The Friday Chef

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Monday, November 15, 2004
Spotlight On

LadyJane, who seemed a little worried to be referred to as a "regular" at Hamstertime.  I don't know where she finds the time to do anything regularly, between raising kids and collecting egg shells.  I really admire her.

Name: Melissa

Age: 37

Location: Upstate New York, Finger Lakes - wine country, baby!

Where were you born? Houston, Texas

Tell us about the members of your household. I have had 6 children, 1 for somebody else. I am down to 3 living with me currently as 2 feel that the house rules "suck". But they are both teenage girls, so now we have a great relationship. My oldest, Scarlett, is graduating HS this year, turning 18 on Thanksgiving Day! Wow, cannot believe she will be leaving the nest for college this summer. She is going to be a Biology Teacher. My only boy is 7, in second grade. Kevin Merlin (means handsome falcon) and he is amazing! Taught himself to read by 4 yrs old – we thought he had just memorized the books until he started reading the TV captions on Ricki Lake. He came in the room, and I didn’t want him to hear what the show was about – teenage prostitution, and he started asking about what he was reading!!! My youngest, Calysta Raeven (means most beautiful blackbird) is in Kindergarten. She is suffering from youngest child bitch-iness. She has her Dad wrapped around her finger and thinks the world should bow at her feet. She and I go a few rounds every day. Then she says something adorable and I silently agree with her that maybe her way is more fun, but rules are rules.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A Las Vegas Showgirl! I wanted to wear the mega high heels, do the can-can, and wear a ton of make-up, walk around half naked and sparkly! I used to practice walking down stairs, and begged for dancing lessons. Then one day I saw my IDOL, taking off her toe shoes, and man!!! her feet were FUGLY!!! I quit the next day. I have pretty toes to this day.

What do you do now, career-wise? I am an Office Manager. I keep track of all the shipments, orders, job progress notes and problems. I feel like a fact checker at the Library of Congress. I am in training to become a Project Manager (read – keep her following that carrot) but nowhere near the goal. I have worked for Temp agencies mostly, so have a variety of skills for administration.

What were mealtimes like for you as a child? I had to sit in between 2 of my brothers, one right handed, the other a leftie. I would get elbowed on both sides, and had to eat as fast as I could to get every bite. In our family, once the serving bowls were empty, you started on the plate next to you. Eat fast or starve was the family joke. My parents cooked, we did not go out to eat very often. My favorite meal now, least then, is "Collins Crap" a family recipe my Mom would make. When I still hated it, I remember crying when my Mom discovered Hamburger Helper, and they made a box just like Collins Crap.

Did you ever like any of your school photos? Only the first and the last. My first - kindergarten I am in a really frilly, lacy pink dress with white tights on. I am smiling very big, hands on my lap, sitting up straight, ankles crossed.... and have a huge hole in the tights which shows cause my knees are wide apart. The church where I went has that class picture hanging in the office to this day! My Senior picture, I had just gotten a Joan Jet hair do, dyed it a magenta, with a bleach blond rat tail, extremely pale skin, and the jet black mega eyeliner look was in. I am wearing a magenta boa and squeezing the girls up and together for some killer cleavage. (yea, kind of a tart-ish look, I must have been Gypsy Rose Lee in another life)

What was your first date like? A friend set me up when I was 17, we went to the beach. We were late coming back, and when I stopped by my house to get my uniform, I ran inside and fell and got HUGE rug burn and gash on knee/leg. Date kept looking at me, I started chatting as if nothing had happened, trying to cross my legs to hide the bleeding, but didn't ask. Never heard from him again. Ended up getting 10 stitches later that night when the bleeding wouldn't stop, and my boss drove me to the ER.

What is in your vegetable bin? Some old lettuce, lots of apples and oranges, baby carrots, and some egg shells that my kids think look like Humpty Dumpty, so refuse to let me throw out.

Do you enjoy cooking? I love to cook; unfortunately, my family prefers plain meals. My kids could live on rice and kool-aid. When I try something fun, they look at me as if I served up road kill. I am actually a really good chef, and use my talents for Potluck dinners when they arise. People rave about my offerings, so that keeps me happy serving Mac n Cheese with hotdogs 3 nights a week to the family. My kids are happy that they can make Frito-pie, so they think that they can cook also.

What color is your car? a bronze/brown

Are you having a good hair day? Not today, my roots are showing, and I am seeing more grey than black!!! I dye my hair red still.

What is your favorite perfume? Xia Xiang - discontinued, I am reduced to buying used bottles on Ebay, but most days I wear Obsession. I love some really cheap stuff called Tojours Moi - about $3 a gallon I can still find at Big Lots.

What was your favorite subject in school? My favorite subject in college was English. I write a mean essay, and my term papers kick ass. Once when turning in a paper for I was appalled that I got back a 97. It was the worst paper I had ever done. I had simply taken the vocabulary words, and mixed them up. Took them one by one and incorporated them into a sentence that fit in with the subject of the paper. The teacher and I spent a few classes arguing whether he had actually read the paper, or had he simply been looking for key words. We also argued about the value of a final paper that is 1/8 of your final grade. I had a 99 in the class so far, so I proposed that I skip the paper and get a C for final grade. He told me that actually, the final paper was the final grade, and I would get a 0 for the class if I skipped it. See the logic? Why do any of the semester work if he only counts the final paper?

What is your middle name? Geraldyn - named after ----Gah! Flip Wilson and the Saint Gerard. I dint know what my parents were thinking!!!!! It is spelled differently on every official ID I have - birth cert, school records, military records - dint know how they meant to spell it, I like to think they meant to name me Gerilyn and the nuns messed it up.

What is your favorite holiday? I love Easter! Not the basket part as I don’t like chocolate, and boiling all those eggs can be fun, but the endless egg salad sandwiches that follow blow. I love getting the new pastel dresses, the lacy hose, the white shoes, the pretty parasol that goes with the dress, and can't forget the new purse to go with the outfit. In addition, since I have 5 girls, we all get new frilly things! Can you tell I am from the south?

What type of books do you like to read? I read almost everything. I am currently re-reading all the Harry Potter books, making notes in the margins, trying to figure out who the Half Blood Prince will be. I also just finished re-reading Canterbury Tales (my daughter had it for a class and needed help understanding it) I am slowly getting to not loving (she used to be my favorite) Laurell K. Hamilton - she is getting porn-ish, but I still will read the Anita Blake/Merry Gentry series to the end.

What else do you do for fun? I do crossword puzzles, and watch Croatian Big Brother. I don’t know what they are saying, but it fascinates me. I also watch BtVS, if I am not watching it, my kids are. You gotta love a girl who kicks ass and takes names. Just finished Season 5, and cried again when Joyce died. Sniff.

What is your favorite type of cookie? Have to be those Girl Scout cookies - Animal Treasures!! Don’t know what it is, but FLOVE them!

Do you have any helpful household hints to share? I used to spend a lot of time cleaning. I wanted my house to be spotless. I wanted to feel that anytime the Pope was in town, he could drop by unannounced and I wouldn’t die of filthy house shame. Well, the Pope never came, and I realized that I was spending more time getting aggravated that I live with pigs than enjoying the actual pigs. Now we are semi-messy, but my kids talk about when we made the pińata, or decided to have that pillow fight, and even make cookies instead of doing the floors that day. I realized that I did not want their memories of me to be that I was a great housekeeper, I want them to remember that we had fun and spent time together. The house is cluttered, but there is always a group around laughing and making new memories.

Thanks, LadyJane, for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions! 

Posted at 10:07 am by ChefGrace
(4) Shout Outs  

Sunday, November 14, 2004
Um, Houston?

It wasn't "we" who had a problem, it was them.  The Texans got their asses handed to them today in a 49-14 win by the Colts.  I think Houston QB and prettyboy David Carr was more worried about if his part was straight than playing the game.
The Colts made the win look effortless, and even had a awesome-looking defense today. Manning and Vanderjact certainly earned their paychecks this week, as did Von Hutchins, who intercepted a pass, then ran 77 yards for the final touchdown.  Indy was penalized for celebrating in the end zone, but who could blame them?!  I was dancing, too!

Indy is still tied with Jacksonville (6-3) for the lead spot in the AFC South division.  You go, boys!

Posted at 05:23 pm by ChefGrace
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Saturday, November 13, 2004
Baby Got Back

This morning, I told Overg that I didn't know what to blog about today. He said he had an idea for me, and since he's the boss of me, I figured I'd do whatever he said.

Well, here's the link he sent me.  I told him that TVJ had already posted something about the story on her blog.  He seemed disappointed, because it was such a great subject~ one that he really enjoys talking about, (especially his own), so as not to disappoint him, I shall post a picture of my butt, since it is now in style. 

Posted at 07:38 pm by ChefGrace
(3) Shout Outs  

Friday, November 12, 2004
Food Friday!

What's better than a bowl of chili on a cold autumn day? 
Well, it reallly depends on the chili.

Here in the midwest, chili is often made with tomatoes, beans, and [gasp] macaroni.  Although this can be tasty, it is not authentic chili.  In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything resembling a true chili on any table or menu this side of the Mason-Dixon line.  My Mom enjoys making chili, although hers is of the midwestern variety,  it is the reason I started experimenting with chili recipes years ago.  I have several variations that I use, according to my mood, or more likely, who I'm cooking for.  There are thousands of chili recipes available, although many of us who are well-seasoned cooks, (heh), don't typically use a recipe.  This was a problem when friends asked for my formula, because  I don't really have one.  So, I spent a considerable amount of time online today, looking for recipes that were similar to what I consider a fairly authentic chili.  Take some time to look at the links below, then do yourself a favor by making a batch of real chili.

I've also included one of my favorite beverages to consume while eating anything spicy.

Chili of Excellence (my "secret" ingredient is ground cumin)

"Texas Red" Chili con Carne

Better than Margaritas

1 cup tequila, Cuervo Gold
1 cup limeade frozen concentrate
1 cup beer
Fill your blender nearly to the top with ice cubes, add the tequila and frozen limeade straight from the can and blend until smooth. Pour the beer into a pitcher and add the frozen mix to it. Stir.  Pour into glasses with salted rims.  DO NOT put the beer into the blender, or you'll be a sorry, foamy mess.

Posted at 01:46 pm by ChefGrace
(9) Shout Outs  

Thursday, November 11, 2004
Reeeeaar, Hiiiisssss

Something must be in the air.  Many of my friends seem to be in a mood today, so at least I'm in good company.  No, I don't need Midol.  No, my children aren't on my nerves, and  NO, I don't feel like getting over it.  At least not now. 
So, in honor of my very rare mood, I present


Posted at 01:25 pm by ChefGrace
(5) Shout Outs  

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