Friday, July 21, 2006

Housefrau’s Recipe Box: Some Sort of Sandwich!

Time for recipe-swapping! After all my moaning about the concept of dinner, I went and cooked one after all, and it was tasty.

This recipe starts last night. The LP was having trouble sleeping, and I was none too drowsy myself, so I decided to list all the possible things that would be good on a sandwich. I got quite a long way into my Dagwoodian dream when I had a sudden inspiration for a simple yet delicious dish.

Housefrau’s Made-Up While Drifting Off to Sleep

Whole wheat buns
Some chicken breasts
Some almond butter
1 apple
1 onion
Some ghee or olive oil

First, broil some chicken breast. I’d tell you how to do that, but I am frightened of raw meat, so the LP handles that part. So, I dunno, look in a cookbook, probably.

While that happens, caramelize the onion. I’ll tell you how I did it, but you might want to get a second opinion, as, although caramelization did seem to happen, burning happened more, so maybe my method is flawed. At any rate: put about 3 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil in a pan and make it hot. I turned the number-dealie to 4, if that helps. Slice up the onion and put it in there. Then leave it there and stir sometimes. Try to turn off the heat before the mess is utterly charred—20 minutes or so, but probably less.

After all that’s done, slice the apple into thin-ish slices and toast the buns in that greatest of devices, the toaster oven. Spread a bunch of almond butter on the buns, slice the chicken, and layer chicken, apples, and caramelized onions on the buns.


I was pretty sure this would turn out to be one of those things that I think is going to be some sort of wild taste adventure, and then it is, but less of a watching-Indiana-Jones experience and more of an actually-going-throug-the-awful-things-that-happen-in-an-Indiana-Jones-movie experience. But, lo and behold, they were gooooood. I imagine endless variations could be created.

Had I known they would be worth sharing, I’d have taken photos of the whole thing. Instead, all I have to show you is proof positive that these things were fucking tasty:

By the way, the plate is a Sherry Olsen, who is both a terrific ceramics artist and a very nice lady. Go. Buy. Now.

Aborted Dinner

Earlier this week I made dinner. The menu:

1. Rice soup (which is rice that for some reason didn’t absorb, like, any of the water it was cooked in, even though the rice itself was plenty soft and cooked)

2. Suspicious salmon (which is salmon I was supposed to broil, but that I was scared of because it had been in the fridge for three days and smelled like fish, which, okay, I know that it is fish, but it smelled really, well, fishy)

The LP came home and I gave him a choice: eat this dinner I had made (and yes, I was going to actually cook the suspicious salmon; I wasn’t suggesting we eat it raw) or go get something a bit more fully-formed.

Tough choice.

This has been happening a lot these days: I begin a meal in good faith, but somehow I can’t seem to finish it. Not that I destroy it (though that is a regular feature of five o’clock at my house), but somewhere along the line I just sort of lose my belief that this endeavor I’ve undertaken has any sort of merit or authentic reality. I just can’t seem to see these substances in pots ever becoming what I might recognize as a meal.

Cleaning is another problem. I might get halfway across the living room with my dustcloth when I suddenly cease to believe that I’m actually doing anything. The act of dusting becomes like playing a video game—several hours spent saving the princess, and what have you got to put on your resume?

My life at times begins to seem a series of gestures made to mark time for a non-existent orchestra.

And at the end of the day, I’ve lost the tune that, properly hummed, might have resulted in dinner.

“Dinner.” It’s a funny concept. I am often drawn to the idea of “eating close to the earth,” as they say—of walking into my (non-existent) garden, yanking out a carrot, and stuffing it in my mouth. Eating food, not a meal. The realm of dinner has very little to do with food. Dinner, my darlings, is theater in which one eats the props.

I’m thinking I'd like to do dinner differently. Serve plates of beautifully-arranged plastic foods, take to rubber steaks with fork and knife, take sips of synthetic wine between breaths of describing my day.

Then chug a tasteless protein shake from a paper cup and toss everything back in the drawer.

Ritual accomplished, nutrients consumed, and I can turn my mind to the next philosophical housefrau paradox:

When I remove the wrinkles from this blouse, where do they go?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I just added a NabMe button (on the right, below links) in case any of you want to make my bunny sing.

Note: I tend to drop everything I'm doing and rush instantly to the bunny when it makes a sound, so the more messages I get, the more likely I am to drop an entire carton of eggs into a hot, open oven. And you know what that equals?

Material for blogging and possible eviction.


Housefrau Pretention Party: Poetry!

The Life of Jorge Chavez

Are you going to write my life story
says Jorge Chavez.
He’s putting my raisins in a sack.
Is it an interesting story?
I’m buying two tubes of hair gel.
One will make my hair curly,
the other will make it straight.

Are you going to put it on the internet?
Jorge is holding my wallet, which I gave him
because my Sooper! card is attached to it
by a ring.
It entitles me to Sooper! savings.
He’s wearing a name tag but he tells me his name

anyway; he’s told me his name
before, as well as his address.
Jorge tells Manuel,

She’s going to write my life story.
We live in the same town but on opposite sides.
Manuel is putting my bread in the same sack as my lightbulbs.
he says.
I spent a full five minutes contemplating
the difference between rice milk and soy milk.
I’m not really a Sooper! shopper.

She’s a writer
says Jorge Chavez.
Now I see the blue carton go in the sack,
I regret it.

The Life of Jorge Chavez
says Jorge.
He looks me in the face and he’s
My ice cream is melting.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It Is Made of Poop

This company makes paper out of elephant dung. Also paper out of other things, all of which are at least as sustainable as excrement.

Oh boy! You can make things out of poo! Guess what our next Craft Corner's gonna be?!

Hey, have you heard about this amazing new product?!

Baking soda. WOW.

My pan is clean! What is this astonishing substance? Wikipedia informs us that it is sodium bicarbonate, and that it has over 100 uses. It then goes on to list those uses, which grows rather tiresome, but leaves us with fascinating information such as:

Baking soda can be used to make crack! Boy, making crack from everyday household products seems like a great way to pick up some spare mad money. Unfortunately, as Wikipedia also tells us, one also needs cocaine to make crack, and I don’t have any of that. Sigh. Guess I’d better stick to making meth out of children’s cough syrup.

One of the uses in Wikipedia’s list simply reads, “facial scrub.” Huh. That seems like a terrible idea.

We also learn that “a small amount (1tsp) can be added to a beef stew to make tough meat tenderize faster. (however, this is no substitute for just stewing the meat for more time)” [sic all over the place on that quote.]
That’s right, y’all. Don’t you try to pull the wool over my eyes. If you don’t have what it takes to just stew that meat until it is done gone and stewed, you may as well give it up. A good housefrau avoids superficial shortcuts.

Well, this particular disaster has had a happy ending. Baking soda fixed my pan (along with, like, two hours of scrubbing), dinner was had, all is well.

Now I’m off to ponder today’s housefrau problem: Dinner should be ready in half an hour, but I haven’t started it because I’m not hungry, having eaten lunch twenty minutes ago. And lunch was a jar of hot fudge.

Maybe I’ll luck out and discover that the LP also ate a jar of fudge at quarter to five, and will be delighted that I didn’t grill the salmon.

That seems plausible.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Housefrau Basics: Boiling Water

Today’s kitchen mishap illustrates the importance of knowing your basics when attempting to frau the house. For instance, one should have a working knowledge of fundamental physics. Things like, “two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time” and “gravity makes things crash into the floor if you don’t pay attention” and “wandering off while something is on the stove is likely to incur the wrath of the housefrau gods.”

Let’s talk about the latter. I haven’t cooked anything in about two weeks, and lord knows I haven’t picked up a dustcloth. In fact, I believe potato-chip-crumbs were starting to rival dust for the title of Substance Covering Most of the Surfaces in My House. But because I had plans for an outside individual to enter my home this afternoon, my latent sense of shame outpaced my innate laziness, and I got off my ass. Went to the grocery (I’ll spare you the details), cleaned up the house.

(A digression: I love the phrase “clean up.” It implies a bit more than tidying, but doesn’t actually obligate one to clean anything. So shoving all the debris into a drawer and wiping down the counters can do the job, and you get to cross “clean up” off the list without having had to do anything resembling a respectable amount of work.)

So this evening I was all set to start dinner, just like a good housefrau should. Thought maybe I would get going on a pot of rice, since it is insanely easy to make and, because it takes forever to cook, I can claim to be busy cooking while I am actually staring at sharpeworld.

Getting all fancy, I decided to make the rice not with water but with vegetable stock! Poured in the two cups and turned on the burner. Then I zipped downstairs to check the laundry. While I was there, I noticed that there were several items in the pantry that I had purchased duplicates of at the grocery store, because I forgot we had a pantry. Better organize that pantry, and fast! Then I realized that we had been wiping our mouths all week first with dishtowels, then with our sleeves, because I hadn’t gotten around to ironing the pile of napkins on the ironing board (also hadn’t gotten around to washing all the dirty dishtowels). Well, feeling all super-housefrau-ey, no more slacking for me! Ironed those suckers, got the towels into the wash, read a little bit (a bad idea to keep books in the laundry room, but the damn things are running me out of house and home; the books just seem to keep reproducing). Finally trekked up the stairs with a pile of freshly-ironed napkins and a renewed sense of domestic pride.

Boy, something sure smelled good up there! I guessed it must be about time to pour the rice into the boiling broth.

Sadly, no. I no longer had any broth. What I had was this:

My lovely, fancy, probably-really-expensive Le Cruset pan coated in what seemed to be irrevocable burnt. (Let’s all just agree to use burnt as a noun, shall we?) NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called my mommy. I was frightened I had killed the pan. She reassured me that the pan would survive and told me marvelous secrets about baking soda. Her comment on the ordeal: “If you can hurt a pan like that, it’s not worthy of you.”

IMed the LP. His remark: “Wow, you’re just like a sim.” Then he offered to bring dinner home with him from work, and I declared him official Hero of the Blog!

My mom called back two minutes later—“Hey, at least you have a great blog topic!”

And she’s right. Let my experience be an important lesson for aspiring housefraus everywhere: when you feel yourself getting overconfident and believing that you can both boil something and iron something in the same day, slow down and remind yourself of the cardinal rule of housefrauing:


Monday, July 10, 2006


My friend Rich made a lovely little magazine and put two of my poems in it! You should go here and read more about it. One of the poems is about--you guessed it--groceries!

Also in this issue are several fantastic other poets, who you should read pronto before they become big super-star poets, so that you can tell everyone at parties that you were way into them before they were cool.

Assuming you hang out at parties where everyone talks about the latest super-star poets they are so way into.

Shout Outs

The other day I had a phone conversation with my mother that went something like this:

Me: “So what are you up to today?”
Mom: “Oh, I’m so excited!”
Me: “What’s going on?”
Mom: “I just found out that I have a google page rank of four!”
Me: “Please step away from the telephone and give me back my real mother.”

Not only does my mom know what a google page rank even is, but she is kicking my ass in the rankings.

On the plus side, this nice lady linked to me! Hello, nice lady!

I would also like to note that two different people have visited my blog after googling “pooses.”


I suspect that word might refer to a fetishistic sex act that I’m not aware of, because why else would someone google it?

At any rate, hello, people searching for pooses!

Also, for the handful of people who have landed here after searching “how to mince a shallot,” I’m sorry. Very, very sorry. I hope your dinners turned out okay.

In other news, did you know that obsessively reading your website’s stats is much easier than producing content?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Housefrau’s Pretension Party: Poetry!

You knew it had to happen eventually.

It’s the dirty little secret of poetry that, while the dead white men were busy defining what would be the bane of ninth-grade English students of future ages, their wives and maids were emptying their wastebaskets of the verses unfit for the historical record (not to mention scrubbing their under-breeches free of the stains unfit for the gossip columns). And occasionally, after unlacing themselves from their corsets and emptying their chamber-pots into the street, those nameless ladies would find just enough energy to lay down a line or two of their own before dropping off to sleep. Nothing that anyone would ever read, of course; that was for the boys.

Technological advances have given housefraus a bit more time in the day. And those ladies of a quixotic bent have found that the advent of the spin cycle opens up myriad poetic possibilities.

Now, certainly, the world’s poetics is hardly bereft of significant female poets; and I certainly don’t mean to imply that verses penned by ladies who don’t work outside the home are somehow inferior. Quite the contrary on all counts.

I suppose what I mean to imply is that, because I put pen to paper long before I put pledge to table, it has taken me some time to realize that the domestic realm is rich in the material of the arts. And I suppose I also mean to imply that sometimes I don’t have any ideas for writing a post, but I happen to have an appropriately-themed poem at the ready for your blog-reading pleasure.

In fact, let me state it all quite plainly: I intend to inflict my poetry on you. Just thank your lucky stars that I’m not inflicting my chili on you.

Dear Bernice,

I’m sorry
I purchased so much
I know it
is a sacking nightmare

but understand my icebox
is a tomb of rotting
fruit I must replace
before it spreads to

these tomatoes at the sack bottom
I wish you hadn’t
done that

There, a poem. Next time I won't make such a fuss about it. Now go read some Alice Notley and see what truly great poets are doing with their dirty laundry.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Coffee and Cookies Can Kiss My Can

I got my computer back! It actually arrived on Thursday, but I didn’t have time to blog until now, as I spent the last two days just sort of staring at Google’s homepage and drooling slightly.

Hoo, boy, I missed the internets. Maybe I don’t know anything about heroin addiction, but I am far more prepared to sympathize with addicts now that I know what it’s like to go for a week without mainlining electrons.

As luck would have it (for you, dear readers), today has been bookended with housefrau mishaps. This morning the LP and I went out to breakfast. Somewhere near the end of the meal, a wee little incident occurred. I was just about to take a sip of my coffee, had the cup up to my lips and was in the very process of tipping the beverage into my mouth, when out of nowhere, a fly landed on the rim of my cup! Now, certainly, with the clarity of hindsight and all, I can see how I should have reacted: in any way other than how I actually did react. Because what I did was scream and jerk away from the terrifying bug, splattering my entire full cup of hot coffee all over myself, the table, and my darling LP sitting opposite.

Now let’s re-enact that little blunder from my LP’s perspective. He’s sitting there talking quite eloquently about the futility of Goddard’s anti-bourgeoisie posturing compared with Buñuel’s sublime absurdity, when I quite suddenly scream and throw a cup of coffee at him.

I think he was a little pissed.

I stuck to less risky activities for the rest of the day, but late this evening it came that I found myself in the kitchen. And there I discovered that I possess an a rare culinary ability that I doubt even Julia Child could rival: I can fuck up food that someone else is making.

Around 2:00 a.m. last night, I realized that I had the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies in the house. Because such a confluence of ingredients comes around about as often as a non-pedophillic priest, I decided that I HAD TO BAKE COOKIES THAT VERY MOMENT. But my wise LP assured me that the time for baking cookies was not the middle of the night when he was trying to sleep for chrissake, and promised that he would bake the cookies for me in the morning.

Well, obviously, I didn’t have cookies for breakfast; instead I threw coffee. So the ever-patient LP decided this evening to make good on his promise.

It should be noted at this point that I was basing my conviction about having all the ingredients on a somewhat hazy memory of what might actually be in chocolate chip cookies. The fact was, all I knew was that we had eggs. I also knew that I still had chocolate left over from when I made those pots de crème. So LP pulled out a recipe and started baking away while I hacked at the much-smaller-than-I-remembered block of chocolate in an effort to make it into the requisite chips.

We didn’t have any brown sugar. Really, LP could have given up then and there, or told me that if I wanted cookies so badly, I could go to the store and actually buy all the ingredients. But, dear man, he started googling (gawd, how have I lived for the past week?!) and discovered that brown sugar is actually just plain white sugar with some molasses in it.


Onward! It occurred to me that I might want to tell LP that the molasses in the cabinet was purchased about six years ago (a gingerbread endeavor, which, well, let’s just say that I wound up having to go out and buy Christmas gifts after all that year), and I had only kept it around because the bottle had an adorable drawing of a bunny, and I had no idea if it was good. But I didn’t mention it. How could molasses go bad? It’s molasses.

Well, when the LP opened the bottle, it gave off an immense whoosh and proceeded to announce to the entire kitchen via olfactory messengers that six-year-old molasses tends to smell just like feces of the same age.

We checked the magical computing box again. Molasses is good for a year, tops, in the fridge. Whoops.

Well, too late. The batter had entered the early periods of gestation, and to abort at that point would have been to call down the wrath of Jerry Falwell, probably, since I assume he considers half-baked goods to be soul-endowed cookies in the eyes of completely fucking insane christians everywhere. So the cookies went in the oven sans-molasses, and also short quite a bit of chocolate and vanilla extract and possibly some other things that the LP was kind enough not to tell me we didn’t actually have.

Then I decided to make coffee! Because by gum, I was gonna get back up on that drinking-beverages-from-grown-up-cups horse.

Apparently, a compromised drinking-coffee skill translates into a compromised making-coffee skill. I brewed a fresh, somehow not-very-hot pot of brownish water with crunchy coffee grinds floating in it. I’d already slopped some irish cream liquor into the cups (in the hopes that being drunk would make the whole experience somehow jolly). So we sat in the kitchen eating exceedingly weird cookies and drinking irish cream slightly watered down and full of coffee grounds.

The cookies, actually, were pretty tasty, no thanks to me. And the more I drink of this mostly-just-alcohol concoction I call coffee, the more I think that maybe, just maybe, I should throw caution to the wind and hop right back up on the housefrau horse. It’s still pretty early, and I still have ten eggs in the fridge. And I think some sugar. And possibly even a bit of butter.

Say, isn’t that what goes in crème brulée?

Who links to me?