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Damned with Faint Praise

While hospitality is not particularly high on my list of spiritual gifts, and my friends are secretly thankful due to my woeful lack of kitchen creativity, I am a member of a little “suppah club,” as we call it down here, and this Friday night is my night.

(I was actually supposed to host this event at my home four months ago, but that was in the middle of removing/saving Edward from the computer magnet academy Kindergarten class, and I was far too stressed to prepare food for my own family, much less this supper club set.  Instead, I offered to bring several bottles of red wine to the only brown bag restaurant in this chain-restaurant obsessed town and everyone agreed unanimously that this was much safer and pleasant for all involved.)

I dodged that bullet only to come back on the rotation for July.  So H, being the kind, generous, supportive husband that he is, offered to go to Sam’s with Edward to procure the items I needed for this most basic sort of menu: Pork Tenderloin, Baked Potatoes, Garlic Green Beans and Banana Pudding.

This is sort of a pinnacle menu for me, and H has offered to grill the tenderloin and prepare the green beans, therefore leaving me unfettered to focus on the pudding and starch because, as he encourages, “You are so good with the baked potato.”

And if that’s not damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is.

(If all else fails, I do have a giant Cheez Whiz Spaghetti casserole sitting in my freezer. It’s been waiting in the wings for the next shut-in, and I relish the security of this preparedness like Pa would a smokehouse full of venison.  Note the Kinnickkinnick gf/cf bread in the upper left-hand corner–Edward’s favorite!)

Edward watches H carefully select the super packs of pork tenderloin.  He screws his face into his signature snarlish growl.  “Not PORK!  Have you forgotten about trichinosis?  How long are you going to cook it?  No one should eat this!”

Of course, he blathers on and on about foodborne illness and trichinella worms until H bribes him with Brewsters.  He quiets down with the promise of his favorite casein/color/artificial flavor-free lemon sorbet.

Fast forward to the Brewsters.  H and Edward are waiting in line.  A young man approaches the window carrying a largish zebra-striped purse that he is apparently planning to give to his girlfriend who works at the Brewsters.  Edward immediately bellows:

“Look at that hip hop man carrying that purse.  Now that is just wrong!”

Another father leans over to H, amused concern in his eyes, and kind of whispers: “Did he say ‘hip hop man’?”

“Yep…’fraid so.”

Posted on 24 July '08 by , under "Did He Just Say ?", GF/CF Diet/Food Reviews, Huswifery. 3 Comments.

“Casseroles, Shut-Ins and Feminism”

There’s not a lot out there on the “shut-in,” and sadly, people just don’t talk about them much anymore.  (They used to be an official heading in most church bulletins in the South.)  One thing is certain, however, the shut-in is desperate for casseroles—and lots of them.

In case you’re not Southern, Dictionary.com defines a “shut-in” as a “a person confined by infirmity or disease to the house, a hospital, etc.”

As a former graduate level feminist-theory student turned Christian homeschool mom, I have an interesting perspective on the casserole.  When I finally succumbed to marriage at 27, I was fresh out of grad school.

So it’s no mystery why I sobbed openly when my mother’s cousin presented me with a blue and white quilted “casserole caddy” (complete with a pink bow) during a wedding shower held in a church multi-purpose room.  At that point, I had never made a casserole, could not imagine myself doing such, and was convinced my life as a married woman would render me scrubbing grout lines and analyzing the benefits of Biz over Whisk.

It’s also not surprising that a few weeks after marrying, I began drinking a few too many Joseph’s Cherries (raspberry seltzer with grenadine and vodka) and trying my hand at huswifery.  The results were tragic:  Endless, crumbly, dry peach cobblers and an attempt at falafel that tasted like soap.  H renamed the dish “cho cho balls.”

Now, 13 years and three children later, I actually have a casserole argument.  H exhibits severe disdain for my casseroles; yet he exults that if I am providing a meal for a “shut-in” family, my own family goes without.  And that is true.  But truthfully my own family is glad–they will get takeout Mexican.  And the shut-ins’ are happy to see my casseroles coming!  They are shut in—they have no choice…no ability to go out and get some alternative.  And I’ll tell you they all ask for the recipes when it’s all said and done so what does that say about my casserole-popularity?

I have two offerings for the shut-in: “Wild Rice Chicken Casserole,” or a “Cheez Whiz Spaghetti Casserole.”

So my dear friend Ashley calls me yesterday to make sure I knew some friends had a motorcycle accident and were going to be “shut in” for a while.  She asks, “So which one are you doing, “the chicken” or “that Cheez Whiz thing?”

Am I that predictable?

“Yeah, it sucks to be a ‘shut-in’ in this town,”  H encourages.

Posted on 14 July '08 by , under Huswifery. 4 Comments.

A Month Late–Should I Worry?

I am 42.  I guess we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.



My cool friend Hopealso at Hippie Dippie Bebe tagged me a month ago for a “Seven Random Things” write-up.  I’m so happy to be tagged by Hope because she is one of my very first bloggy friends, and was the first (and only) person to ‘Stumble’ me.  (I didn’t know what it meant at the time, and I barely know now but it’s lovely and grand.)

Please check out Hope’s blog because she has tons of information on green parenting, nursing and attachment parenting.  (She even makes her own organic butt paste!)  In my town we would call her a “long-breastfeeding-artsy-type.” It’s a compliment, to be sure.

When I first moved to the small Southern town where I now dwell, I had two groups of friends: the “bobbed-hair-bottle-feeding-girls-whose-children-did-gymnastics” AND the “long-breast-feeding-artsy-types-whose-children-did-Music-Together.” I didn’t orchestrate this nomenclature; you can be certain my darling husband did.  And, to make everyone feel less stressed, rest assured you can dwell in both groups at the same time.  (I know I did, and still do.)

I digress.  Most of you know I am all about rules and order.  Yep.

The Rules

Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.  (Wow, I never list rules.  Will people revolt?)

Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog – some random, some weird.  (The weird ones should be easy.)

Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.  (My, I’ve done this so many times, who should I choose?  Who have I already chosen? Who cares?)

Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.  (Nahhh, they can find it on their own, right?)

7 Facts About Myself

1.  My mother once accidentally used my pumped breast milk on her All Bran.  She didn’t find out what it was until after she had finished two fiber-filled bowls.

2.  My breast milk always did look like skim milk.

3.  Maybe that’s why my children all had issues gaining weight.  Still I nursed them all until they were over a year old…the youngest one until she was 2 ½.  She called nursing “nernie,” and recently asked me why her “nernies” weren’t as big as mine.  Mine are only a largish A cup.


4.  I used to pump every night at 10:00 p.m. while watching Law & Order reruns.  One time when I was pumping, my husband interrupted me.  I got mad because I missed the important “crime part” before the “cha-chung” sound on the show. He was interrupting me to let me know I had I forgotten to hook the tubes to the milk bottles.  I had pumped a cup of milk into my comforter.  I missed the entire episode changing the bed.

5.  My 1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet Convertible was stolen in 1993 and torched as part of a gang initiation ceremony.  I found this out because the “gang” was required to leave seven singed one-dollar bills in the back seat.  They did.  The only reclaimable item in my car was a Pyrex casserole dish, which remained unscathed.  I still use that very same casserole dish to make “Cheeze Whiz Spaghetti” for “shut-ins”.  Many times to start that car you had to hit the starter with a large slotted serving spoon.  I kept the spoon in my car at all times.  The spoon did not survive the fire.

6.  I attend a wonderfully free-spirited Christian start-up church housed in a defunct Saturn dealership. Some of these people go to that church.  Don’t they look cool?  Which ones do you think are the “long-breast-feeding-artsy-types?”


7.  My parents are horrified.  (By the church, not the friends.  Well, at least not by some of them…)

OK, who to tag?  I have no idea.  If you’d like to write about this and stay within the strange themes presented, please press on!  If you’d like to write and want to orchestrate your own themes, please do so!

Peace out!

Posted on 10 March '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 18 Comments.