Category: Blog

Simmer Till (Almost) Done

Dearest Reader,

Dont go away!

Fine. You can go away, grab a snack then maybe another snack and then come back.

Just putting the icing on the new Simmer. Well be up and rolling soon!

Yours in all-butter goodness,

Marilyn

Something is Simmering!

Well hello! Just a note to say that yes indeed, something is simmering.  After a long and sleepy absence marked by travel, procrastination, and too many donuts, Simmer Till Done is finally on its way back. Watch for news of the redesigned, revamped, rebooted Simmer. And when I say rebooted, I mean several well-meaning people had to boot me to get this done. And I love them for it.

Really.

In the meantime: enjoying your summer? Sweltering along, hitting the road, watching the Olympics? That meatball up there is going for high dive gold.

If you are not my mother and are still waiting around for Simmer, I cant thank you enough. Back soon.

Spamalatkes

Happy Holidays to you, my Simmer friends. Peace on earth and good will toward all! All except the malicious spam-creature that is continually sucking good tidings from this blog.

Yes. Somewhere, deep within world spam headquarters, an extremely small-hearted bot decided that Simmer would be a good place to nest. Simmer Till Done is under spam attack. Serious spam. You know the kind I mean male-pharmaceutical pick-me-up last-for-four-hours spam. Several weeks ago I began seeing unusual search terms. I usually see searches for spritz cookies or Cleos pumpkin biscuits or, may she rest in egg noodle peace, Aunt Roses kugel. What I dont see too often: how do I get free Viagra from Canada?

What does it mean? It means links to this blog dont work well, and our subscriber list is shot. It means every word I type* is attached to Internet ads for medical male assistance. It means when legitimate kugel-bakers Google a Simmer recipe, they now find odious pharmaceutical spam. It is most discouraging. What would Aunt Rose think?

Sigh. Lets just look at latkes.

I feel better already.

The tech elves are working to fix Simmer but I should note that this is the last post until were hack-free. The next time you read Simmer Till Done it will hopefully have a new design, spam-free archives and a happy, refreshed writer at the helm. In the meantime, I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons, full of golden potatoes and tart applesauce, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding or a marvelous onion-soaked brisket, like the one Cleo is so interested in, below:

Sigh (second sigh). Why cant Labradors provide tech support?

* not every word you type, just me. Feel free to add your spam-safe commiseration.

A No-Craft Craft for Coffee Lovers

To give is better to receive, and to give the gift of coffee is almost as good as drinking it yourself.  Here’s a tiny little no-craft craft (for even the least crafty among us) that you can use for birthdays, holidays, or any day you feel guilty about all those paper java jackets.

You will need: a coffee gift card, a java jacket, double-sided tape, and a birthday (or other holiday) card

1. Place a small piece of double-sided tape between bottom seams of the java jacket. Press together. Now you have a flat pocket.

2. Place another piece of double-sided tape on the back of java jacket pocket, and press into birthday card.

3. Place coffee gift card in pocket. (If card slides around, use a tiny piece of double-sided tape on back of gift card to keep in place)

4. Gift your happy, caffeinated, amazed friend.

And you didnt think you were crafty. Feel like getting crazy? Like using a hole punch? Try the pretty-pretty version.

Punch two holes in top of java jacket. Pull ribbon through. Tie bow. Pretty!

Sparkly version? Use decorative stick-on gems.

And there we have it. A no-craft craft that reuses, reduces, recycles, and keeps your caffeinated friends happy.

Why would I bother doing this? For what its worth, I support our local coffee shops and drink many a cappuccino there. But I like that frothy Starbucks froth, and enjoy it on occasion. Now and then.

Its not like I have a problem or anything.

Blogiversary Best-Of: Moms Will Be Moms, But Judy is Forever

Happy Third Anniversary, you crazy blog of mine.

To honor three food-and-tale-filled blogging years, lets revisit a reader favorite: from May 13, 2009, heres a story about my friend Andie, and also Andies mom and Judy Blume, and what we learned about men from them both.

MOMS WILL BE MOMS, BUT JUDY IS FOREVER

Original post and comments found here.

{ A Mothers Day tale }

In 1978 just three types of contraband existed for me and my pal Andie Lerner: shoplifted Bonne Bell makeup, those curious magazines in our brothers rooms, and Judy Blumes teen sex novel, Forever. But at eleven, I feared juvenile cosmetics prison and declined the five-finger discount; despite many examinations of our brothers covert reads, Andie and I werent quite clear on the attraction; and finally, though wed heard the title whispered and wanted it desperately, we were not wise to the horizontal goods in Forever. We were not actually wise to anything.

What we were was clueless, but lucky a copy was circulating in our classroom by day, and pedaling home to bedrooms at night. The smudged paperback moved desk to desk when Mrs. Endicott turned to the board, one girl slid it to the palms of another, and by the time she turned back, the deal was done. Math resumed with two flushed faces, one triumphant and one hopeful and one day during fractions, the palms belonged to Andie. It was Friday afternoon, and our eyes locked in telegraphed plan: sleepover, toaster-oven snacks and a cover-to-cover inspectionno falling asleep like last time, Andie – of Forever.

Andie lived two houses down from our split-level, in a rambling old Tudor. Her family snacked on flax bread, and ate lentil soup in hand-thrown pottery crocks. Wide oak stairs led to a sunny living room crammed with macrame plants and art books and an enormous black Steinway, on which Andies dad would balance a glass of red wine and frequently bang out jazz. My own dad liked to browse tax law, so I found it all thrilling, right up to the day Mr. Lerner met a young woman and left the grand piano and Mrs. Lerner behind. Andies mom started wearing bangles and scarves and higher heels, and buying potato chips, and was never home. Mr. Lerners unfortunate weakness had built a premier sleepover destination.

So it was in an empty house, in the sitting room that held just a sofabed and television, that we holed up with Forever. Our props meant business: sleeping bags, Twizzlers, root beer, at least a dozen pillows and a few of their Persian cats. The fridge revealed one package of cocktail franks, and Id brought a can of Wiener Wrap a kind of processed dough you wrapped and baked around hot dogs. We could bake them in the toaster oven. I could sprinkle them with cheddar, and was excited about that, about sprinkling cheddar on Wiener Wraps.

But first, Forever. We literally tore through it pulling back and forth until we finally took turns munching licorice and reading aloud, all about Kath and Michael, and what they were doing.

But what were they doing? An hour later wed read all the words, laughing ha ha, he called his member Ralph and while we knew what Judy Blume was saying, sex on a multicolor rug, we didnt quite know what sex on a multicolor rug, or any rug, was supposed to mean.

So we put the book aside and chugged root beer, and watched TV. They were showing Planet of the Apes, and we were mesmerized by chimp makeup and funny lines. Charlton Heston was yelling about something. I bet he never had sex on a multicolor rug! Andie said. I pointed to Roddy McDowells ape. Not him either! I said. We howled and turned out the lights, and everything on TV was hilarious, and Forever fell to the floor. Eventually we heard a key turn, and a clack-clack down the hallway. My mom, Andie shrieked, get the book! I reached under the bed for the paperback but couldnt find it, scrabbling. Mrs. Lerner poked her head in the dark room, then swept in all the way.

You girls are stillll up, she said.

Were going to sleep, Mom, said Andie. Mrs. Lerner smelled like sandalwood, and swayed on her heels a little. Instead of leaving, she plunked down on the bed. I breathed in, but inched away. She leaned over. Whats this? In one floral-sleeved movement, she brought the book off the carpet.

She took a flashlight from Andie. What is it? She shined one spot on the cover. Oh ho, she said, oh yes I do see! My lungs collapsed. I could run home, I thought, I could bang on the door and I could confess to having the book, but at least Id be out of here.

Now Mrs. Lerner swung to face us. Andie and I huddled on the sofabed, toward the wall. She turned the flashlight off for a moment, then on again. Then pointed it at us. So you got this. Okay. Okay. Just tell me one thing, ONE THING. We held our breaths. Was it good?

Was it good. I looked at Andie, who was looking at me. Good? Her mom was still lurching. Was. It. Good. Was it good for her the first time?

Oh, now we were truly up a creek. Neither of us had an inkling, but from her wild-eyed jangly look behind the light, we sure needed an answer. Andie looked stricken. So I gave her one.

Oh yeah, it was great!

She looked suspicious, pressed the book under her palm. It was great. The first time.

It seemed to be working, so I went on. Yeah, fantastic! Everything was perfect!

Mrs. Lerner slipped the flashlight off, and was silent for two minutes. I thought she might be asleep.

Then its a LIE! she yelled. I touched Andies arm. If it was good for her then it is BULL. She jumped to her feet, and yanked her beaded shawl. All men are assholes, she said, and dont you forget it. She reached down, grabbed the book, and left.

Andie and I sat frozen for five minutes. Not until we heard shoes on wood, then shoes hit a wall upstairs, and finally the flump of a body in bed, did we finally start laughing, laughing so hard that root beer came out my nose. We did not discuss Kath and Michael, nor virgins or moms nor multicolor rugs. At two a.m. we went to the kitchen, preheated the toaster oven, and carefully wrapped pink cocktail franks in canned yellow dough. We sat on the brick floor in pajamas and tore open a bag of Oreos, giggling and crumb-faced, waiting for Wiener Wraps.

* no illustration of Wiener Wraps; remember what happened last time?