Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brisket Mission Accomplished

In case you were wondering...

The brisket was really good, if I do say so myself. But more importantly, let's get to the noodle kugel. That was the real star. If you eat a small portion, it's only a mere 35,000 grams of fat.

In the spirit of Jewish Grandma Syndrome, here's my grandma's recipe:

  • One pound of medium or wide egg noodles
  • A little less than 3 quarters of a cup sugar
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 pound of whipped cream cheese
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of white raisins (optional)
  • Boil noodles (but cook a little less than the full time)
  • Use a hand mixer to creme the sugar, butter and cream cheese (make sure it's soft, so take out of fridge before)
  • Then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the rest of the ingredients
  • Add it to the cooked noodles and stir together
  • Mix raisins in
  • Pour into a sprayed 9 x13 pan

Make the (most delicious) Topping:
  • Melt 1/2 stick of butter (as if you need more butter in this recipe)
  • Stir in 1 cup of cornflake crumbs (I bought cornflakes and put them in a plastic bag and smashed until it became crumbs) and 1/4 cup of sugar (oh, sure, this obviously needs more sugar)
  • Pour on top of the noodles
  • Add cinnamon to taste over the top (it's the only fat-free thing in this dish)
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

This kugel is top notch. Bon appetit.

PS: Tomorrow when you go on your diet, try this delicious baked kale!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jewish Grandma Syndrome

Jewish Grandma Syndrome, also known as JGS, can strike at any age. One day you're going about your un-grandma-like business, the next day you find yourself frantically running the streets, in hot pursuit of a brisket. JGS struck me tonight, and I'm still trying to process how it all went down.

You see, Rosh Hashanah a.k.a. the Jewish New Year, starts tomorrow. And after being totally checked out on vacation all of last week, it dawned on me today that we didn't have any plans. Usually we're with family in Cleveland or New Jersey, or joining Jewish forces with friends in the area. However, we all seemed to have dropped the (matzo) ball this year. Although I'm no super jew, I couldn't imagine this holiday without the smell of brisket or noodle kugel in the house. So, I rounded up a small crew, and told them to be over for dinner tomorrow night.

After work, I booked it to Safeway to stock up on my ingredients. Considering their inventory usually consists of expired Pedialyte and loose baby carrots, I shouldn't have been surprised when there was no brisket to be found. Disheartened, I decided to trek 10 blocks over to Whole Foods for something expensive and grass fed. But, it was raining. And I was wearing flip flops. And I had a bag of noodle kugel ingredients that I didn't want to schlep. (See, I really have JGS --  I'm complaining a lot and saying things in Yiddish. I'm also planning to order a velour pantsuit online.)

So, I walked home and frantically ate cheese doodles while I pondered what to do next. This brisket wasn't going to come out of thin air, no matter how much I prayed. I decided to go to another grocery store -- a good 15 minute walk away. I partially changed into workout clothes, and briskly walked to Harris Teeter, thinking positive thoughts about brisket. The whole time, I was stewing over people who had cars, people who take brisket shopping for granted. They didn't have to do it on foot, in the rain, wearing a combination of half workout/half work clothes. They didn't see a dead mouse on the sidewalk or get briefly attacked by a moth (my most feared insect). They didn't have to battle an urban jungle for a slab of meat.

Exhausted, I arrived at HT, and considered asking a stranger to push me around in one of the carts shaped as a car for small children. I slowly walked to the meat counter. There was a row of London Broil. It looked just like brisket. But was it? Who knew? Oy Vey! I called my mother (who promised to be on call in case of any questions) but she didn't answer. I called my aunt. Nothing. I called my friend. Voicemail. Biatch.I actually didn't call my Jewish grandmothers, because who has time to be stuck on the phone for 2 hours?

In a last ditch effort, I called my dad who immediately told me London Broil was most definitely not brisket. It's a different cut. Don't even think about it. My heart sank deeper. No brisket? I suck at making chicken. I hate chicken.What the heck would I cook for dinner tomorrow night?

And then I saw it.

NEXT to the meat counter was a row of briskets galore. I practically shed tears of joy.

MAZEL freakin' TOV.

Happy New Year.

Love, Bubbie.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All That and a Bag of Chips

The other night, I said a phrase I definitely hadn't uttered since I was 12: "She thought she was all that and a bag of chips." How did that slip out of the 1992 storage compartment in my brain? (Thank goodness I wasn't in public.) And most importantly, what does it really mean ... to not only be "all that", but also "a bag of chips"?

I hope there's a cultural anthropologist who can take a break from studying dinosaur bones (wait - that's archeology, right?) to get to the bottom of this linguistic phenomenon. I'm going to assume one person coined this phrase ... and it traveled the globe via slap bracelet, reaching Beachwood, Ohio in the early 90s (right around the time I was working hard to be more Kelly Taylor/less Andrea Zuckerman).

There are so many cooler things to be than a bag of chips. You could be "all that and a Hermes bag", or "all that and a personal masseuse to Brad Pitt." But you know what? When it comes down to it -- chips-- in any form, are delicious. People from all cultures and walks of life can appreciate the simplistic beauty and taste of a good chip. So, being all that and a bag of chips -- just works. And I commend the pre-teen genius behind that phrase. Bravo! Maybe it's time for a comeback.

What other totally radical expressions or phrases did you say back in the day?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome to Audix...

Last week, my office upgraded our phone systems. We all got new phones, were trained how to to use them, and given tip sheets to remind us of all the things we immediately forgot. The phone trainer let us in on a few secrets too, such as -- people can 100% hear you when you cover your mouthpiece with your hand and say things you shouldn't. Always mute.

Anyways, this new phone situation entails re-recording our voicemail greetings. For normal people, this is no big deal. I however (due to sitting in an open space) have still not done my recording. Because this is inevitably what happens to everyone who needs to record a voicemail greeting:

Take 1: 
"Hello." --  you sound like Lionel Richie. Delete. 

Take 2: 
"Hi.  -- Strong start. Followed by long pause due to forgetting your name and/or place of business. Delete.

Take 3: 
"Hiiiiiii. Sh*t---." -- Although no one has actually called you in at least 5 months, you *will* receive a voicemail before you have a chance to delete this.  

Take 4:
"G'day" -- You've developed an Australian accent. Delete.  

Take 5:
It's getting painful for everyone. Co-worker removes phone from your hand, pretends to be your assistant and does it for you. 

Lots of things, like voicemail and conference calls can kick social anxiety into high gear at the office. But if Lionel Richie had the courage to pose for an album dressed head to toe in denim, I can certainly find the courage to record my office voicemail during business hours.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Closet Clean Out: A Tale of Angst, Joy and a Denim Blazer

Weekends are meant for TV marathon-watching, running errands, mimosa brunches and farmers market shopping. But on the rare occasion you find the motivation, weekends can be productive. Case in point: my recent closet clean out. Inspired by an expert on The Today Show who proclaimed that in order to de-clutter your life, you need to get rid of 75% of your wardrobe, I decided to give it a go.

Saying goodbye is emotionally taxing, especially for sentimental clothing keepers like moi. Among other things, I uncovered a tube top (yes, really) from my first year living in New York. Tossing it into the "donate" pile was like saying goodbye to an era of life ... a blissful time when my parents still paid for my groceries and I was the proud owner of an Ikea pleather couch. 

And then of course, there are items too embarrassing to admit you ever owned. Like this denim blazer, which clearly was left in my apartment by a previous renter.

But sometimes you uncover a hidden gem. At the bottom of my PJ drawer ... was this magnificent t-shirt:

As a wee 3rd grader in Beachwood, Ohio, my acting career was born. Cast as a "Townsperson" in the community theater production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, my role entailed not speaking, while using overly-exaggerated hand gestures for no reason. (I'm toying with the idea of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Where Are They Now? blog post. There are some real success stories out there...) Regardless, this t-shirt will be a family heirloom. And it's not going anywhere. 

4 bags of clothes later -- my closet and dresser drawers are looking very spiffy and organized. Hopefully whoever gets stuck with the donated goods can pull off a "vintage" style.

What items will you always hold onto? Any tips for successful closet clean outs?