Friday, June 26, 2009

Quesadillas, the Solar System, and Michael Jackson

My dad and brother are in town and we are out in West Marin living the good life (there are oysters and wine and Cowgirl Creamery cheeses in our future so I am happy).

Whenever my dad is out, he tests my kids on their language skills. My kids go to Spanish immersion daycare and are getting quite good at their second language, something my dad is really into it. He's always asking me what they can say and understand and testing their comprehension. He likes to test kids. During the summers he used to make me do my times tables in Roman numerals and write essays about the solar system (mine explained in exquisite detail about how the sun circled the Earth). It sounds tortuous but I enjoyed it at the time. I've always been kind of sick about impressing my dad, hence deciding to do my junior years abroad in Hungary. Hungary? No one goes there.
Anyway, today in the minivan on the way to West Marin he was testing Maggie. And for the most part, she was doing pretty well.

Dad: Como se dice "cat" en Espanol?
Maggie: Gato.
Dad: Como se dice "rat" en Espanol?
Maggie: Raton!
Dad (entering a tunnel): Como se dice "tunnel en Espanol?
Maggie: Quesadilla!

It's the three-year-old version of the essay about the sun circling the Earth, I guess.

A thing I like

I leave with this, because, whatever else he was, he was the pop star of my generation. And this is a great song.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A lid for every pot

Just when I am feeling burnt out at work and wondering if magazine work is the life for me, I get a press release like this and my day just shines right up. There are options, people. You can become a "nationally recognized cheese lady." It's a real job.


Angela Hxxxxx

Food Insight

(515) 669-xxxx

Photos available upon request

Ar-R-R-Rg, Cheese Lady Be Tying the Knot

Wisconsin Native Using Cheese to Celebrate Nuptials

(Manitowoc, WI) - On July 4, near the shore of Lake Michigan, Sarah Kaufmann, “The Cheese Lady,” will marry Bill Parry in an outdoor ceremony in Manitowoc, Wisc.

Sarah Kaufmann, born and raised in Manitowoc, is better known as Sarah “The Cheese Lady,” a nationally- recognized cheese sculptor. She has carved hundreds of commissions across the globe including several dozen wedding requests.

Sarah met Bill, a retired U.S. Naval officer, while traveling to San Diego to present a 600 pound, six-foot-long USS Ronald Reagan cheese carving at the home-porting ceremony. “We met because of cheese and everything we do is because of cheese,” Sarah says as she explains her wedding plans.

Sarah and Bill will host a pirate-themed wedding, complete with a 32-foot long ship, christened the MV (Matrimonial Vessel) Cheese Lady near the banks of Lake Michigan. Guests received their cheese carving illustrated invitations via messages in glass bottles and have been instructed to attend in full costume. On the wedding day, yellow flags with blue anchors announcing “Love Anchored in Cheese” will fly from the ship’s yardarm and decorate the tents. “Even our wedding rings are designed to look like cheese – bands of gold with cheese dimples and holes!” exclaimed Sarah.

In true “Cheese Lady” fashion, Sarah has ensured her favorite food will be fully incorporated. Sarah will create a Jolly Roger cheese carving for the appetizer table; Bill will cut out cheese hearts of Pepper Jack, his favorite, and gold "dubbloon coin" circles of yellow cheddar. There will also be a Wisconsin artisan cheese tray, made by Sara Hill of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

The “Supper for the Crew” menu created by Linda Miller and provided by Jim Vnuk of All Occasion Catering in Manitowoc, will consist of whole turkey legs roasted pirate style, roast pork with sauerkraut, corn on the cob, summertime garden fresh salad, chunky fruit salad, carrot cake with Jolly Roger flag art and Cedar Crest ice cream with Wisconsin summer berries and chocolate fudge sauce. Beverages will include lemonade (with or without grog!), Wisconsin microbrews, Wisconsin old-fashioneds, Captain Morgan spiced rum, and other assorted spirits. “And Limes! So we don’t get scurvy,” Sarah added.

In full pirate garb, surrounded by friends, family and cheese, Sarah and Bill won’t need to “Say Cheese” to keep smiles on their faces.

About Sarah “The Cheese Lady” -Sarah “The Cheese Lady” is a nationally recognized cheese sculptor. Since 1996, she has received hundreds of commissions for her cheese creations, which have captured countless media impressions. Kaufmann creates some sculptures in her studios in Cincinnati and San Diego and also appears in person to sculpt cheese at a variety of venues: food wine festivals, supermarkets, tradeshows, state fairs, sporting events, civic celebrations and other special occasions.


A thing I like

500 Pieces of Prudent Advice for My Baby Daughter is the best blog I've read in a long time. I opened it and immediately read all 126 posts in one sitting. And let me just say, they all ring true, every one. I wish I had had a list like this to start me out; it would have saved me a long and painful learning curve in many cases. My favorite:

#111 Root for other people.

It seems obvious, but as you grow you'll find yourself occasionally surprised by something selfish languishing inside of someone where you didn't expect it. Try not to think it's intentional, somewhere in our DNA it seems to be programmed that for every success for someone else, there is one less success for us. For every book published, there is one less book we will publish, for every baby had, there is one less baby for us to have. Of course, that is illogical. Fight off those thoughts; there is an unlimited amount of potential for everyone in this universe. Championing others is kind, and even more, it's a display of optimism that will seep into you and color your view of this life.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Portraits of Venice

A few of my Venetian friends. They look a little stiff, but they're great once you get to know them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

FAQs about Venice

FAQs about my trip to Venice.

Q. Did you row an outrigger canoe in the Adriatic with a bunch of Italian jocks after a two-hour lunch of prosecco and fried fish?
A. Yes.

Q. Did you and H. hold hands like school girls everywhere you went?
A. Yes, when we weren't hanging on each other like teenagers.

Q. Did you visit the world's oldest Jewish ghetto and did H. try to seduce an orthodox Yeshiva student while there?
A. Yes.

Q. Was she successful?
A. No, but we did eat an incredible kosher meal.

Q. Did you ride a bike down the length of the Lido after a two hour lunch of prosecco and fried fish?
A. Yes, but it was pasta with crab.

Q. Did you miss your kids?
A. Yes.

Q. Did you miss them so much it ruined your trip?
A. Not even close.

Q. How was that free apartment you had?
A. Perfect. Not fancy but in a perfect location near Santo Stefano and San Samuele with a view of the rooftops.

Q. Who's the dude?
A. His name is Fulvio. I have no idea why he liked us so much, but he did. We liked him too. He plays the trumpet and owns the newspaper stand that his grandfather owned. He showed us all sorts of locals-only things about Venice, like how it's impossible to scoot around the fourth column of St. Mark's without falling. We tried it. It is impossible.

Q. Didn't your eyes start to hurt from all the beauty?
A. As a matter of fact, they did. But it was nothing a glass of prosecco and a fried sardine couldn't cure.

Q. What did you buy?
A. Not that much, actually. A cute tote bag (see above) from a textile designer we met, some antique glass samples from Murano at a flea market we went to, some soccer sweatshirts for my kids, some Band-Aids for my foot after I sliced it open on those barnacles.

Q. Did you and H. get along?
A. It was like having a sexless affair. We more than got along, we were in love. Venice will do that to a person.

Q. It sounds like you ate a lot of fried fish. Did you get fat?
A. Um, what do you think? But I started kinda fat too.

Q. Did you fantasize about moving your whole family to Venice?
A. Yes, constantly.

Q. But how would you make a living?
A. I'm thinking if we go soon, while the kids are still cute, they would make great street urchins.

More questions about Venice, the most beautiful city on Earth? Ask away. I could go on all day.

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