Rainy Day Comfort: Cozying Up to the iFire.

It’s Raining. Outside it is cold and grey. Nothing better than to curl up with some leftover pizza, crank the heat up to high, dim the lights and catch up on that book I started last week. A fireplace sure would be nice right now….

No matter. I may not have a fireplace, but that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy the visceral experience of one. A click of the mouse and I snuggle deeper under the covers, a merry fire crackling away.


Loss of Twinkies, Loss of Self? A Crisis of Nostalgia.

The Twinkie,rendered in online sketchpad.

Last week, Hostess, the company that provided prepackaged cake things to millions of children all over the United States, announced that they will be filing for bankruptcy for the second time in a decade.

Apparently, cupcakes do not good business sense make….

Maybe they could save a few dollars by firing the culinary genius* who wrote a “Twinkies Sushi” recipe on their website (Check it out here )

This event is causing a lot of hullabaloo. For the first time in many people’s lives they must ask themselves the question: What would happen if there were no more Twinkies?

The answer: it depends.

Twinkies are, after all, made of sugar plastic and  yellow foam. Their value seems to lie in our hearts, nestled in the little box we label “childhood”.  No kid (including yours truly) could be unattracted to Twinkies-or to any Hostess cake product for that matter (Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Sno balls etc….) When you are a kid you don’t look at a Twinkie and think:

” Ugh. Look at that overly sweet, chemical-laden cake-tube wrapped in plastic made with 37 ingredients I can’t pronounce.”

you think: “Cake! vanilla cake with cream! wrapped in plastic for my convenience! Yes!”

Twinkies represent a time in everyone’s life when they did not know what omega-3 was, a time before gym membership, corn syrup, trans fats and supplements. A time when the more neon a food was, the more you longed for it in your lunchbox (fruit roll-ups, anyone?). While many adults haven’t eaten a Twinkie in years, the thought of Twinkies disappearing from the supermarket shelves removes forever that which represented sweet, cream filled innocence.

If I was in America right now,  I would buy a Twinkie and eat it-just for old times’ sake. Would it be delicious? Probably. Would I feel kind of nauseous after? You bet. But that’s because I am a grown-up now, and Twinkies have 220 grams of sodium.

*Speaking of culinary genius, there is also a Twinkies cookbook, containing both sweet AND savory recipes. Eureka!

I Think They Stole Those Horses….Adventures in Jaffa and Ramla.

Friday morning dawned clear and bright. Seventy degrees. I traveled to Jaffa to meet some friends for hummus at Abu Hassan. Abu Hassan is considered to be Good Hummus.

We sat on the wall with other Abu Hassan patrons, dipping our pita again and again. It was so freakin’ beautiful outside, hot even for Israel…everyone was drunk with sunshine.

The blissful silence was suddenly shattered by the urgent clatter of hooves. Hooves? Yes. Scrambling up the street were two spirited horse being ridden bareback by two very un-horseman-like figures, one trying to make a call on his cell phone. The horses didnt look too happy, and the men riding them had obviously never ridden bareback before. They were bouncing around in a most alarming fashion. I lifted my camera to take a photo-“No Pictures! No Pictures!” they yelled at me (but not before I got the shot).

“I think they just stole those horses.” I remarked.

The Jaffa promenade was full of others enjoying the sun.

As darkness began to fall, I started to make my way down to Ramla, where I was invited to an Arab-Christian Christmas party. Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian Calendar celebrate Christmas a little later than the standard Dec.25. There was food, food and more food. Plus a snow machine and inflatable bears/clown mascots for the kids.

The bear was cool. But the clown was kind of freaking me out.

Some selfless family member volunteered to prance around in these inflatable costumes.

 3AM. With a full belly and filled with good cheer I went to bed.

The End.

Hair of the Dog.

Bloody Mary.

The morning after New Year’s is never very fun, as is the morning after any hard-partying, alcohol-imbibing  night. You wake up dry -mouthed, eyes crusty and light sensitive, with the feeling that a troop of little gnomes with hard hats are doing some serious construction work inside your brain.

If you’re lucky, then you and your gnomes can stay home and rest under a cool washcloth. If, like me, you need to attend a full day of classes then more serious intervention is in order. Looking semi-presentable is possible if the outfit is kept simple: loafers, loose jeans and a sweater. Big sunglasses (the bigger the better) are a necessity. For the ladies, makeup is unnecessary as there is enough from last night smudged under your lids for you to look like you spent a long time that morning making a perfect “smoky eye”.

The final touch: Hair of the Dog. Hair of the Dog is an old, old expression (as in, before Shakespeare old) referring to the once-common practice of treating a rabid  dog bite with the hair of the dog that bit you. Did this cure rabies? probably not. But it does help with hangovers.The Hair of the Dog refers to the classic hangover cure of drinking something with alcohol (and usually protein) in the morning after some heavy drinking to get you started on your day. It basically works because hangovers are caused by your body working really hard to process all the residual sugars and alcohol you stuffed into it the night before, leaving you tired, sluggish and with a pounding headache. Drinking something with alcohol/protein/spice gives the body something new to work on, leaving alone the residuals and giving you the illusion of relief.

There’s all kinds of Hair of the Dog. Some involve a raw eggs. Raw eggs make me nauseous on a good day, so those are out as an option for mornings when my stomach feels like a jellyfish. My favorite is a Bloody Mary. Tomato juice (for protein and vitamins), Worcestershire sauce (for flavor) salt, pepper, hot paprika (for spice) and a dash of vodka to bring it all together.

It’s January 1st, ice cubes are clinking, and I’m ready for the day.

Happy New Year.