NachosSerious, serious subject here: nachos.  They’re the topic of big debate in our household.  And it’s not like we kick back on the couch eating nachos and drinking beer every night, but on the odd occasion they’re required.  Like Oscar night, The Bachelor After The Final Rose, or Friday night Ultimate Fighting (which is clearly not my preference, but as we all know, marriage occasionally involves compromise).

Like the Gestalt notion that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, nachos can be transcendental, but only when the piece parts are systematically thought through.

And here’s where Rodney and I argue. I won’t go into detail about our nacho discussions, but a few major categories we tackle on a regular basis include:

1. Fake cheese or real cheese (you will be very surprised to find out which side of the debate I fall on there).  OK, I won’t hold out on you.  FAKE!  Yes, I love it, in certain situations.  Not all the time.  In fact I’m disgusted by it most of the time, but in the case of nachos, it’s essential. 

Fake cheese works best here because it melts, and stays melted. So, long after the nachos have cooled off, the cheese is still gooey.  Unlike shredded cheddar, which tends to clump.  And we all know the result here.  Several highly covetable compound nachos that are stuck together with the bulk of the toppings.  You pretend that you’re not interested, you play hard to get, but really, you only have eyes for those welded clumps and silently curse your nacho eating partner when he (and it’s always a he) takes those first.  Leaving the dry chip fragments at the bottom whose only hope is to be scraped against the salsa/sour cream blob that is now starting to harden on the side of the platter.

2. Style of tortilla chip, again critical.  I prefer to buy organic white corn (they somehow go best with aforementioned fake cheese), but Rodney likes the big GMO-based restaurant-style Tostitos.  He thinks they’re a perfect match for his favorite Tostitos salsa.  To me that stuff tastes like chunky tomato sauce and would make my post-nacho digestion experience even more nauseating than usual.  I generally try to convince him that the jar in the fridge is unuseable.  Like I found a shard of glass in it.  Or it’s got some kind of spore growing on the surface.  Usually that’s enough to convince him, although ever since he came home drunk 10 years ago and ate a full jar of moldy salsa without consequence, he’s been less deterred by the second reason.


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MacandcheeseThis post is about mac ‘n cheese.  But it’s more than that.  It’s about friendship.  It’s about love.

We have a friend.  Let’s just call him Roby.  Could be Robert, could be Toby.  Could actually be Moby, but I don’t know Moby.  Although I do like his music.  But for reasons that will become clear shortly, I’d like to protect our friend’s identity.

I went to a birthday dinner last week for Roby, and during dinner, gifts started to fly across the table. I sat there, paralyzed, realizing that I’d forgotten to get him something.  This, after neglecting to make him the mac ‘n cheese I’d promised for assembling two bunk beds I’d ordered on sale from Walmart.  That had just a few pieces really, maybe between 500 and 5,000.

Roby is a good friend, you see.  Probably the greatest friend you could ask for.  Such a close friend that he became ordained by the Universal Life Church and served as the pastor at our wedding.  Rodney returned the favor several years later by marrying Roby to his beautiful wife Rihanna (again, protecting the innocent here).

Our wedding day was perfection. We got married on a hidden beach in Mexico on the Pacific Coast, not too far from Zihuatanejo, surrounded by beloved friends and family members.

The alter was simple.  It wasn’t a formal affair, just the three of us standing together, flanked by our bridesmaids and groomsmen, our guests a few feet back, fanning themselves in the golden glow of sunset.  My heels sank into the mat on the sand, making the height difference between me and Rodney even more awkward and pronounced.  At one point I became panicked and confused, thinking that I was marrying Pablo Escobar, but relief swept over me when I looked up from the billowing white suit, and saw Rodney’s smiling face looking down on me.

In between us stood Roby. 

From the get-go, he enchanted the audience with his deep baritone. I never realized that he possessed such a voice, but he was clearly inspired, moved by the occasion.

“Good evening…” he boomed from the mic. 

What Roby didn’t know was that in the center of his crisply-pressed linen pants, seeped quite a significant pee stain.  How big?  Bigger than a quarter…maybe not as big as a sand dollar.  But pretty sizable given his perch.

I don’t proclaim to know what men do when they’ve finished their business- if there is a thwack-thwack that needs to happen before the underwear gets pulled back into position.  Or a gentle shake.  But clearly this hadn’t happened.  No thwack. No shake. 


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Rodney hates getting the question of where we met.  Because in his mind, the office is the least cool place to meet your future wife.

I, on the other hand, disagree.

It was 1999 when I first laid eyes on his tall and lanky frame.  I was fresh out of school, eyes wide open and exhilarated about moving to New York City.

If you really want to hear about uncool stories, you could rewind the tape 9 months to my Senior year in college, when I could be found holed away in our campus library, applying to a slew of fine institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. In my free time, when there was any, I’d relax in my room watching my two favorite movies on repeat: Wall Street and Working Girl.

Recognizing that I may have just lost half of my readers with this story, let me try another tactic:


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If you ever visit our lakehouse in the summer, you can be sure of a few things. 

Salt & vinegar chips will be eaten with abandon.  The house will be a mess from all the kids running indoors, then outdoors, then back inside, wet bathing suits strewn about, ice pop drips on the floor. 

Although Saturdays are perfection, with no looming threat of a late afternoon road trip back to the city, Sundays are wonderful too. In some ways it’s like Groundhog Day, consistent in its ritual-like events and activities.

As often happens, I wake up to a toddler princess climbing into the bed next to me in bed, still in her costume from the night before. 

My hair is in a tangled mess, and I make no attempt to comb it before heading downstairs to greet the day.  Like Emma, I’m also wearing the same clothes from the night before, having collapsed into bed from exhaustion (or a few too many beers).

It’s often chilly in the mornings, so on top of the previous night’s clothes, I throw on my gigantic wool sweater vest that was woven from Chewbacca’s chest hair. Not kidding, I got it on Ebay.

Here’s what I’d look like if I wore it on a girls’ trip to Vegas.


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KalepastaI swore I’d never pick up a bunch of kale or chard again after my summer battle with a CSA box.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the weekly box, but it nearly cost me my sanity.

Let me explain.  I was pregnant for the third time the summer of 2011.  Maybe I felt that between the job, two kids, and a husband who likes to leave his dirty socks and towels on the floor I needed a little more work.  So I ordered a CSA box. No clue what that is?  Click here.

“Lovely”, “Fresh veggies!”, “All summer long!”….you may think all of these things, and you would be severely misled.  The people who can handle the  onslaught of a CSA box for 22 straight weeks either have 1) an army of angry vegan men at home who demand a sustainably-grown dinner every night, 2) several hours (times ten) of free time to lovingly wash, prep, store and cook a large box of dirt-caked vegetables every week, or 3) an insane desire to make truckloads of vegetarian lasagna.

I was shoehorned into the third category, but not by choice.  It was the only meal I could make on a mass-produced scale to use up the mountain of chard and kale that landed on my doorstep every Tuesday.  It was like whack-a-mole meets Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Before I start to sound ungrateful, let me concede that it was one of the more satisfying projects I’ve ever undertaken in the kitchen.  But I was totally overwhelmed.  Maybe it was that I was too accustomed to Whole Foods sanitizing my veggies with a firehose before they land on the shelves.  Or that I just had too much going on at work.  Or that I GAVE BIRTH that summer and could have used a little less time on my feet.  Like someone who pigs out on pizza and can never hear the word again, I thought my relationship with kale was forever doomed.


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