Archive for the ‘snickers’ Category

How I Ended Up in the ER One New Year’s Eve (but it wasn’t my fault)

ER signIt all started with gnocchi.  Leave it to the Italians to turn potatoes into pasta.  That’s what gnocchi is, if you were wondering.  Yes, now that I look back, the whole thing was the gnocchi’s fault.

Actually, it was Lidia’s fault.  This particular New Year’s Eve, Chef Lidia Bastianich, my husband’s favorite, was on television demonstrating how to make gnocchi, by taking perfectly good mashed potatoes, adding flour and an egg, and rolling them out into a strip.  She cut the strips  into little pieces with a knife and then rolled the dough along a fork to achieve ridges that hold the sauce or pesto.  Let them dry, cook them like pasta, and presto, another high-carb Italian favorite is born.  Sounds simple, right?

It was really my husband’s fault.  Watching Lidia, and hankering for the gnocchi his dear-departed Italian grandmother used to make, he decided that gnocchi we must!  Fun project for a quiet New Year’s Eve, er, evening alone. No kids in the house.  Just the two of us.  He pulled out some leftover potatoes, made the mixture, rolled out the dough and started cutting. I know. Very romantic.

Did I mention it was my friend Cheryl’s fault?  She decided to give my son, who was, at the time, an aspiring chef, a good knife set.  Not super good, but  nice cutlery, which, of course, included a sharpening rod.  She doesn’t remember doing it, but I can assure you, she did.  That’s why she deserves the blame.

Then there’s my son.  You can’t be a real chef if you don’t do that trick with the blade against the sharpening rod.  Dzing-dzing-dzing.  Nice and sharp.  Yes indeedy. Definitely his fault.

So back to the gnocchi.  You must realize dough made from potatoes forms a starchy, sticky coating on the knife one uses to cut it.  My father always told me to wash a sticky knife immediately so as not to let it get dull.  Can’t blame him, though.  He’s no longer living.  But I had to wash the knife.

And what is the cardinal rule when one puts a sharp knife into soapy dishwater?  Hmmm???   Let’s say it together, shall we?  “Hang on to the knife and wash it right away.”  And did I follow that rule?  Nooooo!   And then because I’m fifty-something, I forgot the knife was even in there.  Until I swished my hand around in the soapy water to see if anything else was in the sink to be washed.  And then my finger found it.  Oh yeah.

I grabbed for my finger as I pulled it up out of the water and immediately applied pressure with my other hand.  I let go long enough to take a quick peek, then said, “Honey! Guess what? We’re going to the ER.”

Nine o’clock in the evening on New Year’s Eve is not an ideal time to hit an emergency room.  Even stupid Mary who puts her hands in soapy water with a knife knows that much.  But luckily, we had options.  We live in the south end of our city, and a town to the south of us has a hospital on the north end of their town.  Their hospital is actually closer to us than our city’s hospital.  I’d heard of other folks who’d gone to that ER and survived.  I knew if we went to our city’s ER with a cut finger, we’d be waiting all night.  So off to Bartow Regional we went.  It really wasn’t a bad place, if you don’t mind everyone talking like they’re from the Andy Griffith Show.

They butterflied (bandage, that is) my finger, gave me a tetanus shot and we were home by 11 o’clock, with plenty of time to watch the ball drop over Times Square.  I’m not sure I remember even eating the gnocchi.

Turns out I’ve ended up in that same ER two times since — once with my daughter, and once again myself just recently.  This time it was much more serious, and I was admitted to the hospital.  But that’s another story.  And that wasn’t my fault either.  Blame that one on the pineapple.

Copyright 2012 by Mary E. Egidio   Permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

Advertisements

Wiener Water Soup?

“I’m bringing your dinner in a little while, but go ahead and make something.”

It was Elenor on the phone, a dear woman who was part of our congregation in our first church.  Her own children and grandchildren lived far away, and her daughter was married to a pastor, so she felt a certain kinship for us, and we for her.

“If you need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, just bring the baby over and she can sleep on my couch,” she offered when we first arrived.  She loved on our kids, and they affectionately called her and her husband ‘Nana and PapPap.’

My first encounter with Elenor was the Monday after our first Sunday.  The house was still piled with boxes, our three-month-old, who had been with her grandparents while we moved, had arrived on the scene.  I was back to balancing the needs of an infant and still trying to get settled in. It was late afternoon, and I hadn’t even thought about dinner.  Then the phone rang:

“I’ve got your dinner, but I’m not inviting you to eat here.”  It was Elenor.  “Bring some pots and pans, and come over. I’ve got your dinner.”

Okay…I thought.  I got directions to her house, and before I knew it, I was leaving with a pot of homemade ham and bean soup, slabs of cornbread, and a container of rice pudding.  I didn’t even think I liked ham and bean soup, but I graciously accepted the offer.

The food smelled so incredible and we were both so exhausted and hungry from the move and new experiences, we literally inhaled the soup, sopping up the bowls with the cornbread.  And the rice pudding?…. mmmm, heavenly.  So, this was Elenor.

We spent many a Sunday evening in her home, sharing sandwiches and ice cream with her and her husband.  Harold was a mechanic, and always made sure his pastor’s car was well cared-for.  Once she told us, “You have a standing invitation to dinner at our house. ”  Then she added, with a twinkle in her eye, “that way, if someone invites you out and you don’t want to go, you can say you’ve been invited to our house.”

So when Elenor called that day and said she had my dinner, but that I should go ahead and make something, I wasn’t sure what to expect — but one never did with Elenor.

Soon the doorbell rang, and in she came, with a small paper bag in her hand.  She greeted the kids and giggled as she set the bag on the dining room table.  “Here’s your dinner!”  She laughed.

She opened the bag and produced a canning jar, full of a murky-looking liquid, laughing again.  When she saw my quizzical look she explained.  “It’s wiener water soup!”

“It’s what?”

“Wiener water soup!  I heard about a pastor’s wife from another denomination.  The story went that they were so poor, that one night they would boil wieners for dinner, and the following night they would use that water to make soup… wiener water soup!”  She giggled again.  “So I made wieners last night, and decided to bring you the wiener water for soup!”

We laughed together, and soon she was out the door.  I shook my head and said to myself, “Only Elenor…”

To this day, I can’t make hot dogs without thinking of Elenor.  I feel bad for that pastor’s wife who had been so poor she’d had to eat ‘wiener water soup.’  Obviously, she’d never had an angel like Elenor to take care of her.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  Philippians 4:19-20

The Dog Did What??

About a year ago, this headline appeared in our local paper in the wedding section: “Dog Decorates Groom’s Cake”

Now, if you’ve ever had a dog, especially a male, you know that they gladly ‘decorate’ anything they come across — a tree, a piano, even a small child.  So, of course, this is the first thing that went through my mind when I read the headline.  On closer inspection, however, I learned that a likeness of the dog was featured on the groom’s cake.  I think it was a Rottweiler or Pit Bull named Killer, or Kujo, or Diesel or something.  Oh yeah, they named the dog in the article.  We actually cut this out and mailed it to Jay Leno for his ‘Headlines’ feature, but we never caught it on his show.

But upon further reflection, I have to ask these two questions…

1.  Why would this guy have his dog on the groom’s cake??   Well, that answer would be pretty obvious if you lived in the redneck cultural center of the universe, like I do.  The groom’s cake is kind of that last statement of manhood before having to be bossed around by a woman, I guess.  Last one I saw featured a Caterpillar tractor (the groom’s employer).

But here’s the next question…

2.  Why would the newspaper feature this as the headline for the wedding announcement??   Do we no longer have a ‘Society Editor’  who ordains the proper etiquette for wedding announcements?  I guess not. What happened to ‘Smith and Jones Wed in Garden Ceremony?’   Only if the dogs can be the ring-bearers.

Oh well.  I should be thankful they’re actually getting married.  Meanwhile, maybe I’ll send my Chihuahua to school to become a pastry chef…

Copyright 2010 Mary E. Egidio.  Permission is granted to share this work with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.  (You can share this, but tell folks who wrote it, where you found it, and don’t sell it)

You Want Me to What??

I was attending a morning training meeting an hour away in Tampa, and asked the instructor to recommend a good place for lunch.

“You’ve got to try Moxie’s.”

The restaurant appeared clean and brightly painted, filled with the local business crowd on their lunch hour.  I joined the line at the order counter and scanned the menu on the wall – mostly sandwiches.  The gentleman taking orders, possibly the owner, had a playful tone with the customers.

“What’ll it be today?” he demanded with a smile.

“Well, this is my first time here, so give me a minute,” I shot back, matching his style.

His eyes lit up.

“First time here? All first-time customers have to sing a song!”

I’m sure my cheeks flushed.

“That’s right, everyone has to sing their first time here,”  confirmed a man behind me.

Now, I’ve sung many times in public, mostly in church, so his request wasn’t terribly scary for me.  Had it been my daughter, she would have found lunch elsewhere.  Too bad I didn’t have the guts (or voice) to quiet the room and belt out a Whitney Houston hit.  But the first thing that came to mind was a song that I had heard a retreat speaker sing.  He told of singing it to random store clerks and people who bagged his groceries.  I looked the owner in the eyes and began:

“Has anybody told you ‘I love you’ today?  Has anybody told you ‘I love you’ today? Has anybody told you ‘I love you’ today?  Let me be the first, put me on your list, I love you today.”

Now it was his turn to be embarrassed. “Okay, now what can I get you?”

“You did a good job,” exclaimed the man behind me. We chatted briefly as I waited for my food.

“I sang, I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts my first time here.  But what’s cool about this place… he’ll remember you next time you come in!”

I got my food and found a table where I could watch the order line.  No one else had to sing, but the happiness factor in this little restaurant was almost tangible.  The owner’s joyous spirit was visibly contagious.

I found myself wishing I didn’t live so far away.  I think this is a place I’d like to visit again.

A Failure to Communicate..

We were flying to Pittsburgh for Christmas with our two adult children, and had driven our son’s Jeep, since it had the most room for luggage. We parked in a lot that was a few blocks away from the airport. The only thing was, the Jeep had to be started using a screwdriver along with the key (long story). My husband made the arrangements at the reception desk and when they asked for the key to the vehicle, we realized, ooops! So my son carefully instructed the lot attendant how to start the Jeep using the screw driver.

Just one problem… when we got back a few days later, that guy wasn’t on duty, and he hadn’t bothered to instruct anyone else on the fine points of the key and screwdriver trick! No one could start it to bring it to us! So, of course, Bubba had to accompany the attendant back into the lot and start it himself.

Seemed appropriate. It was one final laugh for a trip that was full of them.