The Best Frying Pan in the World!


When I was a child my mother made us blintzes (thin pancakes, crepes or blinis). We usually ate blintzes on summer days, and those were the days we left our third floor apartment door open, and we used a screen door. First, my mother used the frying pan you see here to prepare the thin pancakes that she would later fill with cheese or blueberries. Then after sautéing her filled blintzes in butter in the same frying pan, our family would eat them with dollops of sour cream and/or sugar. Yummy!

On one of those blintze-making days long ago, my mother said to me, “Rowie, someday this frying pan will be yours.” According to her, this amazing frying pan was the only frying pan on all seven continents that could prepare blintzes the right way!

I offer Ma’s frying pan here for your consideration. It’s aluminum and it’s about sixty years old, give or take a decade.

My mother died on December 19, 1988, and I wanted to write about her a few days ago, but nothing I drafted— worked. I posted nothing on December 19th. I was trying to stick with my theme of writing about introversion, solitude, and the effects of too much stim (light, sound,) on my delicate psyche.

Normally, I am calmed by textures that are dull and natural looking. If I could decorate my whole house with driftwood, and soft earth colors, I believe, I could be more serene. Shiny makes me crazy. This whole holiday season with its bright lights, loud music, and the in-your-face commercials makes me as frenetic as the squirrels at my bird feeders when they find the peanut butter. I’m an introvert. I need solitude. I need softness and muted colors.  I need time with my own thoughts.

The other day, I found my mother’s shiny blintze pan on a back shelf in our basement. After she died, I made blintzes at my home, but only once. I stopped making blintzes because Jerome the Great and Good didn’t care for them; they’re a pain in the neck to make; and blintzes are very rich. The word, rich, has become a bad word in foody circles. I know many people who screw up their noses like squirrels and say, “Oh, I couldn’t eat that. It’s too rich.” Then they go eat their kale.

I make kale soup and it is really great—but it’s not blintzes! Blintzes, eaten on a hot day in Apartment 33B on the third floor, with the screen door open and the smells of the vanilla, butter, cream cheeses, and dough wafting into the entire apartment house, is an experience that I will remember, forever.

I stared at the blintze pan a long time. Then I picked it up and kissed it, and I held it close. I was alone.

I’m sure extroverts do things like kissing their mother’s frying pans too, but I’m an introvert, and my moments of solitude sustain me. So I am sharing my holiday thoughts with introverts, extroverts, and everyone.

Once in a while, eat stuff that is rich. Tomorrow there will be plenty of time to diet.

Go off into your little private place; caress your grandma’s old recipes or your ma’s old pots or your dad’s old work clothes…the ones you packed away because you couldn’t bear to part with them.

Find that box where you packed away your kids’ size 3 month undershirts and stretchies. Pick them up, hold them, and let your senses overcome you. Cuddle them, smell them, talk to them, have a good cry, and then come back out and join the party with your best smiling extrovert face!

It’s good to remember and it’s great to be alive!

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Happy New Year to Everyone!





Do You Suffer from Too Much Stim?

4837735360_644ed14665_ohref=””>Abode of Chaos</a> via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a>h

Are You Unnerved by Too Much Stim?  Take This Test to Find Out.

  1. Your dear friends invite you and another couple to a small dinner party.

a. You can’t wait because you love being with good friends, and you enjoy eating great food.

b. You look for an excuse not to go.

c. You never received the invitation because you and your crowd are all forty-ish, and you don’t do dinner parties at home. When you entertain at home, you offer drinks, snacks, more drinks, more snacks, and dessert.

2. When you arrive at your friends’ home you hear the strains of music coming from their stereo or hi fi or whatever the heck we used to call that thing that plays (ahem) records. The music you hear is jazz. It is very loud jazz.

a. You start snapping your fingers and saying things like “Groovy, man, groovy!”

b. Your upper lip starts going numb, which your doctor assured you is a sign of stress.

c. You say, “Thanks, I’ll have a white wine,” while you’re still wearing your coat.

3.The drinks are poured; the hors d’oeuvres are luscious and:

a. The conversation flows; everyone (including you) is bright and witty.

b. The conversation flows; everyone (but you) appears to be bright and witty.

c. You smile, nod appreciatively, and when someone asks you, “What do you think?” you answer, “Yes, I have a new shrink.”

People who can’t do “Too Much Stim” have given the following answers:
Question One: a\
Question Two: b and/or c
Question Three b and/or c.

Continue reading

Glad Tidings



This blog post is for my friend, Katie, who asked me to write about glad….not sad, bad, or mad.

We’ll start with just a speck of “sad.

Last week the deck outside my kitchen was a sad place. There were no birds and no pesky squirrels. That’s because I stopped putting out water in my bird baths. I didn’t have any bird food out either. I stopped putting it out three years ago when there was a bear on our block. I stopped the bird food at that time because I was afraid of bears coming for it, breaking into my kitchen,  fighting me for my tuna fish sandwich, and finding the chocolate chip cookies I had hidden in the back of the pantry for my late night visitor, the elves.

At that time I discovered that I could bring birds to my deck with just water in two plant saucers and I didn’t need to put out bird food.  Throughout the summer and most of the fall I was really good about cleaning and refreshing the water in my saucers, but when the cold weather came, I stopped.

I got lazy. My leg hurt. I went to doctors, took tests, and got a tentative diagnosis of a muscle strain(? ),tear(?), and of course, the usual arthritis. During this time, I kvetched and canceled my annual Thanksgiving gathering. I was busy worrying about myself. Trust me. I was not worrying about birds or those pesky squirrels.

But, do not despair. Here comes the “glad” part of this tale.

Gladness starts with my family. My daughter came and after we joked about it possibly being my “last Thanksgiving,” under my tutelage, she cooked our traditional hot clam dip, carrot pudding, cracker stuffing, and cranberry relish. She left some for me, and took the rest to her beloved in-laws in Connecticut with my blessing. This was one year I did not want her to split the day by driving two hours each way to sit at two Thanksgiving tables. I knew she would feel as much at home at her husband’s childhood home as she did at our house…probably more so because her mother-in-law is probably much nicer and doesn’t pry, like I do. As usual, the fathers on both sides are perfect and can do nothing wrong. Moving along…

All my traditional guests (family and friends) found places to go and all invited Jerome and me. Gail sent over some turkey, her famous corn pudding, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Everyone wanted us or wanted to cook for us.  I chose to stay home because if I had gone to one person’s house I would have been in trouble with the others.

People, even those who did not traditionally come to me for Thanksgiving, called and asked how I was doing.

Now, about the birds. Guess who came to their rescue? You got it. Jerome, the Great and Good! Off he went to the garage, and he found an old bird feeder and some bird food that we had stored in one of those metal holiday cans.  He put the food in the feeder and hung it from the tree. He cleaned and refreshed my dry birdy water parks with clear warm water. He poured a different kind of bird seed (thistle) on an old cookie tray and anchored the tray on a small table with a rock.

Looking out at my deck this morning, I saw the essence of glad. I saw my birds in total ecstasy. Tufted titmice, chickadees, white throated sparrows, juncos, cardinals, bluejays, Carolina wrens, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, and a mockingbird were fluttering around my deck, eating, drinking, swimming, chirping, and singing. It was like they had licked postage stamps of LSD! And those darn squirrels? Ah yes! They were right back to their insane scampering, jumping, and humping each other.

Joy was restored. Life is good. I’m glad to be alive. I’m glad I have my family, my friends, my leg pains, my birds, and even those damn squirrels. I’ll take Glad anytime, and I’ll cherish it!






Clean-Up in Aisle Six!

Photo Credit: TheGiantVermin via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: TheGiantVermin via Compfight cc

I was buying cheese at the deli department of my local supermarket. Several other customers were behind me, when I heard someone say, “May I have some paper towels please.”  The deli man handed the paper towels over the counter, and a tall silver-haired man, stepped forward from behind me and took them.   I turned around and watched him bend down and wipe up a spill on the floor behind me. As I lifted my eyes, I noticed another woman watching him too.

As I didn’t hear or see the spill occur, I asked her, “Did he do it?”

“No, some little kid dropped it from a sippy cup,” the woman, who was about my age, said. The child was nowhere to be seen.

She and I looked at each other, smiled, and shared an unspoken, “This guy is a keeper.”

I spoke first, “Some woman is a lucky girl.”

She said, “I don’t know if my husband would have done that.”

I nodded my head in agreement.

I’m guessing that the same thoughts that flashed through my mind also flashed through her mind as we went about the day’s business.  We were probably thinking about the men in our lives, our fathers, our husbands, our sons. Yes. I nodded in agreement when she commented about her husband; but, I did that just to be congenial. I like to think that my men would have done the same thing as the good looking stranger in the supermarket.

 Photo Credit: twm1340 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: twm1340 via Compfight cc

“Please Send Your Child With…”

Photo Credit: --char-- via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: –char– via Compfight cc

“Ma,” my son said, “Hannah needs to bring a bag of cleaned parsley for her Sunday school’s model Passover Seder.” Hannah is our granddaughter, and Jerry and I were in Arizona visiting with her and our son, David.

The Seder is a symbolic meal celebrated by Jewish people to retell the story of the Jews’ exodus from slavery and Egypt. At Hannah’s Sunday school the teachers were going to conduct a model Seder to give the kids a feel for the larger scale Seder that would take place in their homes on Passover. Symbolic items on the Seder Plate are used as props to tell the Passover Story. A Seder plate includes: hard-boiled egg, salt water, matzoh, lamb shank, charoseth (a yummy mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine), horseradish (bitter herb), and the aforementioned parsley.

A home Passover meal is a BIG meal with many courses, and it takes a whole lot of preparation. Here are some sample foods I have served at various Seders given by Jerome and me over the years. First we put out the Seder plate as described above. Everybody loves my charoseth on their matzoh.

Then it’s time for some serious eating and the first courses: gefilte fish with horseradish; chicken soup with matzoh balls

Then,  the main meal: a chicken dish which changes every couple of years; matzoh stuffing; brisket with red wine and tomato paste; potato kugel (casserole with eggs, potato, onions, matzoh); tsimmes(casserole with carrots and/or sweet potatoes, raisins/prunes; brown sugar); green vegetable such as asparagus or brussel sprouts.

And lastly, desserts: an apple matzoh kugel; brandied peach compote cake (see; chocolate covered matzoh, assorted macaroons.

We have served from 6 to 26 friends and relatives and I cook everything myself…from scratch (except the gefilte fish, matzoh, and macaroons).

No one has complained because they all keep coming back; so I think I’m a reasonably proficient cook. Also, fyi, I do Thanksgiving every year for the same gang plus about 15 more folks. Everyone says I make it look easy.

I’m confident about my food preparation—until my granddaughter needs to bring parsley— TO SCHOOL—then I go crazy!

I ask myself:

  • Should the parsley be the good kind (Italian flat leaf) or should we buy the curly parsley like my mother used? Maybe the curly parsley is the authentic Jewish parsley?
  • Should I trim the long stems off the parsley? If so, how much? Is the parsley on the Seder plate supposed to have stems, or is it just the leaves?
  • Do I send a whole bunch so each little kid can get a sprig? Or should I just send a sprig for the Seder plate?
  • When should I wash the parsley?  The night before? The morning of?
  • If I wash the parsley, and I wipe it with paper towel, should I put the moist paper towel in with the parsley in the plastic bag overnight?
  • The next morning when Hannah takes her zip lock bag of parsley to Sunday school, should I leave the damp paper towel in the bag? Or does that look sloppy? Should I re-wrap the parsley with a dry paper towel? Should I just put parsley without paper towel in the bag?
  • Lastly, should I put the zip lock bag inside another little plastic bag?

Surely, I can’t be the only parent/grandparent who worries about this stuff? Am I?

A New Year’s Countdown for Dieters Who Are Perfectionists

Photo Credit: trixi via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: trixi via Compfight cc

Saturday, December 27, 2014

You and your scale are not dialoguing. It’s better to put your scale away than have the stress of it sitting there and judging you. Yes, I do believe scales are the original passive aggressives. You probably believe the same thing if you name yours and talk to it like I do.  “Oh, hi Elvira. No, no, not today, Elvira. Go (bad word) yourself, Elvira!”

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Are you still eating leftovers from assorted Holiday Festivities?  This is an equal opportunity blog so if you don’t see your favorites here, please feel free to suggest others. Look at your fridge? Do you have any of this stuff still in there, even though it may have been reheated or re microwaved at least 13 times: turkey, baccala, shrimp, mussels, pasta, ham, rice, pernille, frogs’ legs, cakes, pies, cookies, sweet potatoes, latkes, stolen, fruitcake, pasteles, goose, gingerbread, bacalao, tamales, and lamb. Finish ‘em off! Mix and match. FYI.  I really enjoyed making this list.

Monday: December 29, 2014

Oh, when did this happen? I always start my diet on a Monday. Not this Monday. I will start on January 1st. 2015, even if it is a Thursday. Perhaps, since I am not starting my diet until the New Year, I might want to celebrate the Winter Solstice with a light bite, some wine, some cheese, some nuts, some chips, and just a little bit of that chocolate cake that my husband, Jerome, the Great and Good, says he’s going to eat when I keep threatening to throw it away because it tempts me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

If you’re like me it’s time to buy your diet planning calendar and a new pen for the New Year. I like 5mm. black pens for my calendars. Very neat. If you are a perfectionist like I am, plan to keep your calendar pristine, no cross-outs, and no substitutions. Using your new pen, set up your diet planner and make a tentative shopping list of the staples you will need to keep on hand. You know the drill. Consider shopping today so when the New Year comes, you can hit the kitchen table eating correctly. There may also be some good sales on sweats and work out clothes. And don’t forget to get a warm hat because you will be out running or walking in the January cold.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Serious countdown now. Last licks. For the first time in my life I understand the meaning of that idiom. Just enough food to wrap up the year and get it all out of your system. Perhaps some  bacon wrapped anything, vats of creamy stuff into which you dunk bread and chips, and, of course, the new trend, salted caramel on something….you don’t care if it’s cardboard. And that damn chocolate cake that your husband says he’s going to eat someday is still there in the fridge, looking sad, calling your name.

You look at your pristine diet plan book and swear you will succeed in 2015, for sure. You know you are guilty of perfectionism. Remember that time, when you were on that very serious Diet, and you ate a slice of salami that wasn’t on the plan! The bacchanalian orgy that followed would have put Nero to shame.

Ah, it’s almost time.  With homage to Dick Clark, you turn on the TV to Times Square. A few minutes later, the ball starts to drop. You stuff one last chip with spinach artichoke dip into your mouth before the ball hits bottom, and all of that kissing and hugging starts.

Thursday, January 1, 2015: Fifteen Minutes into The New Year.

After kissing your significant other (in my case Jerome the Great and Good) tenderly, he sweetly suggests you share the chocolate cake that has been sitting in the fridge. In your euphoria of the New Year and all of the kissing and hugging, you take a bite, and then you stop. You tenderly say to him, “Oh, what the hell. Let’s eat the rest of the cake!”

A few minutes later, you smack your lips and say, “Oh what the hell.  I blew it. The year is shot. I’ll start next year when I can do it right and get a fresh start!

Happy New Year to all, perfectionists included!

Organization is the Key to a Smooth Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit: Chetham's Library via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Chetham’s Library via Compfight cc

Let’s just say you are like me, and you are “doing” Thanksgiving. Now, if you are like me and you are “doing” Thanksgiving, you may share some of the following concerns.

First of all, if you are married to a man like my husband, Jerome the Great and Good, he is probably a man who likes to be organized, not like you. He says things like, “I want to get all of the Thanksgiving shopping done by June 15th because I don’t like to “be in the stores” at holiday time. This man, has been haranguing me for weeks about how I always wait for the last minute.

If you are blessed with a “helper” like Jerome, I’m sure you are also blessed with friends and family like I have. Let’s just say my beloved family and friends can be a trifle indecisive. If you are like me, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, you are still not sure if you are having 12 guests or 2212 guests because no one gives you a definitive answer.

Jerome, the Great and Good, doesn’t get this. “We can buy the paper goods; they’re on sale now,” he says sometime in July.

You say, “Sorry, exploding firecrackers are American, but not really autumnal.”

If you are like me, in the days prior to Thanksgiving, some of your potential guests are in conflict…with assorted in-laws. Should they split their time, bodies, and casseroles between two “venues?” Should the wife go to her mother’s house and the husband go to his mother’s house? Couples, especially new ones like my daughter and son-in-law huddle and whisper, “Should we stay at your mother’s house for antipasto and clam dip and then go to my mother’s house for turkey and stuffing?” Unsaid, but implied is, “Because my mother’s stuffing is better than your mother’s stuffing.”

In August, as he thinks about Thanksgiving, Jerome says, “Well, at least we can open the dining room table and add the extra leaves. Are we doing buffet or sit down?”

If you are married to a person like my Jerome, you just roll your eyes.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Jerome wants to get all of the food shopping done.  To make him happy, you go to the supermarket with your shopping list, buy a bunch of stuff, but of course not the last minutes which are the core of your shopping: the fresh turkey, the string beans, Brussel sprouts, fresh cranberries, fruit. Besides you don’t know whether you are buying a 25 pound bird or a 12 pound bird.

It is the week before Thanksgiving and some of your guests haven’t decided to be with their own strays or whether to bring “their” stray people to your house, where you have assured them that all strays are welcome. Usually this group of “strays” can add up to 11-213 people.

A few of your guests are having unexpected medical procedures (possibly childbirth, knee surgery,etc.) the day before Thanksgiving, and they don’t know whether they will be well enough to come with their children, significant others, and most importantly the casseroles, roasts and desserts that they bring every year. Note: these casseroles (corn/sweet potato); roasts: (spiral ham); pies: apple, pumpkin, cherry) are the fundamental core of the Thanksgiving meal.

True, other stalwarts step up and offer to get the ham, the pies, and the casseroles. But, this can be tricky, if the original providers of those “brings” show up with the very same dishes.

Jerome says “Last year we had too many desserts. It was a pity.”

If you’re like me you say, “Well that’s because nobody tells me what they are bringing, and last year I ran out the day before Thanksgiving and bought a bunch of pies and a Grandma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Then, everyone, brought pies, and I ended up freezing the Grandma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

I didn’t mention that Grandma’s Coffee Cake disappeared from the freezer from those damn elves that sneak in there and eat frozen cakes. But that’s a story for another day.

As I write this now, Jerome is in our basement, looking over our leftover paper plates.  One pack of 8 cocktail napkins, festooned with turkeys is definitely from last year’s Thanksgiving. Jerome just loves that decorating suggestion about mixing and matching dinnerware, and I know it won’t take long before he finds the leftover paper goods from other holidays.  I can see my Thanksgiving table now, a true study of Americana …American Flags, Yankee Baseballs and Valentines.

On those mix and match plates, my guests are helping themselves to a bountiful assortment of harvest foods. And the turkey? Well, Jerome forgot to nag me about it, and I can’t be expected to remember everything. I’ll run down to the store and order one for next year.




Mindful Eating With Good Friends


Six close friends, we were together for a night of dinner out and then coffee back at Gail’s house. We discussed: restaurants, ISIS, Obama, Joan Rivers, Republicans, Democrats, The Middle East, Ukraine, some  theater and some TV.

We also discussed chicken sex.

I introduced the topic as I told them about the mindful eating seminar I had attended online and the articles I had read about mindful eating on the Internet. Scientists have provided some interesting data that eating mindfully can be a help to emotional eaters who want to lose weight.

It was clear from the weird looks on my friends’ faces that they had no idea what mindful eating was.

“The theory is if you eat mindfully and are aware of everything you put in your mouth, you will eat only when truly hungry,” I explained and shared what I recalled from an article about people who went to a monastery to learn mindful eating from the monks.

“At the monastery, the participants sit at a large table in silence,” I explained. “Slowly and deliberately, the monks teach them to touch their raisin, lift it, smell it, think about the grape it used to be, put it in their mouths, roll it around without biting it, bite it, chew it, and eventually swallow it.”

I told my friends that I was OK mindfully eating a raisin, but when it came to mindfully eating other food, I had a problem.

I always ended up thinking about sex.

For example when I was trying to eat some egg salad mindfully, my mind moved from eggs to chickens. Then I started wondering if chickens have sex?

Thus, to my table of friends, I posed the question, “Do you think chickens have sex?”

“Well, that’s why you have roosters,” said one.

“Chickens lay eggs,” said another. “Frogs lay eggs and they don’t have sex.”

I contributed, “In frogs, doesn’t the female lay eggs and then the male passes over them and fertilizes them? “

“Chickens are birds,” someone said. “Birds have sex.”

We never resolved the issue of chickens going “all the way” because Gail served her coffee cake and Jane’s banana cake. The six of us chowed down, and our conversation moved to liberals, conservatives, boots on the ground, and winters in Florida.

Tomorrow is another day to try mindful eating.



Friday Night at the Food Court

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Deer love my backyard buffet of nourishing shrubs. They give me a 5 star rating!  At the moment I’m watching a family of four of them from my kitchen window.

It’s a Friday, and as I watch the deer, I remember my own family’s Friday Night Pizza tradition. That was long ago.

Deer come and go through my backyard food court all year. This group is different, however. They seem relaxed, for deer.  The two fawns are sparring with each other on their spindly legs, just like they do on the nature shows on TV. The biggest deer, whom I assume is Dad, sees me, but he doesn’t run. He just stares and munches on his shrub. I usually don’t see deer this big in my yard. .The fawns continue to frolic.

You ask about the Mom? She’s there too. It’s a gorgeous, breezy day. Her children are playing. Most of all, Dad is there and she can take a break. The doe eases herself to the ground and sits, watching me, while the rest of the members of her family do their thing.  I know what she’s thinking.

She’s thinking, “Lady, you understand. They are with their father now. I’m taking a break. I’ve had them all week. Goodness, I might even close my eyes and take a snooze.”

I understand totally. Perhaps she would enjoy a scented bath, and candles as she unwinds.


Photo Credit: href=””>Beedle Um Bum via Compfight cc

Lions, Lunch, and Life

Photo Credit: ahisgett via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ahisgett via Compfight cc

There is a woman in a TV health insurance commercial, and she annoys me.  She looks fit and young for her age as she briskly hikes on a trail. She says something like, “I’m in my sixties, and I’m looking forward to a long life….blah, blah. “

Long life? How does she know? What’s a long life anyway?

I have always wanted to reach through the TV and smack that broad for her presumptuousness.

If I were making the commercial, I would insert a mountain lion on the trail behind the woman, and the mountain lion would be stalking her. He might even gobble her up and smack his lips. Yummy.

Or maybe not.

Maybe, instead of the woman, the mountain lion would find a plump mule deer for his lunch.

Then, the sixty year old smart-ass woman would finish her hike and go back to her mountain lodge.  There, at the lodge’s patio restaurant, she would meet up with the rest of us, sitting around and chowing down on our reuben sandwiches with our beers. She’d brag about her exquisite romp and all the beautiful things she got to see…that we missed because we were hanging around the lodge. She’s just that kind of na-na-na-na-na-na type. I bet you know someone just like her.

But maybe she has the right idea? I don’t know.  Crazy isn’t it?