CRACKING UP

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Frankly, I am sick of eggs about now.  The past month we have broken, beaten, cooked, dyed, hidden, hunted, found and eaten enough of them.   And now seems we must read about this incomparable “Rosetta Stone of Cooking”, as the incredible edible  has been dubbed.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, cook/author  Michael Ruhlman has written an entire book about this  “near perfect food”.    Apparently,  if you can properly cook an egg, you can whip up almost anything in the kitchen.   His book, “Egg:  A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient” offers basic recipes for everything from baking to frying to clarifying a consommé to shaking up a gin fizz, which makes me gag at the thought. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do like eggs.  Scrambled with cream cheese and dill is one of my favorite dishes, anytime of day.  Plus they are so economical, which reminds me of a childhood antic of mine.  It was a blistering hot summer day in Idaho when I decided to attempt a feat I had often contemplated.  I snatched an egg from the fridge and took it outside to the front sidewalk, where I gently cracked it open, slipping the framed golden yolk onto the untouchable concrete.  Maybe it is like the watched pot of water never boiling, but my egg failed to fry, or I should say, the concrete failed to fry my egg.  What’s worse, I reported the botched trial to my mother, and she scolded me. 

“Nanner, why did you have to waste a perfectly good egg?  That was a silly idea, you numbskull!”

One cannot think of eggs in this day and age without considering that clogging culprit–cholesterol.  Well, according to Dr. Marc Micozzi, eggs have taken a bad rap.  You might remember him from my previous post–the “expert” who wants us all to smoke ten cigarettes a day for longevity.  He believes the egg truly is the PERFECT food and highly recommends a couple a day to keep the grim reaper away.  He likes to tell a great egg story about his friend the former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, who ate two (2) eggs over easy-every day of his life, washed down with a tall glass of whole milk.  Dr. M.  goes on to claim the wise man lived to be 97 years old–and did NOT die of a heart attack, simply old age.  And perhaps boredom from the same darn breakfast every morning,  I might add.

The bottom line is, can we trust Dr. Micozzi after his tobacco touting?  I mean, I am sure he is a good egg (could not resist, sorry) but some of his teachings are a tad offbeat.  Though I do hope he doesn’t end up with egg on his face…

Perhaps we should refer to a higher power.  After all, the almighty egg is an integral part of Easter, Passover, Nowruz and Eid—as the symbol of new life.  So how could it possibly kill us?

Just when I was thinking  “enough about eggs!” my neighbor joined us for dinner the other night.  A gourmet cook, she took it upon herself to explain to me and my guests how to cook the perfect hard-boiled egg, according to some famous chef she knows.   The process involves not only an egg, but a thumbtack, timer, and I forget what else.  It sounded too complicated so I decided I’d stick with my method of dropping a few eggs into boiling water, going upstairs, then waiting until I smell the pan burning up on the stove to run down and fetch the eggs in their cracked, burnt shells, still edible, if not perfect.

In closing, I am thinking about the life story of Surgeon General Koop and his morning power meal.  Now, that’s a whole LOT of eggs.  He should have spelled his name Coop…

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THE CASE OF THE UNIDENTIFIED FLYING UMBRELLA

 

Flying-Umbrella

 

Not long ago we had an exceptionally blustery, rainy night, the loud, scary kind they have in horror movies and Texas.  My husband came down to the breakfast room the morning after and noticed a small, colorful tent pitched in our backyard.  Swigging his coffee and looking closer, he realized this was an extra-large, brightly multi-colored golf umbrella.  After finishing his Wall Street Journal he ventured out into the soggy, twig- covered grass to discover what had randomly landed in our back yard.

I came scuffling down to catch him lugging the clumsy, dripping apparatus through the kitchen.  “Wow, Pebble Beach”– he read.  “Very nice!”

Now, had I found the mystery umbrella from a legendary golf course, I’d have stashed it in the corner of the garage, hoping no one would miss or claim it.  Then, after a few days I’d pitch it into the back of my SUV in case of a deluge while on the road.

My husband is different.

He chose to phone and/or email everyone in the neighborhood in hopes of being a hero.  Wise about weather, he recalled the direction of the ferocious winds the prior night, and decided the thing had blown over from our neighbors to the north.  Here’s where I shudder.  This is the nasty neighbor I blogged about a few posts ago.  Remember her?  Think golf balls, broken windows and unfair accusations.

So he rings her up first, and gets the abrasive voice we all fear.  “What?”, she cackles. We don’t have an umbrella like that but what we do have is a damn fox and he is driving me crazy so if you see that mangy creature my grandkids are coming so can you get rid of him?”  Click.

Working from my end, I left a message with the neighbors behind us with the four rowdy kids.  They all golf and it made total sense they’d have an umbrella from Pebble Beach.  “Call if you want it back”, is all I recorded after describing the protective gadget.  Next, I was assigned the task of calling a neighbor/friend at the far end of the street and there I lucked out.

Cassie* assured me the umbrella (sorry, but there are not many synonyms for umbrella or I’d vary my description) belonged to a friend of her daughter’s who had come over the night before for a teen gathering.  And that she had noticed un-manned umbrellas flying here, there, and everywhere.

Phew. I had solved the case.  Meanwhile I had e-mailed the owners of the house next door to our south, describing what had landed in our yard the previous night—moot point by now, or so I believed.

The afternoon wore on and I stuck the now dry and claimed umbrella in the back of my car, reminding myself to drop it off at Cassie’s next time I headed into town.  Must say, it was, or is, an attractive, sturdy piece of nylon, metal, and plastic that might pass as wood.  Classy.

Around cocktail hour I spot Harry*, the neighbor to the south, ambling up our driveway.

“Hey neighbor, what’s up?”  I chatter.

“Oh, hi Nan! How ya doin?”   Monica* tells me you e- mailed that you found our favorite umbrella.  Terrific!  We thought it might be gone forever.”

Chagrined, I quip–

“Um…wait a second.  Cassie told me it her daughter’s friend’s umbrella.  And I believed her, Harry.

I didn’t think you even golfed yet alone went to Pebble Beach.”

Harry, a funny and most likeable guy, readily admits,

“Oh Nan, I don’t golf and have never been to that famous course out in California—is it?

I bought this nifty thing here at COSCO…”

Case solved.

P.S.  Cassie was very cordial and understanding when I called to tell her she was a liar and that Harry is the proud owner of the out-of-control flying umbrella.  And I never heard from the rowdy people behind us.  Maybe they were busy watching Caddy Shack or off on some golf vacation.

*Names changed, as usual, as I must live in this neighborhood.


NO BUTTS ABOUT IT

 

 

 

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Well, it finally happened.  I had been predicting this announcement and it arrived in the mail the other day.  A brochure reading:

“THE DAY SCIENCE WENT UP IN SMOKE”—and why the right amount of tobacco could actually be good for you.  This smoking- hot news comes from a certain Marc S. Micozzi, Ph.D.  The hip doctor goes on to report that tobacco is “Nature’s oldest stress reducer” and that according to a study done by “a team of great young scientists”,  people who smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day are not only healthier and happier, but slimmer as well.  Now he’s talking.

Micozzi blames the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for bad-mouthing smoking.   He urges the group to stop focusing on that 1 in 10 smoker who gets lung cancer, and focus instead on why 9 out of 10 smokers never get lung cancer.

He does not mention clogged arteries, tongue, throat, and /or mouth cancer nor the deadly heart attacks and debilitating strokes associated with his beloved cigarettes. 

I wonder if he smokes?  If so, not more than half a pack a day, I’d bet.

And then we hear just yesterday that mammograms do more harm than good.  Great…I just had my annual last week.  Oh well…I’ll just light up ten cigarettes later today and consider myself healthy.

And keep shaking that salt as now too little is detrimental for our overall well-being and could be worse than too much salt.  But stay away from sugar unless it is natural/unprocessed and eat pork as long as it is from a lean pig, preferably one who smokes around 10 cigs a day.   And enjoy beef only if cow was grass fed but stay away from fish as it can deliver far more mercury than we need to keep kicking.

 And be aware next time you fly that those blankets you put over your face while sleeping in flight have NOT been laundered—just folded up and stuck back in a plastic bag.  And the water on board, unless it is bottled, is the same as that in the toilet.  And speaking of sleeping, many airline pilots admit to falling asleep at the controls.  Someone best keep an eye on the cockpit.  And the lavatories as well as people will soon be lighting up again if you listen to Dr. M.

So…there you have it–health advice for 2014 which undoubtedly will change by 2015 if not sooner.   And by the way, I haven’t kept up with the latest on alcohol consumption as I am afraid I won’t agree with what I might learn.

So for now—

“Gotta light?”