Seeking Asylum at the Kids’ Table

20 09 2010

Adulthood isn’t easy. Even having fun is harder and there are a lot more things that are not fun at all that you have to deal with. The past couple of years have highlighted to an astonishing degree my failings in the adulthood department, but I doubt that some things get easier as one ages and the catalyst for this post is one of them.

My friend from college has cancer and she’s twenty-five-years-old.

For me, it’s enough of a surreal experience watching my friends and cousins who are my age getting married. Here I am unable to commit to anything and they’re all pledging to spend their lives with this one special person. And don’t even get me started on what a mind trip my friends having babies is. That’s all mind-boggling to me but finding out someone who graduated college with me, drank Guinness in the dorm with me, rocked out to old school music (like the Clash) with me, and someone whose marriage I was toasting a little over a year ago is now on chemo and battling a deadly decease just doesn’t compute. That stuff happens to other people – older, other people. She’s too young for that. I found out a few days ago and I still can’t absorb it. I went to my uncle’s 50th birthday party and I feel bad because my brain was miles away. It’s a wonder no one asked my mother if I was on drugs or something equally mind altering. Frankly, I’m shocked that the cupcakes came out as good as they did.

That’s it. This is how it is. This is adult life where pixie dust and wishes made on birthday candles have no effect on problems and there are few completely happy endings. I should deal with things like an adult – but I’m not very good at that, so I wrote a blog post about it. All I can do is hope that she recovers fully and quickly, but it doesn’t seem fair.

Cooking Channel vs. Food Network – Cooking Channel Wins!

7 09 2010

I’m in total foodie mode… and I’m loving it.

I visited a culinary school last week and, as I’m trying to figure out how I can get a hold of tuition money legally, what does my channel surfing lead me to but the Cooking Channel. It’s a younger, more “indie” version of the Food Network and, in my humble opinion, it blows them out of the water. There are more baking shows and more internationally themed shows – there’s even one about Vietnamese food that runs on Sunday mornings. I like Vietnamese food, so that’s a plus for me. They also run old school stuff in the afternoon – Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet There are the usual big names, Mario Batali, Nigella Lawson, and Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) among others – but the best bit, the one that seals the deal for me is that on Saturdays at 10 pm they run the Two Fat Ladies.

I used to watch this with my grandmother, on PBS I think, ages ago. It a blend of comedy and cooking that is really fun to watch. Jennifer Patterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright, two plump, British matrons, drive around the English countryside on a motorcycle (one rode in a side car) and cook and laugh – at themselves, and other, and always at vegetarians. The ladies use butter and lard and cream and everything else you shouldn’t eat, their jokes get a little bawdy at times, and either one is liable to break into song or verse at any time. It’s too politically incorrect to have been made here and when it ran on Food Network a while back it was heavily edited. I only saw two episodes on the Cooking Channel, but they seemed to be the full episodes. This makes a big difference with this particular show because, unlike Rachel Ray and other popular TV chefs, these two don’t bombard you with a never-ending stream of dialogue. They talk when they have reason to, so once someone starts clipping away dialogue, it can get pretty sparse. Even if the heavy, very traditional recipes laden with high calorie ingredients sound out-of-place and unsuited for our super high paced lives, the show’s emphasis on local, fresh, natural ingredients will sound very current.

So far, I’m enjoying the Cooking Channel and it’s fresher style and approach to creating an entire lineup dedicated solely to food. It definitely seems geared to a different crowd than Food Network. Maybe its younger people, maybe it’s more of a difference in tastes, but whatever the difference, I’d definitely suggest checking it out.

On a more personal, but still very “foodie” note, I have another large baking project for my family. My uncle’s turning fifty and I’ve been asked to make the cupcakes. I’m throwing in port wine taralli for added deliciousness. A portion of both cupcakes and taralli will be gluten-free. There will be pictures, but I honestly don’t know when they’ll show up. They’ll just surprise you one day.