Monday, May 28, 2007

Open Sesame

I took this past Friday off and went with the kids to Sesame Place... which, to be perfectly honest, I was dreading. I hate to sound like a bad parent, but the thought of spending a day chasing the kids around a hot-ass water park filled with six foot tall Elmos makes my stomach turn a bit. There wasn't any way to get out of it though, so I tried to make the best of it - and believe it or not, I actually had a pretty good time. We got there early, and were the first in line waiting for the park to open. As we stood in front of the gate looking into the pristine kid-less park with its beautifully sculpted gardens and brightly colored character statues, we were caught in a little blizzard of white fluffy buds from some sort of tree. I have to tell you, it was beautiful. Lovely summer day, manicured park in front of us, and we were enveloped in a sort of Disney-esque snowstorm.
All in all, a great day - the first thing Sam and I went on was the roller coaster, which was a lot faster than other roller coasters he has been on. I thought it was pretty cool, but when I watched the "See Yourself On The Ride!" movie after we got off the look on his face was sheer terror... and we both decided to try something a little tamer. After that, it was all good... everything we went on was so cool he wanted to do it again, and I had to drag him to the next thing. Lily got to see Elmo do a live 'Elmo's World' show - and even though she is a little past the Elmo phase, his shows are like the Red Hot Chili Peppers... the albums are good, but live, he's fucking fantastic. The only bump in the day was when Sam stepped on a huge thumbtack-like thing in a food line, and it went right through his Crocs and into his foot. Luckily, I've had him on a Rambo-esque toughening regiment, and with a little side trip to the first aid station all was well. The rest of the day was punctuated by funny little moments - like the look of sheer unadulterated excitement, wide eyes and massive grin, as Lily spun around on the teacup ride... and Sam saying more than once "This is going to be soooo cool. I am so (dramatic pause) excited".
The other bright spot in the weekend was buying a new grill... I have two at the moment, but the oldest one, which our wonderful friends got us for our engagement party about ten years ago, finally bit the dust. By the time it crapped out, the only original part left on it was the body and cover, and all of the innards had been replaced more than once. It could have been saved again, but I saw a really good deal on an enormous commercial grill, and I just couldn't resist the chance to get a grill that is 116,000 BTUs and is long enough to actually cook me on... if someone had the wherewithall to actually put me on a spit... which might not be a bad way to go... I'm pretty tender. Anyway, to illustrate how happy I am with my new found grill superiority, I've made a list in the tradition of "My dick is so big..." jokes... so without further ado, for your viewing pleasure, my top 50 "my grill is so big..." jokes.
1. My grill is so big we had a drinking contest and I woke up next to an empty bottle of whiskey with the word “rare” seared into my forehead.
2. My grill is so big it’s working with Ruben Studdard on a new clothing line for grills.
3. My grill is so big when I want to make lunch I have to have my agent call my grill’s agent.
4. My grill is so big the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit is now referred to as My Grill Thermal Unit (MGTU).
5. My grill is so big Al Gore is making a new movie called An Inconvenient Grill
6. My grill is so big that Trojans now come in three sizes – Regular, Magnum and My Grill.
7. My grill is so big it made a sex tape with Paris Hilton.
8. My grill is so big it doesn’t return my calls.
9. My grill is so big it has an unpaid intern.
10. My grill is so big it started a nonprofit with Bono called “Burgers for Darfur”.
11. My grill is so big it is on next season’s “Dancing with the Stars”. Its partner is Kim Fields.
12. My grill is so big it got its own little square on the Periodic Table next to Actinium named Mygrillimonium (My).
13. My grill is so big it bought a dog.
14. My grill is so big it was in Heidi Fleiss’ little black book. Its code name was Steve Propane-o.
15. My grill is so big it has its own grill, which it modified to use natural gas and attached to my house.
16. My grill is so big it had an affair with my neighbor’s wife, and he forgave her because my grill was on her “Celebrity Sex List”. The other four were Johnny Depp, Don Cheadle, Mark Wahlberg, and the ‘time to make the donuts’ guy.
17. My grill is so big it’s a Scientologist.
18. My grill is so big it has a MySpace page.
19. My grill is so big it gets junk mail.
20. My grill is so big it was recently reclassified as a ‘dwarf planet’.
21. My grill is so big Lily started calling it ‘dad’.
22. My grill is so big it’s only allowed to fight other grills in Nevada and certain parts of West Virginia.
23. My grill is so big Oprah’s dad is writing a book about it, and when my grill found out it was surprised, and a little bit hurt.
24. My grill is so big it’s filling in for Rosie on ‘The View’.
25. My grill is so big that when it goes to Germany, David Hasselhoff opens up for it.
26. My grill is so big it writes dark poetry for teenage girls, reads it at our coffee house, and they think it’s sensitive (and kinda cute!).
27. My grill is so big it doesn’t get carded.
28. My grill is so big it teaches a scrapbooking class.
29. My grill is so big when it breaks a Craftsman tool it doesn’t even bother with the lifetime warranty, it just throws it out and gets a new one.
30. My grill is so big Florida had to measure it twice.
31. My grill is so big there was a ‘Behind The Music’ film crew in my back yard.
32. My grill is so big it has a moon.
33. My grill is so big it cooked the Mastodon ribs for the opening credits of ‘The Flintstones’.
34. My grill is so big it is starring as Captain Georg von Trapp in the new Broadway production of ‘The Sound of Music’.
35. My grill is so big it employs a full time Fluffer.
36. My grill is so big when they went hunting it shot Dick Cheney in the face.
37. My grill is so big Michael Moore is making a new film called Fahrenheit 425.
38. My grill is so big Marlaina gets tickets to every show.
39. My grill is so big it summers in the Hamptons.
40. My grill is so big George Foreman renamed his sons Mygrill Forman, Mygrill Forman, Mygrill Forman, Mygrill Forman, and Mygrill Forman.
41. My grill is so big it does the crossword in ink.
42. My grill is so big that my smoker is its bitch.
43. My grill is so big it wrote a scathing critique of Finnegans Wake, summing it up as a 600 page crossword puzzle clue whose answer is simply, “my grill”.
44. My grill is so big it has a uvula.
45. My grill is so big it wins the Post’s ‘Style Invitational’ more often than Chuck Smith, Woodbridge.
46. My grill is so big it has a foyer.
47. My grill is so big John Holmes had a picture of my grill hanging in his dressing room.
48. My grill is so big it works in the waste management industry, and does some work with the unions...
49. My grill is so big it’s starring in the new Discovery Channel series “My Grill vs. Wild”.
50. My grill is so big it wrote most of these ‘My Grill’ jokes without me.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Voodoo Chicken & Wiener Magic

Here's a little discovery of mine - not really a brilliant one, but a discovery... even in a school cafeteria, a little marketing goes a long way. For those of you who don't know, in the mornings I am the chef in a private school for kids from 1st to 12th grade. Its kind of a unique place - we make up menus for the week, students and faculty order off of the menu when they get to school, and by the time they come in to eat we have their orders ready to go. Since the three of us in the kitchen decide what we'll have, we can play around a bit. Some days hot dogs and fries, pizza, or something equally schoolish - and other days we grill scallops, stuff pork loins, cook alligator, etc... In the past few days we've had a burger day, grilled cheese day, almond crusted pollock with lemon cream day, and jasmine tea smoked salmon with wasabi day... see what I'm getting at? It's a wacky, wonderful place where I can try out all sorts of stuff to use in my catering business.
Anyway, we've discovered that even the kids get into it if you sell them on it. Today, for example, I made a chicken and sweet potato soup with saffron, buttermilk, and a little dried chipotle for kick... and in the past I might have made a sign saying something along the lines of what it was, but since it was 85 degrees outside and I wanted them to eat it, I went with "Big Papa Joe's Voodoo Chicken". Do I have any left? No. Not a drop. The funny thing is, I watched kids come in from recess covered in sweat, look at the sign next to a steaming hot tureen of soup and say, "Voodoo chicken.. cool... gotta get me some of that..."
The other oddity we had today was some little pigs-sans-blanket that we found in the freezer. At some point we were given these wee little hot dogs, and instead of wrapping them in pastry, we made a sweet & hot sauce out of pineapple and chili sauce for them to swim in. Because I despise the wee dog, I was murmuring to Kate all day that she should work her wiener magic to make them palatable. The sign on the salad bar, naturally, said "Sweet and Spicy Wiener Magic"... mostly because it just felt so funny to actually write down. Seriously, name one other job where you can print out a "Sweet and Spicy Wiener Magic" sign. The icing on the cake of my day was actually taking down the sign though... there in my hands was a little 3x5 card WITH THE TAPE ALREADY ATTACHED! Now seriously, how could I do anything but tape it onto some one's back? Call me a child if you must, but look deep inside yourself - you know you would do it too. Don't think so? Try this - make a little sign that says "Sweet and Spicy Wiener Magic", attach some tape to it, and just hold it in your hand for a minute. You'll see, it's irresistible. It almost pulses with potential comedic energy... and almost before I knew it, as if I was in some Wiener Magic trance, I was patting my coworker Meri on the back as I walked by, deftly planting the sign right between her shoulder blades.
"Going somewhere after work Meri? No? Didn't you drive your convertible today? Lovely spring day, you should take advantage..."
"I've been meaning to stop at TJ Max..."
...and with that, Meri turned around and sauntered out, the "Sweet and Spicy Wiener Magic" sign fading out like the sunset as she walked away...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Setting Sail

Fresh off a of busy week, I had a little project to do for a student's art show. A couple of food trays, and a bit of fun to make the table nice - so here a little project for you kids at home if you have a few hours to burn. (Click on the pics to enlarge them...) First, find yourself a nice looking stable melon...

Slice off the top, and do a little scooping...
Slice the top bit up into little sail shaped squares, I used six for the larger front sail and five for the shorter back sail, and sew strong cotton thread through all four corners.

When all of your sewing is finished, line up the pieces in the shape of your sail, and tie the thread to some strong bamboo to make each sail.
Add some masts, tie it all together and find yourself a jolly roger, make a crow's nest... and voila, your own little picnic pirate ship. If you have a few cucumbers and some leftover watermelon skin - you can make a few fishing skiffs for the side with some carrots nets for catching the big ones... or if you only have a sec, a random pyramid of cheerleading chayote squash.
Sara's home, I have a couple of days off, a kickass pirate ship, and all is well....

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