyes and say I thought this was going to be fun, I didn't know you were a fucking robot.  To which we would both laugh, happy to be on the same page of hating each other. 
I will get in trouble for this.
She is a night owl and I am a morning person.  I was losing steam, having finished my tasks for the day.  She was gearing up, ready to start hers.  She made another batch of grundle, put on some music, and got back to chopping.  I hadn't yet imbibed, so I ran to the grocery to grab a few odds and ends (mainly more orange-pineapple juice for the grundle).  I stopped at Timmie's and got us both another coffee.  I was gone for about 35 minutes.
I came home to a war zone.  There was shit everywhere.  A grimy handprint on my refrigerator door, drops of god knows what all over my cooktop, and apparently there had been a flood that left a trail down my cabinets.  Oh, my eyes flared.  WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? She shrugged her shoulders and said uh, sorry. I'll get it. By this point, I was practically growling.  I drank my coffee so I'd have enough energy to drink the grundle, and announced I would take over for now.  After cleaning and finally finishing her vegetables, "we" had to cube the bread.  I meticulously cubed mine, she got bored with the task and started tearing hers.  Knowing what she chose to do for her stuffing didn't effect me in any way, I tried to not critique her careless inconsistency.  I inhaled and flared my eyes.  We worked, again, until about 3AM. 
We then sat down to watch our favorite movie, The Birdcage, and finish our grundle.  It ended with us calling a friend of hers from school and leaving a series of voicemails of us singing 'Colors of the Wind'  from Pocahontas.   
The next morning, I was exhausted enough to sleep in until 8:30.  M was, of course, useless to the world for many more hours.  I trained my dog, a big yellow lab, to jump up on the couch and wake M with licks on the face.  It was a little wicked, but clearly we couldn't trust her to get up and moving left to her own devices. 

M needed to go back to the grocery, so off we went.  While we were shopping, dodging people we knew from school here and there, she mentioned she might need to take a nap when we got home.  Another fucking nap?! We'll just get you another coffee, you're too far behind to sleep.  Right there, in front of the carrots, we had it out.  God damn it! Coffee doesn't replace sleep! I'm tired! Just because I'm not some fucking nazi doesn't mean I'm lazy! Don't look at me with those fucking Martha Stewart Dagger Eyes like that! I could not help but laugh and be flattered.  Do you really think I'm like MARTHA? Oh my god, thank you.  

The fight was over.  The next morning, Thanksgiving, I loaded all her stuff into her trunk and sent her off for her family's meal.  I sighed with relief and went about my preps.  We took very different paths, but her meal went over just as well as mine. Somehow, even without Holiday Hitler over her shoulder, she pulls it off.   

We carried this tradition on several more years.  We both kind of hate it, but overwhelmingly love it in hindsight.  Eventually, we struck a balance where it's more of her tending bar while I cook, and that's much better. I'm thankful to have a best friend who loves me enough to see through my Martha Stewart Dagger Eyes.  And is never too mad at me to laugh with me.
Things are changing again, and it looks like this year she will not be making a feast of her own.  Instead, she'll be a guest and bartender of honor at mine. 

43 comments:

  1. You are the master! Your pies are Gourmet magazine perfection! I've always thought baking was part art and part science neither of which one can be good at without a lot of hard work and practice, as you know. Looking forward to your whipped cream recipe.

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    1. Why thank you! I agree with you! People often comment that baking is so scientific and exact measurements are the most important part of baking. But the feel and the humidity can necessitate that things be tweaked.

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  2. I truly did laugh out loud reading this post; it was hilarious. 'Do you really think I'm like Martha?' :-)

    As always, I love reading your thoughts, Stephen (and I could really use a Holiday Hitler around here to whip me into shape. (And I've never baked a pie. Never, in 57 years. Sigh.)

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    1. Thank you so much! Oh, Karen, pies are so so satisfying to bake! If you find yourself with spare time once the garden is covered in snow, you may enjoy making a pie or two :)

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  3. I loved this and read every single word. Seriously---IF you decide to give up the salon you could WRITE for a living. I love this and everyone needs a friend like that!

    I need a "helper" here, too, but I am too controlling to not have things done "right". lol

    Love ya, buddy! xo Diana

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    1. Thank you so much! I understand, I don't delegate well. For some reason, one task I do delegate well is bar tending. A drink made by someone else always tastes better!

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  4. Martha Stewart Dagger Eyes! You are lucky to have such a cool best friend but I don't need to tell you. I bet she'll be an excellent bartender and what a team you'll be on Thanksgiving.
    Your pies are amazing! I am a terrible pie baker but now I have a new goal, get to 50 pies and something will click. I dread baking pies and it's not even that I hate the process I just don't get into it somehow.
    I'm getting myself a marble rolling pin for the freezer to copy you and hopefully get the magic pie baking thing happening.
    Loving these Thanksgiving posts SAJ xox

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    1. Thank you! Dani you will love the marble rolling pin. They make such a huge difference! And stick much less to the dough. I promise once you get through the 50, you will be a pie baking queen. It's all about developing the feel for the dough that works in your kitchen. My kitchen runs hot and gets humid, so I've found I need a slightly spongier pie dough. I supplement with cream cheese! Works so well, and makes the dough sooooo much easier to work with.

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  5. I have made a mental note of the phrase "Holiday Hitler" and will be using it from now on. That was so funny! I am glad you have someone so different than you who you have so much fun with. Oftentimes, those are the ones we become best friends with! And how awesome that you finally get to eat Thanksgiving turkey TOGETHER (with Grundle, of course).

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    1. Haha! Yes, that is my nickname during this special time of year. You are so right-she and I could not be more different. But we have such a long history and really know each other so well. And we never seem to lose the novelty we find in each other, as we otherwise exist in different worlds!

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  6. "New Orleans pace" <<<YES! Just the phrase I've needed all my life. It's why I need a down-to-the-minute plan for the week leading up to the event!

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    1. Exactly! I love it when the plan works and the holiday itself is so relaxed.

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  7. How much FUN!! :) Best friends are one of the best things in life. Thanks for the tip about marble rolling pins - I'm getting one because keeping dough cold is imperative to a good crust, and God knows I need all the help I can get in the pie dough department! I totally agree about the pie thing...don't think I'm quite to 50 yet, but I've got to be close. Thank God it gets better!! My mom made the most fantastic pies. in. the. world. Seriously! Her pie crust made people just swoon! Personally, I think you've hit on the perfect solution - your BF sticks to bartending and you do the cooking. So much better! BTW, I made a chicken pot pie last night and it turned out pretty darned awesome - just sayin...

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    1. Does your kitchen get hot? Mine does and that is a huge challenge with pie crust! The marble makes all the difference in the world. Oh the pot pie sounds wonderful! I've never actually made a pot pie! Do you have your mom's crust recipe? And did her kitchen stay pretty cold? Thinking about that and which direction her kitchen faced may be an element to consider in recreating it. Of course, we can't quite put our finger on the magic element of it being made by your mom :)

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    2. Wow, I just saw this reply today. Talk about a delayed response! Sorry...mom's kitchen was north-facing and mine is too. But, yes I always get hot when I cook and maybe my rising body temp causes the kitchen to get hot. Ya think? :) My mom never actually had a recipe per se - like most things she cooked, she did it from memory. What I know is this - she ALWAYS used lard for her crust. Never butter or shortening, but lard from the kidneys, I think?? She was very particular about that, and it was kept in the freezer. Everything else as far as mixing her dough was done with her hands so she could feel the consistency. Her dough was fat, flour, ice water and a pinch of salt. Sheer perfection! Oh, the magical element of it being my mom's has occurred in many other dishes I could name...but everybody was in agreement about the pie crust. Hope all is well with you SA. I miss reading your posts and laughing.

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  8. Vegetables chopped by Helen Keller in a hurricane! I now have a perfect description for my own style of veggie massacre! Honestly, I think I would pay money to read your posts, they are just that original and vividly entertaining! Linda in BC

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    1. Haha well thank you so much! Oh her vegetables drive me insane. Like can't look at them, they hurt me insane!

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  9. What I would give to drink some Grundle and make Thanksgiving dinner with you....

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    1. Oh E! How is it going? What's the latest? Have you found a house?? I keep thinking about you and hoping there's good news!

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  10. This would have been an awesome reality
    holiday show!! I am sorry for all the trails and tribulations you suffered in the name of weight but in the end you really need to just be happy and everything else seems to work itself out, plus you make a damn good pie my friend!! Martha Martha Martha! xo K

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    1. Haha I don't know about that-there would be so many useless hours of footage while she just slept! Thank you. I think that's a very wise philosophy. I try to remind myself that my thinnest was my most miserable! Easy to remember it another way.

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  11. Stephen, I am laughing to the point of tears not only because of your hilarious writing, but also because I now have Kim Carnes 80’s song “She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes” stuck in my head. (He’s got Martha Stewart dagger eyes...) Love hearing about your Thanksgiving prep, past and present.
    Your pies are gorgeous! I love cooking, but baking has never been my thing. Lately, though, I’ve been totally hooked on watching seasons 1 and 2 of The Great British Baking Show. Watching it is both relaxing and nerve wracking at the same time. Have you seen it?

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    1. Oh my god that is so funny. M is very good with computer wizardry and maybe I can convince her to make that for us. Can you believe I haven't watched it?! I need to. So many people have told me I'd love it. Thank you so much!

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  12. I blame Taureses too. All the time.

    My husband is a Taurus. eu tu brute?

    If my husband hates something I tell him he is going to come around in 3 years time. He is like an oil tanker - takes forever to stop and forever to get going. I am the one who is waiting at the door saying hurry up your hair is fine. He lays his gown perpendicular to the chest by the bed. He has his system of washing dishes - once by hand then once by machine. When I tell him he is hard work to live with sometimes he says - well try being me!

    We don't do pies in Europe truth be told. cakes and tarts yes. one particularly delights in ordering a tart at a restaurant. it never fails to get a giggle out of at least one person. Pies are thoroughly American. When I lived in the States and traveled around - i was all about pie. pecan and peach and it just sounds so whole some and is so conducive to mimicking a southern accent. paaaee as I like to say it.

    I know people want a talk show out of you but I think books are forever - write a novel or anything really. please. comic writing is hard but you make it seem effortless

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    1. Well thank you so much! I spend too much time trying to believe fiction in my head, so I don't think I could write a novel.
      Okay this is so funny about your husband. I was going to write almost the exact same thing about myself. Like, exactly. I don't think I've rushed anywhere (besides in relationships) in like 15 years.
      Truth be told, the Europeans have it right. The filling to crust ratio is often much too much. But it's so fun to make an obnoxiously full pie, I still do it anyway.

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  13. i just don't even know where to start. this is so good. you kill me.

    my fave culinary instructor told me that it took prepping a recipe 100x until you could say you perfected it.

    i'm awaiting the package today. so excited! xo

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    1. Thank you! I think I totally agree with your instructor. I'm so excited for you to get it! It only took--5 months! Haha.

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  14. You're wonderful Stephen!

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  15. Hilarious! Absolutely Hilarious! I love your posts. I did Christmas the year that my Mum died (at their house per family tradition) and my sisters called it "A very Martha Christmas" as apparently I was a bit too OCD and doing things they thought strangely over the top with the decor. I have improved since having children on the whole perfection thing. They just outnumber me so badly that I've had to just relax about stuff and my mantra is now "near enough is good enough". Which is also a sensible way to approach design, because it's literally never perfect. But that picture of Martha is fantastic! You're so lucky to have such a good friend like that. Half the fun is in fighting with an old friend and behaving in a way that you can't with a new friend. My husband and his best friend of 30 years are like that. They just abuse each other endlessly, and they are in fact regularly mistaken for being a gay couple by strangers due to their bitchiness with each other and the fact that they both dress so well.
    Lastly your pies are a total work of art. They could be magazine quality food styled (and without using mashed potatoes instead of cream and all the other weird things they do to make food look good for a photo shoot). I make tarts quite regularly, but have pastry shrinkage problems and always have. I've tried not overworking the pastry, freezing the tart case first, weighting it etc etc.. still shrinkage. I've given up. At least they taste good! x

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    1. Thank you so much! That is hilarious about your husband and his best friend. It really is a unique dynamic when you've known each other forever. I think that makes perfect sense about the first Chritmas after your mother died (you're too young, I'm so sorry), when I'm upset I obsessively devote myself to holidays/creative projects. It helps to do something productive and beautiful.
      Is your kitchen humid? I wonder if the dough loses moisture once it hits the oven. Something to try could be having a pan of water beneath the tart while it bakes. That make the oven more humid and less likely for the hot oven to rob moisture from the crust. The other major cause of shrinkage is if the dough is stretched into the pan at all. Dough stretched will shrink back almost two times. But I'm sure you aren't stretching. Is there any oil in your dough? I add about 2teaspoons of veg oil to my dough and that helps hydrate the flour better and make it a little less fussy. And easier to roll. Really, though, as long as they taste good that's what matters!

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    2. Wonderful baking advice! Martha Stewart should be worried - or alternatively put you on her top staff!
      Agree with Heidi, your posts are hilarious! And full of great tips at the same time!
      Referring to Heidi's husband and old friend - I used to liaise with someone like that. Used to get called into meetings (because they might discuss issues I needed to know about) between a fairly senior Oz diplomat and the French Ambassador here (years ago). They sat on a two seater (what you might call a "love seat") with their arms around each others shoulders and insulted each other terribly as discussion went on. The French Ambassador would say things like "X you're such a bastard - so arrogant and then you're also ...." and the Oz guy would reply in kind. It would go on like this throughout the meeting. Terrible things would fly back and forth but their arms stayed around each other's shoulders. They'd then appeal to me "Don't you think he's a complete shit or a ????" I knew they were great friends and - might have been mistaken for a gay couple. But I knew them too well. It was kind of sad when the Ambassador retired.
      I remember once early on when I had to meet him up at Parliament House (which I didn't know so well then) as he was escorting a French VIP government visitor. At the end of his meetings there a senior colleague and I had to take him back to the entrance (there are several entrances)where his driver was waiting. Only we got lost and kept going round in circles inside Parl. House. Finally he said "I'm sure we've passed that portrait three times already. We will never get out! They will find our BONES here!"
      He'd loved it here and was very popular - often invited to judge beauty and other kinds of contests. Loads of fun and he kept a very good chef. Best wishes, Pammie

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    3. That is so funny! Your life is so interesting Pammie. How wonderful to have met all these people. I love anyone who keeps a chef, let alone a very good one. Thanks so much!

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  16. Okay, fess up. Are you secretly ghostwriting for Williams Sonoma? http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/expert-thanksgiving-tips/

    (I mean, we know you're not because your version would be far more hilarious and entertaining, but I like to think they get all of their ideas from you.)

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    1. Haha! Certainly not, I disagree with some of that! But so many of the Thanksgiving tips are universal and published so many places. I thought the cooler idea was mine until I read it published in Bon appetit and then regurgitated through BuzzFeed. The post-its on platters I definitely got from Martha. I love seeing/knowing other people's Thanksgiving plans!

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  17. Your implosion was a riot! You really need to start getting some of your words published. We might end up with Thanksgiving on Friday again...maybe we won't even have turkey. Who knows? I do, however, want to get in on a photo contest with all your readers...all of us need to send pictures of our tables to see if we can compete with yours.

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    1. Thank you so much! No turkey? Will it be ham instead? Do you guys not like turkey so much? Or just don't want to be chained to it all day? I'd love to see everyone's tables!

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    2. We like turkey. Our daughter an grand children go to her boyfriend's family Thanksgiving in the afternoon and we usually have ours in the evening. Ridiculous for them to have two dinners in one day, so we have opted to have ours on Friday. Have not figured out what we are having yet...but it will be something good. Last year we had a gigantic pork tenderloin stuffed with a homemade chutney. Stay tuned!

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  18. THIS IS A PIECE OF ART!!I cannot wait to see photos from this YEAR!
    PLEASE POST!

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  19. I'm so far behind in reading! I do everything at a New Orleans pace - or well an Alabama pace, even in Ohio, lol. I need a Holiday Hitler here to whip me into shape. Your pies are gorgeous, a real work of art. Sign me up for the Grundle.

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